Get In Tune
Posted by: david at 9:19 pm on October 16th, 2016
Tuning your instrument seems like a pretty basic part of playing music, but it is often something that is overlooked. Many musicians tend to forget that the instrument will react to changes in temperature and humidity, causing it to drift out of tune.
The best way to improve your intonation is to work with a tuner on a consistent basis. I have seen firsthand how powerful this simple tool can be. Before I started teaching, I thought it was cheating to use a tuner to tune my guitar. The result: I would spend way too time tuning my guitar by ear; only to be frustrated and still out of tune.
That all changed when I started teaching guitar lessons. The first thing my students do is tune their guitar with my electronic tuner. Because of this, I heard guitars being properly tuned all day, day after day, for almost ten years.
After a while I could hear when each string was in tune without even looking at the tuner. I even began to hear intonation issues on professional recordings. Things like how the clarinets are sharp on the Original Broadway Soundtrack to “Wicked”, or how the guitar intro on Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” is out of tune.
Of course, my own playing has benefited from this as well. I am continually aware of how in tune my instruments are while I am playing. Even when you are practicing, it is crucial to keep it all in tune. You should start by tuning your instrument with your tuner at the very start of your practice session.
Assuming your guitar is adjusted properly and you are using proper technique you shouldn’t have much more to worry about. However wind, brass, and non-fretted stringed instruments will need to practice long tones with a tuner. This will help the player identify and adjust for the variations of their instrument.
A little bit of work on a consistent basis will go a long way and over time you too will evolve your sense of pitch. Your fellow musicians, as well as the audience, will appreciate the extra effort.
If you have any questions or would like to sign up for private lessons contact The Marion Music Academy at 319-377-3343.
A graduate of Luther College, David Arnold has been providing high quality private music lessons to students of all ages for over 15 years. His specialties include saxophone, guitar, and bass guitar. Drawing upon his diverse musical background, David provides a unique experience that merges his formal training in music with his professional performance experiences. Students will learn to be confident, well rounded musicians that are capable of performing in a wide array of musical settings.