Update on Intonation Book

Well, the book is ready, but I’m experiencing some delays getting the payment and delivery process perfected, so unless I figure it out tonight, it may be a few more days before it is ready. In the meantime, here is another preview of what you will find in the book.


WHAT: Keep the tonic notes of a scale in tune with each other in while playing ascending and descending scales.
WHY: When playing ascending or descending scales, it is common for octaves to be either stretched or compressed. When this happens, the tonic notes are out of tune with each other in the different octaves. If this happens, then everything else is probably out of tune as well. It is important that all A’s be in tune with each other, all B’s, etc. You have to get in tune with yourself before you can hope to be in tune with anyone else.

:)) Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The concepts are very simple, but they are not necessarily easy. This is just the introductory info, to find out what the HOW of the exercise is, you’ll have to get the book!

Virtual Flute Choir

If you haven’t heard about the Virtual Flute Choir, check this site and YouTube video out. What a cool idea! Flutists from all over the world submitted videos of themselves playing a pre-selected piece at a set tempo. Then those individual videos and recordings were recorded into a single performance. Neato keen!

To be honest, it sounds a lot better than most flute choirs I have heard. I’m a little suspicious about how much sound and pitch editing was done, but that doesn’t really matter. It is a good recording and the realization of a terrific idea. Kudos to Karen McLaughlin Large (fellow Florida Flute Association member) for her terrific idea and for making it all happen.

Here is the link to the website that describes the project and displays the video. You can also go to YouTube directly and watch the video from there.

First Intonation Practice Book is Almost Here!

Hey everyone! I think I may actually make my Dec. 1 first launch date! The book itself is in good shape, now I just have to get all the other little details ironed out so it can go out in the e-marketplace. I’ve put the Table of Contents below so you can check it out and see what you think. This first book is focused on how to use a tuner, Book 2 will be about how to practice without a tuner so you can better develop your ear. Neither book will be flute-centric, all the exercises will work for any instrument, so feel free to refer your intonation-challenged friends from the brass and string sections. Hope you like it!


Table of Contents
How to Use this Book
Lesson 1: Chart Your Pitch Tendencies
Lesson 2: Steady Long Tones
Lesson 3: Changing Dynamics
Lesson 4: Don’t Stretch the Octaves
Lesson 5: Keep Your Arpeggios in Shape
Lesson 6: Return to Where You Came From
Lesson 7: Keep Your Tonics in Tune
Lesson 8: Pitch Bends; How Low (or High) Can You Go?
Some Additional Words
About the Author

Preparing for Intonation Contingencies

At last week’s flute choir rehearsal, we were discussing how often we might have to tune during the concert because of people having to change to different instruments for different pieces. There were several suggestions made about how to peed the flutes warm so they wouldn’t be so flat when they are picked up for a new piece (maybe there’s a new product or gimmick to be developed here!)

One flutist described a really thoughtful, ambitious method she uses to deal with this situation. She practices the pieces as if in performance and checks the general pitch of each new instrument as she picks it up and has to play it cold. By doing this, she gets at least a general idea of how to adjust the pitch so she anticipate what she needs to do to play in tune when the flute is cold. Paying constant attention to pitch (which she should be doing anyway!) allows her to adjust as the flute warms up. Wow! This person is really thinking! Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did this? Just one more thing to add to the list of things to do in order to be prepared for every contingency in performance. Thank you Judy for that wonderful, smart idea!

Practical Intonation Practice Manifesto

Practical Intonation Practice Manifesto

1. Everything is a tone exercise. Always use the best tone production possible! Good intonation and good tone go hand in hand.

2. Don’t rush. Give yourself plenty of time to hear the sounds you are producing so you can determine if any changes need to be made. Pay attention to how it feels to produce a good note that is ‘in tune’ and memorize that feeling so you can reproduce it.

3. Regular, small bits of careful practice will achieve more than long sessions of inattentive, mindless practice.

4. Your ears are your most important musical tools. Improving your intonation is as much about improving your ears as it is anything else.

5. Words are important. The words you use to describe your practicing (or others’) influence what you will be able to accomplish. Stay away from judgmental right/wrong statements, instead try works/ doesn’t work, better/best.

Intonation Practice Book Coming Soon!

I’ve noticed that many people come to this blog because of the intonation exercises that I have sporadically posted. Everyone wants to play with good intonation, but it can be a difficult skill to master. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about intonation and how to make learning it easier. So I’ve decided to create practice books that I think will help people improve their intonation skills.

The first one will be a kind of how-to manual for using a tuner to improve intonation skills. We’ve all been told to use a tuner to learn to play in tune better, but how many of us have been shown how? Electronic tuners are cool gadgets, and tuner apps are fun to play around with, but how can using them really improve how we play?
I’ve got some ideas and have designed exercises for this. The next book will be about how to improve your ear, intonation in real life. Can’t have one without the other! Then who knows where this lead!

The book will first be available as a downloadable ebook, then soon after that I’ll get it formatted for iPads, Kindles, or other electronic readers. This means I have to learn how to do some new things, such as formatting for different media, Sibelius software, making shopping carts, PayPal, etc., but this is all part of creating a microbusiness. Later maybe I’ll even get into YouTube video lessons or teaching via Skype. So much to learn!

I’m aiming for a Dec. 1 launch date. What do you think? Will people buy a book about how to use a tuner? Maybe the tuner companies should pay me to show people how to make use of their products! Unfortunately they don’t seem to have had any trouble selling their product, but it would be nice to know how to make use of them!