Many queries come asking
What are they good for?
The scales like other forms of technical studies, are useless unless the
student understands from the beginning the necessity of practicing all
the Major, Minor and chromatic scales. Many students, as well as advanced
players, consider the practice of scales an uninteresting part of study
in music - some go as far as to say it is a bore - a waste of time. Such
thinking is incorrect and spells defeat at the outset.
To eliminate the practice of scales from musical studies would be like
developing technical dexterity without acquiring sound musicianship at
the same time.
There is no form of technical study which will more effectively give the
student, beginner or advanced, an absolute command of the keyboards (right
and left hand) and a complete mastery of the various major and minor keys,
that a faithful, consistent practice of scales. There is also no form
of technical excercise which will help the player develop a better conception
of legato playing than the study of scales. Since scales are the root
of all music, one should consider their importance.
The mastery of the scales is also a great help in sight reading. If the
student has developed his fingers by systematic study, he will have no
trouble or difficulty reading any technical passages easily at sight.
He will be able to recognize a passage as a group of notes instead of
a succession of individual notes. He should keep in mind that in memorizing,
as well as in sight reading, perfect coordination of eyes and fingering
Now that some of the most important facts of why scales have been covered,
let us see exactly why they are so necessary in your studies and playing:
Scales are the root of your music, you learn all of the different notes
from them and where they are located on your keyboard.
(2) Scales develop dexterity of
fingers, besides helping you handle that accordion of yours.
(3) Legato is and can be developed
if one studies systematically; while this is going on you are also developing
tone shading. That is, if you are varying your crescendos and diminuendos
from pp to ff.
(4) Scale practice develops sight
reading and perfect coronation.
(5) Memorizing is also aided in
scale practice, if one learns to group passages instead of taking one
note at a time.
(6) Above all, if you are studying
with an open mind, besides developing technical dexterity, you are acquiring
The above six points should
make you realize the importance of scales. There are other points but
this should be sufficient to set you straight in your thinking.
If you just rattle keys to see how fast you can get through with your
scales, then you are wasting time. Make your scales sound as if you meant
them to be a passage from a novelty, an overture etc...
For the advanced player, scales can and should be practiced in 3rds, 6ths,
8ths, contrary motion etc...
This writer suggests a ten to fifteen minute study period per day, more
if you can concentrate on scales that long. Go slow at first and you will
see your speed develop.
RAPIDITY IS GAINED ONLY BY SLOW PRACTICE.