Tongueing Difficulties

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dave Euph, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Hi there folks.

    I'm suffering a little bit as of late with my tongueing. When I take a breath, quite often I tighten up unintentionally and I find it very difficult to release my tongue and the air, and when I do it's often very erratic, unpleasant, and late.

    It doesn't always affect me, especially once I'm into the swing of things, and I do try exercises to "coach" myself out of it. i must admit my tongueing has never been spectacular but this is the first time I've struggled like this!

    I'm almost 100% certain it's psychological, so exercises may not be the best help. Any suggestions? Obviously being this close to the area I don't want this to me on my mind on stage!

    Many thanks.
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Try free buzzing.
  3. sop 1

    sop 1 Member

    Hi,ur not alone,its called the yips! Dart players get it when they cant release the darts and snooker players too when they cant strike the cue ball.
    Iv had it for years,when i was on Bb cornet i couldnt produce a note for tuning!
    But since iv been on sop (18 years) its not as bad! Its all down to breathing.iv nearly cured myself but its alway in the backround! Get some lessons with a pro is my best advice!
    Hope u can get past it as its b***dy horrible!
    Some of the best players in the country have had it too so ur not alone.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  4. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Contraversial area! There has been a comprehensive study of FTSED by Seth Fletcher (read the pdf here) and what was the course of remedial action? Building (or re-training) the process of production from scratch using holistic techniques ulitising breathing and buzzing!
  6. mclaugh

    mclaugh Member

    Oh, puh-leaze.

    Focal Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by IRREGULAR, REPETITIVE, INVOLUNTARY contraction of a muscle or muscle group.

    The problem the OP describes in no way exhibits the pathology of focal dystonia, and it is reckless and irresponsible to suggest that it does.
  7. wittig

    wittig Member

    What on earth are those guys going on about in that link about playing in "bad time" causes Focal Dystonia or whatever.

    It's as if these guys are implying that they play music in a separate dimension from the rest of us that live in the real world, that contains only time and sound - and these are the only two factors that are relative to each other and without "good time" there can be no sound. So "bad time" would be like "dark matter" stealing the sound from the world.

    I recently read an article in the New Scientist that also implied that we are all living in a hologram - apparently some instrument designed to be looking for gravitational waves has picked up unexpected noise that implies the hologram theory.

    Both, either or none of these things may be true, but it is not a helpful link in my opinion to the OPs description of what is a real problem and not a conceptual idea about dimensions of time and mental state.

    Good luck with finding a solution to your problem, which hopefully doesn't involve the scentific study of what "good time" is.

    Apologies mods for drifting waay off topic :p
  8. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Haha, interesting to read about this OTness when I pick up the thread again!

    I'm a religious free-buzzer and mouthpiece-buzzer, and by and large the problem doesn't exist there. I can also produce a sound absolutely no problem without the tongue (I know that sometimes players have problems the other way around). It's the releasing of the tongue I struggle with.

    Lessons with a pro may be the best advice.

    Now to find the time for it! ...

    Any other ideas in the meantime?
  9. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I was having a chat with an old mate whom I was seeking advice from, and he came to the exact same conclusion. I think this may be the case.

    I don't know who to see regarding a pro, I need to see someone who has experience with dealing with psychological issues, or even the issue itself.

    Can you, or anyone else, PM me any details of anyone around west/south yorkshire who could help? Roger Webster possibly comes to mind.

  10. fireborn

    fireborn Member

    Hi David, I may be wrong, but it sounds as if it's all to do with fear - fear of failure, fear that the note won't start etc. Can I suggest something? Completely away from the instrument and the mouthpiece - When your walking, produce columns of air started by the tongue, but in time to your footsteps. [obviously don't make it look too obvious or people will think you've lost it! :-D ] Sounds easy (and it is), but it will go a long way (I think) to counteract the fear that's causing you to tense up. Walking is so natural - if you do this exercise every time you walk anywhere (without thinking about your euph. or music or band), this producing the air columns will become as natural as walking and hopefully counteract or erradicate the fear and tensing up when you play. I was taught to do a similar thing when learning to triple tongue - it then became so natural and easy. Try it and keep doing it everywhere you go, even to the bathroom or whatever. I hope I am explaining myself well enough, if not, pm me and I'll try to explain better. Hope this helps.
  11. sop 1

    sop 1 Member

    That sounds a god idea too!
    I'll try that myself.Think confidence IS a lot to do with it as fireborn said.
  12. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I completely agree with the confidence factor, and it is difficult to not get anxious about it, but actually that is something I regularly do anyway. :(
  13. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    I have every sympathy. It's comparable to alcoholics and drug addicts in that once you have it, you never totally get rid of it. But don't be disheartened, because there are ways around it.

    I've suffered through it three times and am just coming out the other side of time no. 3.

    I've cried, I've sworn, I've nearly packed the damn cornet up, sold it and found an easier thing to do with my time.

    Do you know what the stupid thing is? I can't really help. My issue with it came one day, and then left about 6 months later. Then it came back and left the same way.

    This time it reared it's ugly head again when I was under some serious playing pressure - It's absolutly pyshcplogical, becuase if you think about it- It cannot be physical, because you've never had a problem with it for the last __??__ years, right?

    I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it (partly because of said pressure-yes, it DID involve someone else, all very pathetic) - the one person i did confide in had never heard of it and told me to ''get a grip''. Afterwards I kept quiet for ages, but someone else noticed (ou couldm't really miss it!) and they helped. Since then I've spoken to many, many people about it and all of them helped in their own way. Eventually though, you'll work it out yourself-it will just click again oneday. It won't be perfect, but it will be a major start.

    I'll pm you the names of those that helped me-I don't know if they would all want it broadcast on tMP!
  14. Squeaker

    Squeaker Member

    There's been some good suggestions and some outlandish ones too.
    Go back to basics with the breathing seems to be the big message here. Don't want to sound like I'm teaching you to suck eggs, but think of it as filling a jug of water when you breathe. Think of filling your lungs from the bottom (with your diaphragm relaxed) up.
    The most important thing though is don't hold the breath in at all before you play. You need to play at the top of the breath. If you hold it in at all, your chest, tongue, mouth, the lot will be tense. Always keep it relaxed, and give your breathing as much concentration as the notes you're playing.
    Hope it helps.
  15. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    That relates a little to my current situation, although the person in question for me has heard of it, but his "advice" isn't paying dividends, shall we say.

    I've tried to be very open to other people about this, I'm taking the view that if people don't know, at the very least they can't sympathise and they definately can't help me. But I can fully understand a reaction of not wanting to say anything.

    Couldn't agree more here, but there is always that tiny point when your tongue blocks the air momentarily before releasing it (hence producing the 'da' or 'ta' sound) and that is where I'm struggling.

    At the moment I have devised a workaround of sorts, although I don't see it as a permanent solution. I'm starting to breathe out before tongueing the note, which is easier, if not foolproof. This works, because once I am playing tongueing isn't a problem, it's starting the playing off in the first place!

    We'll see how things go. If anyone knows how to get in touch with Roger Webster that might be useful. I have been informed by a very reliable source that he's my man.
  16. its_jon

    its_jon Member

    This is a technical problem.... so... take away the technical bit.

    Play without music.

    Once your happy.... refer to the map again.
  17. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    Have been trying to think about what it was that I did to try to sort it-and it IS all about breathing.

    My current technique is to try to stop myself from thinking about it-as soon as I remember that I 'can't do it', then I stop myself from being able to do it, if you see what I mean.

    So-I'm going for a quick turn around of air. I breathe in in time, ie. if the piece is 60 bpm, then I take two seconds worth of air on and then just start.

    Practice where no one can hear you-that helps.

    And go for it. Think - 'I AM going to tounge this note straight away, as soon as I want to. If it sounds awful, then it sounds awful, but at least I did it. And it can only get better.'
  18. benjaminuk

    benjaminuk Member

    I sugest booking to see a psycologist. They should be able to come up with an answer.

    Hope this helps
  19. Aurora771

    Aurora771 Member

    I've had some problems tonguing clearly since October-ish, and I'm convinced it's solely a confidence thing. It's getting better though... I found it rather embarassing tbh and haven't really talked to my MD about it. I think the pressure was getting to me... anyway things are looking up and I've renewed my enthusiasm for brass banding!
  20. sop 1

    sop 1 Member

    Have been producing the note at the top of the breath and it works a treat!
    Great bit of advice,thanks!! :clap:

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