Trumpet Topics


Scales, ugh! I'm certain that is how many of my students feel about playing their scales. However, probably nobody (no, not even those students) will deny that the mastery of scales is one of the most important building blocks in the fundamentals of almost all of the music which we play.

Scales are easy. Really! Learning scales is a simple motor skill where, with enogh correct repetitions of an action, that action is stored in the brain as a habit. The keyword here is correct repetitions. The brain cannot tell the difference between correct and incorrect scales. When we play a scale with a couple of wrong notes, the brain simply stores that as another action which we have performed, potentially building the beginning of a "bad habit". To store the correct scale pattern as a habit we might have to play the scale 2 or more times correctly to cancel out the one time when we played it with an error.

In tabulating the total number of correct repetitions, we might think of it as positive and negative numbers: a correct repetition counts as +1, whereas an incorrect repetition counts, not as a zero but as a -2.

Therefore, it is extremely important to avoid making mistakes. This seems like such a self-evident truth, yet how does one totally avoid making mistakes?


These exercises are notated in their entirety and are available in PDF format for you to download and print at:

half-scale patterns

Remember, the total number of correct repetitions is the key to reinforcing the accurate performance of the scale patterns.

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