• Daily Warm Up Routine: Five Classes Of Scales Intermediate Jazz Players Should Practice

    in Experienced players,General Music,Jazz music,Piano,Scales

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    Our focus in this lesson is on the five classes of scales that should be a part of your daily warm-up routine.

    The importance of practicing scale cannot be over-emphasized and this because intervals, chords, progressions, etc., are all derived directly or indirectly from scales.

    As a jazz player, you can’t deny it that the world of melodies is replete with gazillions of melodic lines and ideas. While it’s good to learn and memorize these melodic lines, it’s better to learn and master the scales they are derived from.

    So in the next 10 minutes or so, we’ll be looking at five classes of scale that every serious jazz player who wants to go beyond the intermediate level should practice.

    A Short Note On The Daily Warm-Up Routine

    The top players of every musical genre have so many things in common.

    One of the key things they have in common is the habit of practicing daily and this is because they understand that there is need to go beyond their current plateau and play better than their most recent performance.

    In their commitment to practice daily, or even before a performance, top players do warm-up exercises to get them prepared for the practice or performance.

    The warm-up is so important that vocalists and athletes also engage in it. Think about it: even the engine of a car undergoes a daily warm-up routine to get it prepared for action.

    Common warm-up activities include (but is not limited to) playing scales, arpeggios, and technical exercises.

    Recommended: The Hanon Mastery DVD Training Course.

    Class #1 – Traditional Scales

    Traditional scales include the natural major scale, natural minor scale, harmonic minor scale, and melodic minor scale and should  be played/practiced with one or both hands starting on each of the 12 notes on the piano.

    ‘Here Are Traditional Scales Starting From C…”

    C natural major scale:

    C natural minor scale:

    C harmonic minor scale:

    C melodic minor scale:

    Recommended: The Hanon Mastery DVD Training Course.

    Class #2 – Pentatonic Scales

    Another class of scales are pentatonic scales and according to the classification of scales according to note-aggregate, any scale that has five notes per octave is a pentatonic scale.

    Although there are a handful of pentatonic scales, there are four pentatonic scales that you shouldn’t practice without: the major pentatonic, the minor pentatonic, major pentatonic blues, and the minor pentatonic blues.

    “Check These Pentatonic Scales Out…”

    C major pentatonic:

    C minor pentatonic:

    C major pentatonic blues:

    C minor pentatonic blues:

    These pentatonic scales should be practiced starting from any of the notes on the keyboard.

    Recommended: The Hanon Mastery DVD Training Course.

    Class #3 – Octatonic Scales

    The octatonic scale is a symmetrical eight-tone scale. It has two variants: the octatonic (w-h) and the octatonic (h-w).

    The octatonic (W-H) is formed when the interval between successive scale tones are in whole-steps (W) and half-steps. For example, from C:

    …to D (which is is a whole-step):

    …then to Eb (which is a half-step):

    …then another whole-step, followed by another half-step, etc.

    The octatonic (H-W) is a variant of the octatonic scale where the distance between successive scale tones is in half-steps and whole-steps.

    For example, from C:

    …to C# (which is is a half-step):

    …then to D# (which is a whole-step):

    …then another half-step, followed by another whole-step, etc.

    “Check Out The Two Octatonic Scales Starting From C…”

    The C octatonic (W-H) scale:

    The C octatonic (H-W) scale:

    Attention: Remember to practice the octatonic scale starting from each of the notes on the keyboard.

    Class #4 – Modal Scales

    There are seven authentic modes:

    The Ionian mode:

    The Dorian mode:

    The Phrygian mode:

    The Lydian mode:

    The Mixolydian mode:

    The Aeolian mode:

    The Locrian mode:

    These modes should be transposed to start and end on other notes on the keyboard and this produces modal scales.

    “Check Out All The Modal Scales Starting From C…”

    C Ionian scale:

    C Dorian scale:

    C Phrygian scale:

    C Lydian scale:

    C Mixolydian scale:

    C Aeolian scale:

    C Locrian scale:

    Transposing the authentic modes to start from other notes will produce other modal scales.

    Class #5 – Bebop Scales

    Bebop scales are very spicy and reliable when it comes to creating balanced melodic lines and active melodic lines.

    There are three bebop scales every intermediate player must learn and practice: the major bebop, the Dorian bebop, and the dominant bebop scale.

    For your reference, here are the bebop scales starting from C:

    C major bebop:

    C Dorian bebop:

    C dominant bebop:

    Recommended: The Hanon Mastery DVD Training Course.

    Final Words

    Using the scale classes covered in this lesson, I’m sure you’re already overwhelmed with what to ‘open’ your practice session with.

    Playing these scales starting from every note on the piano with one or both hands is highly recommended.

    Keep up the great work!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Son

    You may explain difference between classic scales and modern scales; harmony interval 7M and 7m; What is G13 chord? Why they put E into G7? Thanks a lot!


    2 carolyn

    Thanks for all the different types of scales. Did not realize
    it were so many. I only knew a few. This is very helpful information.
    Thanks for all the valuable information you share.


    3 Nathaniel Wood



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