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[Solved] Thinking tongue position

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THQ has helped me analyze a long term problem. Tongue position. For the first time, I think about tongue position while playing. TAH, TEH, TEE.

I can feel my tongue rising, up the scale, with tongued notes. But thinking tongue position while slurring intervals is another matter.

I often finish up blowing air, missing notes or playing the harmonic below - occasionally above. Middle C D or E should not be difficult and range suffers badly when slurring more than a 3rd, to and above a middle C. 

I find that lifting my diaphragm into the note helps. I think this also raises the position of the tongue - it seems that way.

Should it be easier than this (with constant airflow).

1 Answer
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Short answer: yes, it should be easier. You should not have to force anything. 

Long answer: ease is subjective to the player, and the technique. You could have an amazing tone and be unable to play above a middle. Both are separate techniques. Try to approach the horn like a child and avoid comparing yourself to others or assuming certain techniques should be easier. While range comes naturally to some, for others it’s rather difficult. I myself had a very hard time with range when I began and through high school. Eventually I came to realize many things that helped me, including:

 

1) The diaphragm is not a muscle you can control and it’s best to forget about it.

2) You can control air, and you must allow it to flow freely.

3) Tongue placement takes time. I learned it considerably late, I had already been playing for 11 years and it STILL took me about 6 months to master.

4) Everything is baby steps and trying to run before we can walk steadily will only lead to frustration. To slur upper intervals, first work on perfecting the lower ones.

 

Finally, whistling and/or singing really helps to establish the feel of correct tongue placement. I hope this helped and if you have any further questions feel free to ask!

 

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