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Are scales necessary to learn???

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Just a sidenote, that I came to think of reading this thread...

I used to have guitar lessons in school, since I studied music, and part of the guitar courses were improvising... However, they switched teachers rather a lot, and for quite some time I had this extremely structured by-the-book kind of guy.. He was nice, but way too structured... Kept telling me to use this and that scale when improvising, I said "I don't do that" and explained how I preferred to do it, but he kept nagging about those scales.

During the last term of the course I got another teacher, who liked my improvising and was impressed with the "follow the chord" approach I had adopted (thank you, Kirk!), appreciating the freedom it gave me in my playing.

But when it was time for the teachers to set our grades, both my guitar teachers talked to both each other and to me about what grade I should have. The new one felt I deserved the highest, but the other one argued to lower my grade because I COULDN'T IMPROVISE BY SCALES. I got kind of pissed about it, and went to his office and argued my case, and I convinced him not to lower my grade just for that. So I got the highest eventually. ^^

But he still feels that I should have been lowered, just because I wouldn't improvise using his scales. :P

...sorry for thread snatching. ^^

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