I always liked scales. I’m probably not particularly good at them but never had a problem me and them. None of this presumption of hatred I always saw them as a welcome relief from the sometimes intense playing of a piece. I think I liked them because they’re black and white there is a right and wrong answer, it’s just something to follow and remember, no strings attached, just memorise. No label stamped on them telling you what emotion to invoke. They don’t get a piece of my heart scales just my brain and I’m more than happy to use that wherever I can, to help anything really. And be judged on it. Because it’s not personal, there’s nothing about YOU attached to it, some randomer (probably a very important person that I should know and probably do but can’t think right now, I think it’s quite long winded) made them up a loooong time ago, we’re just following orders. And although that may be said about all ‘classical’ or written down music, there’s not an inch of me that feels like that or is willing to accept it because I create the sound, it’s mine, coming from meee or yoooou it’s yours your making it. No one on earth is going to play that piece how you do, never exactly. You might play a scale a bit out of tune but it’s just a pattern in the end, we’re all in the same boat, everyone plays the same scale the same all over the world, aww that’s a nice thought 🙂

A piece is personal.
Scales are impersonal.

That might not make sense and you might not agree but apparently that’s how my brain works.

I don’t care or feel bad for doing it wrong because there’s no disputing it is, I know I did it wrong or right. And when you don’t care about something it makes it much easier to tackle. Life gets very hard when you care about absolutely everything, don’t try, it won’t do you any good, let go. With a piece judgement is passed by by the truck load coming from every unexplored angle about things you’d never even consider because no one ever thinks the same, it’s all interpretation, there is no right or wrong in music, in doing something you love and enjoy and fair enough, good for you, enjoy it.

But sometimes people think there is an exact right or wrong and that’s what fucks up ‘classical’ music.

Playing a piece you have your heart on your sleeve, you are naked, venerable bearing your emotions and opening up the varied and beautiful passions that live inside you. Sit, watch, stare and judge my very personal creation of music. My enjoyment in life. I love the cello. It’s given me so much. Please don’t hate or think bad of us.

Scales are just there. Learn this. That’s done. Great.

A piece is a lifetime of learning, discovering and creating… And for me never ending, there is ALWAYS something to perfect.

So scales – lovely jubbly 🙂


One thought on “Scales

  1. I love the thought of scales being impersonal – it gives a freedom to learn them ‘guilt free’. Reinforcing that an incorrect pattern, or out of tune note is not a personal failing, but a technical, mechanic problem that needs adjusting, allows for healthy (and possibly faster) learning -especially for young learners who personally invest so much in every aspect of their music making. Knowing that scales can be a concept, a tool to learn that will give facility for other applications is a liberating gift.

    As for pieces and interpretation… that’s a discussion that won’t fit in a comment! 😉 Keep writing and thinking about these concepts. They all help with learning and teaching!


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