• Music Primero

The Major Scale

The stories from contemporaries abound with memories of their teachers telling them to practice their scales.

"Why?", They would ask.

The general response from the teacher would be something like, "Because it will make you better. That's how I learned"

If that sounds vague to you, you're not alone.

Of what use is it to practice a scale up and down with increasing speed?

You'll get good at doing the scale, no doubt about it, but what else are you getting?

Perhaps you're getting dexterity, and technique in order but what else?

If you practice without a goal in mind you're doing a disservice to yourself.

To start, the major scale is the foundation to learning melodies. Understanding this is step one to practicing it. We practice the scale to start thinking of notes as numbers rather than letters.

To clarify, when we learn the scale as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8. We can then play melodies all over the instrument, rather than in one particular key. For example, "Twinkle, Twinkle" becomes 1-1-5-5-6-6-5 rather than


Eventual the student learns to hear the intervals between the notes, and can decipher challenging pieces with much more ease.

Another reason, is to understand the scale, is to better understand chords. When a piece calls for something like a Dm7 chord, the novice might ask "why the 7"? To which, ideally, the teacher will explain that the seventh note of the scale is added on to the chord

So many reasons for understanding the scale, and they can hardly be summed up in this blog post.

Please enjoy our complimentary video on the major scale with an accompanying worksheet

and quiz.

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