Scales are often neglected by those who, wrongly, consider them monotonous and boring successions of sounds to be studied only because they are tested in exams.
We think differently and are fully in agreement with Alessandro Longo, the well-known composer and teacher, who writes: "Studying scales not only develops technique, but also, more especially, ensures acquisition and mastery of tonality as a whole; and this mastery of scales has to be achieved right in the earliest years of study. Anyone who fails to attain this will never be a real musician".
The marimba, like all percussion instruments, has benefited from the influence of contemporary music, and so marimba players these days find themselves in challenging times.
Modern-day music is full of difficulties for all instruments, and all the more so for "new" instruments like the marimba, which has no background of classical literature to count on.
Some time ago, in an article for the review Percussioni , we wrote: All percussion instruments have become protagonists in contemporary music, where to all appearances there are no rules to follow. This does not mean, though, that modern music players should neglect those rules which have led up to this type of music... The same problems face instrumentalists and composers alike: the problems of starting off from the roots of music from its history and its rules, so as to have a basis for one's own cultural and instrumental revolution, if necessary.
Beginning on the same footing as all other instrumentalists is no more difficult for a marimba player than for anyone else - you only need to begin with the traditional scales (and their corresponding arpeggios) to achieve technical and musical mastery of all tonality.