Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by anthony, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. anthony

    anthony Mezzo Piano User

    Mar 3, 2009
    Hi I am having trouble with tonguing (even spelling it correctly ha ha)my teacher shows me correct way but he says I am doing correct but sometimes it doesn't feel right. .this keep blowing and stopping air with tongue is kind of hard to get right. .Anthony
  2. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    I'm no expert but I've been working on this a lot recently and have a couple of observations:

    1. I don't think of the tongue stopping the air stream, just interrupting it momentarily.
    2. You have to keep your air stream very steady and consistent through the tonguing.

    The way it feels to me when I'm doing it right is that the tongue is almost "bouncing" off the air stream like a well-thrown stone skipping across a lake.
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    What he said and copious amounts of practice until you get proficient.
  4. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi anthony,
    Tonguing is easier than you think. We tend to make it hard when we place a trumpet against our lips.
    Here's something to try:
    1. Play C and single tongue it lightly "ta" "ta" "ta" "ta" "ta" "ta" "ta" "ta"
    Listen closely, there's a chance you are saying "tat" "tat" "tat" "tat" "tat"
    Don't stop the air with your tongue. It's 'ta" "ta" "ta". Don't let the tongue end up at the top of the mouth when you tongue a note. The tongue should be down as if saying open up wide and say "aaaa".
    Without a trumpet, vocalize this snippet:
    ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta taka taka taka taka taka
    Can you do it? Of course you can because it's very easy to verbalize these sounds.
    Now do it again and notice how your tongue behaves. Wow!! the tongue stays loose and flexible doesn't it?
    Here's where the fly gets in the ointment. When we put the trumpet up to the lips, we stiffen our tongues! This is a bad thing which makes for a sloppy jagged attack and basically a sucky sound.
    Play C on the trumpet. Now play the c and tongue as you verbalized above:
    ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta taka taka taka taka taka
    Notice how your tongue behaved. There's a good chance it was stiff when you attempted to do this. Now, recite Mary Had a Little Lamb with the same stiff tongue. It really sucked didn't it??
    The thing with tonguing is to maintain a loose tongue. That doesn't mean to slur everything but tongue like you'd talk or sing. The more tonguing you do, the looser the tongue needs to be.
    Don't say "tat" and keep the tongue loose.
    Hope this helps
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Those that have trouble with tonguing have trouble with BREATHING. It makes NO SENSE to add patches to articulation before we are breathing correctly. If we have been practicing correctly, the first "tonguing" should occur exactly when we start to exhale. If our tone starts easily without the tongue, we can add a very light but decisive flick of the tongue and have very good "separation". Generally, those that have trouble tonguing, have trouble getting the lips to produce sound merely by exhaling. Instead, they use the hammer method, using a much to strong attack to "jump start" the sound. This is the beginning of disaster!

    My recommendation is to back up to breathing exercizes and longtones - with NO articulation. When you can "exhale" tones with ease, then adding an absolute minimum of tongue power is easy. Bad habits are hard to unlearn. Your journey may not be easy! Forget suggestions to use "softer" tonguing. They are merely a patch that you will have to unlearn later anyway. Get your breathing together. That is universally necessary!
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Anthony,
    rowuk stated:
    "Those that have trouble with tonguing have trouble with BREATHING. It makes NO SENSE to add patches to articulation before we are breathing correctly."
    He states a very good point. In fact, often the stiff tongue and forced air go hand in hand. The one thing he forgot that can help you with the air thingy is a document called The Circle of Breath. However, He also goes on to say "forget suggestions on softer tonguing. To this I disagree. It will be up to you to figure what does and doesn't work for you at your current level of ability. I think if you really work on the maintaining a loose tongue and not force the air, things will come your way in time.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    If you have breathing support, you can relax the tongue more. It falls out of the way at this point. So first, work on breathing and relax the tongue. Soften the attack at first with du, du, du.

    Then get the tongue into flexibility training double and triple tonguing. Are you able to double/triple tongue? If so work on some double/triple tonguing exercises, then come back to the single tonguing exercises. Let me know if you notice any difference if you can get to this stage.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I see a necessity for many types of articulation. I never start with soft. I start with little compression but razorblade sharp. Thicker consonants like D and L actually slow the development down. I need the flick of the tongue to be perfectly synchronized with the moment that we switch from inhale to exhale. Once that timing is a pattern, thicker consonants become childsplay. The other way around, I often find that the player never ends up speaking through the instrument.

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