Which Scales Should Flutes Practice

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Which scales should flutes practice

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In this podcast we talk all about scales! We discuss different types of scales,  important ones to have in your routine, and even the importance of practicing them. 

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Ahhh scales… you love them and you hate them. Many people know that they are something that should be in your routine, but how to know which scales flutes should practice? ..or should I say which scales ‘flutists’ should practice? Let’s take a peek inside Learn Flute Online and find out today!

Well hello hello, I’m Rebecca your instructor and host of this podcast, and I’m here to help you with motivation and more flute fun. Basically, I’m passing on knowledge and exactly what you need to be able to thoroughly enjoy your instrument and your journey along the path into musicianship.

You know this path I’m talking about here is as long as you’d like it to be. In fact, I actually visualize a nice well-worn hiking path through some beautiful woods and on up and over majestic mountains and down some wonderful sandy beaches. 

Once you step onto the path you are automatically welcomed into the world of music, and you can start enjoying immediately. And, the path never ends if you don’t want it to. Ask any professional musician… it’s a quest that just continues on and on forever. So much to learn and grow with. I love it!

It’s been a beautiful month here in our members area, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with some of the goings-ons we have, we have a special challenge happening that makes a very big difference in playing ability.. And that’s our scales.

Oh I know that some of you say you’re just interested in playing songs and tunes on your instrument, so scales may not be on your radar. I’m here as your expert instructor to tell you that I have a firm testimony of scales and what they can do for your playing ability.

Lets Discover This Right Now

Here at Learn Flute Online I have set up our learning modules very carefully so that those coming through will be able to have a nice round education that allows them to play absolutely anything they want on the flute. Literally anything. And I mean it. This isn’t just an experiment. It’s real, tried and true, and ready for you. 

So as you come into the programs here in either the Gold Level, the Intermediate, or Advanced, or even any of the mini-courses, you’ll notice that the first couple of videos are set intentionally to get you in a certain groove. This means you’ll basically be in the right “gear” so you can drive right on through the skills learned and end up with a wonderful melody at the same time.

So, I like to remind everyone not to ever skip videos here. Every single one was created with you and your success in mind.

Since we’re talking about scales today, I’d like to show you a bit of what happens inside our members area  Level Modules. For example, yes- you do learn your major scales here. All of them. Every single One. We don’t skip any, but we also don’t learn them all at once. 

It’s kind of overwhelming to tell someone when they first begin learning that they’ll need to know all 12 major scales in the order of the circle of fourths (or fifths) one and two octaves both along with the arpeggios.

That’s kind of a scary mouthful and can cause a feeling of overwhelm. You  know what happens when humans feel overwhelmed? They, or I should say We, have a tendency to quit because we feel it’s not going to be worth all the work and the possibility of never making it to the other side is real.

So, what I like to do is make sure you have just what you need to be amazing on the skill level you are studying on. It’s perfect! An early example of this is when someone comes in to learn the first folk tunes that use only maybe the first five notes or so on our instrument.

There’s no need to tell them that they need to know all thirty seven notes of the chromatic scale. Nope, we just need to put into perspective what we need and after we manage that and internalize it, we can move to the next step. So, we start with just a partial major scale which follows a pattern of whole or half steps.

Let me explain a little deeper: If you’ve ever seen a piano keyboard this will be an easy concept for you to grasp, and that is if you move from a white key to a black key then you will have taken a half of a step. If you move from a white key, skip the black key and land on the next white key then it is considered a whole step that you’ve taken.

Half step:

Whole Step:

So a major scale is made up from a set pattern. It’s never changed and will always have the same pattern no matter which note you start on. And that’s whole step whole step half step, whole whole whole half.

So, in order to play a partial major scale we only have to play the first 5 notes, the first five steps in the pattern. We play the first note and move two whole steps and then a half step and end with one more whole step. And that’s it!

It sounds like this:


And, no worries I show you exactly in great detail what these are, but we’re just going to follow the alphabet like we learned back in Kindergarten. You can do it. You truly can.

For those of you who may know more you might be wondering if we ever study the minor scales, pentatonic scales, or anything that will aid you in the playing of Jazz music. And the answer is a resounding big huge YES. In fact, virtually everything you learn here will move your game piece farther down the path. It’s like the game Candyland!

Did you ever play that with your kids or as a kid yourself? I love visualizing myself as the little green, yellow, red, or blue gingerbread man game-piece and hopping from square to square.. And knowing that there will be some times when you land on a space that keeps you there for a while.. And occasionally you’re asked to take a few steps backwards too. It’s all okay and just part of the game though. You will end up in some sort of rainbow home-sweet-home so you can explore that candy castle.

I’ll give you an example of a higher level scales skill we learn here in the higher level modules. Now when I mention the levels here you can know that there are 2 basic areas you can enter Learn Flute Online. 

You can either have the beginning and all the way through the fundamentals which I call the Gold Level.. Or you can jump in just past that in the Intermediate Level (which is actually quite a high level Intermediate according to certain standards), and on into the Advanced Level. As of right now these levels are connected seamlessly.

Scale Patterns

Well anyway, I introduce you to something called scale patterns. This is where we take a major scale for example and we play it in several different ways according to another set pattern. So, since we just talked about the scale itself following its own pattern, we now take that and add more patterns to it. It’s really kind of cool and not too difficult once you allow me to break it down and show you what’s happening.

We learn how to move through the modes without getting complicated at all. Now if you’ll allow me to explain something else I think you’ll like it and it’ll shed some new light on the different styles of learning music. 

The classical learning style of music has a tendency to just show the music and have the student copy back what is expected. Which is just totally fine because a thorough learning of playing the instrument happens during this time, and so much enjoyment can be had as you learn to play tune after tune and discover many wonderful melodies.

The Jazz world of music learning is different from this though. I feel that you can really get into this new world after you have a pretty great understanding of playing the technical skills of the instrument and then branch into a whole new understanding of “what” you’re playing and “why”. This knowledge allows players to improvise and move into a whole new game of life and music.

It’s exciting and kind of like a dopamine thrill for many people.

So, what is titled the Taffanel and Gaubert number four scale pattern in the Classical world, is actually called moving through the modes on a major scale in the Jazz World. It’s not any different at all. It’s just different lingo, different terminology, and a different level of understanding. That’s it. And you can definitely learn all about it here at Learn Flute Online.

I, myself, am constantly discovering new things about music and one of my great pleasures in life is to take it and package it for you good friends to consume and enjoy thoroughly.

Understanding Why You Need Scales

So, okay back to the scales… are they boring as some people say? 

My answer is absolutely not. IF you understand why you’re working on them in the first place. Everything changes once you realize what’s going on.

Each melody is created from a set of notes … a scale. The most simplest tunes are made from usually just one or two scales is all. Learning the finger patterns quite thoroughly is the way to make playing these pieces very easy.

I mean, who doesn’t want music playing to be easy? I know I like things that feel simple.. Makes it really fun to spend time with my instrument, you know?

So what is the answer to which scales flutes should practice? My answer: start where you are, and continue down the path.

And when I say that we have to learn our scales thoroughly so that everything else is easy, that means that we’ve performed these patterns so many times over and over and over with our hands and mind that after a while we get to stop thinking about it and it just automatically happens.. It’s like magic! We get to the point where we don’t even know how we just did it because our minds were thinking of completely something else.

I like to assign my students to find out if they can still make it flawlessly around the circle of major scales while watching a favorite television show. Yah- if you can do that then you know your patterns are becoming engrained so well into your body. This skill is what makes everything else possible.

So, today you can quote me. In fact, write it down in calligraphy and frame it on the wall because it’s going to be that profound:

“I study all of this so that I can have fun playing all of that” 

And guess what? You CAN do it. I’ll show you how.

I’m so happy you were here today! What do you think of this show? You know I always forget to mention that you can go to Itunes or another favorite podcast platform and subscribe to this show so that you get them automatically added to your podcast app.

You can listen and enjoy on the go anytime you want. In fact, I have many people tell me that they enjoy binge-listening to all of my shows as they go for walks, drive to work, or clean the house. How perfect!

I would really appreciate if you’d subscribe and leave a five star rating as well as a comment. These numbers help the rating of the show and also lets me know that I should continue making them for you.

So again, if there’s anything you’ve found valuable about this and any of the other episodes, I invite you to let me and others know. Subscribe, leave a rating and a comment. 

If you’re listening on the learn flute online website, you can leave a comment and of course, stay watching for the next episode to be released.. Which as of right now have been every other week. 

What a fun day we had learning which scales flutes should practice.

I’ll play you out now demonstrating how much fun we can have with scale patterns.. I call this one my Disneyland Scale Parade! – see you again soon.

Thank you for Tuning In!

Please consider subscribing and taking a minute to leave a review and rating for the podcast on iTunes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about scales today. Don’t forget to join us in 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.

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