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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) 12 major scales in 2 octaves in 2 minutes?
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Krazzikk

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« on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:17AM »

This year my high school band director has said that he expects us to be able to play all 12 major scales in 2 octaves (where possible)in 2 minutes. I am also pretty sure he wants them in the scale pattern of 4-8-8-8-8-8-8-4 and 4-8-8-4 for the arpeggio as per the Florida Allstate Audition requirements.(4 meaning quarter note and 8 meaning eighth notes)

To me it seems like I would have to play them all absurdly fast to get them in 2 minutes, and I have the range to play them all in 2 octaves.
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« Reply #1 on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:27AM »

No.  This has come up before and we did the math, you might find it in an old post.  It's not that hard. 

Well, a lot harder on trombone than flute, I guess.
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:28AM »

Sounds like 10 seconds per scale.  I bet you can do it.
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:29AM »

Think of it in 8ths and 16th rather than quarters and 8ths.

On average, if you were playing at a tempo of four 16ths per second (a reasonable tempo) you could do two octaves up and down in 9 seconds. that leaves another second to breathe, so 10 seconds total per scale and you can fit 12 of those in two minutes.

Yeah, that's doable and not totally crazy.
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« Reply #4 on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:32AM »

Okay, let me simplify.

There are 15 notes in a two octave scale.

12 times 15 is 180. 

So you need to do 90 notes per minute.  So you have to play quarter notes at 90.  And take a REALLY big breath.  Or quarter notes slightly faster and leave time to breathe. 
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:43AM »

Of course if you are fumbling for the notes in B or Gb ... :/ :-P

Gotta be able to play them confidently.  Even the ones in obscene keys.
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 10, 2017, 08:46AM »

I don't think getting all of the notes in for the allotted time is as much of an issue as is precise articulation, intonation, tone and relaxed confidence. You didn't mention what dynamic they want, so why not train at about an mp or even p.

Bruce & I hit our "post" buttons at about the same time.

...Geezer
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 10, 2017, 09:15AM »

...

Bruce & I hit our "post" buttons at about the same time.

...

3 minutes apart.  Enough for 12 scales in 2 octaves :-P
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 10, 2017, 09:25AM »

Totally doable. Even for a high school kid. 2 octaves = 15 notes, or 17 if you count quarters as two notes and don't repeat the first octave note. 17 notes per 2 octaves x 12 scales = 204 notes for all 12 scales. Maybe you need 2 seconds between scales. 204 notes for 12 scales/(120 seconds in 2 minutes - (11 gaps between scales x 2 seconds per gap)) = 2.08 notes per second, 2.08 x 60 = 125 notes per minute, and since "1 note" = 1/8th note, 62 1/4 notes per minute. So that's roughly metronome marking 62 for 12 2 octave scales with 2 seconds between the scales, using the 4-8-8-8-8-8-8-4 rhythm. You can do that.

Or you can figure it another way. You should be able to play a scale comfortably in about 4 seconds, so 2 octaves in 8 seconds. So 12 2 octave scales would take 96 seconds, plus 2 seconds between scales, (11 x 2) is 118 seconds.

Of course this assumes you know your scales and a little math. But, then, that's what music is. Scales and a little math.
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 10, 2017, 10:29AM »

My math did not include that quarter note eighth note pattern, because I didn't figure out until just now what that 4-8 business meant.

Sorry!

but, still doable

video anybody?  geezer? 
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 10, 2017, 10:59AM »

Here's a MIDI file that plays a Bb and then an F scale, two octaves, up and down, at the required tempo, with a breath in between.

http://www.brilliantisland.com/music/60bpmscales.mid
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 10, 2017, 11:15AM »

I should have clarified that I need to play 12 major scales in 2 octaves up and down followed by the respective arpeggio up and down. According to my math, that's 17 downbeats for the scale up 2 octaves and down 2 octaves and 8 more downbeats for the arpeggio. So we have 25 downbeats in total.

25x12scales=300
300/2minutes=150bpm

Maybe I misunderstood my director and he only wants the scales without arpeggios, but I assume he does since he normally expects us to perform major scales with the arpeggios, and the Allstate audition requires arpeggios in the same amount of time.
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 10, 2017, 11:23AM »

I'm wondering about range. 

If you don't have a trigger, and short arms, the lowest scale you're going to play is F.  Two octaves should be easy.

Above Bb though I would think we're challenging the range of the average high schooler.  Even a long armed kid who can play low E is going to have to nail a high Eb cleanly under pressure.  Is that really doable now?  When I was in high school none of us had that note. 

I also wonder a bit about the wisdom of two octave scales up and down at that age. 
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 10, 2017, 11:26AM »

He said "where possible", that would most likely take away the Eb, Db, D, E, and probably C for most players in high school.
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 10, 2017, 11:35AM »

Well I definitely know I can play all of them in two octaves it's just a matter of my flexibility and speed, so I guess if anything I can skip the ones like Eb, Db, D and E that I might not be expected to play as much.

My upwards range is up to about a  Db but I have a trigger and can start my Eb, D and E scales with the trigger.

The musicianship as a whole in our top concert band is one of the better ones in Florida.
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 10, 2017, 12:38PM »

Again the problem when you have non-trombonists setting the standard.  Pretty easy for a woodwind player (except maybe baritone sax).

Not bad for a trumpet or a French Horn.

Tuba players may find themselves pushed (it takes more time for the big horn to respond)

Brass range is also an issue.  Woodwind players have the whole range almost from the start.  Not so for brass players who need to develop their range (especially upward).  Tuba players need to have almost 4 full octaves to play the literature (think about what that means).  For most kids an octave and 2/3 is usually all you can get.

Do the best you can.  I'm sure you will place high for trombone players.  I hope they are not comparing you to flute players.
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 10, 2017, 12:42PM »

But why expect this in the first place? I don't get the reason behind it.
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 10, 2017, 12:45PM »

But why expect this in the first place? I don't get the reason behind it.

Setting up one requirement for all instruments.  Generally a bad idea but adopted because of simplicity (of the minds of the people writing the requirements).
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 10, 2017, 01:16PM »

Well, we should learn to play in all keys. 

Realistically the first three flat keys (F, Bb, Eb) might cover a huge percentage of high school literature. 
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 10, 2017, 01:19PM »

My math did not include that quarter note eighth note pattern, because I didn't figure out until just now what that 4-8 business meant.

Sorry!

but, still doable

video anybody?  geezer? 

Instructional videos are Harrison's domain!

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« Reply #20 on: Aug 10, 2017, 01:25PM »

Well, we should learn to play in all keys. 

Realistically the first three flat keys (F, Bb, Eb) might cover a huge percentage of high school literature. 

Except for orchestra where you need to add C, G, and D.  String players like sharp keys.
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 10, 2017, 06:01PM »

Yes, we should be comfortable in all keys, I just don't understand the need to race through them. The 2 minute mark seems so arbitrary and to me borders on ridiculous. Why? I honestly cannot articulate the reason, it just seems off.
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 10, 2017, 06:36PM »

Yes, we should be comfortable in all keys, I just don't understand the need to race through them. The 2 minute mark seems so arbitrary and to me borders on ridiculous. Why? I honestly cannot articulate the reason, it just seems off.

I don't think its arbitrary. Its as close to 60 bpm as you can get in round numbers, which is a good scale playing speed. You need to have all the keys under your fingers by memory. Everything depends on that. Improv, cello suites, modes, La Gazza Ladra, everything.
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 11, 2017, 04:59AM »

Yes, we should be comfortable in all keys, I just don't understand the need to race through them. The 2 minute mark seems so arbitrary and to me borders on ridiculous. Why? I honestly cannot articulate the reason, it just seems off.

You've got 50 kids in band to test, maybe more.  "Play a Bb scale.  That was pretty good.  Can you do A?  Okay, not bad.  Give me an E.  E!  No, I meant play the scale."  Pretty soon you've used up a half hour or more per kid. 

It's concrete and measurable, easily tested, and it gives the kids an achievable but somewhat difficult goal to motivate their practice.  Except for the bottom start problem, I'm starting to like the idea.  I think I will work on it myself, some of my scales have been a bit neglected.  Actually I tried last night but gave up and put the horn away.  Nothing was working in any part of the range.  I think the cause was overeating, the guilt of which caused me to work out intensely, and apparently that is not good before a practice session. 
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 11, 2017, 08:39AM »

Learn to play the instrument and stop complaining.  Do you really want trombone players to be held to a lower standard than others? 

BTW, did you see that video of a young kid band in Africa playing the hell out of a march in Db?
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« Reply #25 on: Aug 11, 2017, 02:46PM »

I'm always on the tail end of these posts but here goes anyway. My youngest son audition for Florida All State Band every year from 7th grade-12 grade. He was either first chair or second chair evry year except his 9th grade year when he got braces put one about three weeks before the auditions.....he still made All-State band then. Thats another story.

Here is how he worked on them. FIrst with a metronome working up to 1/4 note to 120. Then the Kitchen timer was used to get them done in the 2 minute time frame. This is also including arpeggios. He would also do some of the scales and arpegggios three octaves. He was constantly practicing these just about year round. You have to be tenacouis and driven to get there. For at least four of those year he and a trombonist from Tallahassee switched back annd forth on chair placement. Both play in professional orchestras now. This is well over 10 years ago. Practice and have fun doing it! His mom and I would have to tell him to stop practicing so we could go to bed.....Oh he also was on the  school basketball and baseball teams from 7th-12 grade.
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« Reply #26 on: Aug 11, 2017, 03:46PM »

I'm always on the tail end of these posts but here goes anyway. My youngest son audition for Florida All State Band every year from 7th grade-12 grade....

His mom and I would have to tell him to stop practicing so we could go to bed.....Oh he also was on the  school basketball and baseball teams from 7th-12 grade.

I recall a study trying to ascertain why Asian-American kids were generally doing better in school and tests than other ethnic groups. After they balanced for social factors like family income, parents' education, yada yada yada... they came down to the observation that these students were more likely to keep trying even after initial failures.

I presume that would work also for anyone not-Asian; it's a mental decision that has to be made rather than an ability one is born with.


The band teacher with the two minute drill probably didn't just invent that five minutes ago, it's something other kids have been doing in the past and the OP can do it too if he puts in the time to put it together. 
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« Reply #27 on: Aug 11, 2017, 03:54PM »

The band teacher with the two minute drill probably didn't just invent that five minutes ago, it's something other kids have been doing in the past and the OP can do it too if he puts in the time to put it together. 


The real question is can we all do it? 
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« Reply #28 on: Aug 11, 2017, 06:21PM »

Setting up one requirement for all instruments.  Generally a bad idea but adopted because of simplicity (of the minds of the people writing the requirements).
As a classroom teacher... it's way easier/time-efficient to grade and the consistency applied across the board helps make overbearing parents happier.
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« Reply #29 on: Aug 11, 2017, 07:39PM »

The real question is can we all do it? 

I suspect some kids never did and still made it out of there with a high school diploma. What are the stakes, really?



This two minute thing ought to be easier for brass than wood winds.

There are just three valves to choose from on a trumpet.  Just seven positions on a trombone.

But do distant scales on a woodwind and it starts to get gymnastic.



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« Reply #30 on: Aug 11, 2017, 08:03PM »


But do distant scales on a woodwind and it starts to get gymnastic.





Not to mention playing across the break.
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« Reply #31 on: Aug 11, 2017, 08:40PM »

I would suggest playing all 12 using the circle of fifths, therefore no need to stop between scales. It just becomes a 2 minute song.

Start on which ever scale you feel comfortable with and go.

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« Reply #32 on: Aug 12, 2017, 03:02AM »

The real question is can we all do it? 
I had students that could do that, and faster too. Some of faster students I recomended to play the scales really slow.
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« Reply #33 on: Aug 12, 2017, 03:54AM »

When I was a middle school band director I challenged my students to play all 12 scales one octave in one minute.   Very easy to do, assuming they knew the scales!   
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« Reply #34 on: Aug 12, 2017, 03:58AM »

I would suggest playing all 12 using the circle of fifths, therefore no need to stop between scales. It just becomes a 2 minute song.

Start on which ever scale you feel comfortable with and go.


 Good!  One long etude!

...Geezer
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« Reply #35 on: Aug 12, 2017, 05:05AM »

Some even play carnival of venedig on bass trombone. I started practice it now so in 10 years it should be ready. :)

I had to both write and play all scales in my time. Including hole step and cromatic. And chords. It help memorizing when writing them down with a pencil. I never watch the clock when playing them, I try to do both fast and slow. Point for me is control over intonation, time and sound. Not so easy in any tempo! But we have to try.

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« Reply #36 on: Aug 12, 2017, 05:17AM »

I had students that could do that, and faster too. Some of faster students I recomended to play the scales really slow.

What I was thinking was that we all should do this. 

I see at least two reasons. 

One is that of course we should know all our key signatures whether they're commonly needed or not. 

The other is to do a two octave scale without having to pull off and reset, or squirm the embouchure around under the mouthpiece, or adjust it just a little bit without realizing it.  That may seem obvious but I'm not sure it always is, depending on the range.  I thought I could do it easily but this part challenged me. 

Are two octave scales good for beginners, considering that aspect? 

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« Reply #37 on: Aug 12, 2017, 07:01AM »

Would you be disqualified if you just played all the scales at the same time? Just do a 3 octave chromatic scale, and look the judge directly in the eyes and say "there, finished "
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« Reply #38 on: Aug 12, 2017, 07:03AM »

Would you be disqualified if you just played all the scales at the same time? Just do a 3 octave chromatic scale, and look the judge directly in the eyes and say "there, finished "

 :-0

Then drop the mouthpiece to the floor ala mic drop!

...Geezer
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 12, 2017, 07:20AM »

:-0

Then drop the mouthpiece to the floor ala mic drop!

...Geezer

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« Reply #40 on: Aug 12, 2017, 07:21AM »

Whole trombone drop, like it's hot.
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« Reply #41 on: Aug 12, 2017, 07:23AM »

Whole trombone drop, like it's hot.

Do a Jimi Hendrix and set it on fire!

...Geezer
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« Reply #42 on: Aug 12, 2017, 08:16AM »

We do a similar thing where I teach (5-12 band). We do half of that since we introduce it in middle school. By mid/late 8th grade, students are challenged to play 12 majors, one octave no arpeggio, up and down in under a minute. This ties in with teaching key signatures and circle of 4th/5ths. Not all attemp, but those who do are recognized with a t-shirt called the "1260 club." We all practice them slowly and some go on to attempt 1260. I try to get the trombonists to do it chromatically, since it's less bouncing around on the slide and they don't lose time trying to figure out their next scale.

In your case, I'd go for chromatic and decide if you want to do the one octaves first or last so it doesn't stress you out switching between some scales two-octave and some one-octave. If it were me, I would do all the two octaves starting on F below the staff first, up to Bb, then switch over to one octaves for B up to E.
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« Reply #43 on: Aug 12, 2017, 08:20AM »

Just looked at your all-state requirements, guess you have to do them in circle of 4ths starting on concert G. Bummer, but still doable.

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« Reply #44 on: Aug 12, 2017, 09:50AM »

Instead of doing the math, I sat down with metronome and timer to figure this out.  To start with 12 scales, two minutes, 10 seconds per scale and breath.

1/4, 1/8 note pattern comes out to 108 bpm with a breath every 10 seconds considering you can play every 2 octave scale on 1 breath. 

This is very doable by a good high school player with F attachment.

I am band director that has sat on these audition panels for the all-state process in Texas for 30+ years and the number one reason players don't make the initial cut of the process is not knowing scales.  They leave those points on the table and don't go further even though they played the audition music better than others that played the scales and the music mediocre at best.  If you want to assure yourself of making the band make sure your know your scales.  If you can't spell them orally you can't play them, if you rely on slide patterns and tricks you will make mistakes in the audition. 

Scales are like spelling tests.  When we were young and had to study for spelling test we repeated the words orally or by writing them doing as many times as it took to get the correct spelling.  Learn scales the same way, say the key signature, how many sharps and flats and what they are, then spell the scale up and down, if you can't read it out loud you can't read it mentally while playing.  Most errors happen on the way down because many people say and teach that coming down is the same as going up just backwards.  Not true, we read music left to right, up and down, not backwards.  The reason fewer errors happen going up is because from the time we are young we hear and sing the ABC song, the going up the scale order the ABC's is ingrained with us from then on.  We never hear and are not taught in music well enough, AGFEDCBA.  Late in my career I realized much of this after teaching elementary  music in the middle of my career and being involved with the K thru 2nd grade teacher and how they taught reading. 

When we read a book we hear the words we are reading in our mind.  If you don't read music and first hear the note names of a scale in your mind as you read left to right up and down the staff you will have many errors.  Also, you must call a note by the correct name Eb and Ab must be called that name mentally and orally or you will play E or A natural or whatever note you have misnamed.  You cannot play the correct slide position if you don't mentally name the correctly first as you read.  As we become better and fluent readers this happens very naturally and in milliseconds.
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EdGrissom

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« Reply #45 on: Aug 13, 2017, 06:39AM »



I am band director that has sat on these audition panels for the all-state process in Texas for 30+ years and the number one reason players don't make the initial cut of the process is not knowing scales.  They leave those points on the table and don't go further even though they played the audition music better than others that played the scales and the music mediocre at best.  If you want to assure yourself of making the band make sure your know your scales.  If you can't spell them orally you can't play them, if you rely on slide patterns and tricks you will make mistakes in the audition. 




I judged the Texas auditions for many years also.  They played the scales first and if they botched them I pretty much quit listening to the rest of their audition.   Sad, but true.  . 
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« Reply #46 on: Aug 13, 2017, 10:05AM »

I attended one of Josh Hauser's warmup sessions, and we went through 12 keys with a playalong.  That seemed an effective way to do them, and even added some fun.

https://sites.tntech.edu/jhauser/brass-warmups-with-mp3-play-a-long-tracks/tromboneeuphonium-warmups-with-mp3-play-a-long-tracks/

I think Michael Davis's warmups have a playalong too, but I don't have them.

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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #47 on: Aug 13, 2017, 10:20AM »

I attended one of Josh Hauser's warmup sessions, and we went through 12 keys with a playalong.  That seemed an effective way to do them, and even added some fun.

https://sites.tntech.edu/jhauser/brass-warmups-with-mp3-play-a-long-tracks/tromboneeuphonium-warmups-with-mp3-play-a-long-tracks/

I think Michael Davis's warmups have a playalong too, but I don't have them.


The demos are very helpful to hear how it should be done. The play-alongs are nice as well. Sometimes I just use a metronome, especially when I want to extend the exercises higher and/or lower.

Using one of the popular notation programs, a play-along midi could be made of two-octave scales.

...Geezer
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MikeBMiller
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« Reply #48 on: Aug 14, 2017, 03:06PM »

That reminds me of my all state band audition my senior year of HS (1978 - yes I am old). I knew all my scales, but instead of telling us to play a certain scale, the judges said something like - play the scale that has 3 flats, or 2 sharps, etc. I was fine until they said play the scale that has 7 sharps. I had never seen 7 sharps in my life. So I thought about it for a second and then played the wrong scale. They finally told me what scale it was and let me try again. I'm still not sure that I know what scale has 7 sharps.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #49 on: Aug 14, 2017, 04:34PM »

Psst - C# major.  Same as Db major. :)
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Bruce Guttman
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MikeBMiller
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« Reply #50 on: Aug 14, 2017, 05:12PM »

Psst - C# major.  Same as Db major. :)

Good to know for my next all state band audition. If they have an all state geezer band. I still got 3rd. 1/2 point out of second, but the guy that got first just killed the rest of us by 10 points on a 200 point scale. But he isn't playing trombone any more, so I want a do over!
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timothy42b
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« Reply #51 on: Aug 15, 2017, 05:13AM »

Psst - C# major.  Same as Db major. :)

For extra points, what scale has 8 flats?

Don't laugh, I've played wind band music that had 8 flats in the key signature.  Remembering B double flat was tricky.  I understand there's a familiar orchestral piece too but I've never seen that one.





































(Db minor)

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Tim Richardson
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