Tongue Speed Exercises

I am quite an advanced clarinet player but I have a problem tonguing fast passages. Are there any exercises I could do? Also, I would like your opinion on how much practice you think I should do. I am 14 and I am doing my Grade 8 in November. At the moment I am doing about an hour a day and my clarinet practice is my top priority. Thank you.

Hi and thank you for your letter. Concerning the amount of time one should practise, I find that perhaps that is something you ought to determine for yourself. If you are “quite an advanced clarinet player”, why do you ask about how long to practise? And especially about rapid staccato. Your questions kind of betray you. You may be a much much better player than when you began the study of the clarinet, in that sense that you have advanced. But if you do not know how long to practise, how can you be advanced ? One practises the given material that one must learn. Do you have a teacher? If not, you should definitely get a teacher. A private instructor is necessary, no question. Artie Shaw never took a lesson in his life. Benny Goodman studied all his life, from his early years into his 50s and 60s. Both were great genius players, no question. Where do you fit? If you do not know, then I would suggest that these are the things you should learn. I started to play the clarinet when I was 15. By the time I was sixteen, I was solo clarinet in the band, the orchestra and the all New England Band. Was I an advanced player? I certainly did not think so.

Now, I have more than one article in Sherman Friedland’s Corner relating to “tonguing fast”, as you call it. I would much prefer if you would call it playing fast music. That is 3/4s of the answer. The rest is for you to find. Good luck.


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