Ah scales, they are wonderful and they are magical. I turn to them when I need to warm up, when I need to get in shape, when I need to work something out.
When my students ask me, "Why do I need to play scales"? I tend to give strange and nonsensical answers, like, "It's so you can still play when you are 80," or "So you'll never be injured," or "So you'll play in tune, in every position," or "So we can use them to work out certain bowing challenges."
All of those things are true, but no student who is new to scales understands or believes it. In order to believe in scales, I firmly believe that you need to do them every day for a good long period of time. After several years, you'll understand that it's the scales that made your hand so strong, that set your fingers aright in every single position, that gave you a consistent bow arm, that improved your counting, that made all playing easier for you.
Of course, not everyone has come to the same view as I have.
What are your views on scales, and how often do you play them? What scale system do you use, and how many octaves do you play? Do you have a routine for working through various kinds of scales? Do you do something other than scales that you feel serves the same function? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts!
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