Erasing the last 8 years...

Erasing the last 8 years...    16:04 on Tuesday, June 1, 2010          

(55 points)
Posted by writergirl25

I've been playing flute for a while. Eight years to be exact. After all this time I finally decided I need to fix a huge flaw in my technique: tonguing. When I first started learning to play, I didn't think tonguing was important. I always considered myself one of the top players in my band so I didn't work too hard on fixing my technique, even after a judge told me she could hear my throat all the way across the room when I played Bach's Partita in a Minor. Now that I'm trying to learn more complicated music, I realize I have a massive problem. I need to unlearn the past eight years of practice. And trust me, I practiced A LOT.

What can you guys suggest? I don't have the time or money for private lessons so I'm on my own. Any exercises, books, or websites would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Erasing the last 8 years...    16:11 on Tuesday, June 1, 2010          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

If you don't have any money for lessons then I suggest you find a flute player you admire and plays well with good articulation and see if he or she will help you fix your tongueing issues.

One of the best things a good player can do is teach someone else, it makes themselves even better.

Re: Erasing the last 8 years...    08:38 on Friday, June 4, 2010          

(2 points)
Posted by bansuriguru


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Re: Erasing the last 8 years...    03:45 on Sunday, June 6, 2010          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

As a beginner, I had a female colleague that did not tongue at all. However she could play pretty fast (for our level at that time) and we even played a simple duet at school. I do not know how she managed this later, because she left the school and moved abroad.

You do not explain what specific problem with tonguing you have. Do you need double tonguing now or you made these eight years without any tonguing at all? Or perhaps you are using some tonguing technique - or sort of an equivalent- that is not correct?

Re: Erasing the last 8 years...    09:11 on Sunday, June 6, 2010          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

I just reread your post after reading jose luis's questions. You said, ". .a judge told me she could hear my throat all the way across the room . . " I actually find many students who close their throat off when articulating and sometimes it can be loud. It's related to the Valsalva maneuver, when you prepare to blow air out your ears.

Here is a short synopsis of what you can to retrain yourself.

A)Say the word 'how'. Now say the word while breathing in. You won't hear the word when you breathe in, but by saying the word it opens your processes naturally. You should have a free path for the air.

B)Don't hold your breath before you play. Time your breathing in (while saying how) so that you blow out and play immediately.

C) SLUR EVERYTHING. Slur everthing you play. This allows you to keep the air flowing.

D) After sluring everything play with just enough tongue to get an articulation. Only a little so that you are playing very legato. You should feel like you are still slurring.

E)When the legato become comfortable and easy you can then add more tongue, a little at a time, until you can play shorter and shorter notes; without closing your throat. You should always feel like you are slurring.

Re: Erasing the last 8 years...    05:27 on Friday, June 11, 2010          

(1 point)
Posted by lianeandflute

I would suggest:

1) Practicing playing with an open throat. My first flute teacher always told me to pretend there was an orange in my throat. My current one tells me to open it as if I am yawning. Whatever works for you, you just need to keep your throat open to clear the air passage. You could try setting a timer so that every 5 minutes it goes off and you have to check that your throat is open. This is also a good way to check posture and embouchure or whatever else you might be working on if you want to.

2) Practice tonguing when you play scales. Focus on clarity and keeping your throat open. Articulate with your tongue behind your teeth and make sure your tongue falls to just behind your bottom row of teeth when you have tongued like "tu" (not to the middle of your mouth, this just slows it down).

3) Mix it up, practice different articulations like 2 tongued, 2 slurred; then swap it around, 3 slurred, 1 tongued; swapped; 2 slurred, etc. make some up. it makes it more interesting and is a great way to train yourself with tonguing. You can also practice pieces like this; mix up the articulation patterns to get to know the notes better and practice tonguing at the same time.

JOhnlovemusic's suggestions were also really good. Especially the slurring thing, because you have to make sure that tonguing is just your tongue articulating the passage, not interrupting the airflow - it's not stopping and starting each note. I hope that makes sense... :\

I have had trouble tonguing myself, and still do if I am not careful, and I always go back to exercises like this to help me clear everything up. These are techniques that my teacher has taught me and I find them really helpful. =]

ALSO (last bit i promise!), Jennifer Cluff has a really good website with heaps of good info on flute playing.

have some good stuff on tonguing.

I hope this helps, and I hope you're able to sort out your problem. =]
AND I'm sorry if all of this is irrelevant and not what you were asking about...


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