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    I recently had a teacher tell me to practice my scales but ” don’t use a tuner”. I’ve done fairly well staying on pitch until she made an adjustment to my left hand/thumb and now I’m flat in e (d string) and b (a string). I can match my g and d and a with the lower octave and drone to make sure I’m on pitch but it seems counter productive to not use a tuner. I don’t want to practice playing flat all the time.
    Thoughts about using the tuner for slow scales in practice?

    #14020 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Personally, I can see using a pitch tuner for tuning the violin, or to re-align the left hand after a major positional adjustment. Beyond that, using a tuner that gives a visual reinforcement to finger placement does nothing to train the ear. Playing the violin requires a good ear. You should be listening to your fingers and looking at your bow. You don’t have another pair of eyes to check a tuner optic. You need to let your ear decide if the pitch needs to be adjusted. And you need to set up habits that force decision on listening alone.

    To transition away from the tuner, you could practice notes without the tuner, get the note where you think it should be, then check with the tuner. Then practice that repeatedly with eyes closed, listening carefully and memorizing the feeling in the hand, the motion of placing the finger in the correct position. As long as you are ‘reading’ (the tuner), you’re not memorizing (the necessary muscle action).

    #14199 Reply


    I’ve been practicing a couple of months with the tuner in front of me. I practice scales with the tuner. Of course I do not just watch the tuner, I also try to listen very carefully. When I play etudes and pieces the tuner is in front of me too. I think it helped me really well to find out which notes I systematically play wrong. And I did notice that lately I don’t watch the tuner so much anymore but I do start to hear when a note is the right pitch and when not. So, if I remove the tuner now, I can still play in tune. 🙂 In my case it was/is very helpful, but I’m glad that I don’t depend so much of the tuner anymore now.

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