You may get intimidated upon hearing your flute tutor speaks about flute scales on your first flute tutorial lesson. Nevertheless, if you really want to master flute playing, you will take it as a challenge instead. You would find the scales helpful enough to improve your flute-playing skills with the right care and teaching from your tutor.
Of course, when learning the flute, the first thing your music teacher will teach you is flute scales. The flute scales are the tools you will use to learn the flute notes. When properly learned, flute scales will let you understand the subtleties and nuances of flute playing. Moreover, you can distinguish yourself from the mediocre flute player if you know your scales.
Things You Should Know About Flute Scales
Some benefits come from frequently playing the flute scales. You can increase, for example, your playing speed by mastering the flute scales. Thus, it will help if you would look at the times you spend playing the scales as your chance to fine-tune your sound. Moreover, with the flute scales’ help, you can carefully assess whether you are playing right.
Additionally, you can detect any minor mistakes in dexterity and intonation when you play the scales. With these scales, you can expose the minute imperfections in your playing style and skill. Besides, you can enhance your technical skills by improving your ear’s keenness and self-awareness while practicing the flute scales.
Hence, if you want to improve your flute playing skills, you need to include the practice of flute scales in your regimen. It will help if you practice the minor and major scales with the same articulation and dynamic. For example, you can practice playing the sharp keys every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then, play the flatted keys on other days. It will help if you play the flute scales in both the legato and staccato to improve your playing speed.
How To Start Learning & Improve Your Flute Scales Progressively
Upon knowing the scales, you can improve your flute playing by transitioning from one note to another. For example, you can engage in broken chords, arpeggios, and scales in thirds to learn how to modify your playing skill.
Playing the Arpeggios
As an Italian word, arpeggio means playing on a harp. When you play arpeggios in the flute, you pluck the notes that make a chord from the scale. These notes are usually the first note, third note, and fifth note.
Since you cannot play the flute like a piano, you can only play notes once at a time. For example, in the C major scale, you can play the arpeggio of the C major scale (c, d, e, f, g, a, b, c) by selecting the first, third, fifth, and the eight notes.
Playing the Broken Chords and the Scales in Thirds
If you push yourself a step further, you can play the broken chords by playing the arpeggio notes several times, starting with the cegc-egce-gceg-cegc. To play the scales in thirds, you can insert an interval (third) between every note ce-df, eg, and more. If you are a beginner, you may find the variations mentioned above in scales as more advanced. So, it is better to focus first on the essential scales.
Tips for Beginner on Practicing Flute Scales
It will take time and effort on your part to master the scales. So, it will help to concentrate on a particular scale first. Begin with the easiest ones. Then, work your way up. The most straightforward scale is the C Major because it does not contain flats and sharps. You can start by focusing on mastering an octave. Afterward, you can learn the arpeggio.
Start very slow with the scale. Ensure that you are doing it right. Then, add rhythm to your playing while you memorize the scale. You can then learn afterward, a new scale every week. Then, apply the same pattern that you have used on the first scale.
You can then time yourself when you can play the twelve Major scales in a single octave with arpeggios. Figure out how much time you take to finish the twelve scales cleanly. Try to achieve playing them all within or under 60 seconds.
Once you’ve achieved this feat, you can then move to two-octave scales with concomitant arpeggios. Apply the same method that you’ve used before. Soon after, you will find yourself improving a lot in your flute playing skills.
Benefits of Practicing Flute Scales for Beginners
Practice makes perfect, and since most music pieces are scale-based, if you practice flute scales together with the arpeggios, you are putting yourself in a better position to play your pieces. Thus, it will help look at the flute scales as your practice ground to improve your skills instead of viewing them as additional loads. Each scale is building your talent for playing your pieces well. Here are some apparent benefits of playing the scales:
1) Provide You Ample Ear Keenness Training
Learning to play the flute scales lets you practice your ears and familiarize them with notes. As you learn the note intervals, you can familiarize yourself with their sounds and intuitively know if you are playing the right note.
Thus, you enhanced your ears’ keenness as you play and practice more often the scales. Moreover, you can better distinguish the flat and sharp notes with better familiarization with the note sounds, allowing you to adjust your musical notes correctly.
2) Enhance Muscle Memory
The playing of flute scales frequently can help you develop finger movements subconsciously. As you further practice, you begin to make the movements of your fingers second nature to you. Thus, your finger movements become smooth and natural from one note to another. Plus, you get to balance the flute while you tongue the musical notation. Besides, you develop proper timing for multiple finger movements on both hands, rendering a fluid movement along the way.
3) Proper Mind and Body Coordination
When you play the scales, you first think of the note you would like to play while fingering the note. Thus, you begin to develop the mind and body coordination as you practice the scales. Moreover, you get to practice playing the musical notes along with the rhythm, vibrato, dynamics, and articulation patterns. With proper coordination, you can create a beautiful tune and music using the flute.
4) Improved Inner Sense of Rhythm
If you practice with a metronome, you will subconsciously imbibe the metronome. As you practice the flute with the metronome, you will likewise develop an internal rhythm that lets you play in rhythm sans the actual metronome.
The beats will become second nature to you while you improve your flute playing skill. As you practice the scale, this internal metronome will guide your speed and let you play the notes along with the correct rhythm. You will also learn to adjust if you feel your internal metronome is not synchronous with your playing speed.
You may dismiss the flute scales casually as unimportant and may not bother mastering them, given that you have so many pieces to practice. Yet, the benefits concomitant with scales’ practice should convince you of the value of mastering the scales. I also hope these benefits will convince you to spend time and effort to master the scales.
Thus, it will help not to renege in your practice of scales, for you will surely benefit from it. Learning the scales sets the right condition for you to excel in flute playing. Even if you are a flute prodigy, you still need to master the scales, and without such practice, you will never attain a higher level of flute playing skills.