Get Your Students To Master Scales and Arpeggios Like A Boss!

If Disney’s Aristocats taught us anything, it’s the vital importance of scales and arpeggios. Every band and music teacher knows it too - the difficulty is, how do we get our students to practice them?

Despite the fact that they’re amazing skill builders, they’re just kind of dry and boring to the vast majority of students. So what’s the secret to getting students to eat their musical veggies?

Practice To A Metronome

This is huge, especially if a student is having issues with timing. But if you poll your students to see how many would enthusiastically work to a metronome, the number would likely be zero.

Again, though, it’s a great skill builder and if you’re going to be playing in a band or doing studio work your timing needs to be rock solid. But click tracks and metronomes are super irritating - they get in your brain (not in a good way) and many students need to turn them off at a certain point.

Musico has a great answer to this - playing to a track. Musico takes it one step further, though - each track is one hundred percent customizable. You can change the key, tempo, and instrumentation all on the fly.  Now your student can play with the tempo while not having a metronome drilling into their skull. Try this lesson (delivered via FB messenger) out on them - who wouldn’t want to play scales to Bach’s Bouree in Em (or F, or G, or C#…)? If that’s not what you’re feeling, don’t worry - you can create your own with a simple drag and click!

Learn A Song They’ve Heard Before

Arpeggios are everywhere, not just in classical music - from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to the horns in Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”. Sometimes when students work on dry technique, they fail to connect it into a larger context. Once they see that it’s relevant to them - a song they want to learn, or a lick they think is truly cool - they’ll get inspired. If they’re especially resistant to learning things, it might even be a good idea to treat it like a  fun new song to learn without telling them how good it is for them!  

Personally, I’m a fan of this lesson (delivered via FB messenger) - everybody knows We Are The Champions, and it uses those arpeggios to great effect throughout the song. Especially with the recent Queen biopic, even younger kids are familiar with their musical catalog. Now they get to play along to a cool song from a movie they just saw, all the while learning those arpeggios you’ve been pulling teeth to get them to practice! 

Use Technology

Musico makes it easy to sneak those musical veggies onto your students plates - they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning core musical skills that will turn them into monster musicians.


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