I used Garageband to create an automated tuning sequence. Mind you, this is to be used after your students have become familiar with tuning their own instruments somewhat independently. I use this time to walk around my room, assist with tuning, and take care of other matters (administrative duties, like attendance).
I use a three step system for each string:
1. Listen – students carefully listen to the pitch without talking or movement
2. Internalize – students sing or hum the pitch to themselves
3. Tune – students quietly
Listen to the of Tuning Sequence files (embedded)
Three Minute Countdown:
Download Tuning Sequence files (mp3)
To download these files (and run locally on your computer), simply right click or control click on each of these and select “Download to disk” or similar in the pop up menu. (see this graphic)
Warm-ups (scales, exercises, echoes, etc.)
I have created audio files that help my orchestras learn and play scales. The scales are played in whole notes, with quarter note at about 70 bpm. This gives students time to adjust their pitch and helps students really lock it in. In addition, it helps students work on that ever-so-difficult concept of slow bows, improving their bowstroke and tone.
To help students learn their scales, I pass out my Scale “Cheat Sheet” (pdf). This allows my advanced students to play in upper octaves and others to play at the lower octave. In addition, it allows them to focus on the note name rather than the notation.
Listen to one-octave scales with drones (embedded)
Download one-octave scales with drone audio files
More enhancement strategies…
- Use a drum machine, Garageband, or other software to put a drum beat into boring exercises such as etudes, scales, thirds, echoes, etc.
- Make easy songs sound more interesting or difficult with a track.
- Check out “D String Rock,” and other simple tunes for beginners that sounds awesome with a track I created in Garageband
- Use SmartMusic in your lessons with a computer attached to a projector. Go through the repertoire you are working on and play next to a student who is having difficulties.
- Use Intonia to track the intonation of students and allow others to comment on notes that are flat, sharp, etc.
- These ideas can help you increase proximity to individuals and help reach more students.
- You will need to adjust your technology use for your particular situation (ie. small or big classes, student/teacher’s tech knowledge)