Tonguing too hard?

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

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Once you have become accustomed to "massive" tonguing, your breathing usually is messed up too. Tonguing hard gives a pressure burst that kick start the lips. To get out of that habit and keep it from ever coming back, I recommend modifying your daily routine.

    Practice inhaling and exhaling. Make sure when you go from one to the other that you do not hold the air in. After you have done this a couple of times replace exhale with play - NO TONGUING, JUST EXHALE INTO THE HORN. Which tone you play is not significant at this stage. The important part is to be able to play long tones without the tongue whatsoever! You should be able to play your entire range from high to low this way. If not, work on it until you can - NO TONGUING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Practice slurs the same way - NO TONGUING, just inhale and exhale!

    After a week or two of this, you can TRY to add the tongue with a light TOOH EXACTLY at the same point when you change from in to exhale. Plan 4 weeks of practice on this! If your air is flowing well, you will not tongue harder than necessary!

    I will say to forget any alternative articulations. A trumpet player needs a light positive attack at the beginning not some compensated or castrated form. We solve the problem not compensate causing TWO problems!!

    The longtones and slurs without the tongue should stay in the daily routine for the rest of tyour life!
  2. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

    Jan 14, 2008
    Rowuk, are you talking about breath attacks above?
  3. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    You should not think of tonguing as 'striking' or 'tonguing too hard'. The tip of the tongue should be though of as a valve that is open when not tonguing and closed when tonguing. So that what you characterize (others do this too) as 'striking' should actually be just slightly moving the tongue to 'open the valve'.

  4. soloft

    soloft New Friend

    Jan 14, 2009
    I had the same problem. As rowuk suggested, my teacher had me do breathing exercises. A great book for this is Concone Lyrical Studies. It should cost you around $20.
    The tonguing is a hard habit to break, but try this (it helped me). Hold your index finger infront of your mouth, maybe an inch or less away. Blow air as if you were playing the trumpet and wave your finger through the air. You should be able to hear what is happening; the air is only being blocked for a second by your finger. That is what you want your tongue to do. Your tongue is only supposed to break the air for an instant.
    As far as where to tongue, it's up to you. Find where it is comfortable to tongue and what produces the attack you are wanting. I personally put my tongue to the roof of my mouth, just behind my teeth. However, I knew quite a few people in school who tongued either on their teeth or even to their lips and did just fine. You can bring in anatomy and all the fancy mumbo jumbo, but what it all comes down to is this: What gets the job done? What gets the job done well? What is easiest for you?
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I don't like the word "attack". I suggest EXHALE without the tongue. Attack means that we are "forcing" something to happen instead of "relaxing" into success.

    It may only be semantics, but I know what my students think about when they hear the work ATTACK - and it ain't exhalation - more like annihilation!
  6. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

    Jan 14, 2008
    Thank you gentlemen. Some good suggestions here. Soloft, i have never heard about that trick before. It's actually quite enlightening how much of a gap i had on the "attack."

    Lots more slow hymn practice for me i think. Although i am far from cracking it, it is amazing how my sound, accuracy/slotting and thought processes have changed since i have started working on this. I have always had reasonable chops and sound, but my single tongue does tend to strangle my sound and high register when i am tired.


  7. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    I don't like the waor "attack". I think it gives the wrong mental image. I do like to say "start the sound" or release the sound".
  8. SpitKey

    SpitKey New Friend

    Dec 3, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Arnold Jacobs is credited with suggesting using tOH as a syllable for starting a note. Lower case t and upper case OH. The tongue is used to get a clean start to the note, and is immediately followed with an abundant, free flowing supply of air.
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Strumpet, Markie here, It's hard to help over the internet so I'll just list some thing you may want to try. Just remember, if you try this, you've got to give your body a chance to adapt and get use to it. This means it'll probably suck MORE before it gets better.
    Here goes:
    1)Make sure the air keeps flowing (not like water from a fast moving fire hydrant, smooth easy air that just gets the job done).
    2)practice breath attacks (just using air to make the lips vibrate)
    3)make sure the teeth are such that they are kinda like a wall behind your lips. In other words, your upper and lower teeth should be even with each other and opened slightly. Your chin should not jut out.
    4)Say "TAT". Notice, the final T cuts off the air which generally means you have to start the air all over again which can cause a louder sounding articulation. Say "Ta" not "Tat"
    5)make sure your chin isn't moving with every note you play. Keep it still.
    Hope this helps and good luck. Just work on it every day a little at a time.
    By the inch it's a cinch, by the yard it's hard.
  10. trumpetrelax

    trumpetrelax New Friend

    Jan 17, 2009
    Try to play without tongue and then it can be better when you use tongue.

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