52 Ways to Practice Your Scales

One New Year’s resolution for musicians that never goes out of style? Scales. Think you already know your scales? Think again. Learning the notes to each scale is just the beginning. Below are several patterns and sequences to build technique and mastery of scales. I’ve included 52 different ideas so you can have something new to practice every week this year. Happy practicing!
1. Written “normal” scale
2. Natural minor
3. Harmonic minor
4. Melodic minor
5. Major pentatonic scales
6. Minor pentatonic scales
7. Octatonic scales
8. Whole tone scales
9. Blues scales
10. Chromatic scales
11. Ionian mode (aka major scale)
12. Dorian mode
13. Phrygian mode
14. Lydian mode
15. Mixolydian mode
16. Aeolian mode
17. Locrian mode
18. Extended scales (the entire range of the instrument)
19. Thirds
20. Fourths
21. Fifths
22. Sixths
23. Sevenths
24. Dominant sevenths
25. Major sevenths
26. Minor sevenths
27. Fully diminished
28. Half diminished
29. Octaves
30. Arpeggios
31. Tetra chords (first four notes, last four notes)
32. Slurred
33. Tongued
34. Staccato
35. Marcato
36. Mixture of slurred and tongued (Ex. slur two, tongue two)
37. As eighth notes
38. As triplets
39. As sixteenth notes
40. Dotted eighth/sixteenth rhythms
41. Sixteenth/dotted eighth rhythm
42. Eighth/two sixteenths rhythm
43. Two sixteenths/eighth rhythm
44. Add-a-note (C-D-C-E-C-F-C etc)
45. Returning scales (refer to Baermann 3rd Division for Clarinet)
46. Interrupted scales (refer to Baermann 3rd Division for Clarinet)
47. Fulcrum studies (one note up one note down, two notes up, two notes down etc)
48. With a metronome (always!)
49. As the upbeat against a metronome
50. Against a drone
51. At random (write down scales on slips of paper to practice at random)
52. Every. Single. Day. (No excuses!)

3 thoughts on “52 Ways to Practice Your Scales

  1. Hello Jenny
    I’ve been trying to find out more information on Fulcrum study’s.

    Can you recommend any books for these exercises please?

    Very Best Regards
    Ian Clarkson

    1. Hi Ian,

      You should get the Vandoren Etude and Exercise Book for Clarinet, which has the fulcrum studies along with several other useful warm-ups and etudes. I hope this helps!


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