I got this idea from Dr. Stephen Anderson at UNC, it is an engaging and challenging way to practice scales using broken up shapes.

I have a stack of 48 different scales: major, melodic minor, diminished, and blues scale in every key. Another stack of cards holds every permutation of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4. The third stack of cards has every possible shape of four notes up to a spread of a 7th.

Here’s how it works: I choose a scale, pattern and shape. Suppose the scale is F major, the pattern is 2, 3, 1, 4, and my four note shape is 1000111. Then the exercise looks like this:

PDF of Example 1

Suppose the scale is Bb blues, the pattern is 3, 4, 1, 2 and the shape is 1010011. Then the exercise would be like this:

PDF of Example 2

As you can tell, there are nearly infinite things to practice using this routine. I practice the pattern in both hands at the same time an octave apart, swinging the eighths, with metronome on beats two and four. Also, try replacing a random eighth note each measure with an eight rest.

If you can get to where you can play these random patterns pretty rapidly up and down the keyboard, then I reckon you have a pretty good thing going!!

Hope this exercise inspires you a little.