How to flutter tongue if you can't roll your R's

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Pie Girl, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. rankamateur

    rankamateur Mezzo Forte User

    May 1, 2013
    Merry Ol' England
    Peter McNeill writes: 'All I can say is just keep practicing.'

    Pie Girl, as simplistic as it seems, this is the best piece of advice anyone can give you. Just keep experimenting and at some point (unless you have a genuine impediment) it will kick in. At one time, I couldn't whistle. As a child I just kept trying and now I can whistle really well. Same thing with rolling Rs. Now I can roll them like an Italian, in the throat like a Parisian and I can do the weird 'r' sound in Czech and Polish where you crush the roll at the top of your mouth. All these things were learned, so I urge you to keep on trying when you're just doing anything else and it comes into your mind, without your instrument. I remember learning to roll Rs actually, and I started by just going for one flick or bounce of the tongue and then built it up to more and more.

    There are some videos on Youtube that might help. Trumpet Sound Effects (7) : Flutter Tongue - YouTube. But the bottom line is the same as the top one - just keep practising.
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow New Friend

    Nov 3, 2013
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    That's what I was going to suggest - it's not quite the same effect, but close enough to get the job done.
  4. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Some folks really have trouble with the flutter/r rolling. Me included. My mother could roll hers with no trouble, and my wife, a latina, just laughs at my efforts. I couldn't whistle til I was 14. I have made some improvement, but it's very slow going. Putting the tongue behind the top teeth and getting some air behind it helps.

    Those who can do this just think it is a no-brainer, but I think one can be predisposed not to flutter well. At 67 I doubt I will ever be good at it, but I can focus my efforts in other areas, so I am not about to be discouraged.
  5. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I don't mean this condescendingly at all, but I just don't understand not being able to flutter. You just put the tip of a ~relaxed~ (not tensed or pointed) tongue on the gum above the front teeth and blow air out.

    Is the problem not doing this, or does the actual problem occur when attempting to play? If the latter, then perhaps the firmness of the embouchure is influencing the tongue and, at that moment, tensing the tongue so that its ability to flutter is stifled.
  6. Hugh Anderson

    Hugh Anderson Pianissimo User

    Sep 18, 2011
    Think of it as rolling 'H's.
  7. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi kehaulani,
    I really could not flutter tongue for many years - very much like veery715 - I am married to a Bulgarian-Aussie, and their language has rolling Rs so no problem. On my comeback I copped the laughs - even asked for help, but gave up on the help after a lot of frustration.

    It is difficult for those that don't have the luxury of experience with rolling Rs. I am proficient now, but only in the last 3 years or so has it clicked to happen on call. before that I relied on a growl, and it fooled most. Practice is my only suggestion - it is like whistling - it does happen eventually.

    For those that do it naturally you will not understand the spitting, and frustration from trying for many years - I do feel for piegirl. It did not happen in 3 days for me, but I know if I was exposed to rolling Rs at a younger age, or had friends who spoke works with the effect, then I may have overcome the gap a lot earlier in life.
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I never had a problem with it. You could also think of trying to purr like a cat. I agree with others that the tongue has to be relaxed, very relaxed.
  9. rankamateur

    rankamateur Mezzo Forte User

    May 1, 2013
    Merry Ol' England
    Maybe you are blocking your own progress by making statements such as that one. That might sound trite, and it certainly isn't meant to sound patronising, so please don't take it that way. But as adults we learn to give up both in ourselves and on tasks that might produce results because we don't believe in ourselves. I bet we're all guilty of that. As children we are unburdened by such limitations. If we applied the same defeatist attitude to learning to walk as we do to so many things in adult life, we'd all be crawling around on all fours, convinced walking on two legs was just an impossibility.

    I am currently in the process of learning to do 'the shake' because I am playing a lot more jazz this time around, whereas before in my initial incarnation as a cornet player, and then my first comeback, I was very much locked into brass band and classical music. It isn't easy! I was rather disappointed to find out it really just a fast lip slur, but I keep on working on it, and it's slowly getting better. On one trumpet I even hit a 'real' one a couple of times, so I know I am getting there, but I just keep doing it and then forgetting about it, and then coming back to it. I know it will kick in at some point, and the more I use it, the more I will be able to control it and make it my slave.

    As regards the flutter, I'd try taking a deep breath (no instrument involved here), letting the tongue hand loosely in the middle of the mouth and then releasing that inhaled air forcefully around it (the tongue). Even if only slightly at first, I'd be surprised if you can't feel it fluttering. That is the beginning of learning how to flutter the tongue. Now push the tongue down slightly and you might feel it fluttering even more, especially at the tip. Don't know whether that helps anyone.
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I just raise my tongue so it seals around the upper gum line and then lightly seal the tip against the upper palate - the air has nowhere else to go but buzz the tongue tip. Rolling the tip just behind the palatal ridge seems to be easiest.

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