HOW TO LEARN MUSIC SCALES

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Completely Understanding The
Inner Secrets Of The Major Scale Modes,
Paves The Way To Easy Music Making!

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Being a wizard with the humble Major Scale will open the floodgates to absolute musical freedom. Yes, the humble Major Scale.
Before you jump to singing & recognizing intervals and chords, I urge you to become a master at the Major Scale SHAPE. Yes, just the shape:


Maj Scale Shape

To vocalize these scales use any comfortable syllable like "la", "da", "doo" or simile.

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No need to mess around with key signatures and notation at this point (unless you know that already, of course).
Here is what I suggest you do:

  1. Find a starting note near the bottom of your range and learn to sing with precision:
    Whole Tone | Whole Tone | Half Tone | Whole Tone | Whole Tone | Whole Tone | Half Tone (let somebody help if necessary) (listen) arrow1

  2. Sing a slightly higher starting note and repeat the process. Keep doing that, pitching different starting notes, till it feels really comfortable. If you run out of range, doesn't matter, just stop where ever you have to. (listen) arrow2

  3. Try the same thing in reverse starting from the top and singing down. Make sure you keep the intervals correct: Half Tone (HT) | Whole Tone (WT) | WT | WT | HT | WT | WT (listen) arrow3

  4. This time, go back to a low starting note and sing your major scale (as above: say C to C). Now, STAYING WITHIN YOUR CHOSEN SCALE, sing from the second note up 1 octave (D to D):
    D | E | F | G | A | B | C | D
    (notice how your sequence of WT & HT steps now reads:
    WT | HT | WT | WT | WT | HT | WT) (listen) arrow4

  5. Sing from the third note up one octave (E to E), then the fourth, fifth and so on. Unless you started really low or you have an excellent range you may be struggling to continue with this sequence right through to the seventh note B to B).
    (listen) arrow5

  6. Use your imagination (but stay within one major scale) and create any number of exercises weaving in and out, up and down, becoming more confident everyday. (listen) arrow6

  7. Go one step further and flatten the third note only in your starting scale. You have just created a Melodic Minor scale (use this scale for both up and down exercises, in other words, don't change the notes to a Natural Minor scale on the way down as is common practice in music teaching).
    You now sing: WT | HT | WT | WT | WT | WT | HT (C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C)
    Use this exact shape to repeat exercises 1 - 6 above. (listen) arrow7

  8. As you get more confident, find the actual pitch of your starting note and replace the syllables "la", "da", "doo" (or anything else you may have been using) with the actual names of the notes and at the same time (if you can) visualize them on the staff.

You may not realize it now, but becoming completely at ease with these 2 scale types will make Interval and Chord ear training a much simpler task.
Disguised inside them are also a whole bunch of really cool upper-structure jazzy scales and associated chords.


Just mindlessly running up and down scales can be boring.
Use your imagination and constantly find new ways to explore them!
That is the secret to music in general and improvisation in particular.

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