I’ve been talking about scales a lot recently, so I thought I’d tell you the story of why I love them so much…
The younger me refused to play scales; my teacher would talk to me about them and I would just glaze over! All I wanted to do was play and improvise.
I think the idea that I had to do strict and structured practise completely turned me off. I loved music for it’s creativity, passion and soulfulness; I was (and still am) obsessed with how it can make you feel. Dry, boring technical exercises seemed to be completely contradictory to this.
Little did I realise that I was actually using scales in every piece I played, and in every improvisation my ears were leading me to sounds that originated from scales.
Inevitably some scales knowledge creeped in and found it’s way under my fingers. I vividly remember messing around one break time at school with an A Harmonic Minor scale. I was surprised to be using it, almost like a guilty secret! But I was also struck by it’s beauty and spent ages exploring the different sounds I could create with it. When someone came into the room to ask what I was playing because it sounded so cool, the walls I had built between myself and conscious scales knowledge began the slow process of decay!
Not long after, when I arrived at music college to begin studying for my Jazz Studies degree, it became very clear to me that I couldn’t progress any further without knowing scales. So I set about it!
In my next blog I’ll tell you how my relationship with scales then went from resigned diligence to "born again" fanaticism! And after that, I’ll tell you how that’s going to benefit you…