Monday Mailbag – Free Scale and Chord Progress Chart

I’m a bit confused on the metronome settings on your free scale and chord chart – a quarter and an eighth note side by side, same tempo? What’s the difference between (two) eighths at MM-60 and a quarter at MM-120? Also, regarding chords, do you mean each chord and its respective inversions within each key?

You’re right that the amount of notes played at these two tempi would be exactly the same. The distinction is in the rhythmic feel. When playing eighth notes at MM-60, the student would feel two notes per pulse; whereas when playing quarter notes at MM-120, they would feel only one note per pulse. Then the eighth notes at MM-120 would be played two per pulse. Part of the purpose in playing scales this way is that the student gain a better internal sense of pulse that they can apply to their playing.

As far as the chords, yes, eventually the student will be playing inversions of each primary triad and seventh chord within the key. We have a wonderful systematic state curriculum, though, that I use as a guide for when students should be learning and playing various scales and chords, so I adapt according to the student’s level and individual progress. Older students also play scales and arpeggios in triplets and sixteenth notes, so the columns have to be adjusted for this purpose, too!

Also, if you like the general idea of using a scale and chord progress chart, but want to develop your own custom version, be sure to check out this post: Free Scale Chart and Tips for Making Your Own Progress Charts!

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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