Training With Tuners

Raise your hand if your band director stands in front of you with a tuner, calling out: “Flat! Push in!” “Sharp! Pull out!” Does this really help you play in tune, or do you simply try to make the tuner stand still for a minute so he or she will go away? Read more »


In this article, I’d like to discuss the use of drones for improving intonation. A drone is a sustained reference pitch or pitches, such as a root/fifth combination. Drones can be generated on a synthesizer, and are available on several CDs including The Tuning CD and Tuning Tactics. Listening to a drone as you practice improves your ability to hear and control subtle variations in pitch. Every note you play forms part of an interval relative to a key center established by the drone. Pitch discrepancies are revealed with crystal clarity. Even absolute beginners will benefit from listening to the drone as they learn how to produce the first notes on the instrument or the mouthpiece. They hear the pitch they are striving for, a key factor in successful brass playing. Read more »

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