Practicing scales. Again. Really?? I know you can see the eye rolls from your students the moment you mention the dreaded scales. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Since I started adding a creative element to these exercises, I have heard the request from my students to start with scales on numerous occasions! The FOUNDATIONS Series takes the traditional exercises and adds a twist - a duet part - to make learning scales fun and engaging and a deeper exercise than we learned as students a gazillion years ago.
Students begin by learning their basic part. You can give them one of the easier versions, compete with note names and finger numbers, or for more seasoned players, version 4 which has only the notes. Once they have the basic scale structure down, add the duet part. There are several ways to do this...
1. Use the same piano, playing either part in a different octave than written - higher or lower, one octave or two, your choice.
2. Use a separate keyboard for either part. Adding a different sound to one of the parts makes this method more interesting.
3. Have multiple students engage by playing together on different instruments. This makes a great segue between lessons, and peer pressure is great for encouraging the 'fun scales' impression!
4. And go ahead...add a beat! There are fantastic drum loops available to use as a fun backdrop for playing the scales.
5. Turn loose the creative genius in your student to put their own spin on the exercise.
There’s plenty of incentive for engaging your students in the basic foundation exercises for scales and chords. These fundamentals are the basis for everything we do as a musician - performing, composing, and even building a band - often a major dream for a budding student! If we are able to learn and understand the structure of these basic elements, then we are much more likely to stay in lessons for a longer period of time. Using duet parts with these exercises encourages collaboration with other musicians, building team skills necessary in every walk of life. But most of all, engaging with other musicians - especially playing a duet with your favorite teacher - is just FUN!!!
What ideas do you have for using the duet parts in the FOUNDATIONS program? Share your ideas in the comments below!