Lesson #2: Getting Use To The Scales

There are some very simple exercises to get use to the three scales described in the last lesson.

First of all I recommend to practice each scale in every key. Put on a metronome and practice each scale till you can play it in eight notes at tempo 200. That’ll do it. Pay attention to the exact and steady articulation of jazz phrasing. NOTHING in jazz music is more important than how you phrase a bunch of notes. One of the best examples I know is Steve Coleman. He plays very strange and odd melodies in his improvisations (he developed a unique system for these lines) and most of the time he doesn’t play bebop lines. But it really fits in mostly every jazz situation because it swings, it bounces, it is very very good phrased. He creates a clear rhythmically statement with or against the rhythm section and that’s what is all about. Creating clear rhythmically statements (even if the listeners don’t get it, they can feel it or worse they feel the absence = bored).


  • Play all three scales (in every key) from the root to the ninth in eight notes back and forth.
  • Play the whole arpeggio of all three scales from the root to the sixth (or thirteenth) back and forth. The arpeggio of the Ionic scale is with the #11, because the 11 is a very weak upper structure tone.

Examples for the scale exercises:

  • D-dorian: D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-D-C-B-A-G-F-E-D-…
  • D-melodic minor: D-E-F-G-A-B-C#-D-E-D-C#-B-A-G-F-E-D-…
  • C-ionic: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-C-B-A-G-F-E-D-C-…

Examples for the arpeggio exercises:

  • D-dorian: D-F-A-C-E-G-H-G-E-C-A-F-D-…
  • D-melodic minor: D-F-A-C#-E-G-H-G-E-C#-A-F-D-…
  • C-ionic: C-E-G-B-D-F#-A-F#-D-B-G-E-C-…

Right at the moment I have no soundsamples for the exercises but I think everyone will manage it with the descriptions. Feel free to post questions.

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