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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001062.txt from 1999/04

From: Kratofil <>
Subj: [kl] re: helping students learn scales?
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 08:53:58 -0400

Since January my students (clarinet, flute, sax, and piano alike) have
had a binder. One of its purposes is to track technical work. I
developed a technic/warm-up assignment sheet. Each week they have a
specific assignment that includes excercises, pentachords
(pentascales/five-finger patterns), scales, arpeggios, etc (depending on
level of experience). I name the keys and the starting metronome

The use of pentachords came from piano teachers. Even the young ones do
major and minor (with 5 notes, that's only one note difference between
major and minor). They learn to hear the difference between major and
minor, and they learn the first half of the scale and the tonic

I made up some patterns for the pentachords, and they have a sheet with
the patterns all in C (clarinets) or G (flute, oboe, sax) and they have
to transpose from there.

I have seen real improvement in my students, just since January. It has
helped me be more diligent in tracking their progress and sticking with
assignments. It also helps that some of them will particpate in
Evaluations in June. This is a kind of examination held by our local
MTNA group. They will be "tested" on these pentachords, scales,
arpeggios, as well as two or three memorized pieces.

For me and my students, structure and specific goals and objectives seem
to be working.

Aimee Kratofil
Greensburg, PA

Gary Smith wrote:
> Hello all
> I teach private lessons. My current crop of students are mostly 2nd-3rd
> year junior high students.
> I'm a firm believer in scales as a tool to help with sight reading,
> intonation, overall command of the instrument -- I don't think anyone here
> really needs to be sold on the merits of learning scales. I have discovered
> a lot of resistance to learning scales in otherwise fairly diligent
> students, and I was wondering what approaches others are using.
> I've tried to start by teaching the order of sharps and flats, the circle
> of 5ths, and of course have provided them with scale sheets. I've found
> that week after week the students just don't seem to have spent time with
> the material such that I could identify specific problems and help them
> with them - they just don't seem to have practiced.
> This points to motivation, of course. Any ideas or success stories?

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