LFP 029 | Why Play The Scale Before The Tune

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LFP 029 | Why Play The Scale Before The Tune

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, I will answer a question I received from one of my students. “Why do we need to learn to play the scale before the tune?”

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 029.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • How you can ask Rebecca about your flute questions
  • Why scales are so important to learn
  • How you can learn your scales really well and fast
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 029

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Well hi, it’s me Rebecca Fuller the expert here at the Learn Flute Podcast where today we’ll be visiting an important subject that answers a question from one of my students all about the reason we need to learn to play those scales. This is episode 29!

Well thanks for coming to this Learn Flute Podcast where people just like you of all ages can come and kick up your feet, feel comfortable, in a friendly environment all centered around the subject of learning how to play the flute really well.

Now, I wanted to remind you today that I also have a plethora of articles and video lessons online that you can use to really help take your flute playing to the next level.. From wherever you are – no matter your stage. Everyone can learn something today at Learn Flute Online.

In this modern age with technology, we are so lucky. We can take a hobby or skill and pool the resources of the expert world to become just what we want to be. It’s seriously so awesome!

Now, I have the pleasure of being able to gather comments and questions from around the globe from you flute students. It’s helpful not only to me as your teacher, but also to you as a student because I take the information asked and given and then I repurpose it in a new way so you can learn at any time and from any place. 

I wonder how many of you are listening as you’re out on a walk or maybe in the car driving to work, or perhaps you’re still lying in your cozy bed in the morning. Well it’s really a quite cool thing and I’m happy to help you out again today with another subject that was brought to my attention from a comment within one of the pages of the LearnFluteOnline.com website in the Gold Level.

Every once in awhile I like to take these comments and let you all have a glimpse of the types of things that we discuss learn inside the actual lesson modules on the website. If you haven’t had a chance to come take a lesson today I am inviting you to do so as soon as this podcast is over.

So let’s get started by reading this exact question I received from this student. She says, “Hi Rebecca I hope you are well. I am practicing the tune for this module and I was wondering as to why do we need a scale for it first? How does this scale have anything to do with playing this tune by itself?  Thanks again!”

I actually love that this question that I was asked because it’s one of those things within music learning that so many people often skip. Scales are kind of repetitive and not exactly the most exciting things to play for hours on end so it’s really common for students to just skip over learning and practicing their scales and just go straight to their tunes only.

But, if everyone understood the importance of practicing these scales they would never miss a single day.

So let’s get to the answer that I gave this student. Which is, actually that every melody is simply made from the notes in a scale. 

There are many many different scales, and here at Learn Flute Online I strive to keep it simple when needed and only introduce  what is necessary so you won’t be overwhelmed with too much information that’s not necessary at the moment.

Let me explain. The scales themselves are made up of a sequence of notes in a certain pattern. Now it depends on if you are playing major scales or minor scales or even another type of scale .

Inside each lesson I give you specific instructions for a scale that will teach you a certain finger pattern that you’ll meet within the tune. Once you have practiced this scale many many many many times these finger patterns will become super simple for you. Your fingers will just fly through and you won’t will any troubles at all.

The nice thing about this is that my lessons are sequential. So you can bet your boots that you will be using this exact same skill over and over and over and basically every single thing that you do from then on in flute playing.

I hope this makes sense to you. I should tell you that I have had to tell even some students on occasion that it doesn’t matter if they really even love the scale or not that they just need to play them anyway even if it’s just because I said so. Haha

Practicing these scales and noticing repetitive movements of certain finger patterns makes life a lot better for us flutists because when we meet these same note arrangements again then we can just fly right through without even noticing that it was anything tricky or special. And that, my friends, is the key to learning to play an instrument.

Think of these scales as being the foundation that holds up all of your tunes that you learn, and just do them daily. You won’t ever regret it.

I’d like to give you a little tip today on learning how to play your scales well. Remember that you are basically focusing on fingering, so don’t worry about anything else while you are learning something brand new like this. 

Just think about the fingering and how for example your left hand finger might need to pop up at the exact precise moment that your third finger on your right hand has to close down the key.  That’s the only thing you should focus on, finger patterns.  

You can just forget about using all fancy tonguing (In fact it’s even best to just slur while you’re learning a scale) and even don’t  worry quite as much about your tongue, using your tongue on every note, because it’s this moment where it’s all about learning the finger pattern.

Take your brand new scales in very small chunks. Like two notes at a time. Then you can go to three and then to four. Write it down several times. Practice playing looking at the paper, practice playing without looking at the paper. 

Make sure you play it at least twenty times the first day and twenty times a day for the rest of that week. After that you will find that you are able to fly through the scales with basically no problems at all. Because you’ll have the muscle memory you need.

Remember that you can find this episode and other episodes also transcribed on my website on the podcast page under the Bonus Flute Lesson Content page in the menu bar. I’m sure you find this information valuable, and I’m so glad you’re here to learn.

I can’t wait to teach you even more about learning to play the flute. I hope I’ll see you again soon in a learning module on the website, or in the comment section of a video or blog article. And of course go ahead and leave a comment and a rating from wherever you’re listening from. You’re going to be great! We’ll see you next time for more playing and fun all centered around learning how to play the flute really well.

Don’t forget that I invite you to take a lesson over on the Learn Flute Online dot com website today.

Bye now.


Thank you for Tuning In!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute today as you learn the answer to the question – “Why do we need to learn to play the scale before the tune?” Join us for the next episode.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

1 thought on “LFP 029 | Why Play The Scale Before The Tune”

  1. I have practiced the scales for a long long time. I am not sure I am doing it the most efficient way though because they are still a challenge. These tips are great. Thank you. I can move the fingers correctly, but the sound isn’t always what I want it to be…. to fix that problem I have to focus on the embouchure and aperture, diaphragm, air speed, direction etc, right?
    Another question is, Is it better to practice one scale over and over before moving to the next or practice 5 scales daily for example 5 times?
    I love your advise 🙂

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