What is the best way to learn all of your scales on saxophone?

If you are pretty new to learning scales (or learning saxophone in general) then the amount of different scales to learn can seem really daunting.

On the blog I have shared some other tips on learning scales on saxophone faster, and also my 5 minute major scale workout.

But I wanted to dig deeper to help you understand a better strategy for learning all your scale in an efficient way.

Why do I need to know my scales on saxophone?

Scales are the foundation of every piece of music you will ever play. It’s as simple as that.

So, if you understand your scales, you have a head start on being able to play any tune you want. The scale patterns will turn up over and over again pieces, and when you know your scale “finger patterns”, you will be able to play and learn tunes faster.

Good reason huh?

The problem with learning to play scales on saxophone:

The big issue learning scales is….there are SO many of them!

With Major Scales, Minor Scales, Pentatonic Scale, Blues Scales …. it can seem like a HUGE mountain of work to learn them all.

So we need an efficient “strategy” to make learning them all easier.

There are lots of different approaches but what I find works best for me, and for the thousands of students I help through Sax School, is to learn scales in “families”.

What is a “Scale Family?”

Although there are loads of different scales, they can be organised into “families” by key signature.

This is really important because scales that share the same “key signature” are also related to the same key centre. This means that behave in a similar way “harmonically”.

Using this approach, you can group together Major, minor, pentatonic, blues etc into groups.

So, for each Major scale, there are related Minor Scales, related Pentatonic Scales, Blues Scales and more. Each “set” or “family” exists together, uses the same notes, and most importantly, will be used in music that is also in the same key.

So, understanding your families, how they relate together AND how to practice them together makes the job of learning ALL your scales much easier.

A lesson to help you understand this better.

Brand new in Sax School this week is a lesson explaining more about this relationship between scales and how to organise them into “families”.

Plus you will learn which “flavour” of scales you should learn in each family group, AND some tactics on how to approach learning them in the most efficient way.

Also, there is a scale reference sheet to help you learn and practice these scale families.

Ready to get started learning scale families?

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Nigel McGill

After 25 years touring, performing all over the world, I setup Sax School to share what I have learned. Today thousands of players in more than 70 countries use the huge library of online saxophone lessons in Sax School. Find out how it can help you too! www.mcgillmusic.com
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