Explaining Scales and Keys

Sometimes it seems like I have to say the same thing five different ways before a student loses the glazed-over look in their eyes! And then, usually it’s still many more explanations later that the proverbial light bulb goes on in their brain and they finally get it. They’ll say something like, “I realized that to play the I, IV, and V chords, you just have to play the chord on the first, fourth, and fifth notes of the scale.” While I’m tempted to stare incredulously and make some sarcastic remark regretting that I don’t speak English fluently yet, I usually swallow my pride and exclaim over them having made such a remarkable and helpful discovery. I mean, imagine that the I, IV, and V chords would actually start on scale degrees I, IV, and V! 🙂

But I digress. I mainly wanted to point your attention to a helpful website I found that explains succinctly what a scale is, how different scales are formed, how to identify key signatures, and more. I think these explanations would be especially helpful for adult students who really want to understand the principles behind what they are playing. They often need this mental connection in order to play accurately as well. But even for those of us looking for yet another way to communicate important theory concepts to our students…it never hurts to have another resource!

Share and enjoy!

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