Tongue position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JHSTrumpet, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. JHSTrumpet

    JHSTrumpet New Friend

    May 21, 2011
    I've been playing trumpet for several years, but I think I've been tonguing the wrong way the whole time. I've always wondered why I couldn't tongue fast and why it sounds so wet and sloppy. When I tongue, I put it on my bottom lip and kinda between my teeth. I've tried tonguing with my tongue on the roof of my mouth, but it sounds like I can't articulate correctly. Can someone tell me the correct position for my tongue, and how to correctly do it?
  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Hi JHSTrumpet. As you thought, you are tonguing wrong. Ta, Tue, and Dit are good ways to tongue. Try it out. That is all there is too it, ta, tue, dit.

    Where in Florida are you in? It may be good to meet a player to know how to play. Are you located in the central area? I live in Ocala and Mark Kindy(A member here that knows his stuff) Lives in Gainsville. Dont worry, we dont bite! ROFL
  3. JHSTrumpet

    JHSTrumpet New Friend

    May 21, 2011
    I live close to the Florida-Alabama border. My director is a trombone player, so she doesn't help much. She said she would bring in a guy named Lacey Powell, I think, to help the trumpets, so maybe he'll give me tips. Thanks for the advice though
  4. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Kinda far for us, but if someone is coming in then you will be good. Others will have more to say and its really late here as you know. So I will leave it up to the others.
  5. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    To my knowledge, it is the general case that one will tongue in an area just behind the upper teeth, although it may vary vertically from player to player, or for each note you play.
    However, there are other ways of tonguing ---
    Anchor tonguing is one such way, where the tongue tip is actually behind the bottom teeth, and does not move very much at all, to my understanding.
    Also, some embouchures utilise different tonguing methods/positioning, like the "SuperChops" method, that has a tonguing method that sounds similar to what you describe yours to be. This does NOT mean I advocate this particular embouchure, or tonguing method, for you.

    I'm just saying this because it is probably best to find a experienced, competent private lessons instructor to help you out (because the variations), and we don't know what works best with your setup. The instructor that you mentioned was going to visit should be of much help.

    Beyond that, I agree with Cody. If you just say those syllables out loud, without the context of trumpet playing, your tongue finds a pretty good position for tonguing, and stays well within the oral cavity, and behind the teeth. If you make sure and consciously practice these syllables and tonguing (using them) for a little bit each day in your practice sessions, you should find an improvement. Tonguing needs to be rehearsed and improved upon as much as any other trumpet related skill.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Tonguing is one of the basics of playing. Depending on many things, the tip of the tongue may land in various places, none of which can be considered wrong or bad until the rest is evaluated.

    Changing the way that you tongue can easily DESTROY your playing. Make sure that you have really thought about this before moving in response of the advice of internet posters without a clear track record or qualifications. They have nothing to lose.........

    When I teach articulation, getting the breathing, body use straight is the first step. This is harder for those that already have developed habits and can mean 4-8 weeks of other work before getting started with the tongue. It does mean that the foundation is layed for the rest though.

    I also recommend ALL activity like this to be moved to a time of year when no concerts or other public playing happens for at least 2-3 months. We need to build new habits and any twisting of the face to get through means a complete waste of time.

    Optimally this needs to be done with a local teacher - it is practically impossible to analyse body use problems (of which the tongue is a part) with a web cam and cheap microphone.
  7. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    You have just hit the EXACT same thing I have been dealing for the past three weeks or so. I am placing my tongue where everyone says, i.e., just at or slightly behind the gum line where the teeth insert. And, now, nothing sounds right to me when I tongue. I had me teacher check it and he says everything sounds fine but my ears just don't believe it. Now it sounds sloppy to me before whereas my previous method sound much more crisp. Unfortunately, there were other performance limitations in terms of speed that the new placements helps a great deal. Frustrating to figue out eh?

    And, yes, Rowuk is right. I have been messed-up for a while and I have a performance that I want to do in a couple weeks with a killer (at least for me) apregio.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  8. Satchmo Brecker

    Satchmo Brecker Piano User

    Jul 19, 2010
    How incredibly weird...I was just going to post about tongue position! I've been trying to get away from the anchor method, which seems most natural to me, because I can tell it's slowing me down. So I've been trying the ta/tu/dit thing. Like BrotherBACH it just sounds muddy and imprecise to me. I tried to really pay attention and even when I tu/dit my tongue STILL brushes against my lower lip. Maybe I put too much lower lip in the mpc? I shoot for 50/50 and looking in the mirror I can tell that's what I'm doing. Is anchor tonguing really that bad?
  9. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    this is the way I do it, my teacher taught me and my teacher has a gorgeous classical sound with a range over DHC. Its a slight variation on clark style modified K tongueing. Bottom line, there are lots of "correct" ways and lots of "incorrect ways". Get a good teacher, trust yourself be careful of what you read here or in other forums. There is no way to tell whether a responder is a good teacher or a high school troll.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    So for posters unuble to get the sounding of ta, tu or dit... what sounds are you making with your tongue at its lip position once you move the trumpet out of the way, and reproduce the tonguing technique?

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