Tonguing rapidly, and slowly as well

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I am a high school band student. And recently, I have come to this big trouble; it is a very fast passage, chromatic from lower register right up to the thumb C, tongued. I have trouble coordinating my fingers and tongue, especially when the register key is added. When I try to tongue the notes slowly, it seems to be ok, and I have no trouble playing the upper register. Can you suggest any exercise to train this? And how long is this going to take?

And another thing I noticed is that when I tongue the notes above the clarion G, a very short (may be lest than 0.5 sec) and soft sub-tone can be heard, does this have anything to do with my inability to tongue well?
Thank a very much and a late happy new year!!!
Yours sincerely,

Hi W:
A belated Happy New Year to you also.

Concerning the problem of difficulty in tonguing rapidly in the upper register, especially a chromatic scale or similar, the first thing to do is to play it perfectly evenly legato, as smoothly as you can, several times.
Then next, you play it very slowly tongued, slower than you think, perhaps a half beat for each eighth note, played short, and between each note move the fingers to the fingering of the next note so that you are already prepared for the note as you tongue the note. Coordinating the fingers ahead of the note usually fixes this kind of problem, especially with a few repititions.

As far as the sub-tone or under-tone you are getting in the upper register,it has to do with usually the reed, and the fact that you may not be supporting the air enough. A slightly, only slightly stronger reed and making sure that you remember to always support the sound well with the breath will also help alleviate this problem.
Learning to cope with both of these problems will certainly come with work.
Playing staccato can and will become your strongest feature if worked upon in this way. It is one of the things that comes after the first principles are learned and absorbed.

best wishes, and keep up the good work.

Sherman Friedland


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