Countdown to MMD: Practice challenge, scales in all 12 keys!

Make Music Day

I hope everyone is getting excited for Make Music Day 2023, because it is just 12 weeks away! As we are making our plans and preparing musically, we thought this would be a great opportunity for a practice challenge, which will be to practice, or learn, one major scale per week, working our way through all 12 keys by the time we get to Make Music Day. Playing scales in all 12 keys is a pretty major achievement, and will really help with building confidence as well as technique, whether you are doing this for the first time or someone who is trying to re-establish an effective practice regimen after a break.

Today, let’s start with G major; I have decided to work through the keys in an order that does not follow the cycle of fourths, and without starting on C major, because I think we have all probably done enough of both those things. If you are already familiar with this scale or if it is brand new to you, I want you to try playing it very slowly, possibly much slower than your technique is capable of. This is because I want you to play each note after you think it; in other words, you are thinking the note before you play it. Do not be tempted to play faster, just because you can; this very slow, very conscious action is really valuable. The result should be a slow but perfect scale; no fumbled notes, or missed notes. There should be no missteps, because you are being so deliberate and careful about each action.

Play the scale like this, at least once, ascending and descending. If you have more time, try playing it 5 times perfectly. Do this every day this week, and listen closely to how you sound; observe your progress through the week, and take notes on it. This will be quite a journey, so it’s a great time to start your practice notebook—at the end, you will have your very own scale study chapter.

See you next week for the next key! And remember to tag us if you’re joining in this challenge, #makemusicpractice