Brass players use double tonguing to play notes faster than a normal articulation will allow, incorporating the syllable “ka” from the middle of the tongue. Many players incorporate double tongue exercises in their daily practice routine. This article outlines tips for practicing its use in a piece of music.
Above is an easy musical excerpt and normal syllables you would use for double tonguing. Below, we will alter the excerpt for rehearsal on each topic.
1. Practice Each Syllable Individually
The number one problem musicians face when using the double tongue is that the second syllable, “ka” does not sound as good as the initial syllable. The reason is simple, we practice on the “ta” syllable every time we play, and only use the “ka” in this context.
Play through the whole passage using each syllable. First, single tongue through it to learn the piece and its articulations. Then try playing through it using only the second syllable. Work hard to match the volume, articulation, and overall musicality of the excerpt.
2. Isolate the Rhythm
Once you have mastered using both syllables accurately, try playing through the passage with the correct rhythm, but on a single pitch. Move the pitch up scalewise until you have played all the notes in the piece. This ensures proficiency on each syllable across your range. Again, practice for a uniform sound on all notes.
3. Isolate Problem Intervals
After practicing the piece using the above methods, there may be certain sections holding you back. Be sure to practice these on their own. Try picking two note intervals, steps or jumps, that are difficult to double tongue. Practice double tonguing each interval separately, then again within the musical passage.
Don’t forget to comment below with your own rehearsal tips!