A scale is so much more than a row of notes to be mindlessly played up and down the keyboard as physical exercise day after day after day…
Your musicianship is infinitely better served by mastering a scale in a variety of ways, including…
- Reading Comprehension (key signatures, clefs, letter names, scale degrees, Solfege).
- Visio-spatial Keyboard Layout (letter names, scale degrees, Solfege)
- Aural Comprehension (ear training) of each note with respect to the key center.
- Chords (intervals, triads, seventh chords) than can be built using the notes in the scale.
- Piano Technique (fingering, choreography) for playing the scale in commonly-used musical patterns.
Studying scales in so many aspects and in such depth may seem like an overwhelming task, until you realize two things: 1) You can study-practice each skill above simultaneously, 2) Each skill above overlaps with every other skill above, so that they mutually reinforce each other!
Furthermore, the process will become self-sustaining once you see the enormous benefits of study-practicing your scales the right way… in other words, like a musician! Like magic, your efforts will start paying dividends in all aspects of your music-making: music-reading, aural comprehension, visio-spatial keyboard awareness, memorization, playing by ear, piano technique, interpretation, transposition, and improvisation.
In the lessons that follow, using the Bb Major Scale as an example, we are going to explore the many ways that a master musician conceives of and experiences a scale.