Scales and modes: The Right Hand

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Funkateer, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    Want to share a major practice breakthrough on the scales/modes front. People who recommend that you practice scales rarely provide (IMO) enough guidance on how to make the effort worthwhile. Once you figure out where the left hand fingers go, what? Use a metronome and go for tone, time, feel, etc. OK. but still too vague.

    I got started down this road when I cranked my metronome up to 90 and did my usual Mark Levine style scale/mode exercise (e.g. one octave ionian up, dorian down, phrygian up, ..., ionian (2nd octave) up). Then I tried an experiment. It was discouraging to note that if I started playing 2 sixteenths per scale degree, I couldn't sustain the tempo. Breaking the one-one correspondence between LH and RH seemed to exaggerate my technical problems.

    I do the flat keys in on practice session and the sharp keys in another. Although I still do some speed practice 1/16 notes at 1/4 = 90 or 1/2 = 45 (harder!) I am spending a lot more time working rhythmic patterns over the scale/mode patterns.

    Guess what? It starts to sound a little like music. I start with simple one beat patterns like:

    1/8, 1/16, 1/16 or the reverse
    1/16, 1/8, 1/16

    Then I start putting 2 together to make a 2 beat pattern. By the time you get up to 4 beats, it starts to get a bit more challenging to apply the same pattern to each mode as the string crossings, etc keep changing.

    When this starts getting easy, I intend to start working on 2 beat patterns involving syncopation such as 1/16, 1/8, 1/8, 1/8, 1/16

    This new regime has vastly improved my tone and steadiness.
  2. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    good idea. It is always good to take repetitive theory/mechanics practice and make it musical. This not only keeps it fun but helps u learn to be able to think about multiple things at once and to see how the things you are learning can be applied to real musical situations.