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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderators: blast, WaltTrombone) Tongue between teeth in low range?
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stk
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« on: Jan 07, 2017, 01:31AM »

I just bought Ben van Dijk's "Ben's Basics" iBook, and I like it quite a bit; lots of useful material in it, and lots of helpful tips.

However, I was surprised to read his recommendation to place the tongue between the teeth in the lower register, instead of behind the upper teeth. For years I have been trying to avoid doing that, I have been trying hard to place the tongue behind the upper teeth in the low range as well. I always found it difficult to do, but my lesson with Doug in the summer where he showed me those embouchure motion and horn angle basics seemed to help a bit.

So what is everbody's opinion? (Apart from "Try everything, use what works"...)
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 07, 2017, 01:52AM »

I tongue between the teeth, definitely. Not sure I could find another way to make a good articulation below a certain point. And it does sound pretty good.
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 07, 2017, 02:23AM »

I tongue every register between my teeth... its the only way i find i can get my articulations clear enough. Dont think i have heard of it being an explicitly bad thing to do? Certainly hasn't held me back. At least not to my knowledge.
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 07, 2017, 02:48AM »

I tongue between the teeth, definitely.
Everywhere, or just in the lower register? If the latter, where does it start? (Just curious.)
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 07, 2017, 03:41AM »

I used to have to tongue between my teeth for low register on the bass bone, but since I have been working on the Teele book, keeping my lips together as much as possible, I am not having to do it any more.  As we always say on TTF, everybody's different.
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 07, 2017, 04:03AM »

There are different school regarding the position of the tongue and the way we use it.

When I was a student, I was taught to tongue (on trumpet) aproximately the french (think Maurice Andre) are doing it.

Most of the time I arch slightly the tongue, enables to make a more precise and more delicate articulations. On extreme high register my tongue is hitting mostly the higher jaw.

I guess on low tenor trombone register my tongue is almost straight between the jaws, but it is mostly hitting the lower jaw.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 07, 2017, 04:16AM »

Check out this video from Paul Pollard, https://youtu.be/W6TCRms3jU4

About 6 minutes in (the whole vid is worth watching)
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 07, 2017, 05:00AM »

Do what works. If something is not working try to correct it.
Som of you might know who Derek Watkins was, if googl him. He told me that he tounged every tone betwen hes teeth.
Years ago a tuba player in the Roysl opera hous in Denmark was very admired, so was asked to write a tutor.
People got very surpriced whe the read that he recomende tounguing between the teeth.

Some very fine musicians do that. You may not do that, if you donīt do that donīt start now.

But if you find out that it is the way you can plat the best, well think about it.

It is how it sounds that count.
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 07, 2017, 05:08AM »

Check out this video from Paul Pollard, https://youtu.be/W6TCRms3jU4

About 6 minutes in (the whole vid is worth watching)

He seems to be a be an excellent player (that's the first time I see him), but what gives is very general and basic (I don't mean to undermine his experience, it is excellent for complete bigginers). However, there are many other possibilities and nuances, or schools of doing it, if you prefer. Where to hit with your tongue is just one of the variables.
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 07, 2017, 07:31AM »

I actually did an "informal" survey about this a few years ago. I asked several top bass bone players (Bob Sanders, Ben Van Djyk, Rich Bullock, Phil Keen, Jeff Reynolds, Charlie Vernon, Dave Taylor, and a few others I'm forgetting) if/when they started doing this "range-wise".  Most said they definitely do it. Most start somewhere around D below the bass clef staff.
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 07, 2017, 08:30AM »

Everywhere, or just in the lower register? If the latter, where does it start? (Just curious.)

Lower register. Probably around the low F to D area. Couldn't give you an exact note.

I've never heard of it being a bad thing- as long as it sounds good, why not?

I think it was Jay Friedman who said he tongues everything that way.
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 13, 2017, 02:10PM »

My 2 cents:  I do this in the low register, starting somewhere around A/G at the bottom of the staff.
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 13, 2017, 02:30PM »

Hell, we do what we have to do.... this stuff is too complex for this sort of discussion... BUT... don't trash Sam's 'try everything, do what works' mantra.... it is deeper than many people think.

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« Reply #13 on: Jan 14, 2017, 07:14AM »

When I played tuba I did whatever worked, which was to use my tongue between my teeth on EVERYTHING. Low, high, middle, anything. When I started playing bass trombone, my tone was very bad. After I started paying attention to articulations, now I sound pretty good. But I notice that, like someone said before, the trigger range I almost have to do it. From D down to B natural. When I play pedals, it gets a bit weirder. On pedal Bb down to Gb I use my tongue between the teeth, but any lower, and the articulation gets incrementally, for lack of a better term, better. As I start ascending, it stays the same even well into the treble clef.

TL;DR, it works for some things, but not others.

I understand your 'resentment' of the try everything statement, it's somewhat frustrating to hear the same thing over and over again, sometimes you just want something different. But I believe that in this situation you have to try both ways and see what's better for you.
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 14, 2017, 09:33AM »

If you practice your notes with breath attack, you may find you can then articulate however you want, and some of them may work better than others. 

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« Reply #15 on: Jan 14, 2017, 11:57AM »

There are different school regarding the position of the tongue and the way we use it.

---snip---

Any "school" that doesn't take into consideration individual physical configurations in this and many other brass-related topics is a "My way or the highway" school. "My way or the highway" works well for people who share similar physicalities (and also idiomatic choices) with a given teacher or so-called "school" of playing, and if the teacher's physicalities/idiomatic choices are somewhat common that means that said teacher will have a number of successful students...thus a "school" of brass playing arises. My personal observation has been that teachers/schools of that sort also have a lot of failed students, and those students are usually written off as "not hard-working enough," "not talented enough," etc.

Compare that with approaches that work well for almost all physicalites and idiomatic choices...deductive or inductive, whether they are oriented towards the more deductive Caruso "Simple exercises that lead you to a good balance," Coffey "Tongue and blow; that's all there is to it," Jacobs "Song and wind" types of teaching or more inductive approaches that allow for many types of physicality like the Reinhardt approach that Doug Elliott has further perfected. There are far fewer "failures" in those approaches if they are taught well, primarily because they all essentially codify and structure a "Try everything; use what works" approach in terms of the physical aspects of playing.

Blast writes above "...don't trash Sam's 'try everything, do what works' mantra.... it is deeper than many people think."

That it is.

But...it's not "mine." It's just my observation of the great brass players...especially the relatively early jazz brass virtuosi, most of whom had little or no formal teaching of any kind. They learned by doing and by imitation. It would have taken most "My way or the highway" teachers about 3 seconds to tell Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden and Dizzy Gillespie that they were playing all wrong. Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker and Miles Davis too, just for starters.

But they weren't "wrong," they were just...different.

And now?

Whose picture was the only one on the wall at Bud Herseth's studio?

Yup.

Maynard Ferguson.

The story goes that J. J. Johnson went to see a few mainstream brass teachers and was disappointed with what they recommended. (J. J. was his own man, thank God.) Then he went to see Arnold Jacobs and was so impressed that he took out an ad in Downbeat to praise his approach.

And what does Joe Alessi have to say today about jazz trombonists?

They're the one to whom he listens.

Yup.

Try everything and use what works.

For you.

Later...

S.

P.S. One of my teachers...Jack Nowinski...told me that the legato playing style now favored by almost all orchestral players was essentially popularized if not invented/reinvented by Tommy Dorsey. Another "Do it your way" kind of player. Before Dorsey? More slide, less legato tongue. More vocalistic.

Like dat.
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 14, 2017, 12:11PM »

Sam,

I absolutely agree with what you wrote. However, at least in trumpet playing, German, French and American classical trumpet players do not tongue the same way, and it is audible from their recordings. My knowledge and experience is unsufficient to make such a claim regarding trombone tonguing. But I suspect that such distinctively different practices exist. I will look forward to what other more experienced tbone players have to say on the subject.
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 14, 2017, 06:55PM »

Do what works. If something is not working try to correct it.
Som of you might know who Derek Watkins was, if googl him. He told me that he tounged every tone betwen hes teeth.
Years ago a tuba player in the Roysl opera hous in Denmark was very admired, so was asked to write a tutor.
People got very surpriced whe the read that he recomende tounguing between the teeth.

Some very fine musicians do that. You may not do that, if you donīt do that donīt start now.

But if you find out that it is the way you can plat the best, well think about it.

It is how it sounds that count.

This is very true. The goal is a good start to the note. Whatever  technique allows that to happen is the right way for you.
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« Reply #18 on: Jan 15, 2017, 10:35AM »

Sam,

I absolutely agree with what you wrote. However, at least in trumpet playing, German, French and American classical trumpet players do not tongue the same way, and it is audible from their recordings. My knowledge and experience is unsufficient to make such a claim regarding trombone tonguing. But I suspect that such distinctively different practices exist. I will look forward to what other more experienced tbone players have to say on the subject.

Indeed, language has a great deal to do with tonguing. So does accent within a given language. But that's a whole 'nother subject. Also, the national differences in orchestral approach are rapidly being erased by the easy availability of digital recordings. Within a couple of generations...provided the newly refound nationalist/populist sentiments across the globe do not change the course of this development...there will only be minor differences in orchestras worldwide. Whether this is good, bad or just different could take up a whole new thread.

S.
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« Reply #19 on: Jan 15, 2017, 10:42AM »

Indeed, language has a great deal to do with tonguing. So does accent within a given language. But that's a whole 'nother subject. Also, the national differences in orchestral approach are rapidly being erased by the easy availability of digital recordings. Within a couple of generations...provided the newly refound nationalist/populist sentiments across the globe do not change the course of this development...there will only be minor differences in orchestras worldwide. Whether this is good, bad or just different could take up a whole new thread.

S.

That would be rather sad. Though you are perfectly right. Still, I would like to be able to hear diffferent interpretations in Berlin, Paris, London and New York...the opposite would be rather regrettable, though quite possible.
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