When you first start playing guitar, or any instrument for that matter, there’s this stress put on learning scales. Once you start to practice it ends up not being that fun at all…
Today I’m going share with you five tips on how to effectively practice your scales and have fun doing so. Scales are an absolute necessity to learn. Scales are where chords come from. They are how we convey musical ideas. They are where melodies are born, and many times the origin of original music. So scales are supremely important.
I want to share these tips with you because I want you to not just practice your scales; I want you to have fun doing it, and start making musical sense of them right away.
Here are 5 tips to making scale practice more fun and useful:
Tip #1 – Don’t Worry About the Notes
When learning scales, it’s easy to get wrapped up and concerned with the actual notes. Are those notes important? Absolutely. 100% they are important. But I want you to place importance on playing the scale, I want you to be able to hear it, and I want you to be able to carry it out effortlessly, So use the shape of the scale as your reference and don’t concern yourself with the notes contained within the scale right off the bat. Just visualize the scale as a shape.
Tip #2 – Context Is Crucial
My second tip to you is that it’s best to practice scales within a musical context, be it a backing track or a reference note or chord. Before practicing a scale play the I, IV, V chord of the key that you are working in. This will help you hear how the notes play against those chords, even though they’re not playing at the same time, it gives you context, which is so important for the musicality of the scale.
Tip #3 – Repetition
I want you to think of learning a scale almost like you’re going to the gym. This repetition is going to build muscle memory, and then you can lean on that muscle memory to effortlessly play the scale. So just put your licks and time in, no pun intended.
Tip # 4 – Musical Patterns
I want you to integrate patterns of picking when you’re practicing those scales that go outside of processing the scale in a linear fashion, linear meaning one note to the next. It’s more musical, and it can actually cause musical ideas to sprout. This will create an environment where you are forced to think of the scale from a different perspective… a huge asset to your scale toolbox.
Tip #5 – Get Outside The Box
This tip involves leaning on your ear a little bit more. I want you to abandon the scale pattern that you know and hunt & peck for the right scale tones in order. This will help you process that Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do sequence to see if you can find the right notes.