Practicing intonation using a tuner
My sister is deaf in one ear and her other ear has 70% hearing. I am teaching her how to play the violin. She is a out of tune and the way I suggested her practicing is with a tuner. So she plays the scale slowly and makes sure that each note is in tune 100%. Is this a good way to teach intonation? Any other suggestions? Is there hope that she can play in tune without hearing the notes properly?
I have felt that learning intonation from the familiar songs of childhood* is a proper introduction to intonation on the violin. The finger spacings for the songs are pretty much the same ones for playing scales in tune. That's why I have liked the Suzuki approach.
Andy nailed it as usual. My teacher will stop a student -- even an advanced student -- whose intonation is not correct and have them play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or whatever ditty might be appropriate to the context. If you can play C#-B-A-B-C# on the violin and it sounds like "Mary" then you know it's right. In the end a lot of violin intonation is just about calibrating yourself to hear whole steps and half steps correctly.
This is excellent advice. I would add that it might be a good idea for her to learn to play without a shoulder rest, so she can more easily learn to FEEL the vibrations, rather than try to depend on a visual signal from a tuner. This would perhaps help to compensate for her hearing impairment.
The violin is all about your ear and being able to hear the relations between the notes. If your sister has a serious hearing impairment, it's gonna be a tough road. There's no such thing as muscle memory when it comes to intonation.
All the reasons people give for why a "tuner never helps" have never spent much time using a tuner. It doesn't work for them. Their teacher didn't use one, whatever, etc. A reliable cheap chromatic tuner that you can put on your music stand has only been around for a few decades, and it isn't surprising that they didn't learn with it, so they cannot see the value. A Korg CA-1 is a fine tool, used properly.
I haven't been alive long enough to know a world without electronic tuners.
For YOU, they are a distraction. OK, don't use them. "Your experience may vary."
I'm a neophyte in ability, but have been trying to learn for years. To me, the tuner is just a logistical impedance. Creates too much distraction away from the instrument, like I'm having to use my sight to know if I'm right, and it's a channel I should not be using at the moment.
I returned to violin over two years ago. I initially used Intonia, a phone app, to help re-establish my ear. It helped tremendously. It reads almost instantly and is easy to see from the corner of your eye while your playing. After awhile I could obviously see and hear that I didn't need it and stopped using it.
An earplug will make the sound softer and change it somewhat by suppressing the highest frequencies (they are the ones who do the damage to the ear); it does not alter the frequency, i.e. the pitch. It should not affect intonation training.
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