Scales, Scales, Scales!

Go slow … to go fast!

If you truly wish to improve your overall technique, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to learn your scales and arpeggios.  After all, the very music you love to play is made up of bits of scales and arpeggios.  An accomplished musician doesn’t think twice about playing Db major  – in fact, they don’t think at all –  they just play it!!!  It’s all about building muscle memory through slow careful repetition.

Choose one scale to practice with a metronome each day.  It’s important to begin super slowly so you don’t introduce and practice mistakes!  Track your progress using this monthly scale practice chart (pdf).  Register the metronome mark for a scale if your fingers have moved confidently and evenly without hesitation.  Don’t ever push yourself faster than your current motor skills allow.  Give your muscles, brain and nerve endings time to create finger memory.  There is a famous saying, “If you  learn quickly, you will forget quickly.  If you learn slowly, you will forget slowly.”  Finger memory isn’t built overnight (although a good sleep helps).  Be patient, be diligent, be honest and you will be rewarded with improved technical skill.

THE BULLETPROOF MUSICIAN blog has some wonderful insights regarding practice and performance techniques.  Here is an article on super slow practicing.

Scale Practice Chart – Majors/Minors