Band Scale Expansion Studies
by Eddie Lewis
Does your band director require you to do the traditional band scales as part of your grade, or for chair placement? Scales are important to your musicianship. That’s why they are a requirement in some bands. It is worthwhile to spend the time learning them correctly.
If your band’s required scales conform to the following format, then this book will work for you:
How it Works
The Band Scale Expansion Studies are designed for trumpet students who want to master their band scales. It’s a book that takes you way beyond just being able to play them. When you practice the exercises correctly, according to the instructions in the book, it gives you access to a much higher level of playing on the scales.
Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is a powerful practice system. If you practice the Band Scale Expansion Studies in a sloppy manner, with no care for quality of your work, then you will make it worse, not better.
Each line in the book is to be played ten times. If you want to truly master all twelve scales, then you cannot skip any of the exercises. Even if you think they are too easy, do not skip them. This is not about just being able to play the scales. We are talking about total mastery.
I’ve been using this technique successfully with my students since the early 90’s. We use it even more today, now that we have the book version of the system. The most recent time we used the book with a student, he needed to prepare all twelve scales for his end of year band test. He had done the expansion studies on some of the scales previously but needed to do them on the rest of the scales. He did. And he nailed all of them. He was a freshman in high school and the way he played his scales should have a significant impact on which band he will be placed into next year.
The back cover of the Band Scale Expansion Studies has a fingering chart that covers all the notes in the book. I would warn you to not write the fingerings into the book. You will thank me for it later.
I do have a rule for my students, they are only allowed to mark a note’s fingering once. And I don’t mean “once per song”. I mean once – forever!
Writing fingerings in your music quickly becomes a crutch. And it is an unnecessary crutch. Writing fingerings is just a really bad habit to get into.
The only exception to this rule is when the fingering you need to use is different from what is standard. Then and only then is it okay to mark fingerings into your music.