Dec 03, 2018

A few years ago, when I started making videos to help flute players online, there was one particular 60-ish-year-old, Dan, who was sooo keen to learn and improve his playing.

Dan was the first person who lived internationally (the US) who took up my lessons and started improving out-of-sight when he applied what I taught him.

It was honestly incredible to have such support and enthusiasm right at the start of my business - back in 2015.

But there is one thing that Dan has still been wondering. It is how to coordinate his double tonguing so that his fingers and tongue are even.

So I made him (and you!) a video on HOW TO DIAGNOSE whether it is your tongue or your fingers that are the culprit for uneven double tonguing.

* If you have no idea what double tonguing is, sit tight - there'll be plenty more videos in the future that are especially for you!

* If you're a teacher, then indeed, why not try out this diagnosing method with your advanced flute students?

I just got asked a great question. How do you synchronize your double tonguing with your fingers? It’s such a good question. It’s because it has such an easy fix. The answer to this is kind of in the question, how do you get them in sync? So if you need to get them in sync, it means that one of them is out. So if one of them is out, you need to figure out which one it is and then get it good.

So let's just take a scale, for example, let's say we're going. So that was da da. So the person who asked this question was implying that it sounded more like this like that. So I deliberately made it sound terrible and I'm sure your version did not sound that bad. So we're gonna work out. Is it your fingers or is it your tongue?

 So here is the diagnostic method of figuring out which one it is. Let's do your fingers first. So we take away the tonguing which means slurring it. If that is uneven, then it's your fingers that need work. And you want to practice that slur. And this goes for the section of any piece that you're learning. Practice it slurred at the same speed that you want to be able to do it and get it even. If you can't do it even and slurred, practice it slower, either slurred or tongued, but you want those fingers even. The way to do it is to start slow and build up the speed, leave the tongue out of it to get the fingers even. 

So now let's see if it's your tongue that is uneven. And the way to do that is to leave out the fingers, which means playing one note. So choose any note, I'll just choose A and double tongue it. If that is the speed that you want to be playing the piece at and it's not even, I should say, if that's the speed that you are playing the piece at, and that is not even then you know, it's your tongue. So practice your double tonguing. Slower practice also just going ga, ga, ga, ga, ga, ga, ga, ga, ga is really good. The ga of people in their double tongue is often weaker, less controlled than their da. Now, do you know why? It's because they've spent a long time years even, tonguing da, da, da, da, da which is correct, but they haven't been doing ga, ga, ga, ga, ga, cuz that's not correct. But as soon as you put double tonguing in, you need both. So you gotta strengthen up the ga to get it even with the da. Also, do da ga da ga da on a flute on a note, also while you're walking da ga da ga da, it's strengthening your tongue muscles, which means it's all gonna be even.

So there you go. The way to diagnose whether it's your tongue or your fingers was like I just showed you then. Then put it together and if you've got controlled fingers and you've got controlled tonguing, it will just like slot on top of each other and it will sound good.

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