As any viola or violin player can tell you, intonation is one of the biggest challenges we deal with, from beginners to seasoned professionals. Here are a few ideas that players of any level can use to improve their ability to hear accurately and play in tune.
• First, try singing your music, as slowly as you need to. If you can’t sing the pitches, that means your ear doesn’t know where your fingers need to go.
• Try plunking out the notes on a keyboard to hear reliable pitches.
• If you use tapes, remember to rely on your ears, not your eyes, and listen for clear, ringing tones.
• Play with a drone, or with accompaniment. Pay attention to how your intonation relates to the other part.
• Remember, intonation is a skill that needs to be developed continually, so make good intonation practice a regular part of your musical diet!