I'm having a problem practicing scales with a metronome, for instance when you practice pentatonic you can play 4th notes, eighth notes, 16th notes, broken thirds, broken fourths, three note groupings, four note grouping and much more exercises and with different tempos, it seems to me that if I practice like that each shape will take a week, so I don't know what to do

  • After you get the 1/4 note one down, the others should be a little easier as they are really just sped up versions of the first one. Jul 8, 2015 at 19:45
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    You question might not be totally clear. Are you asking if it should really take a long time to practice all the things you think you are supposed to practice? Or are you asking which of the many possible things to practice you should focus on so you are not trying to practice everything? Or something else? Jul 8, 2015 at 20:20
  • I'm asking whether I should practice all these things for every scale in every key?
    – John ots
    Jul 8, 2015 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Well that's not exactly the way to practice scales because that's not how our memory works. A memory is stronger if it is related to more memories. And remember that you are exercising your brain, not your fingers. If the exercise doesn't make you think then it's not a good exercise.

Now, the most basic way to practice a scale while making you think is this:

1) Write down 16 random tonics (the more the better) and assign one per bar. Just the tonic, don't make it major, minor, etc. So you can use this for different scales.

2) Play all the variations you just said but changing the tonic every bar. Make sure to start every bar with the closest note to the last one, don't start from the tonic. If it's difficult you can start with one tonic for two bars.

Then, for example, you can practice a combination of scales. Maybe the first chord is major, the second one is minor, the third dim, etc.

While this exercise is quite mechanic I would still use it combined with the same exercise but over real songs so that the direction you choose is a bit more musical.

  • This also works well for a simple 12 bar as starters. Play one note per beat, and follow the pattern. It even starts to sound like you're playing a proper tune along to it, particularly using major scale notes. Not certain I agree with 3rd and 4th sentences, though.
    – Tim
    Jul 18, 2016 at 17:59

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