Learning how to play on tune for a flutist is quite important as you can imagine, but perhaps you haven’t considered that it’s most useful when needing to play with another instrument. For this reason alone, it’s imperative to learn how to use a tuner.
The idea of a tuner (machine) is not to have it ‘tune’ you as you play… uh perhaps this is obvious because the tuner only measures the frequency of the tones you are playing. It doesn’t actually do anything for you. You have to do the tuning yourself.
You’ll find that tuning gets easier and easier over time.
Learning how to tune on a flute is one of the cool skills you learn when you study and practice the lessons from your teacher… hopefully you are taking advice from an instructor who knows and really communicates well. On flute there are several different movements or ideas you can execute that change your pitch.
In order to utilize the tuner machine you need to notice whether you are playing sharp or flat.. or right on. Here’s a quick guide:
- Turn on the tuner
- Find the calibration and make sure it is set to A=440
- Play an A (the most on-tune note for a flute, usually)
- Look at the dial – is it to the left of middle or to the right?
- Adjust your playing (can’t put all of those lessons right here in one article, but no worries – come take the flute lessons I have on this site and you’ll learn how)
- Once you can hit the note and have the dial stay at ‘basically’ straight up the middle, then you can consider that note on tune.
- If the dial is to the left of middle, you are flat
- If the dial is to the right of middle, you are sharp
As you can see, there’s a lot more to answering the question of how to use the tuner than can be written, but rest assured that I can show you. After you have become a more fluent, seasoned player you’ll find that tuning gets easier and easier.
Practicing ‘hearing’ if you are sharp or flat (with your own ears) is a super great way to up your level. Get a tuner, and start today.
My favorite tuner for flute is this one: http://amzn.to/1XdGRq2
It lasts forever (it seems) without needing a battery replacement, and is very accurate. It’s nice and flat so it fits nicely in my flute bag or even my flute case depending on where I need to take it.
The tuner – a super important tool for flutists. Have any fun exercises or games you’ve taught yourself using a tuner? Please share in the comment section below. We’d love to join in on the fun!