Scale Technique Levels

Scale technique is the basic building block for success in instrumental playing. These levels have been developed to provide a guide for Stillwater Band musicians to build their personal technical abilities. The first three levels outline the required stair steps each student is expected to master to meet the basic audition requirements for the Stillwater Bands. It is designed for students to work independently of their peers to meet these mastery levels. Each student is encouraged to move through a level each semester.

Level 1 – This level expects mastery of one octave major and natural minor scales with arpeggios (in 8th notes in all twelve keys). All scales should be memorized. The required tempo will be ♩= 126. These scales will be assessed using smart music.

Level 2 – This level expects mastery of one octave harmonic minor scales with arpeggios in all twelve keys. All scales should be memorized. The required tempo will be ♩= 126. These scales will be assessed using smart music.

Level 3 – This level expects mastery of one octave melodic minor scales in all twelve keys with arpeggios. All scales should be memorized. The required tempo will be ♩= 126. These scales will be assessed using smart music.

Level 4 – This level expects mastery of two octave major and natural minor scales with arpeggios in all twelve keys. All scales should be memorized. The required tempo will be ♩= 126. These scales will be assessed using smart music.

Level 5 – This level expects mastery of two octave harmonic minor scales with arpeggios in all twelve keys. All scales should be memorized. The required tempo will be ♩= 126. These scales will be assessed using smart music.

Level 6 – This level expects mastery of two octave melodic minor scales with arpeggios in all twelve keys. All scales should be memorized. The required tempo will be ♩= 126. These scales will be assessed using smart music.

Level  7 – In this level, students and private teachers are encouraged to develop a technical study that fits the playing interests of the student. Jazz players are encouraged to study the Patterns for Jazz Improvisation book. Below is a suggested list of ideas of study. In all cases, it is expected that the student will study each scale or pattern in all twelve keys.

  • Thirds (Major and Natural Minor)
  • Thirds (Harmonic and Melodic Minor)
  • Modal Scales
  • Bebop Scales
  • Jazz Patterns

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