Clarinet Lesson: How to tongue faster and play with great staccato on the clarinet

Uploaded by ClarinetMentors on 23.07.2012

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\f0\fs28 \cf0 \ Hi, this is Michelle from Clarinet Mentors.
Today I want to show you a system for learning how to do really fast tonguing and also how
to get some great staccato tonguing. Now, this is just a mini-mini lesson, there are
lots more things I could say about it, but I will tell you, if you use these techniques
and try them out for maybe two weeks, you\'92re going to notice a huge improvement in how
fast you can tongue and how clear your articulation is.\
\ I know for myself, there are times where when
I\'92m playing something really fast, it sounds like my tongue and fingers get out of sync
and instead of \'93too, too, too, too, too,\'94 I end up with \'93blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah.\'94 I\'92m sure you might know what I mean. Many people have experienced that,
and this is one of the techniques that helped me to get my tongue and fingers more in sync.
I also used to find it challenging to tongue quickly enough. And once I learned this system,
my tonguing speed probably doubled and now it\'92s one of my strengths. It\'92s all because
of this system. \ \
And actually, I owe this system to one of my favorite teachers, Ted Owen, who plays
principal clarinet in the Detroit Symphony. So he showed it to me and I\'92ve showed it
to many, many of my students and seen great results. I\'92m going to show it to you.\
\ So here\'92s the quick version of it. This
is an exercise to teach your tongue a new skill and it\'92s called \'93stop tonguing.\'94
And it\'92s one form of staccato that\'92s really handy to learn. I think once you learn
it well, you\'92ll probably find that you end up using it a lot of the time when you
have staccato passages. So in a nutshell, when we do regular tonguing, which you\'92re
probably very good at doing, imagine that my finger here is your tongue, your tongue
will hit the reed to start every note. \'93Tee, tee, tee.\'94 Nothing new, you\'92ve been
doing that for a while.\ \
The difference between stop tonguing and normal tonguing is that in stop tonguing, our tongue
is going to come back to the reed to end the note. And as soon as our tongue sort of closes
off the reed, the note ends instantly. Now, this gives us a really crisp articulation.
So slow motion stop tonguing would look like this: \'93Taaawwwtt, taaawwwtt, taaawwwtt,\'94
and we wouldn\'92t actually go that slowly if we were playing a piece of music, but this
is how we\'92re going to learn it.\ \
So with stop tonguing, we actually blow all the time, as if I\'92m just playing a long
note. So even when my tongue has closed off the reed and the reed is shut, I keep blowing.
Now, of course, if I did this for a long time, my head would probably explode or something,
and I don\'92t want your head to explode! But, what you will get is a little bit of
back pressure built up, that\'92s normal, that\'92s okay, and it means that when you
take your tongue off the reed, there\'92s fantastic air pressure to start the next note.\
\ The biggest challenge that many people have
when they do staccato, is they stop blowing between notes, so they achieve staccato with
their air, \'93Toogh, toogh, toogh.\'94 What happens is while we\'92re letting our air
pressure down between notes, it often slows down too much and we get a mushy, fuzzy sound,
and you\'92ll find the next note doesn\'92t speak very well. So I know so many people
who say, \'93Gosh, when I\'92m trying to tongue high notes, especially when I\'92m tonguing
fast and high, the notes just don\'92t speak.\'94 And that\'92s usually because we\'92re letting
our air pressure down.\ \
Now, it is possible to tongue by stopping blowing and get a great staccato, but it\'92s
much harder. So I think you\'92ll find this system will give you an easier way of doing
that.\ \
So, here\'92s the exercise, and I want you to have a clarinet and try this with me, and
I want it to feel simple for you.\ \
So, step one, we\'92re just going to play an open G, that\'92s the note we play when
we put our clarinet in our mouth with no holes covered, every hole\'92s open, so its nickname
is open G. And I just want you to play it with fast steady air and sustain it. And the
idea is, we just notice how our body feels when we\'92re blowing non-stop. Very simple,
I\'92ll demonstrate.\ \
[Play notes.]\ \
That\'92s how you start. And you really just want to make sure your air is very consistent
and very even as we do this.\ \
All right. Step two is we\'92re going to do normal tonguing. So we\'92re going to imagine
we have legato quarter notes, my tongue hits the reed at the start of each note, it\'92s
as if I\'92m going, \'93Too, too, too,\'94. You\'92ve probably been doing this before
- pretty straightforward. While I play it, I\'92ll have my finger representing my tongue
on the reed.\ \
[Play notes.]\ \
There\'92s two things I\'92m focusing on in step two. One is that my air is still completely
non-stop, the same as it was when I was sustaining one note. And the second thing is that as
my tongue starts each note, that the notes sound exactly the same. I wouldn\'92t want
to have some notes really accented and some notes really light. I\'92d want to keep them
all exactly the same.\ \
All right, step three. Here\'92s where we\'92re teaching your tongue something new, and this
one I want you to do really carefully, because now you\'92re teaching yourself something
new. What we\'92re going to do is we\'92re going to have our tongue off the reed half
the time and then come back and close the note and sit on the reed for half the time.\
\ Now, this is an exaggerated exercise. Our
tongue is going to be closing the reed off much longer than it actually will when we
put this into practice in a real song. So you may get air leaking out the sides of your
mouth, your tone may not be great\'97you know what? That\'92s fine. All of that\'92s okay
for this exercise. This exercise is about blowing the whole time and teaching your tongue
to end the notes cleanly.\ \
So what our focus is, is that when our tongue comes back to the reed to end the notes, that
it does it quickly, and we get a clean ending to the note.\
\ My tongue is moving really quickly, I should
hear, \'93Taaawwwtt, taaawwwtt, taaawwwtt.\'94 Now, often at first, our tongue is a little
unsure how to do that, so we end up with, \'93Taaawwwr, taaawwhw,\'94 and you may find
that happens, and that\'92s okay. But you just want to encourage your tongue to kind
of make sure it\'92s hitting near the tip of the reed and getting faster. We don\'92t
want to go very quickly and this exercise is harder to do slowly. But I want to encourage
you to keep it slowly so that we can really hear how the notes are ending. \
\ So here\'92s my tongue on the reed, I\'92ll
probably have air leaking out the sides of my mouth, my tone may not be great, but that\'92s
okay, I\'92m training my tongue and air to do a very specific skill that\'92s going to
serve me well.\ \
[Play notes.]\ \
So, I did about four in a row there. Like I said, you might find your tongue is not
always clean, it might sound something like this.\
\ [Play notes.]\
\ So I had a really clean one in the middle,
my other two weren\'92t so good, but I would just keep working at it to get that really
clean. That\'92s step three. I\'92m still blowing the whole time. Our big temptation
in step three is to actually stop blowing, to kind of go, \'93Taaawwwt,\'94 stop blowing,
\'93Taaawwwt,\'94 stop blowing. You don\'92t want to do that, you have to keep blowing,
even though we have air pressure building up in our mouth, that\'92s going to serve
us well.\ \
All right. Step four is an extension of step three. We\'92re going to do the same thing
- very slow exercise. Our tongue starts each note, comes back to the reed to end each note,
but now we want to imagine that your tongue has a big rubber band holding it onto the
mouthpiece and when it comes off, it\'92s going to snap back. \'93tut, tut, tut, tut.\'94
So almost like it\'92s on the reed more than it\'92s off, and we\'92re going to make the
notes as pecky and as short as we possibly can. And remember, this is an exercise in
exaggeration, so I\'92ll demonstrate it. It\'92s not going to sound like the most beautiful
clarinetist in the world, but I\'92m really, in doing this, actually teaching my tongue
to move really quickly, which is a bonus of this system. So here we go.\
\ [Play notes.]\
\ Now, you might hear air leaking out the sides
of my mouth. It is, if you can\'92t hear it through this microphone. Lots of back pressure,
but boy, am I teaching my tongue something important. So when you do this step, make
it as short as you can and don\'92t go too fast. If we take it too quickly, what happens
is instead of ending a note, we just are starting the next one, because the notes are so close
together.\ \
[Play notes.]\ \
Those are a bunch of short notes, but they\'92re only short because they\'92re fast. That,
in fact, is not stop tongue, listen to the difference. I\'92ll start with what I was
just doing, which is only my tongue starting the note and I\'92ll morph it into my tongue
ending the note as well.\ \
[Play notes.]\ \
You can hear a difference. Now again, I\'92m doing the exaggerated form, this is an exercise.
It\'92s how you train your tongue. Once you have your tongue used to this, then we\'92ll
discover how we can actually use this in different pieces.\
\ The next step in working on this at home for
you would be to take a very easy scale. I\'92m going to say an F major skill, starting on
low F, play each note of the scale in a quarter note and four short sixteenths, again, making
it as short as you can.\ \
[Play notes.]\ \
What I\'92m listening for in the four sixteenth notes is that they match each other. We sometimes
have a tendency to make one longer, \'93Taaaawwwwt, taawwt, taawwt, taawwt, taawwt, taaaawwwwt,\'94
so you want them all, \'93tut, tut, tut, tut.\'94 This will train your tongue to move quickly,
and shortly, and sound great.\ \
From there, I would say anything that uses fast tonguing, I use this system.\
\ [Play notes.]\
\ So take this, take some of your pieces that
have staccato, try this technique and I\'92m sure it\'92s going to work really well for
you. So, I want you to try this out, have fun at home, and thanks for listening to this.\
\ \
\ \
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