Sunday Scales 5: Choose your own adventure

In the spirit of variety and creativity, I wanted to show how you can start to invent your own exercises or modify existing ones to keep ideas fresh. So this week we’re going to take one of the previous exercises (#4, the “Chromatic Do-Re-Mi”) and generate new exercises based on it. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

First, let’s try changing modes and rewrite the exercise in minor (La-Ti-Do):

6 - Chromatic La-ti-doTry playing that from memory starting on any pitch – my head started to hurt just notating it! You could make this pattern even more difficult by switching to diminished modes (starting with C, D-flat, E-flat) or modes containing augmented seconds (starting with C, D-flat, E-natural or C, D-sharp, E-natural).

Another version: we could alternate directions with every beat.7 - Chromatic do-re-mi alternating

We can take it a also take the same exercise and expand its range as follows:

9 - Chromatic do-re-mi expanded

Of course, we could apply the previous variations and play this one in minor/diminished/etc. But we could also take this exercise and change the number of notes per beat:8 - Chromatic Do-Re-Mi-etc

As you can see, you don’t have to be the world’s greatest composer to continually vary your practice and come up with new ideas every week. Enjoy!