Double-tonguing and jaw pain. Advice.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dark Knight, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

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    First, let me say that I do have a teacher. She is a local band director and qualified to teach brass up to a certain level but she specializes in reed instruments. I tried to discuss this problem with her but did not get any clarity other than its normal so “suck it up butter cup.”

    A while back I went to a trumpet professor and was taught to play with both lips curled slightly and to use my air properly; it all sounds good. I have been playing my Rubank exercises and Sigmund Herring Etudes very dutifully. And, to my great joy my teacher says that it is time to learn double tonguing. At first, I practiced off horn in the recommended way (Too Koo). Then on horn, I practiced while performing the same note, also as recommended in the usual way, and all is good so far. The teacher then decided to convert a Sigmund Herring exercise (Etude #10) into a double tonguing etude. I loved it. But, I developed severe pain in the jaw joint similar to what is described for TMJ syndrome and get really scared. It has never really happened before. I started to analyze very deeply what I may be doing wrong. My teacher said that there is nothing wrong and it was just my chops getting stronger; it is normal. But, I am not too sure.

    Here is where is where I am asking for your input. I have discovered that through “evolution” (sound familiar) of the exercises I have been given, I have very subtly and gradually moved away from a both lips slightly curled to a lower lip curled and under the upper lip. I think that the upper lip may be curled to some degree but I am not sure. I have found it very easy to play this way and it happened by accident. For example, the harmonic slurs recommended by Markie are so comfortable and easy to do this way. Slurring from low F# to G on top of the stave is so very comfortable and easy. I am still having to use the corners of my mouth and vary the lip curl, which is why I did not notice I was doing anything different from what I was showed (curling both lips and relying on both equally). I also have to use lip compression to some degree between the upper and lower lips, so it is still easy to not notice that I was moving away from what I was showed.

    However, concentrating on what I may be doing wrong to cause so much pain in the jaw joint when double tonguing, I believe that to make the quick changes in notes I was using greater jaw movements rather than relying on muscles of my embouchure. Is double-tonguing more difficult for people who curl the bottom lip under the top? Is this ultimately a dead-end embouchure for good articulations?

    I have tried “re-focusing” in balancing the lip curl between both lips and using more lip compression between the two towards the corners and the there is zero jaw pain and the articulation is much cleaner, at least to my ear. It just does not feel natural at all.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    DK
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  2. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Your jaw should never hurt from playing. Just because she has a degree doesn't make her qualified to teach trumpet. I teach double tonguing completely different from what she has you doing. Quick find another teacher that knows how to teach trumpet specifically!
     
  3. lakerjazz

    lakerjazz Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 10, 2006
    Dark Knight,
    make sure that it is actually your jaw that is hurting. When you
    do a lot of double tonguing, a lot of times, your tongue itself starts
    to hurt (because you are using the undeveloped muscles in the back).
    Your chops shouldn't hurt in particular, and neither should your jaw, but
    because of the relationship between the tongue and the jaw, you may be
    misinterpreting your pain to be in the jaw when it is really in the tongue.
     
  4. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    If you're doing it right your tongue shouldn't hurt!
     
  5. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

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    Apr 7, 2010
    Canada
    I am positive it is not my tongue. It is an aching pain "in" the jaw joint. I asked my teaching if perhaps it was because I went stright from very simple repetitive single notes such as low G or middle C to an etude with large jumps going from first sapce F to fourth space E. Etude #10, page is an entire page of 8th notes bouncing up and down. I think I was not ready for it yet and over used to the jaw to help with the difficult articulations. She said no.

    DK
     
  6. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

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    Flinders Vic Australia
    Hi DK,

    A lot of good info sofar, I was shown how to double tongue by an old solo cornet player and that was to use a soft D as in dog and G as in god, I find this produces a lot less tongue movement than Too Koo.

    I second Bob about finding another teacher, you may have to try several to find a really good one.

    Also I think you may have other issues that may need addressing also, PM me if I can help, in the 25 years of playing coming back from a 35 year break I have had several teachers each I have learned something from although none had addressed some fundamental problems I had.

    Regards, Stuart.
     
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    Yorba Linda, CA
    Hey, DK. As you have already seen, this type of question is bound to bring in many different viewpoints. The problem is that everyone does double/triple tonguing differently and everyone sort of settles on a method that works for them. In my case, my tongue oscillates between two positions: The first is the tip of the tongue against the roof of my mouth just behind my front teeth where it cuts off the airflow; the second is with the tip lowered slightly away from the roof while the back (or slightly further back than the center) of the tongue touches the roof cutting off the airflow. Between those two positions, air flows causing a sound. I tried putting my bottom lip inside my top lip as I think you described your embouchure and found it very difficult to move my tongue as I normally do. The tip kept brushing my bottom lip, disrupting the movement. It is easy to see how you might be using your jaw to move things around to avoid that interference (if your tongue movement is even close to mine).

    So, I think it would take someone who can really examine your entire situation (teeth, jaw, lips, tongue, breathing, etc) to sort this out. "Suck it up" is not normally a solution. Bob Grier does video lessons. If you have the setup for that and can't find anybody locally to help, his approach may be of benefit.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Yes, I would be glad to help. The exercises you describe are easy on clarinet, flute or sax. completely wrong for a beginning double tougune student. It's what is making your jaw hurt. If you want my help contact me via my e mail. The first ones free.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  9. lakerjazz

    lakerjazz Mezzo Piano User

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    DK,
    In that case, I'd second the others to get a new teacher.

    Mr. Grier,
    what makes you say that your tongue shouldn't hurt after doing a lot of double tonguing? Your tongue is a muscle and after using it a lot more than usual, it should get tired and start to hurt just like any other muscle- this is what I've found at least. If your tongue never got tired, you could go on forever. I've found that the more I practice double-tonguing, the longer I can go without it getting tired-
     
  10. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    getting tired is one thing, hurting is another. When a student's tongue starts to feel thick it's time to stop and rest. going past that point only teaches bad habits. It should never hurt to play. No pain no gain only works in sports not trumpet. It's about small muscle control. Playing to the point of pain will only hold a layer back. More progress is mafe with stopping before it hurts.

    How can I say this. Professional for 42 years, trumpet teacher for 32 years. I've figured out what works and what doesn't.
     

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