But I recognize that not everyone likes scales - they can be viewed as tedious and boring. But once we recognize that scales serve as the fundamental building blocks of melodies, chords and other great musical things, we begin to get to know them and see them for what they are: cool!
So take some time in your daily routine to befriend these 12 major scales on your instrument - each one has a unique character. Some have a few more flats and sharps than others, but they will be there for you someday so get to know them well! Good things start to happen once you have these under your fingers!
The Big 12 Scales - Alto Sax
The Big 12 Scales - Baritone Sax
The Big 12 Scales - Bass
The Big 12 Scales - Clarinet
The Big 12 Scales - Flute
The Big 12 Scales - Guitar
The Big 12 Scales - Horn in F
The Big 12 Scales - Piano
The Big 12 Scales - Tenor Sax
The Big 12 Scales - Trombone
The Big 12 Scales - Trumpet
The Big 12 Scales - Tuba
The Big 12 Scales - Vibes-Drums
My junior high music director, Bill Wicker, introduced me and all the students to the big 12. He had posters on the wall that said things like: "Practice makes perfect? Phooey! But perfect practice makes better!" and other helpful quotes. He had a challenge that very few students took him up on called the "Super Big 12" - which was to play all 12 major scales in two octaves, including the arpeggios!
The beauty of learning your major scales is that the minor scales are included, for free! A couple examples:
- Play a C scale but start on A - that will give you the relative minor scale (A minor)
- Play a C scale but start on D - that will give you a dorian mode minor scale
- Play a C scale but start on B - that will give you a very cool locrian mode minor scale