How to Improve Intonation - Intonation Part 2
Hi violin students (and other music students) reading this article! Today I wanted to discuss some tips on how to improve intonation. Good intonation can be developed from the moment you start learning the violin, in fact it is much easier to develop good intonation from day 1 then to go back and correct/develop it at a later stage.
Good intonation comes from inside the player's head, how they "pitch" the sound. If the student is not pitching the notes in their mind as they play, then their intonation will not be secured, and they will not be able to make a good sound on their instrument. So hearing the notes in your head before you play them is the first step to developing good intonation.
Here are some other tips suggested in an article by M.E. Martin ( (GIA Publications, 2004)):
- Sing everything before you play.
- Relate all the other notes to the tonic (most notes will want to gravitate to this note)
- Hear the music in your head before playing
- Find the notes by ear and correct your intonation on your own.
- Avoid relying on tapes and dots (I generally don't use these with my students unless they're very young)
- Play alone in the lesson
- Learn both major and minor keys at the same time including their modes
- Develop a vocabulary of scales and tonal patterns that you can sing, play, and recognize.
- Develop proper instrument position and a good, flexible left-hand position.
- Play music by ear rather than focusing on the notation.
- Spend lesson time playing scales and pieces by ear
- Play the same song in many different keys.
- Play the same song in different tonalities (major, minor, Dorian, Mixolydian, and so on) - for more advanced students.
So there you have it. 14 ways to improve your intonation.
Thanks for reading!
Sydney Violin Studios