Every Wind Conductor strives to get their students to learn all of the major scales. It is one of the essential components of any audition and when taught, is often approached with the audition mentality. Too, often scales are approached as simply an ascending and descending series of whole- and half-step within an octave.
However, this approach is not enough!
Scales are the musical pallet which composers use in the development of amazing composition. The step-wise motion of scales is logical and basic organization of the pitches within a given tonal center. Because these pitches collectively represent the tonality of a key center, it is important to approach those pitches in various ways. It is not enough to simply teach scales. The savvy Wind Conductor will develop a several approaches to teaching not just the scales but the tonal centers!
The next time you introduce a scale to the ensemble, consider teaching varied concepts to the traditional scales such as:
Chord progressions within a given tonal center (i.e. vi-ii-V7-I)
Scale and/or Technical Studies within the tonal center
Simple melodies or arrangements within tonal center
Aamano Music offers a free resource for music teachers to assist with teaching tonal centers: Clarke Study No. 2 – Transcribed for Full Band by Aaron Noe. This free resource takes the ensemble through one of most familiar technical studies used in colleges and schools of music. By adding these additional concepts to the traditional scale, the savvy Wind Conductor will begin develop fluidity and versatility in all tonal centers. You will see greater artistry regardless of which key you are playing in!
Also check out Aamano Music’s method for band, 12 Keys in 12 Weeks: A Journey for Band through the Cycle of Fourths
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