Jump to content

NEW PRO REVIEW: SCALES AND RHYTHM (THEORY RESOURCE CD)


Anderton
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Members

We all want to be better musicians. Well, at least most of us do, and scales and rhythm are fundamental elements to anything musical. Scales and Rhythm is a two-CD set with scales played against a rhythmic backdrop.

 

As usual with Pro Reviews, I urge you to check out the Scales and Rhythm web site to get a basic idea of the product, so I don

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Well I've been practicing a bit with the CD, and I haven't measured if the timing has gotten tighter, but I'm hitting the notes more accurately.

One other thing is that my primary instrument is guitar, my second instrument is keys, so I've always been a little weaker with that. So I've been playing along with keyboards as well. The only limitation is that Scales and Rhythm doesn't tell you about proper fingerings, so I'm kind of faking that :) But again, it's being helpful in terms of keeping scales fresh in my mind. It's almost like vocal warmup excercises (I haven't tried working with the vocal scales yet, that will be in a day or two).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I discovered a very cool trick over the weekend for those who like to be challenged: Put your CD player on random, and try to keep up as it spits out different examples, in different keys, and at different tempos! At first I thought it would be better if a voice announced the key at the beginning of each riff (e.g., "A major") but now I'm not so sure...doing things this way means I have to be able to identify the key, so it's doing some serious ear training.

I don't get it right anywhere near 100% of the time, but having the examples thrown at you is a great way to learn to "think on your feet." I've emailed the guy who designed the program about this, and apparently, no one else has tried this :) but he thinks it's a cool idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I received an email from the designer of Scales and Rhythms, and he pointed out that he has no distribution network -- the product is available only through the web site at http://www.scalesandrhythm.com. So, as there's no way you can try this out at your local GC or whatever, feel free to fire away with any questions you might have if you want a better idea of what the product includes, doesn't include, etc. Or is this all making sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Yeah, I like the "shuffle/random" idea.
Once you can hang with that, you'd be well on your way.

I've always told anybody who inquired that if they wanted to get good on guitar, than the best thing they could do is pop in their favorite CD's and start jamming.

This is the same concept, just different. I'm self-taught and even though I've been playing for years and consider myself a guitar-god (:) ... whoops...did I say that outloud?), I could benefit from this CD.

1. Ear training would be great. I can blow across just about anything, but I don't have any clue what any of it has to do with any theory. :D

2. The rigid aspect is a plus. I can also vouch that using a drum machine/keyboard to practice with is not only a great way to write songs, but wil help you achieve precision and greater control over your timing. This is usually the second thing I tell people wanting to jam...get a cheap keyboard or drum machine.

As Craig mentioned, learning to work around the beat is a most valuable asset as a player. Ask any jazz guy.

3. How can you lose for $20? The guy should market these to guitar/piano teachers and music stores. This is almost so obvious, it should be something you just get because you want to have the right set of tools.
A strap, some picks, and this CD is all you need to start your ascent to super-stardom. There are two types of people in the world, those who own this CD, and those who play like {censored}. :)
(No, I don't write copywright, but maybe I should. :))

Sorry Craig, you seemed kinda lonely in here.

Having the different tempos available is indeed helpful. I dutifully started on the 50 BPM level and was a little surprised at how often I
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hey, thanks for the comments! It's late here so I'll answer your questions tomorrow, but I'm hoping someone involved in Scales and Rhythm could check in and answer whether there's any kind of money back guarantee. Sure, it's only $20, but if someone's going to send money off to a web site, they probably would like to know they have a recourse if they don't get what they expected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hello, my name is Aaron, president of ScalesAndRhythm.com and creator of "Every Musician's Guide To Scales And Rhythm".

I just wanted to add that I'm available to answer any questions you may have.

In response to Craig's question about money back guarantees: We offer a 30-day money back guarantee - no questions asked.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery - due to the large influx of orders recently.

Respectfully,

Aaron Dlugasch
CEO/CFO
ScalesAndRhythm.com
Every Musicians Guide To Scales And Rhythm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Thanks for the info, Aaron. That seems like a pretty generous warranty.

Anyway, just wanted to check in with my progress. My guitar chops do seem to be getting "de-rusted." But my keyboard chops are getting a lot better, probably because that's always been my secondary instrument and I never put as much time into practicing it as I did with guitar.

One thing I've found is that it's worth doing the "put the CD on random" trick for about 10 minutes before getting into actual recording -- it's a quick way to get up to speed without just doing the usual finger exercises.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I should also add that having the drums in there is a definite added/useful component. I realize it's a simple concept, but it's different to practice scales in a vacuum compared to having drums going on in the background.

As I mentioned earlier, you could always just practice to a sequencer and drum machine, though. It seems one of the "hooks" of Scales and Rhythm is that the price is set low enough that for most people, it will be easier to just buy it rather than go through the hassle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hey Craig, thanks for the review. What an interesting product. I own a drum machine, but my current living situation doesn't allow the space for me to have a "music area", let alone music room. This sounds like an ideal practice tool to me.

My one question is re: track length. Is each track just an up/down of the scale once, or does it repeat a few times?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm on the road and don't have the CD with me, but as I recall, each scale repeats twice (maybe Aaron can check in and confirm). Of course, just about every CD player lets you repeat a track, so that would be a good option to have a scale repeat as many times as you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm really surprised that a Pro Review on something like Scales and Rhythm hasn't generated the same number of posts as the latest audio interface! :D

But kudos to Craig for choosing this topic. A lot of starting out musicians ask me what they can do to get better, and to have an inexpensive product that helps them out makes a lot of sense. For some people I wouldn't be surprised if something like this can have a bigger impact on the quality of a recording than buying the latest greatest audio interface.

Reading the Pro Review so far, I was a little freaked out by the fact that every time a question popped up in my head, Craig seemed to answer it in his next post. :eek:

-plb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Reading about this product, I have two concerns.

Beef #1

My first concern has to do with a point that Craig and Stranger are making in two different ways in the following quotes:

Originally posted by Anderton

The only limitation is that Scales and Rhythm doesn't tell you about proper fingerings, so I'm kind of faking that
:)


Originally posted by the stranger

The guy should market these to guitar/piano teachers and music stores. This is almost so obvious, it should be something you just get because you want to have the right set of tools.


It's not enough to practice scales, you have to practice them correctly. A good teacher as an adjunct to buying a product like this should almost be a requirement. The thing is, if you're practicing this kind of basic excercise the right way, it can dramatically improve your overall playing. But if you're practicing it the wrong way, you can not only not improve, but also you can hurt yourself.

I know many musicians - guitarists, keyboardists, etc. - with hand, arm, shoulder and tendon injuries. If you are playing your instrument wrong and are doing something like this over and over, you can amplify a small physical mistake into an injury.

You can also fortify bad habbits. For example, if Craig is practicing scales with the wrong fingerings, he may be reinforcing bad habbits and impeding his ability to play fast supple scales down the road.

The injury thing though - particularly with young players - having an experienced teacher show you the right way is just such a critical part of the formula. And a lot of the physical mechanics are counterintuitive. It can take years to learn how not to tense up.

Beef #2

My second beef has to do with the BPM. I could see the system encouraging players to practice at the faster tempos - to graduate from slow to fast ASAP. My experience is that practicing this kind of excercise at a slower tempo is more valuable than practicing it at a fast tempo. The best use of this kind of thing, I think, is to practice slowly and make sure that you are perfecting how you are playing. Then, fast playing is easy and natural. Ironically, it's players who think they need to practice everything at a fast tempo who have the hardest time playing fast.

So IMHO I think there should be more gradations between 50 BPM and 100 BPM and some way to encourage slow practice. It's almost like telling the customer: we want you to take something painful and boring, like practicing scales, and make it even more painful and boring, by encouraging you to practice them slowly! But this is really the way to become a monster player, even though it is also counterintuitive.

With the caveats "use under proper supervision" and "practice slowly" it seems like a great tool at $20. I think Stranger's recommendation is a good one: market to teachers.

-peaceloveandbrittanylips

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

>

Those are valid concerns. As to the first comment, I know scale fingerings for guitar, I just don't practice them enough :) But my keyboard foundation is not as firm.

As I noted earlier this is not a "method" course, it's a brush up. I don't think it's designed to take you from ground zero to being a great player, but maybe Aaron could comment on that. It really seems like it's designed to make it easy to warm up and practice for a low price.

The practice slowly thing...well, 50 BPM is plenty slow for me but I do find the faster speeds helpful not so much for practicing the scales, but for practicing the timing with respect to the drum machine. It's important to remember there are two components to this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

It also seems to me that if the company wants to branch out, the next product could be a DVD that shows fingerings, a booklet with fingerings and scale charts, and a CD-ROM with MIDI sequences in all keys and lots of modes (set up for GM, of course). Something like this would of course be a lot more expensive, but I think it would make a logical "next step."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...