Pentatonic Scales are a great way to easily make awesome sounding solos on your saxophone… But how do you practice them easily?
Most saxophone students start out on the journey of improvising with pentatonic scales because they are easy. Just 5 notes, packed with harmonic “goodness” that are fun to play and sound great.
And, knowing your pentatonic scales will give you improvising super-powers over funk and pop tunes. Making up great sounding solos is a breeze. They are useful over many jazz styles too.
So, what is the easiest way to learn your pentatonic scales so you have them at your fingertips on the next jam session?
It’s not just the scales…
To get a solid learning strategy together for tackling your pentatonic scales, you first need to understand “how” you intend to use them.
For most sax players, pentatonics are used in your improvising. They are an improvisation tool, or tactic for making solos up more easily.
So, with that in mind, we need to both learn the “notes” in the scales AND develop ways to use those notes and scales in melodies.
For this reason, just learning your pentatonic scales up and down by rote isn’t always the best approach that will improve your improvising fastest.
A better way to learn your pentatonic scales on saxophone
After teaching over 10,000 students I have found the fastest way to learn pentatonic scales is by combining scale practice with pattern practice and improvising practice. Another way to say this is learning the scales, putting them into action in practical patterns and then getting used to blending those patterns into your own solos.
It sounds complicated but I have an easy method that makes this a piece of cake, and fun too:
5 Minute Workouts for Saxophone
Inside Sax School I have a series of 5 minute workouts. I love this format of lesson because they can be used every day.
In fact, many of our Sax School students use a selection of the 5 minute workouts every time they practice to keep their skills on track.
Brand new in Sax School this week is a 5 minute workout specifically for developing your Pentatonic Scale skills.
How the workout….works!
The 5 Minute Pentatonic Workout combines the basics of learning two related pentatonic scales, and actually putting the scales into action as you learn a collection of fun building blocks or “licks” using these scales.
You can play along with me on tenor or alto sax to a funky backing track that you can use over and over again. Plus, the building blocks are something you can draw on for your next pentatonic solo.
As with every 5 Minute Workout, you learn a skill, put it into action, develop some really practical skills, and have a bunch of fun!
Ready to give it a go?
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