Learning to play one’s scales is something that all saxophonists should strive to perfect throughout their careers – Paul Bro


Scales should be used in your daily warm-up routine to measure and improve the condition of your playing. Aim for precision, well-rounded tone and fluency in finger movement.

By starting at a slower speed, you will be able to focus on your technique development. Set your metronome to crotchet  = 80 and begin with Bb major scale with articulation No. 1. Play through the scale twice, full range, without stopping. Go chromatically through all twelve scales with one articulation on each scale (ie B with articulation No. 2, C with articulation No. 3 etc.).  Start over on Bb, B and C for the last 3 articulations.

Next, move the metronome to crotchet = 84 and move to the next scale (in this case C#), and play articulation No. 1 and then through all 12 major scales chromatically, adding articulations no. 13-15 on Db, D and Eb.

Repeat process at crochet = 88 commencing on E and crotchet = 92 commencing on G.

By the end of this 30 minute scale session you will have played each major scale through ten times. When you master all four tempi, you can then start at crotchet = 84.

The routine should evolve to develop your technique and consistency in performance. You may find you have to spend some more time on accurate tongue position or breath support before moving up to the next tempo. You could alternate scale forms to include harmonic minor, melodic minor, scales in 3rds, scales in 4ths etc.

This scales routine is an essential part of your daily warm-up routine and will help you develop and strengthen saxophone playing fundamentals.