I’ve had some interesting teaching moments recently. I had one student tell me he wanted to work more on Jazz phrasing and that what we were working on (technique) was so he could play in tune.
I explained that being in tune is a consequence of playing correctly. If we put down and pick up our fingers correctly and at exactly the right time, our intuition will not let us play out of tune. That’s a matter of faith, but it has been proven to me over and over again.
Intonation is about tone quality and blend. If you are playing with someone and your fingers aren’t together, it will sound out of tune regardless of the pitch. Now if we don’t have control of our fingers, and are slightly early or late all the time, this sends all kinds of confused messages to the brain. I doesn’t feel right. When what we’re playing doesn’t feel right to us, we can’t free our mind.
When we have complete control of our fingers, then we can learn how to make all the subtle adjustments necessary to phrase correctly. It’s easy from there. I’m not saying there aren’t others ways to get there, but to me it makes the most sense.
This is all very old teaching that came to me through my Teacher Phil Sobel and from his teacher Henry Lindeman, who developed his method by studying virtuoso violinist Jasha Heifetz, who studied with Leopold Hauer, Russian Master violin teacher.
Anyway, I find it very difficult to put the cart before the horse or to let my students do it either. However I do give them some easy jazz victories to pique their interest. It still need to be fun.
Have a nice day😎