One of the problems that I hear with my students is a flapping or thunking sound when they’re tonguing a piece. This occurs even with my college students. It comes out very clearly when they’re double-tonguing a piece.

That thunking flapping sound is clear to me. But sometimes is takes a while for me to help my student’s ear get tuned in to that noise.

The cause of this noise, as always, is tonguing too far back.

We’ve talked about tonguing before but I want you to be really clear and sure that when you’re tonguing, that you listen for that thunking noise. If you hear that noise, then your tongue is too far back.

When I’m standing in the room with a student who’s tonguing too far back, I can tell immediately. That noise is very clear.

You want your tongue to be as far forward as you can get it without touching your teeth.

I recommend doing tonguing exercises to keep your tongue sharp. Take any of the exercises that you have in your book. But just do it as a slow tonguing exercise, rather than a fast articulation exercise. Make sure that your tongue is right where it should be and listen for that noise, that thunk or flapping sound.

Additionally, the notes are so clear when the tongue is forward, and it less clear when its back. It’s a duller “tah.” It’s not as crisp and clean as the forward one.

If you’re a teacher, listen for the flapping sound from your students. You can hear it when you pay close attention. Then have them keep their tongue more forward.

Let me know how this works for you.

Have Fun!

Dr. Flute

Watch me demonstrate this: FluteTips 4 Tonguing Problems – Noisy Tongue