The Member Challenges at CGC Academy are month-long community events that focus on one theme to help you focus on and achieve short-term goals. We hold a challenge every season and the topic for each challenge will be different for each season. The beginning of each year always kicks off the Member Challenges with a focus on technique, but topics range from scales to duets to metronome practice and much more!

The format for the challenges will differ depending on the focus for each particular month, but in general members who participate will be asked to upload weekly update videos on their progress with the challenge topic and Niki and Dave will provide feedback and guidance via comments in the Forum on each member’s videos. The challenges typically launch on the 1st of the month (schedule listed below) but stay tuned to this page as we may need to make adjustments along the way.

This page houses info as well as signups for all of the challenges. Here is the basic schedule for our round of challenges each year:

  • January 1: Winter Challenge (Technique)
  • May 1: Spring Challenge
  • August 1: Summer Challenge
  • November 1: Fall Challenge

To create a post for your update videos in the Member Challenges forum, first go to the appropriate forum in the Member Challenges forum, then scroll to the bottom of the page to “Create a New Topic.” In the “Topic Title” box please put your first and last name and the title of the challenge and/or the exercise you’re working on. In the large box below that you can type your text and directly paste the URL from your YouTube video. For each weekly update please post in this same topic — please do not create a new topic for each weekly update.

Current/Upcoming Member Challenge

CGC Academy Scales & Arpeggios Member Challenge, Winter 2023

This challenge is all about scales and arpeggios. Specifically you will be working with the new lessons from our brand new course on Scales & Arpeggios

Members who undertake this challenge will choose to focus either on scales or arpeggios from a different unit each week for three units and three weeks total. (Week 4 will be a live wrap-up session.) 

It is up to you to set goals for what you’d like to achieve each week. The variety each new set of scales and arpeggios brings each week will automatically give you different goals to focus on, but it’s also important to bring lessons you learn from one week into the next. So make sure you don’t skip this step: set both achievable and realistic goals for each week and also one overall goal you want to achieve by month’s end. 

Every grade has either two or three units of scales & arpeggios lessons. For that reason, some grades (Grades 2, 4, 6, 8) will only have two units to choose from. In those cases we would ask that you choose three total units from an earlier grade along with your current grade. For Grades 1, 3, 5, 7 please choose the three units of scales and arpeggios from your grade or a combination of earlier grades with your current grade for a total of three units of scales and arpeggios. 

The CGC Team will be giving you feedback each week on what to work on and how best to reach your goals week to week. 

Focus areas:

To assist you in creating goals from week to week, here is a rundown of different focus areas we’d like you to use for each set of scales and arpeggios from the course:

Grade 1:

Unit 1

  • Scales: Choose one of the three focus areas for the G Major scale: dynamics, tone color, speed
  • Arpeggios: Play Blue Waves with focus on smooth left-hand transitions and even rhythm for the pimami pattern

Unit 2

  • Scales: C Major: Choose one of the four goals to focus on in the lesson worksheet; OR Extended C Major: focus on keeping fingers close to frets (using lesson worksheet)
  • Arpeggios: Focus on making ring finger match the sound of other fingers

Unit 3

  • Scales: Choose one area to focus on, always aiming for control and consistency
  • Arpeggios: Choose one: focus either on RH mvt and sound or LH sequential transitions

Grade 2:

Unit 4

  • Scales: Practice all three minor scales to hear and feel the differences between them
  • Arpeggios: Choose one: tone quality; RH balance; steady pulse and smooth transitions; sequential placement of LH fingers

Unit 5

  • Scales: Choose one: free and rest strokes with and without accents; dynamics; staccato; color
  • Arpeggios: focus on triplet rhythms and specifically transitioning from quarter-note scales to triplets for arpeggios

Grade 3:

Unit 6

  • Scales: Focus on LH extension to play “out” of position while staying “in” position
  • Arpeggios: Focus either on fluid LH pivoting or rocking; or clean shifting (no accents on either side of shift)

Unit 7

  • Scales: Focus on 1st-string extension by extending 1st finger while keeping 3 and 4 “in position”
  • Arpeggios: Focus on legato shifting with open strings

Unit 8

  • Scales: Focus on having no accent on either side of shift with smooth legato
  • Arpeggios: Focus on rhythmic evenness of multiple thumb stroke pattern (perhaps through switching between dotted and straight rhythmic practice)

Grade 4:

Unit 9

  • Scales: Focus on dotted rhythms: first use subdivision (playing all sixteenths) and then switch back to dotted rhythms until it becomes smooth and even 
  • Arpeggios: Focus on slur: Switch from articulated notes (no slur) to adding the slur for rhythmic stability and evenness of tone

Unit 10

  • Scales: Work through each scale permutation to feel the difference in shifting to transition between positions
  • Arpeggios: Focus to keep a finger sound even with other fingers’ sound

Grade 5:

Unit 11

  • Scales: Focus on fluidity in chromatic octave scale through LH prep, specifically moving next two fingers while holding other fingers down
  • Arpeggios

Unit 12

  • Scales: Focus on accenting the a finger for rhythmic grouping, and then on removing all accents for fluidity and evenness
  • Arpeggios: Focus on different RH accents for smoother rhythms and developing cleaner more even tone between fingers

Unit 13

  • Scales: Focus either on actively relaxing on long notes in speed bursts or on 2 steps-forward-1-back metronome technique
  • Arpeggios: Focus on sequential crab-like movement to improve LH independence

Grade 6:

Unit 14

  • Scales: Focus either on LH independence; RH fingerings; or fingerboard knowledge
  • Arpeggios: Focus either on RH prep; accenting different fingers; dotted rhythms; metronome work; reducing LH squeaks; or sequential LH fingers

Unit 15

  • Scales: Focus on clean buzz by alternating between different amounts of pressure
  • Arpeggios: Focus on reducing extraneous movements in RH 

Grade 7:

Unit 16

  • Scales: Focus on using dynamic “steps” to develop gradients
  • Arpeggios: Focus either on playing above 12th fret or on rest stroke and cascading RH fingers

Unit 17

  • Scales: Focus on expansion and contraction of LH fingers to improve fluidity
  • Arpeggios: Focus on slowing tempo to increase difficulty of stretch

Unit 18

  • Scales: Practice moving from articulated notes to slurs to focus on flow and speed
  • Arpeggios: Choose one focus area: Consistency of tone; stability of pulse; accuracy of rhythms; not swallowing last note of LH transitions; dynamics and RH weight

Grade 8:

Unit 19

  • Scales: Focus on developing campanella fingerings, using Bach Prelude BWV 1007 as test case
  • Arpeggios: Focus either on using accents on each finger to develop control; RH prep; or using the whole builder to develop speed

Unit 20

  • Scales: Rhythmic focus on chunks with slight accents (only for practice) on first beat of each chunk
  • Arpeggios: Consistent tone and rhythm; speed development; bring out top note

You will be uploading one video each week to mark your progress toward your weekly and your ultimate monthly goals. We are looking for progress and regular practice. How well you play each scale and arpeggio is not necessarily as important as sticking with your goals to make progress from week to week. Please limit your videos to no longer than 2-3 minutes if possible (with some exceptions as necessary). 

Please post your videos in the Member Challenge #21 Forum here. Please be sure you only post all of your weekly videos to ONE thread with a topic title with your name and Grade level.

Schedule: 

  • Week 1 video due: January 6, 2023
  • Week 2 video due: January 13, 2023
  • Week 3 video due: January 20, 2023
  • Week 4 live wrap-up session: January 29, 2023 @4pm NYC time

Sign-ups are closed for this challenge.