How to Single Tongue Quickly on Clarinets

Developing the speed of your single-tonguing on the clarinet will take some time and practice. By spending 15 minutes each day, it is possible to increase your speed substantially. Be patient with the results and aim for accuracy and clean attacks over speed. Taking your time will ensure that you develop a solid technique and develop a valuable skill that will last a lifetime. There are shortcuts to tonguing faster with double-tonguing techniques, but these shortcuts rely on a solid single-tonguing technique foundation.

Step 1 Learn the three parts of the tongue used in performance -- the tip, the middle and the back. Using the tip of the tongue, make a "dee" sound and gently touch the reed with your tongue.

Step 2 Practice tonguing slowly by setting the metronome to 60 beats-per-minute. Warm-up each day by playing three sets of 16th notes followed by a quarter note for a total of four full beats. Play an entire major scale, with each note using the 16th/quarter-note pattern.

Step 3 Play the exercise from Step 2 at 96 beats-per-minute. Continue to increase the speed by two beats-per-minute each time until you are unable to increase the speed without sacrificing sound.

Step 4 Write down the fastest speed you were able to play. Take a break and start 12 beats-per-minute slower than the previous speed. Increase the speed by two beats-per-minute and try and surpass your previous speed by 2-beats-per-minute.

Step 5 Practice each day using this technique. Always start with a warm-up and then begin 12 beats-per-minute slower than your fastest speed from the previous day.

Increase tongue speed by placing the tip of your tongue closer to the reed. The less distance the tongue travels, the faster you will be able to tongue.


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