How do you teach youngsters to tune in a way that is accessible and which future proofs their habits ? Really the question is which key should I ask youngsters to tune to – Eb with an electronic tuner and the levers off ( so they grapple with the true sharps being displayed), or in C with the levers on ? Should I take them through the 4ths and 5ths method or just say best to start at middle C (levers on) – tune downwards sequentially first and then upwards from middle D.
To future proof them for orchestra do they still need to start at 3rd A, or can that come later ? You see I’ll always start at 3rd A (Ab) with a pedal harp in order to tune in C (Cb) major. On lever harps I use the same method from 3rd C to tune in Eb major (levers down), but actually my tuning is also viable by ear as the steps are in 4ths and 5ths, having grown up without an electronic tuner and in fact I often tune by ear anyway as it’s quicker.