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Jazz Sax Lessons: Correct Tonguing

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So now, let's work on tonguing.
And some of the correct ways and
perhaps not so correct ways of tonguing.
Tonguing in general is pretty universal.
The main goal, the main thing you want to
be thinking of whenever you're tonguing,
whether you're staccato tonguing,
legato tonguing, accenting, anything,
is the the lack of extra
motion with your tongue.
You want to make sure that when
you're attacking the mouthpiece,
the action of your tongue is as
quick as it can possibly be.
So, let's talk about these
things one at a time, shall we?
Let's take a staccato Articulation,
staccato articulation.
So this is gonna be the kind of
articulation where you're gonna use a t,
t, t, t, t, t but as opposed to
an accent where you're also using a t.
This one, in a staccato, basically
you're opening your mouthpiece I'm sorry
you're opening your reed to
allow the note to come out.
Then you're shutting it back down.
Like this.
So, I'm starting off that
articulation with my tongue like
the brake pedal on your car.
You've got your tongue on the reed and
you're letting go allowing that air to hit
the reed and boom you got your staccato
and then you shut it right back down.
You press that brake
pedal right back down.
So, it sounds as though the attack
of the sound of the note is actually
your tongue hitting the reed.
Au contrare, it's actually the sound
of your tongue releasing the reed so
that the sound can come through.
di, di, di, di, di, di, di, di,
di, di, duh, and
what I'm doing, I'm actually,
with one staccato,
using this part of my tongue,
just above the tip of my tongue behind it,
it's hard to feel exactly how far back.
But ready?
It's right about there.
[LAUGH] Don't want to get any close ups
of my tongue, but you get the idea.
It's not on the tip of your tongue
necessarily but just above it, okay.
And with that though,
I am feeling the tip of the reed.
With other articulations I'm
not really feeling the tip.
You wanna be tonguing the reed right
behind, underneath the reed here.
But for staccatos, bam,
you're hitting right on the tip.
[SOUND] But that concept,
it's not about hitting the reed.
Again, it's not the the sound of
the attack is not your tongue hitting
the reed, it's the sound of
your tongue releasing the reed.
So but with the psychoto it's important
to cut it off, it's a short note.
So make sure that your tongue is getting
right back on that tongue right away,
right back on the reed by the way.
Okay, so you this would be, please
play we're going to go back down to G.
I'm playing my alto if your playing
tennor or soprano play a C so
we can do it in unison.
Lets just do eight,
I do eight and you do eight.
Dat, dat, dat, dat, dat, dat, dat, dat.
Here is me.
Okay, now your turn, you do the same.
One, two, ready go.
Okay, sounds great.
[LAUGH] Cool, okay, so
now, hey you can, again,
falls under my category of how we practice
is more important than what we practice.
So whatever you want to do to practice
this articulation would be great.
You got all kinds of stuff,
all throughout my school here.
But you can take a series of
the major scales, if you want to, and
play a major scale- all staccato.
I'll play my G major scale on my alto.
So the common thing is to allow
the end of the staccato to be heard.
All that is is just a matter of not being
clean with getting your
tongue back on to that reed.
So that staccato is all about opening
that window just long enough for
the air to come and hit that reed,
and then shut it right back down.
Dot, dot, dot.
So aother articulation as far
as the tongue is concerned is,
that is using the T attack,
T on the mouthpiece as our accent.
Ta, where it's the same
attack from the beginning but
now obviously we're not shutting down
the note, we're letting it play through.
[SOUND] So same position.
I'm feeling the tip of my
reed on the top of my tongue.
Again, probably not far from the top
of my tongue but just above the tip.
So right about like that.
[LAUGH] There you go.
Flattering i know.
So try that with me.
So it's the same attack, but
now you're gonna leave them open.
So let's do eight.
I'll play eight of my Gs on my alto.
If you're playing tenor or
soprano you're gonna play a C.
Okay, now here we go.
Your turn.
One, two, ready, and
one two three four, one two three four.
[SOUND] Okay,
I'm doing that because I wanna make sure
that you're practicing getting
your tongue to move quickly.
It's the action of the tongue.
Once the tongue starts to become engaged,
once you get it up to the mouthpiece,
you're interrupting the air,
you're interrupting the sound.
You can't maintain the same quality of
the note prior to the articulation.
So that articulation has to be quick,
quick, quick.
Okay so let's play that G scale together
if you're playing an E flat instrument,
C scale if.
If you're playing a B flat instrument.
I'll count you off [SOUND] one,
two, ready.
Okay, so
another articulation is
our legato articulation.
Dee and we're using d like dog.
D, D, D, D, D.
Our analogy for this one is the rock
skipping across the pond analogy, where
you take a rock and you throw it against
the pond and it goes skip, skip, skip.
The pond is the air and the reed
essentially and the rock is your tongue.
And your tongue is just sort of
like licking the top of the rock,
just as the rock is sort of licking
the top of the water, your tongue,
it's sort of licking
the the top of the reed.
And just that quick of an action,
you're interrupting that water.
You're hitting the water
as quickly as possible.
The point is, is that it's a softer
articulation but it's very, very quick.
Definite but quick.
And the best way I can describe
it is that you're just saying D.
D, D, D, D, D.
But make sure that D, D,
D is happening as fast as you can.
It's not like you're using
a bunch of energy behind it,
just a D, D, but just lite, D, D, D, D.
Again think of that rock
skipping over the water.
I'm gonna play eight of those G's for me.
C if you're playing a B flat instrument,
and here's eight random legato notes.
Good okay, so
your turn, one two ready go.
Let's play a concert B flat scale,
meaning that I'm gonna play it's
a G scale, G major scale for me.
I'm on alto and
C if you're playing tenor or soprano.
So, here we go.
One, two, three.
So in that case it's very
much like a slurred scale.
It's so great to practice those things as
if you're going to slur them like this.
So first slur then tone because
everything is exactly the same from
this articulation as you
would if you were slurring.
It's just that instead of,
meaning that you're not changing your air.
You're not changing the approach
to the notes at all.
You're going to play them nice and
evenly, but
now with the articulation we're
gonna just lick the note you want,
again, interrupt the phrase as briefly and
as unaffected as possible.
Here's a slurred scale.
And here's
the legato tongue scale.
So the real trick behind all those
articulations whether
it's a legato tongue or
a accented t tongue or
a staccato t tongue is your air.
I talked about making sure that
your tongue is working fast,
but as long,
the air keeps the reed vibrating, and
so the more support
you're giving that reed,
the more ability you're
giving it to vibrate and
continue to vibrate til the very end
of the note prior to the articulation.
So the more you support and support
a little extra into that articulation,
the more the note will continue
to vibrate and sound and
your interruption of each of those
articulations will be as little as
possible, and it will sound as
clean as you want it to be.
Okay, so good luck with those.
Shoot me a video of you doing them.
If you're having any questions or
difficulties, let me know.
All right, happy tonguing.