Practice In Tune. Perform In Tune.

04/06/2014 20:24

I recently had the honor of presenting a lecture at the University of Dayton and at the Western Horn Workshop at Colorado State University. In this lecture, entitled "Practice In Tune. Perform In Tune.", I covered successful approaches to gaining proficiency in the area of tempered, melodic, and harmonic intonation through the use of all of the resources available to us as musicians and horn players. 

One aspect of intonation that I feel is often misunderstood and misapplied is the use of the electronic tuner. Far too often, students are merely training their eyes without developing any true sense of pitch using their ears. With my students, I prefer to have them insert headphones into tuning drones, close their eyes, match the pitch to what they believe to be perfectly in tune, and then open their eyes to see where they actually are playing with the electronic tuner (which will not pick up the drone, but rather only the pitch that is being played). This will let the student know if he or she is actually hearing pitch correctly. To further train the ears, I then have the students continue to listen to the drone, use their eyes to put the note perfectly in tune, and then feel and hear how that sounds. From here, the student can play a little flat to get used to how flat actually feels and sounds, and then he or she can play a little sharp to feel how sharp feels and sounds. These exercises are so helpful in teaching all of us as musicians how to develop good awareness of pitch. 

The PREZI presentation of the lecture may be viewed by visiting: