Music & Entertainment


Itzhak Perlman

Lesson time 18:29 min

Perfect your intonation by training your ear to recognize sharp or flat notes. Mr. Perlman shares techniques for staying in tune and for tuning with other musicians.

Itzhak Perlman
Teaches Violin
In his first-ever online class, virtuoso violin player Itzhak Perlman breaks down his techniques for improved practice and powerful performances.
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ITZHAK PERLMAN: If I can have A. [PIANO NOTE] [VIOLIN MUSIC] [PIANO NOTE] [VIOLIN MUSIC] When you practice, you've got to really listen very, very carefully as to what goes on. So whether it's vibrato, whether it's the quality of sound, and whether it is most importantly intonation. Intonation is so-- you can get hypnotized with intonation by hearing something that is only slightly out of tune and being able to live with it. And I always say, you've got to be obsessed by absolutely playing everything dead in tune. [VIOLIN MUSIC] When you practice, 15%-- I don't know why I arrived at 15%. It could be 17 or 20. But 15% of your brain should be dedicated to watching and listening to the intonation, because, like I said before, intonation has a way of hypnotizing the listener into hearing something that's almost there. But we want to get rid of the almost. We want the intonation to be dead on. So always listening to the intonation, regardless of the difficulty of the music, because sometimes when the music is difficult for whatever reason, whether it's for phrasing or for technique, we tend to concentrate on those aspects. But the intonation should always be in the back burner. It should always be there so that if you're practicing something-- if you're doing-- [VIOLIN MUSIC] So we wind up practicing for color. I play a practice-- okay-- great-- practice for color but make sure that it's in tune. So make sure that your brain is always the guard of the intonation. So my suggestion is to really concentrate on that. And what you want to do is that when you have something that's very difficult, make sure that you play it in little segments. Play two bars or three bars. You'll have to play more. And those two, three bars should have-- you should be able to make sure that everything on those three bars is correct-- intonation, phrasing, articulation, and so on. I'm saying to reduce it to small in increments, not just by going a whole page but by saying, I'll play three or four bars. And let's see if I can make all those three, four bars beautifully in tune, articulated, and musical. So if you do it in smaller increments, I think it's better. [PIANO NOTE] [VIOLIN MUSIC] Again. [PIANO NOTE] [VIOLIN MUSIC] There are several things we can talk about intonation. But what I first would like to do is to discuss intonation when you play with another instrument. So we should demonstrate. So June who's going to play the piano, please come on in. And what we always start is asking for an A from the piano just to make sure that we are in tune. So if I can have an A. [PIANO NOTE] [VIOLIN MUSIC] Can I have another? [PIANO NOTE] [VIOLIN MUSIC] All right, so I asked for another A. It's really very, very important to make sure that when the pianist gives you an A that you take that A at face value that it's a real A. It's not like, sort of A. Let me show y...

Play with passion

The world’s reigning virtuoso violin player, Itzhak Perlman performs for presidents, royals, and classical music lovers around the world. Now the beloved Juilliard instructor and 15-time Grammy Award winner brings his passion for teaching to a wide audience for the first time. Learn fundamental techniques, practice strategies, and how to add richness and depth to your sound. Give your most dynamic performance yet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Good review of fundamentals for creating a beautiful tone with bow. He uses a much different now grip than I've used for 47 years.

I am a student who is passionate in learning about the musical arts and to participate in a masterclass with the great violin virtuoso, Mr. Itzhak Perlman, was just an absolute joy.

I've made my way through the first few videos and they are great! Mr. Perlman is a fantastic teacher and there really is something for all levels here

Excellent lessons with detailed explanations and good humour!


Zhiwei D.

Mr. P - Do you practise more intonation 50% as you get closer to your performance day?

Chung F.

I've always been too scared I'll snap something if I try and tune my violin's pegs (they seem so stiff). Any tips on learning to tune w pegs instead of always using the fine tuners?

Janet C.

If you don’t have a piano to tune to, there is a nice app called SIMPLY TUNER that works really well. I still tune with my instructor when we meet, but it helps me during the week.


One of the best guidelines I have heard about pretty much anything - such a simple idea - don't just think "out of tune" , but think sharp or flat. I love it that its's so obvious ... once you hear Mr P say it :)

Gil M.

Two bars at a time. By parts. That's great! Scales, scales, scales!! Got it!

Diana B.

if something is out of tune is either sharp or flat and you work it through, I love that! you definitely need to restart every time you are out of tune, it takes a while to know where your fingers go.