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· Registered
77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I'm learning all different types of scales and arpeggios (major, minor, harmonic minor, major modes, 7th chords) and I have a quick and simple question to ask. When practising these things should I play all the scales and arpeggios of ONE key first then move to the next? Or would it be more efficient to play the scales in ALL the keys then move onto the next scale?

At the moment, I'm doing the first way I listed, but I was just wondering if the latter way would be more beneficial.


· Distinguished SOTW Member
6,817 Posts
Hey there,

I'm no expert and I don't have a definitive answer to your question. What I would suggest, however, is that whatever order you choose to practice your scales in, try to emphasize the fluid or dynamic movement from one scale/chord to the next rather than practicing them as static blocks. I just got the little Jackie Mclean scale book and this is his main point.

Some progressions you could try are:

up and down chromatically
up and down in whole steps
up and down in minor thirds
cycle of fourths: C-F-Bb-Eb etc

and there are many others.

In Mclean's book, the first thing you have to play is the Fmajor scale up to the high F, then Emajor down, then Eb major up, etc. When I started with this book the first thing I discovered was that I didn't know these scales anywhere near as well as I thought:shock: I can go up and down within each key really well; moving from one to the next, however, revealed that my technique, especially in the top palm keys, was not very good at all.


ps. another exercise I like doing when I'm starting a practice session with scales/arpeggios is to do them slowly, going in half steps, by playing the upper register notes but using the lower register fingerings. This really helps me to "warm up" the horn and get a good tone going.
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