12 Major Scales in 2 Minutes?

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12 Major Scales in 2 Minutes?

Post by MissFlautist » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:08 pm

Hello everyone!

I am currently in 8th grade and preparing for various auditions that will happen within the next year. The main audition component I am concerned about is my All-State and All-County band audition scale requirements. We are required to perform all 12 major scales (G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, & F#) in 2 minutes or less. I have been working on these scales for nearly a year now, and can play them well, but not nearly at the tempo they need to be at.

I was curious as to if any of you had any tips or suggestions or how to attain this. I made my All-County band in both 7th and 8th grade (with high chair ranking), as well as my All-State honors band this year. However, the scale requirement was only 7 scales in 2 minutes (G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, & Db). I know flute is very competitive, as many people play flute, and I will be going up against 10th graders (as a 9th grader). I have played flute since 6th grade.

Also, I was curious as to how many octaves I should do for my scales. I can play C and B 3 octaves, and was thinking about starting Db next, but I am unsure of how much doing these scales 3 octaves will limit my available time for auditions. Should I keep all the scales at 2 octaves, or do some 3?

Thank you so much for you help!


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Re: 12 Major Scales in 2 Minutes?

Post by pied_piper » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:48 pm

The only way to improve fluency with scales is to keep practicing them. There is no magic trick or formula other than regular practice.

Regarding the number of octaves, if they don't specify how many, two octaves should be adequate to show that you are fluent in all 12 major keys. However, since you'll have to comply with the rules of the particular state or county, I would suggest that you ask your band director for a copy of the rules. That way there should be no question about what they expect you to do.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Re: 12 Major Scales in 2 Minutes?

Post by tcarlisle » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:28 pm

The bottom line is you need to be able to play each scale in about 10 seconds, according to whatever specifications are in the rules. This is definitely do-able and practice will get you there. Root notes are 1/4 notes, and the rest are 1/16th notes, so 8 beats per scale (up and down) in 10 seconds. Setting the metronome at 60bpm would get you there with time to spare.

Practice each scale at 60bpm and 8 beats per scale... when you can do them all individually within 10 seconds, then put them together. I'd sgtart in batches of 4... do C, Db, D, Eb.... when those are solid add another set.

The rules probably also define what is considered success or not. Finishing within the time frame is obvious.... but can you have one flub.... or 6? Or none. You need to know this. Also, how important is tone and intonation? If you finish within the timeframe and the fingers are perfect, but you are airy and flat on the low end and sharp on the top end, you may still be failed.

I don't mean to put more pressure on you, but there probably is more criteria than time. And it is quite possible that they would rather hear someone finish in 120 seconds, with 3 flubs, but they kept going despite the flubs and tone and intonation were perfect.

I would assume they are looking for finishing on time, can probably tolerate a flub or two, but also want nice tone and in tune. Finishing within the time limit is probably a requirement, and they are probably counting flubs and judging tone and tune, and the students that finish in time will be stack ranked by the other three and the top X number get chosen.

Of course, if arpeggios are also required then you are really in a pickle. :)

And if you are required to do three octaves on C, well, good luck! :cry:

B scale will be the hardest, given it takes you all the way up to high B.... and also includes high E and G#. These are tough notes for most people -- especially on affordable equipment.

Get the rest of the scales down before having high standards on the upper part of this scale.

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