Your guitars are being played 6-8 hours a day, they are being taken in and out of storage every day (hopefully), they are being handled by numerous hands, and the weather just went from 90 with humidity to a dry 75. If this sounds like your classroom, I’m guessing your guitars are out of tune.
Tuning a set of guitars is no fun, it takes time, you can live with dissonance. To Tune, or Not To Tune: That is the Question! And, the answer is: TUNE!!!
First, your class will never sound good when they’re out of tune. Second, your students should get used to the tension of the strings on an instrument that is in tune. Third, your guitars will last longer. So how do you get the job done?
1. Teach Tuning
Your kids will need to learn how to tune their guitars at some point. Start by having them use electronic tuners, otherwise you will dedicate hours of class time to having your kids tune. Clip-on tuners are inexpensive and will help your students tune quickly! Teach them to tune by ear gradually.
2. Extra Credit
There’s always a student who wants to raise his/her GPA. Having a student or two tune your guitars is a great way for them to do some service, help out the class, and get the feel of the guitar under their hands.
3. Find the Guitar-Crazy Kid
Guitar inspires kids in a way that nothing else can. You probably won’t have to look to far to find a student who loves guitar so much she wants to take care of the guitars after school. Tuning the guitars will give that guitar-crazy student extra time with the guitars and chance to get even better.
4. Guitar-Pizza Party
Reserve this for a monthly or quarterly event. Invite your best students to overhaul the guitars entirely and pay them in pizza. Since there is pizza involved remember to order the works: Invitees get to take off the strings, clean the gunk of the fret board, polish the guitars, re-string the instruments, and tune them up. The pizza will be a great draw and you will get takers!
Tuning is fundamental. If your kids play instruments that are not in tune, they will never hear themselves play well. Taking an extra five minutes out of class will make all the difference.