How to Tune a Trombone by Sounds

The trombone is tuned by adjusting the tuning slide.

Tuning a trombone can be a daunting task for a young player. It requires the ability to hear the subtle differences between two pitches. With practice, it will get easier to hear these differences. Tuning the trombone requires listening to interference beats that will help a player hear if the trombone is in tune. The more closely the trombone is in tune with a sound the less the beats will be heard. Practicing tuning your instrument daily to an outside sound source will improve your ear and make it easier to play in tune.

Turn on your tuner and set it to play a consistent, steady tone. Play the same tone that is produced by the tuner on the trombone.

Listen to how fast or slow the interference beats pulse between the tuner and the trombone pitch. The faster the beats pulse, the further the instrument is from being in tune. As you get closer to the correct pitch, the beats will slow down.

Determine if you are sharp or flat by intentionally bringing the pitch of the instrument down by relaxing the tension in your lips. Listen to what it sounds like to be flat. Do the opposite to identify sharp pitch. Practicing this technique daily will open up your ears and make it easier to identify when you are out of tune.


  • The term flat means you are below the sounding pitch.
  • The term sharp indicates you are higher than the sounding pitch.


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