I have lurked for a while; I have posted to some threads when I thought I could be of help; now I will start this thread (and maybe duck for cover?). I have just posted this to my blogs and would like comments from members: Is it the instrument or the player that is out of tune? Many of us have heard the legend of the frustrated school band director talking to the brass players. He has just spent the last 30 minutes trying to get the band in tune so that it can sound sweet for the school concert that night. With his eyes glued on the magic tuning machine in his hand he is saying "sharp – pull out…flat – push in…no, you’re still sharp – pull out". And so it continues. The kid who is being singled out gets more and more nervous. And, guess what? When you get nervous or feel under attack, the first thing that goes is your breathing. So the poor kid is squeezing out his note tighter and tighter; the pitch is going up and up; the trumpet is getting longer and longer; eventually it will be so long that the player will be miss-pitching up to the next harmonic. In exasperation the band director says: "The instruments are made in tune at the factory; just pull your tuning slides out a quarter of an inch!" We all laugh at this story, but maybe it has some validity. We must first of all settle the player so that they can blow freely. In these situations I prefer to say tight instead of sharp. The player is tight which makes the notes sharp. We must address the problem (tense player) not the result (sharp pitch). Assuming the instrument is well made, and an experienced player is able to play it in tune with the main slide out about half an inch, have that player demonstrate to the student where “in tune is”, and have the student blow (in unison with that player) long, easy notes with the slide in that setting. This can demonstrate to them what it is like to play in tune. They will also discover that their playing requires much less effort. There is always the tendency to believe that the correct pitch in any ensemble is the highest pitch that is sounding at the time. The player who is flat is the one who sticks out; the great French Horn virtuoso, Barry Tuckwell, is reputed to have said "I’d rather be a little sharp than out of tune". What do you think?