Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpet blower88, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I made a mistake about 5 or 6 years ago that I'm really starting to regret. In 7th and 8th grade, when I just started playing trumpet we would have scale test each week, or every two weeks, something like that. Anyways, we were supposed to have the scale memorized by the end of the week, and then we played it infront of the class and for a grade. Well, I confess. I cheated... Every week I would turn the stand backwards (faceing my teacher) to show that I didn't have my scale sheet out, but being the awful person I was I taped a paper to the back of the stand with all the fingerings on it, so I never really got them memorized. I didn't think it was a big deal back then becuase I thought I'd be like the other 95% of the class who get out of highschool and just give up on music all together. Turns out that now I want to go into music education, and to get into the school of music at the university, I'm going to need to know my scales.

    Honestly, I don't know how I made it this far withought all my scales memorized, I'm always sitting in the top couple chairs, and I even made Symphony at my school, but I'm the only one that dosn't know my scales. Now to get ready for my college audition in March, I have to basicaly cram to learn my scales. I've got a few down just because I've played alot of music in those keys, like C, D, E, F, G, Eb, and Bb. But I'm still having major problems with the others.

    Does anyone have any advise on memorizing scales? Is there some weird secret that will just make it all click for me, or is it just one of those things where I'm going to have to spend an hour in the practice room every day just working on scales?
  2. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    Arbans, p 59-74
  3. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    Let’s see…audition in March 2006 and you need to know all of your scales. This falls into the time management aspect of accomplishing a large goal. If you try and play every scale up and down everyday for the next 3 months, you will most probably not attack the problem in a way that will lead to true and deep learning of the material (plus you’ll spend LOTS of time each day playing only scales).

    I would suggest focusing on one scale each week for the next 12 weeks. In this way you will be really discovering every conceivable way to play each scale. Take Jimi’s advice and pick out scales in one key from Arban’s each week. Find exercises in Clarke’s Technical Studies and play a few in the same key. Choose an etude in the same key and learn it during this same week (it doesn’t have to be too hard, just in the same key). After you can read the standard scalar modal patterns, then you need to really stretch out your mind.

    I like something that Eddie Lewis discusses in his book Daily Routines called Tonalization Studies. All of the patterns that he shows are in the key of C. You simply superimpose the scale that you want to focus on over that pattern. So, for instance, if you are working on G major, you would begin on the low C, but observe one sharp in the key signature. This can get very challenging very quickly when doing melodic minor scales in lots of sharps or flats when you're not starting on the root! Be PATIENT!

    This is something that I posted related to multiple tonguing a while ago, but the idea is good for several aspects of what you need to be working on. This gives you a calendar between now and your audition (if you don’t have 12 weeks, you can possibly spend 4-5 days per key for instance). It also has the simple patterns that you can apply the tonalization exercises with. Tempo is NOT important. Play every note correctly, no matter how slowly you need to play them. You are developing muscle memory. Your fingers will automatically push the proper valves down if you teach them what to do very methodically, and slowly.


    These patterns will really force you to “know your businessâ€! I thought I knew my scales really well before I started playing these. Make sure you rest between each exercise and finger through the next study before you play it. It’s amazing how these exercises will move you to the next level in your playing.

    I hope this helps!
  4. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    2 thoughts

    the patterns in the stamp book that has you doing the scales starting on every possible scale not but you have to put the key signature in

    learn the theory behind the scales and where the whole and half steps are get that pattern down, be able to write them all out with accidentals instead of the key signature. (whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half

    while your at it, learn your minor scales too.

    i second the above about a scale for the week.

  5. londonhusker

    londonhusker Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2007
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I had a similar problem when getting ready for my college audition. Never having studied privately, then working with a teacher for about 3 months before hand. Never ideal, but obviously do-able.

    He had me learn 3 keys per week. What I did was practice the fingering patterns away from the horn, write out the keys, and work on the hardest ones. Eventually F# and Ab became my favorites. Clarke, Clarke and more Clarke. I developed a routine for myself based on the circle of fifths, which I also wrote out on the inside of my Kopprasch book (now gone!): Major, 3rds, tonic arpeggio and dominant 7 arpeggio. Every day. 3 keys each time. SLOWLY at first.

    First steps are important, so be sure to have the fingerings mechanically perfect before playing so you can concentrate on the sound of the scale.
  7. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Thanks so much for your help, you guys are so so awsome, this site is amazing. Haha. I don't now why I never thought to look up some good pages in the Arban's book, it's full of scales and stuff, I don't know why I didn't think of it. And you're also helped me realize I have more time than I thought, I think "March" and think "oh no, only 3 months!" but really, ten or eleven weeks sounds alot better, so thanks for giveing me that mindeset too! That was probably the big reason I was getting nervous, I thought I was running out of time so I didn't have time to work on one key per week like you so wisely suggest, so I felt like I had to cram.

    And extra thanks go out to Derek for that exercise you suggested, I think all of us on here could benifite from that!

    Thank you all so much!
  8. BradHarrison

    BradHarrison Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Play all 12 scales every day. Don't spend a lot of time on patterns on all of them at once, focus on a couple at a time in intensity, but play each scale up and down at least one every day. Then you'll be keeping up some familiarity while working intensely on one or two.

    If you only cover 1 scale per week you'll be really familiar with the early ones but not the later ones. Every day, spend a little time on all of them and a lot of time on some of them.

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