Scales: Everyone’s best friend and worst enemy (frenemy?). I don’t know a single person who loves playing scales, but they are SO essential for developing finger strength and dexterity, evenness of touch and tone quality. Here are a few tips to make practice a little less painful/more varied!
First of all, try playing scales with rhythms. This is a great way to develop evenness of tone! For example, instead of playing straight 8th notes, try playing in a ‘long-short-long-short’ pattern, and then switching to ‘short-long-short-long’.Also try playing in triplets to achieve the same goals.
Another way is to play with a scale backing track. Thank God for technology! Scale Tracks is an app available on the iTunes store that provides backing tracks for all scales keys. Essentially, you end up feeling like you’re jamming with a band instead of playing scales, which sounds about as much fun as a person can have while practicing scales!
A third way is to play fingers 2/3 and 2/3/4 together as a group, while the thumb passes freely by itself. Not only will this help with cementing fingering, but will also make it easier for the thumb/arm to move together properly.
Finally, try playing starting on a different note of the scale. For example, if you’re playing C major, can you start on F? This will also help cement fingerings, and give your brain a nice challenge!
Good luck with practicing! 🙂