So now that we’ve discussed some of the causes behind poor intonation, how do we help our students build good intonation habits? In the second part of this series Jordan Stern and I discuss some of the strategies to teach intonation conceptually. Keep in mind, listeners, that learning to play in tune is a combination of both understanding what it means to hear bad intonation and how to make pitch adjustments on their instruments. For instance, students need to be taught to hear the acoustical beating between mismatched pitches (check out the podcast for some approaches to this). Once they have the ability to hear the difference, then the student also need to learn how to properly adjust instrument pitch, which varies on each instrument. We also discuss so problem areas for achieving pitch consciousness with your students.
Below are some materials Jordan and I reference across this series. I have included some links below to some of these items. As a disclaimer, I receive a small credit if you purchase the items through the links provided.
Tuning for Wind Instruments is a great resource for developing intonation and pitch consciousness in your band. It covers the origins of intonation concerns and provided practical tips for fixing them.
Tuning the Band is a quick reference guide for pitch tendencies and idea tuning notes. For the band director in a hurry, this may be helpful. I tend to think of the book as analogous to a fingering chart. I don’t need it all the time, but when I do it is crucial that it be easy to use in a hurry.
Improving Intonation in Band and Orchestra is another great resource. This book contains not only a thorough discussing of intonation, but offers several practical resources, such as individual tuning tendency charts, for director use.
Finally, we will be discussing the Yamaha Harmony Director in a later episode, but I wanted to provide a link here in case you are either unfamiliar or in the market for one.