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Systematic scale/mode practice as morning mantra

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Funkateer, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    If you multiply the number of scales and modes you need to know by 12, and account for practicing them as quarters, eights, triplets, ... you end up with quite a lot of stuff to practice. My intention is to spend 30 minutes each morning before I leave for work, doing serious practice. I want to map out a multi-month program that uses this time to develop my fundamentals. What I'd like advice on is:

    - Order in which to attack the scales and modes
    - How many to study at the same time
    - What rhythmic variations and how many
    - Interesting ways to make sure you learn all keys and all positions.
    - Tricks on using the metronome to improve your time.
    - Training the ear to associate the scale/mode with the appropriate chord
    - How when to change metronome settings.

    Probably could think of some more ...

    Your collective wisdom will be greatly appreciated
  2. Oh man! I was just thinking the same thing! I want to start getting up 1/2hour early and do some serious practice. Of course I would do my nightly routine, but the morning could be spent doing the stuff like scales and the fundimentals.

    I hope someone answers you questions ... Thanks for asking them

    Later -
  3. bradymccluer


    May 15, 2002
    thats a very good idea, i would like to put a chart together of all scales, modes, and arpeggios in the different chords. i'm not real good with the theory and stuff, i already know the hand positions i just to learn the structure behind it
  4. here is my little thing to learn the Scales/modes

    Pick out ONE Major key and its relative Minor key a week, play the major scale, dorian,phrygian,lydian,mixolydian,aeolian,locrian modes. then do the same for the minor key. Start at aeolian, locrian, major, dorian,phrygian,lydian,mixolydian, and you wind up back at the place you started.

    as for arpeggios you could always play each scale in this fashion, whole note, quarter,eighth,sixteenth, the do the arpeggio at the same speed using the same patterns.

    do this for the 12 weeks it would take to get through all the scales and such and i imagine that you will be a better musician.

    thats my knowledge of the evening folks.
  5. stroggnoy

    stroggnoy Guest

    Jul 11, 2002
    And, not that this really needs to be said, but once you've been through all of the scales and modes, you should keep it up and cycle back through. On piano, I normally played all major and minor scales to the metronome (as 16th notes) up four octaves and back at the beginning of my practices. This served to a) keep the scales fresh in my head and b) help build dexterity/speed. You'll obviously want to move the metronome up as you're able to.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I think you gave them a lot to chew and they're still working on it. :D
  7. Very helpful Ed. I just don't have enough knowledge to respond to it.

    Thanks though - I am taking a lot of what you said into account as a go through my daily practice routine now.

    Thanks -
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Who's the man? Ed is!

    When playing quarter notes, I also like to accent beats 2 and 4. But then again, I've been studying jazz.

    I also highly recommend Jamey Aebersold's Volume I book, Learning to Improvise. There are some excellent rhythmic variations for scales in this book, (although he does spend a lot of time just on Dorian).
  9. my practice routine is as follows:

    I do my major scale modes in one key (C) ascending and descending up and down the neck. I play the modes continously with a metronome, meaning that once Ive completed one mode (ascending and descending) I immediatley go on to the next keeping in time. It takes a while to get used to, but it really improves your timing and your understanding of the intervals. After that I do both three and four note coils of the modes in the same manner. After that I do a double octave of of the mode I first start on (it depends on the key, e.g. for C major I start on F and do a double octave of the lydian mode). Then I do the relative melodic and harmonic minor scales and modes ascending and descending up and down the neck. all those excecises are for one key and I do six keys a days in the same progression as the circle of fifths (e.g. one day I do C, G, D, A, E, B and the next day I do F#, Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, F). I keep my BPM on the metronome the same for that two day period and only once Ive gone through the whole circle of fifths do I increase the beat. Because you only have 30 minutes to spend you can do 2 or 3 keys a day. It might be hard at first, but persist and you will see yourself improving and nothing is more gratifying than that.

    Some tricks to improve your rythm with the metronome are to do 2 notes for every beat and if you are really good you can do 3 (thats tricky). Im at 161 bpm, but I always play two notes per beat when Im doing my excercises. Another thing you can do is put the bpm way down and play to that and youd be suprised how difficult that can be.

    Other areas of practice can include chromatics and learning chords and their relative modes. Sooner or later you will need to know these things.

    Good luck on your road to enlightenment and never be afraid of trying something new.
  10. I've thought about this, and am gonna try something like this: have 2 sets of 'flash cards', one being all the notes (abcdefg) and another being scales/modes (major, natural minor, dominant, etc). Flip them both over every day...the 1st day you might have A natural minor, the next day you may have F dominant. (shuffle the deck once in a while). That way, every day you are working on the same stuff, but it changes daily (make sense?). One way I thought of making scale/mode practice a bit less mundane.:oops:
  11. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    for a couple of months a guitarist friend of mine would practice his modes and chords in the afternoon...after school got out and before his afternoon nap(which he got into the habit of taking around 5:00)
    so he made all these flash cards, three sets, one set had a Key , another had a mode or scale or type of chord and the other dictated what position to play it in...every day after school he would select three cards and focus for about 25-45 minutes straight....now he has mastered just about every scale and mode and he's got a much better confidance about chords in a jazz type setting.

    a bass instructor I had told me that you learn the most if you only spend 3 minutes on each area of practice
    like set up a schedule
    3 min. for tapping
    3. min for bossa grooves
    3 min. for slap/pop
    3. min for scales
    3 min. for walking bassline

    set up a timer and train yourself to stop as soon as the timer goes off
    the important thing is to stop no matter what you are doing
    even if your in the middle of a riff or your having a great time grooving on a funk line.
    if you can train yourself to stop as soon as the timer goes off...then it forces your brain to complete whatever it is that you stopped on
    pretty cool stuff...

    another reason for the 3 min. dealy is because most humans can only seriously focus with a large amount of mental power for roughly 3 min. at a time, so if you work for 3 min. then take a 5 min. break then work for 3 then break for 5 then 3 then 5...etc. you can really hone in on your skills while saving time.
  12. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Personally, I'd take that tapping and slapping crap outta there. If that's your bag, then fine, but hell, I gotta figure if I'm working on the groundwork of a good bossa nova or walking through a jazz tune, I'll get to the pyrotechnics later.
  13. Ed,
    That sounds like a good plan. I've been trying to figure out a better way to run through scales/modes and still feel I get something out of it.
    Thanks for the tips.
  14. LifeSpitter

    LifeSpitter Guest

    Apr 6, 2002
    Bass Heaven

    You aren't worthy of coloring until you can groove

    i have a very hard time believing this.... I don't know where you heard this but three minutes is pitiful.
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Most modern research shows that adults can maintain good focus for 15 minutes while learning. Trust me, I worked the last 8 years in training, and this was a subject studied extensively.
  16. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    15 minutes is what I've heard too. Three minutes, you'll stop just when you've got momentum.

    For modes, I've found it more useful to shift from one mode to the other but keep the same root note. For instance, instead of playing some C Ionian, then moving on to D Dorian, E Phrygian, etc, I'd play C Ionian, C Mixolydian, C Dorian, C Aeolian, C Phrygian, C Locrian, B Lydian, B Ionian, etc.

    This helps me hear the modes as distinct things unto themselves, instead of just "a major scale starting at a different point".

    If doing the first method though (C Maj, D Dor, E Phr ...), it helps to have a drone on the root. So when playing E Phrygian, have a droning "E" in the background. You might have to use a friend or a keyboard or something for that though.

    (I guess I should qualify, this helps my ear to learn the sound of the mode. For the fingers, anything will do :) ).
  17. Beat me to it.
    I was going to post a preach it but its a little to late.
    Aww what the hell, sing the law Ed.

    I will ad, don't do to much at one time, get comfortable with one or two things, don't over whelm yourself.
    As far as the slapping you can play that without an amp in front of the TV.

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