The Scale Unit
A Four Year Plan

Music is often referred to as a foreign language.  If this is true then notes are equivalent to letters of the alphabet, and scales are the words.  When you have command of a complete vocabulary you can begin to form more complex sentences and effectively communicate with others.  Likewise, it is essential that you work to develop a complete understanding of our musical language.

We will continue a four year scale program that will allow you to graduate knowing all your major and minor scales.  This program is structured so that each year you are building on what you learned the previous year. Scale assignments are made based on the number of years you have been in the high school band.  The progression will look like this:

1st Year Chromatic Scale & Major Scales up to 3#/3b’s (8 scales)
2nd Year Chromatic Scale & All Major Scales (13 scales)
3rd Year All Melodic Minor* Scales (12 scales) 
4th Year All Natural and Harmonic Minor Scales (24 scales)

*Melodic minor scales up to 2#/2b’s are required for all-state auditions


  • Scales must be performed from memory.
  • Play all ascending and descending notes correctly.
  • Perform scales with a steady beat.
  • Tests will be graded as PASS or FAIL