How to Double Tongue on a Trumpet

Double-tonguing is an effective technique for increasing articulation speed.

Double-tonguing on the trumpet is a technique that is required of all professional trumpet players. By pushing a column of sound through the horn in between normal articulations, it is possible to get a second articulation. This technique takes time to learn and practice to get a smooth, clear articulation. Once mastered a trumpet player will be able to masterfully articulate quickly moving lines and gain an increased ability to play virtuoso literature. Without this technique, a trumpet player is missing a valuable tool in the production of music.

 Step 1 Practice saying the word "tu" without the trumpet. This is the normal method of articulating a note on the trumpet. When you tongue a note, the tip of the tongue should hit the point where the teeth and the gums meet.

 Step 2 Practice saying the word "ku" several times. When you say the word "ku" notice that the tongue pulls back and air thrusts forward. If air does not push forward, try saying it more forcefully. Once you are able to say "ku" properly, try doing it without moving your lips. This is crucial since you will not be able to move your lips while playing.

 Step 3 Practice blowing air through your trumpet and saying the word "ku." Don't worry about going fast right now. Just get used to saying "ku" while you are blowing air through the trumpet. Avoid vibrating your lips to create a sound on the trumpet. At this stage, you should be listening to the separation of sound that occurs when playing the trumpet.

 Step 4 Say "tu-ku" in a rhythmic manner as you blow air through the instrument. Listen carefully to the sound made. The goal is to try to get an even separation between the first and second articulations. Practice this until it is comfortable and then try performing the action without using words.

 Step 5 Play a steady tone on the trumpet and practice double tonguing by mimicking the movements the tongue makes when saying "tu-ku." You won't actually be speaking through the horn, but your tongue should make the movements as if you were. Once you are able to do this, it will become much easier to continue doing.

 Step 6 Practice the technique by moving up and down major and minor scales. Go slowly at first and increase your speed incrementally by using a metronome. This technique will soon become much easier and you will be able to play more advanced music.

Practicing this technique works without the horn as well. Mimic the motions that the tongue makes when trying to say "tu-ku." Warnings Don't get discouraged, this technique takes time to master.


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