This is No Time to “Scale” Back on Musicianship Basics

Does your director or instructor require you practice scales? They don’t do it because they want to waste time. They don’t even do it because they like to hear scales. They require scales because they are the foundation of good performers. Scales and arpeggios are so important to your musicianship. Scale requirements are almost always a required component in your auditions.

Schools require scales, but HOW you play them is unique to the school. For example, some of the variations of scale requirements are:

  • The order you play them in
  • The octaves you play
  • Alternate fingerings for specific scales
  • Rhythmic patterns or patterns

Pay attention when you read the audition requirements, so you don’t have any surprises. A bonus tip: pay attention to the time they give you to play scales. That will help you practice at a tempo that meets the requirement.

Audition Requirements from the Top Schools

Here are a few of the differences you might see if you audition for the Bachelor’s Degree program at one of these top-notch schools on your bassoon. These requirements are current as of June 2018.

  • The Eastman School of Music: All major, and harmonic or melodic minor scales, using the complete range of the instrument up to a high B or C depending on the key.
  • The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University: The chromatic scale (your full range); major and minor (harmonic, melodic) scales and major and minor triads (at least 2 octaves).

As if mastering scales on your instrument weren’t challenging enough, some schools will ask you to sing, with your voice, a major, a harmonic minor, a melodic minor, and related arpeggios.

Next time, we’ll lay out a plan for mastering your scales and arpeggios. Until then, keep practicing!

Dr. Randall Bayne, CEO