This article is from the Classical Guitar Playing FAQ, by Joshua Weage (email@example.com) with numerous contributions by others.
I believe scales are important for the following reasons:
- as a tool to improving physical dexterity and responsiveness.
In practicing scales you must execute many of the physical
movements required in playing music. Playing scales allows
you to focus on this aspect, independent of a single piece
of music. The benefits gained can then be applied to all
the music you play.
- as a tool to improving sight reading ability.
Melodies move stepwise, skipwise, or both. When you know the
key and the associated scales you are able to recognize larger
chunks of music. The ability to recognize and execute pieces
of the music larger than the individual notes is an important
sight reading skill.
- as a tool to improved understanding of music.
Scales play a very important role in music. Understanding scales
and how they relate to music is important learning to make music.
A thorough understanding of scales is fundamental to improving
improvisational skills. You know, we've gotten kinda stodgy
with classical music during these modern times. Improvisation
played an important role in much of the music we strive to play
note per note.