Tonguing too hard?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by I Am The Strumpet, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. I Am The Strumpet

    I Am The Strumpet New Friend

    Oct 27, 2008
    My trumpet instructor has been telling me that I am tonguing too hard, and while I have good sound otherwise, it is making me sound very harsh and rather staccato and "blocky" to use his words.Try as I might, I don't know how to tongue softer. (I'm not onto double tonguing or anything yet, only a beginner) As a result of my harder tonguing, it's hard for me to tongue fast and play faster pieces.
    I think that when I began, I developed the habit of saying my "tuh"s wrong. the tip of my tongue is up against the back of my teeth, not mashed there or anything, and i entirely close up the hole of the embouchure in between tongues. Problem is, I don't really know how to fix it. When you "tuh" tongue, is it more on the backside of your teeth, on the front part of the roof of your mouth (just behind your teeth) , or just behind that part of the roof of your mouth where the ledge of your upper jaw juts down? I keep trying to tongue softer, but I just can't seem to do it! Also, how stiff should I be keeping my tongue when not tonguing notes? My trumpet instructor is a little vague about these things. :huh: How should I change this bad habit?
  2. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    I would suggest practicing very softly, not using the tounge at all, just a breath start, then try letting the tounge fall from the rear of the top teeth thinking tah. This helped my tounging problems. Practicing softly will build up endurance.

    Regards, Stuart
  3. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    Adding to what Stumac said, which is an excellent advice to start, another think to check is the position of you tongue, while attacking. Attacking with the very tip of your tongue sometimes may make your articulation to sound harsh. However, this is difficult to tell on an internet forum. Try to arch a bit the tongue and see what happens.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008
  4. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    Try using Doo or Goo as opposed to Too and try to think of the tongue riding on the airstream... most of all though, don't become discouraged. In my opinion, clean proficient tonguing is the absolute hardest thing to master on a trumpet and it takes lots of diligent practice and time. Keep at it, you will get there...
  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Most tonguing problems are a result of not using the air correctly. Try this. put this image in your mind. when you play repeated notes the air never stops. It's one long stream of air and the tongue DOES NOT stop the air between notes, it just interupts the air. try this! Turn on your kitchen faucet. As the water runs take your 1st finger only and move across the stream of water. You can see that the finger does not stop the water it just interupts it. Try saying taa or too. this is how your tongue moves to tongue the notes. practice using only the tip of the tongue and move only the tip of the tongue not the whole tongue. try this with easy scales and repeated notes in an easy register like from low C to middle C. Always keep the air moving, always blow THROUGH to the next note. the air will support the tongue. REMEMBER THE TONGUE DOES NOT START THE SOUND IT ONLY RELEASES THE AIR! THE AIR STARTS THE SOUND. Let us know how this works out. If you work on this some EVERY DAY you can make the change in a couple of weeks.

    Bob G
  6. max3k

    max3k Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 7, 2007
    Great thoughts above. I would have to go with Bob on this one. It sounds like you're using the tongue to start/stop the air flow. Try using Da or Doo very softly. I think what you'll find when you get it fixed is your tone will be more consistent.
  7. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree , the tongue releases the air or note . I like to think of the tip of the tongue moving like snake attacking, light and quick.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    I use the snake tongue analogy all the time. I can't remember where I first heard it used but i was in middle or high school.

    Bob G
  9. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Another syllable to try when wanting a soft tongue is "DAH" I use this whenever a soft tongue is needed inclusive of multiple tongueing.
  10. Jen

    Jen New Friend

    Nov 3, 2008
    I had a really similar tonguing style earlier this year (tonguing between the teeth and even between the lips when stating an attack, which stopped the lips' vibration completely, and made the sound a little muffled) So, I've been gradually moving the tonguing position to on the ridge behind the teeth and also following the 'snake' idea of moving the tongue down immediately, to allow the air to continue moving freely. Also, considering that everyone's mouth shapes are different and therefore there's not really one definitive answer to tongue position, I've been listening analytically to my sound to see what sounds good for me personally. Hope my ways of changing my tonguing may be slightly helpful to you. :)

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