On Practice: Scales
By Daniel Roest

From astounding machine gun bursts to the most lyrical and emotive melodic lines, scales make music happen. In fact, scales and arpeggios are the twin pillars of technique for all instruments and voices. Andrés Segovia said the study of scales resolves more technical problems than any other activity.
Here are some pointers for success with scales:
·Make legato (connected) your default technique. Legato is the opposite of staccato (detached). It means give each note its full value.
·Optimize left hand and right hand positions for efficiency. Keep left hand fingers curved at both knuckles, specially the 4th finger. Keep the base of the 4th finger adjacent to the fret the 4th finger plays.
·Devote 25% of your practice time solely to scales. Study and work on the right and left hands separately.
·Work with the metronome in many different speeds, meters and rhythms, always keeping as relaxed and accurate as possible. Play no faster than you can play well.
·Practice long tones to focus on tone.
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