Australian Music Examinations Board
Australian Music Examinations Board

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Scale Helper - a voice activated practice assistant

 

 

Help your students master their scales and arpeggios in a fun and interactive way with the new Scale Helper skill for Amazon Alexa. Just ask Scale Helper for a scale or arpeggio, set the speed and practise along with Alexa. Scale Helper works on any Alexa-enabled device.

 

With regular use, Scale Helper will improve the tuning and rhythmic accuracy of scales and arpeggios, helping students reach their musical goals.

 

Scale Helper allows students to play scales (major, harmonic minor, melodic minor) and arpeggios (major, minor, dominant 7th and diminished 7th) in one or two octaves at four different speeds (very slow, slow, moderate and fast.)

 

To get started, say “Alexa, open Scale Helper”. To explore how Alexa can help you practise, you can then try saying:

  • “Alexa, ask Scale Helper to play a G major scale, fast over two octaves.”
  • “Alexa, ask Scale Helper to play a B minor arpeggio, very slow.”
  • “Alexa, ask Scale Helper to play a random scale”


Scale Helper is easy to use, suitable for all instruments and is a helpful practice room companion. If you play a transposing instrument you can download our transposition poster to work out how to ask for the sounding pitch of the scale. 

 

Whether preparing for an exam or learning music just for fun - anyone can practise with Scale Helper!

 

“I hope this skill will enthuse students of all ages to practise their scales more. Used correctly it will improve fluency, rhythmic accuracy, tuning and will help turn practising scales into an engaging interactive experience.” AMEB Ltd CEO Bernard Depasquale

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Alexa?

Alexa is a voice-activated virtual assistant developed by Amazon, similar to Siri on Apple devices, or Google virtual assistant on others. Alexa can perform a number of tasks including making to-do lists, setting alarms, providing weather and news, and playing music, podcasts or audiobooks. 

 

How do I get Scale Helper?

To get Scale Helper, you must have an Amazon Alexa enabled device including Amazon Echo, Sonos, Bose, Ultimate Ears and more. To get started simply say “Alexa, open Scale Helper”. Alexa will then launch the skill, tell you a little about what it can do, and then have you practising scales in no time!

 

What can Scale Helper do?

Scale Helper allows you to play scales (major, harmonic minor, melodic minor) and arpeggios (major, minor, dominant 7th and diminished 7th) in one or two octaves at four different speeds (very slow, slow, moderate and fast.)

 

Is there a separate version of Scale Helper for transposing instruments, such as clarinet or saxophone?

Not at this stage, but you can still use Scale Helper as a helpful practice tool! If you play a transposing instrument, ask Alexa to play the sounding pitch of the scale. AMEB has prepared a poster to help you know what scale to ask for, which covers instruments in B flat (including most clarinets, trumpets, tenor and soprano saxophones), E flat (alto and baritone saxophones) and F (French horn and cor anglais).

Click here to download or print the transposition poster

 

How do I use Scale Helper?

To get started, simply say “Alexa, open Scale Helper”. Alexa will then launch the skill and tell you a little about what it can do. When prompted, simply instruct Alexa to play a scale or arpeggio in the desired key, over one or two octaves, and the speed at which it should be played – very slow, slow, medium and fast. You’ll be practising along with Scale Helper in no time!

 

How do I practice scales with Scale Helper?

Simply play or sing along with Alexa once you’ve asked for a scale or arpeggio. Start at a slow tempo to make sure you can match the pitch of each note, then try to stay in tune and in time while you ask Alexa for a faster tempo. You’ll be playing pitch-perfect scales and arpeggios in no time.

 

Is Scale Helper free?

Yes, the skill is free on any Amazon Alexa-enabled device. You can purchase from the Amazon Echo range here.

 

Why can’t I find Scale Helper?

The Scale Helper skill is supported in Amazon’s Australia/New Zealand region. For information on how to update your device’s country settings or your Amazon profile, head to Alexa Device Support.

 

Which Amazon devices can I use Scale Helper with?

The Scale Helper skill is available on all Alexa-enabled devices in Amazon’s Australian/New Zealand region. Learn more about Alexa and Alexa-enabled devices and how to manage your device’s country settings.

 

I’m having trouble with Alexa, what should I do?

For information on troubleshooting Amazon Echo Products or Alexa, head to the Amazon Echo Support Centre

 

Will Scale Helper be available on Google Assistant?

At this stage, Scale Helper is only available on Amazon Alexa.

 

Why has AMEB worked with Amazon Alexa to develop Scale Helper? Will there be any other AMEB skills on Alexa in the future?

AMEB was approached by Amazon to collaborate on an Alexa Skill for music students in early 2019. We thought that Scale Helper would be a useful Skill for people learning to play and sing, but we have plenty more ideas for the future. Keep an eye out for other Alexa Skills from AMEB coming soon.