Alpha Scales!

During my career as an instrumental music teacher I have noticed that the majority of pupils just do not get on well with scales. They struggle to see the logic and predictability of them and become de-motivated to practise when progress is minimal. Over the last two years I have been trying out various ways of helping my pupils learn their scales in preparation for ABRSM & TCL exams. The ‘text-based’ approach has proved popular and effective with pupils, as well as parents, who often struggle to help their children practise scales at home if they have little or

no musical knowledge themselves. This method can be used for whole class music teaching and has also been helpful to dyslexic pupils.

AlphaScales promotes the use of the musical alphabet (the first 7 letters of the normal alphabet) as a never-ending linear line. This provides structure and helps take out the mystery of ‘what note comes next?’ Sharps, flats & naturals (collectively know as accidentals) are then added to the musical alphabet line. Having ascended the scale, pupils are encouraged to travel back down the alphabet line the same way they came up. In the case of melodic minor scales, different accidentals are placed underneath the alphabet line on the way down. Pupils are also encouraged to practise their scales by saying the note names out loud, while doing the corresponding fingering on their instrument.