WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Tongue stopping the air – could you clarify? Reply To: Tongue stopping the air – could you clarify?

Ronald Carson

Hi VeeTG,

I’m not Greg. First: Do you have the concept of the tongue releasing the air? You take the backswing breath, the tongue is ready, in the position to let go of the air using “tu”.

“To RELEASE energy from the body to play a note, you simply lower the tongue from the roof of the mouth. The Aperture Corners have already set the pitch. The body expands on inhalation and wants to return to its natural position of repose – BUT IT CAN’T BECAUSE


The physical work is done with the breath in… #BackSwing.”

For the tongue to stop the air,

    it must raise back to the roof of the mouth

. Now the pressure of the air that is still in your lungs (your balloon) can’t come out because the tongue is in the way.
Learning this is found in “The Backswing Revisited” and is demonstrated in “The Mouthpiece Revisited”. You practice releasing air by repeating tu, tu, tu, tu into a tissue. The air is starting and stopping with the tongue in the t position. The t starts tu and ends with the begging of the next tu. What if you put the tongue in the way of the air and do no let the “ooo” sound out? You have just stopped the air with the tongue.

Part of the problem with understanding this concept is we normally stop air from coming out of our lungs using the vocal folds (a.k.a. vocal cords). Breathe in and hold your breath with your mouth opened. Your larynx (voice box) is closed by the vocal cords coming together. You also have experienced holding your breath by tightly closing your lips. This is another natural way of holding air inside our bodies.

The tongue stop is using the tongue to keep air from escaping from the mouth while the larynx is opened. You should feel a little air pressure behind the tongue. Letting tongue down releases air and putting the tongue back in place stops the air.

What does this sound like?
When playing like this the trumpet makes a “tut” sound. (Nothing to do with King Tut.) In most concert bands and orchestras, this is stylistically unpleasant. This type of playing is sometimes used in jazz.

I am not sure about the following. The tut sound is more pronounced when using the tip of the tongue rather than using the tongue arch.

Why are we doing this?
So remember, we are generating sensations. We learning not to kick the air or tighten a bunch of muscles to play notes. Later you will engage muscles to play loud and to sustain a note. You can play quite loud and long without engaging muscles. You can also play higher notes without engaging a bunch of muscles. This is where so many go wrong.

I hope this helps. It is certainly long-winded!

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