IS there a method suited to memorising Scales & Theory, etc..?


I’m not entirely knowledgeable about anything other than the ‘Major Method’ (nor the financial rewards of these things!) but someone online pointed me towards a product available in America (and only there, it seems, so it’ll be very pricey to get it over in the UK, alas) that the author seems to be making money off via Amazon.

It is called the ‘Vaughn cube for music theory’ and the first five chapters are available on the author’s YouTube Chanel. With these & in less than an hour, I managed to revolutionise my way of looking at many major scales!

How do others memorise Scales & such? For me, the music side is not that much of a problem -it’s not the weak link or Bottle neck for me & perhaps, it’s the same for others. Many of us know music theoretically but it’s a chore to ‘flip into’ practice then theory & back again in a RealWorld sense.

In short, we can’t bring our textbooks on stage with us!

There is an income stream from THEORY products bought by happy customers who want to know theory AND ALSO by disappointed customers who want to USE theory. If someone (& so far nobody -unless I get hold of a copy of Mr.Vaughn 's book&DVD- has been able to show me they can) can actually come up with a Memory Method tailor-made for Musical Scales (&least!) then I feel sure they will be able to take over the income stream that comes from the many people who feel that IF they buy such & such a music theory book or disc they will be able to USE the information within.

There is a healthy market for musical instruments and devices that consciously or subconsciously promote the idea that if someone buys this item they will be able to play like their heroes who use the same item. This is a business model that the sports industry rely on and to an extent many other markets rely on too.

The musical education market relies on pretty much the same ‘schtick’ as lottery tickets and scratchcard promoters. All they really can genuinely promise their customers is the opportunity IF EXTERNAL THINGS OUTSIDE THEIR CONTROL ARE RIGHT then those customers may be able to realise a long held dream HOWEVER that is not what the customers are thinking!

The customers are thinking “if I purchased this product then what I will hold in my hands and therefore my head is the ability to realise a long held dream” In this case being able to play an instrument well and for that to be acknowledged by themselves and others outside of themselves.

In short: a real-world ability.

Of course many only ever achieve what most scratchcard customers achieve…

If someone were able to come up with a method that can run alongside this well-founded profitable music education market & say to customers “you need this if you are to access properly the products you have and the knowledge you’ve already acquired” then it would be like an electric guitar cable manufacturer saying "hey! I don’t make electric guitars; I don’t even make amps but I make the little thing that fits between them that would render both obsolete if ya didn’t have it! "

If you truly devise a system I would be happy to test it for ya :wink:


To end up on stage would mean that one has practiced beforehand. Scales, along with arpeggios and chords, are among those things that make up building blocks of music. Whether they originate from pure theory or from application is not so important, but if one wants to be practical it’d be best to practice them on their instrument as often as possible until they’re familiar with the finger/ body movement patterns involved.
What (and how, and how often) one practices matters. If one learns music theory, they haven’t learnt how to play scales, etc., they have just learned theory, which is commendable, and could be a great foundation in putting the knowledge to practice. That is, they possess the cognitive memory of how those scales (or whatever) are expressed on paper, but not in the kinesthetic sense of the locomotor system when they actually are at their instrument.
Visualizing theory while practicing could be a good idea. The most appropriate instrument that allows instant understanding of theory, harmony, etc. is the piano (/any keyboard instrument). If you’re not a keyboardist, I wouldn’t really know how visualizing theory (e.g.scales) being played on a keyboard would help, since you might not be very familiar with its format. To my understanding, though, it’s far more clear than stringed instruments. Even free online resources display theory on a keyboard.
But, no matter the instrument, diligent practice (which happens as an internal process first and foremost) is the key to connecting theory with actual performance. After a certain point the skill to play them flawlessly may even lead to a reverse situation; you might be able to answer theoretical questions based on the now-very-familiar patterns that pop up immediately in your mind, the only thing missing being translating the things you sense (feel, see, hear) internally to words that abstractly describe them, i.e. theory.
Learning is mainly an internal process: we accept external stimuli and internalize them for understanding, at the very least. External dependence supports consumerism in more ways than one, and has little to offer to true learning, imho…
Hope that helps somewhat! :slight_smile:


Music theory is only the means to an end. Having clear goals, solid musicianship and instrumental proficiency are essential for establishing a foundation for long term enjoyment and reward The problem is you can’t sell that in a book to beginners or the mere curious.

However, the cycle of fourths/fifths is still the best game in town. The key is to adapt it to your instrument in your own way. Perhaps someone should publish an book exploring the most beneficial/creative exercises using the cycle. Who knows, maybe it will become the next “Schtick.”