Grade 8 Scales Problems

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by kate_the_horn, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    My Brass Teacher (and very good you are too, Kerry) is putting my in for my grade 8, and i am incapable of learning scales, i try and try with no luck

    any ideas people?


    kell x
  2. Majoresteve

    Majoresteve Member

    lol, i have the same problem i cant learn scales. short of boring myself to death and sitting there only just playing them through over and over again, the only way i can think off is too learn the scale names (eg C major no sharps or flats) and hope you can play them on the day! - thats what i did, and i passed with distinction!
  3. Euph-Bari

    Euph-Bari Active Member

    practice :p
  4. jonford

    jonford Member

    This is sad I know, but I put all the scale names needed into a hat, and then drew them out. If I could play the scale it would stay out of the pot for a while, if not it went back in. Very sad but it makes it a bit more interesting!
  5. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    jonford, i did that for my grade 6, and it did work atchually

    now there is 55 scales to learn, and i dont know very many

    october is the date!
  6. rightnowmusic

    rightnowmusic Member

    If you know the basis of the scales, it'll certainly make life easier, and you should have no problems whatsoever in starting on any note !

    Eg: Foundation of ALL Major Scales:

    Tonic, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone (TTTF, TTTF)

    You can start on any given note, and hey presto ! Using this formulae, you've just played a MAJOR scale !!!

    Major - Harmonic Minor: Flatten the 3rd and 6th note of the Major scale.

    Now I've started you off, perhaps other people could let you know some further "tricks of the trade"

    Good luck with your Grade 8 !
  7. Di

    Di Active Member

    :D I had to do this with Vickitorious for a while. When it comes to practice, scales is a dirty word isn't it?

    Just don't try and nail them all at once. Pick a couple and concentrate on them for a couple of days, then when you're comfortable with those, pick another pair and so on.

    But I think as you get closer to your exam, you own determination to do well will provide you with the drive and motivation to practice them.

    Good luck.
  8. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    thanks mark, major scales are certainly a lot easier!!

    ten theres whole tone and dim/dom 7ths
  9. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    ta dinie, i do practice thou!!

    lol grr Jez!!
  10. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    If you find sitting and playing straight scales so boring it feels like your brain has dried up (or was that just me?! :lol: ), try the Arban exercises: p 59 onwards. The section on diminished 7th is particularly fab - beat practicing out of the scales book by a country mile for me!

    At the end of the day, don't worry too much - its such a small portion of the overall score, as long as you nail your pieces you'll do fine. The aural test is a different matter though... :wink:
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I know I'm a BOC, but it always surprises me that people don't seem to appreciate the power of scales or don't seem to be willing to put effort into learning them.

    If you loook at almost any piece of music, you can breake it down into two things, basically, scales and arpeggios. If you know them and your rhythms, nothing any composer throws at you will ever throw you. Once you work out what bits and pieces of which scales are being used everything else will fall into place pronto.

    Yes, they are boring. But the effort of learning them is really worth it. You just have to force yourself.

    Trust me! :roll:
  12. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I had a friend who did a course of learning a "Letter a Week" where you go through each scale starting on each tonic. So start on A flat, do the major, minors, whole tone, dominant 7th, arpeggios, diminished 7th, augmented 7th etc etc starting on A flat, and spend all week learning those. Then the week after do A, then B flat, B, C, C Sharp etc etc

    He said he found it got easier as he got to E flat, because the relationships between the scales began to sink in properly.

    Anyway, you could always just busk them... always worked for me!
  13. aimee_euph

    aimee_euph Member

    could be the difference between a pass and a fail :wink:

    i wrote all mine down on manuscript then played them with n then without the music til i knew them note perfect for my exam!

    i dont believe in all the theoretical rubbish behind them like tone tone semitone blah blah cause it just confused me. the interval theories between chords n arps work but only cause i studied that at AS level.

    good luck anyways x
  14. stripybananas

    stripybananas Member

    I have a few little tricks....

    1. Learn all they key signatures and how they all work!
    2. Major Scales go up either 2 octaves or a twelth on every note in the major key.
    3. Minor Scales you add three flats to the key of the relative major, then sharpen then for
    a). Harmonics, you sharpen the 7th of the scale on way up and down
    b). Melodics, sharpen the 6th and 7th on way up and then all the notes in the key for the way down
    4. Dominant 7ths all notes are played in the Major Key, and you move up in 3rds starting on the 5th (just like you would on an arpegio except include the 7th)
    5. Diminished 7ths, play the major arpeggio adding the 7th but flatten the 3rd 5th and 7th.
    6. Whole-tones jus look at them and learn the individual patterns

    I know this isn't exactly a conventional way of learning scales, but it does mean i know all of mine so its not exactly pointless.....give it a try.....crucial bit is learning your keys though.
  15. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I agree with what was said above, especially the point on the putting scales in a hat then pulling them out at random.

    another two tips....

    1) play different rythms
    2) start from the tpo go down and then back up again, it'll be confusing at first but it is so easy to get into the habit of going up and coming back down that the top section often gets neglected.

    hope it helps and good luck, and even if you mess them up on the boig day (as i did) you can still pass (as i also did) so its not the end of the world, but get the scales sorted and the rest'll be easy.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    OK, it's time to have a little :roll: (as in, "what's the problem)? All ex-military bandsmen will share this with me. When I had been playing the trombone for about a year, I did my A3 Trade Test. I had to play every scale, covering the full range of my instrument, 'major', 'harmonic minor' & 'melodic minor'. As someone has already said, know the keys and practice. Think of the notes, in your minds eye, write the scale and read it.

    Scales are a wonderful 'bedding-in' process. Which is why ex-military musicians can do anything, play classical, jazz, pop, - you name it - in any clef.

    So why am I on Bb Bass? :evil:
  17. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Personally, I think this is a rather shortsighted (if not dangerous, even) approach.

    The problem is, if you just learn all the scales "parrot -fashion" for an exam, chances are you will have forgotten most of them within a few weeks afterwards.

    If, on the other hand, you make the effort to learn the theory behind the scales, not only are you likely to remember them for the rest of your life, but also you will have a much greater understanding of how the music that you are playing is constructed, and how it works. It will also have a beneficial effect on your reading skills.

    I realise, of course, you will most likely think this is just a boring "old" bloke talking, however, sometimes we do know what we are talking about!
  18. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I think the subconscious mind can be brought into play here.

    Sure, learn the scales, but then when it comes to playing them, clear your mind and let your subconscious take over. You'll likely find that you do know the scales after all.

    If that fails, when asked to do a a terribly awkward scale, pretend there is a terrible water problem with your instrument, and when you've "cleared" it, play C major or A Minor. Chances are, not being a brass player, the examiner will be none the wiser; even if he is, you can always say "my mistake" and have a good crack at it! A mate of mine swore he only played C, G and Bb majors, and A minor in his grade 6 as a result...

    Ignore the second bit - learn them and then rely on your subconscious.
  19. jonford

    jonford Member

    At the end of the day, this is just my opinion, i recommend you spend a lot of the time getting your pieces to the highest standard because they are worth the most marks on the exam. I didn't do so well in the scales but still got distinction because of the marks i got in the other sections.
  20. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    WhileI don't have a problem with scales now, I used to as a kid, so here's a few things I tried....

    1) Learn key signatures. Helps to know the circle of fifths
    2) Write down all your scales on pieces of paper. don't play them all, just every day, take out 3 scales from a jar (random scales) and try that
    3) don't think so hard about the notes, just memorise fingerings. My teacher said when he was in uni, he used to drive in to class every day just doing fingerings in the air.
    4) Learn to hear the scale very well in your head, and try to play them by ear

    While it is essential to learn the structure of a scale (ttsttts), some people don't actualyl respond well to theory, so it's not the usual method I recommend. I do suggest learning key signatures, by startign with the circle of 5ths/fourths. then learn relative minors by the old "4 slide positions" technique" (calling the note you start on as 1, go up/down (up for the relative major, down for minor) 4 slide positions. Maybe that won't work too well if you aren't a trombonist, but I swore by it!

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