How should I approach double-tonguing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by matt408, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. matt408

    matt408 New Friend

    Apr 14, 2015
    I'm in high school and I'm trying to learn to double tongue. I know it's a tedious process that I have to work on. My main question is how can I take the Tu-Ku syllables that I'm practicing and bring it to the trumpet. Anytime I try pronouncing the Ku sound, nothing will come out. Will this come naturally when I practice the syllables more, or should I be taking a specific approach.
  2. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I was taught to take a simple tune, and play it slowly, but replace the Tu tonguing with a Ku. Then try to play it faster as a tune.

    Once the Ku is working, then try to get the Tu-Ku happening. There are lots of exercises in Arbans, and just take them really slowly, then set a speed on a Metronome,
    You may not see the improvement, but it is about getting that co-ordination to happen. The metronome speed, you see the improvement over a week. And you quickly lose it, so a simple 5 to 10 mins a day in your practice routine will maintain your tonguing skills.
  3. matt408

    matt408 New Friend

    Apr 14, 2015
    My main concern is first making a sound with the Ku sound. I've been trying and as much as I practice I'm not able to get any sound out of the trumpet by saying Ku. What am I doing wrong?
  4. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Try, Te-Ke, Tu-Ku Ta-Ka - maybe one will work better for you.

    If you can say "Keep" as a word, then you are using the Ke as a valve for air, it is slow at the start.

    The lightest sound I use to tongue is Lu - and it is also difficult to make that audible out of the horn - it is just practice. Can you say "Tu-Ku" 10 times in a row quickly without stopping
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I do remember when I first started my mouth felt like a mouthful of spit. I could not play Tu-Ku 10 times on the trumpet without felling like I was drowning.

    Just slow down, and take it steady. Do a set of Tu-Ku Tu-Ku Tu-Ku Tu-Ku - so just 4 times out loud. Keep working that while travelling on the bus, in the shower etc.
    That speed should get to what you can play in a second 60 bpm - that will work for you. So start off at 20 bpm on a metronome and log your progress.
  6. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Keep both syllables very short, keep the air flowing, allow the K to only put a dent in the stream, not to cut it off altogether. The aim for double tonguing is to increase the speed over that attainable by single.

    Regards, Stuart.
  7. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Well, its been so long since I had to learn it that I have to think about how to start over. So, when you play normally you tongue each note tu tu tu tu. Try playing the same phrase using the back of the tongue ku ku ku ku. I seem to remember when I was starting out, some of the other players were playing like this and were told that this was the wrong way to single tongue and rightly so, it is slow and sloppy for single tonguing. But it is just right for double tonguing. Now start out slowly alternating between the two and strive not for speed but for evenness between the two notes. You need to become comfortable with how your tongue is working before you worry about speed. Heck, half the university players I sit in with can single tongue faster than they can double, but invariably they come up against the wall at how fast they can do it and fail at double and are frustrated. For me, my tongue has a pivotal spot that goes up and down sort of like a teeter totter front and back to the roof of my mouth and it was never any big deal to do it. Don't let fear of failure slow you down. For me it was easier to do it at the louder dynamic levels at first and moving less air for the softer sounds took more control. As part of your warm up do a little every day and go as fast as you can while listening for that evenness. Over time the speed will come. Hope this helps. Best wishes.
  8. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    I had a rough time learning double tonguing at one point, but some of the following tips I will add....

    Practicing just the K's is important part and always, always having smooth air is vital, like they said above. Also....

    1) Here's a cool trick to make your K's work better in relation to your T's (AFTER you've learned how to make a good K-attack) - practice playing the K's on the off-beats, WITHOUT the T's. Do that a few times and then play the same passage as normal. I think you'll feel a difference.

    2)You should double tongue the notes as legato as possible in all your exercises, whether you're playing them slowly or rapidly. There are actually some pros that don't understand that most double-tonguing passages in real music sound better legato than short. When the notes are played rapidly, even when they are long they have the illusion of sounding short, but it also has a fuller sound than if you played them short. Playing them as long as possible also reinforces the smoothness that we all need in double tonguing.

    3)Practice diligently until you can double tongue a variety of difficult passages without a mistake. Then make double tonguing part of your daily routine.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Matt408, can you get notes to sound without any tongue? If not, then your "kü" is going to be very difficult.
  10. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    What an excellent and helpful thread.

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