Trombone lesson: Doodle Tonguing – Part 3

Trombone lesson: Doodle Tonguing – Part 3

Doodle Tonguing – Part 3

Building up speed and strength

Doodle tonguing is the perfect weapon for jazz trombone players who want to play fast and smooth melody lines. It is a technique for legato playing with built-in swing phrasing!

Once you have the basics in place and feel comfortable playing with doodle tongue, it is time to work on speed and strength. I use these exercises a lot, both to improve and maintain my doodle skills. They are very useful, regardless if you just have begun mastering doodle tongue, or if you have been using the technique for centuries.

Tempo, tempo, and tempo!

Use a metronome, pick a tempo where you can play the exercises with great control and precision, and increase the tempo as you improve. Don’t set the tempo too high. That might make you feel cool in the practice studio, but you will sound bad on stage…

Playing these exercises is quite hard, and you will strengthen muscles in and around the tongue. And in the same way, your legs can feel numb and stiff after a long run, your tongue might feel a bit big and clumsy after a hard doodle workout. So don’t run all the exercises for half an hour before you go on stage to play a concert. Been there, done that, bad idea…

Make it fit your lips

I have written the patterns up to a medium-high or high range. Find your own limits, and make sure it fits you, either by expanding the range even more or by not playing the full range of the exercises. In exercise 1, it is important that you play it chromatically all the way down again. Find out how high you can go, and still have chops left to complete the exercise down to the low E.

If you use these exercises daily for a period of time, I promise that you will improve, both rapidly and a lot! As with all physical training, you have to do this kind of exercise regularly to stay in shape, but the good thing is that you don´t have to spend hours on it. 10-15 minutes a day should be enough to keep your doodling skills at a high level once you got it down and use it as an integrated part of your trombone playing.

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Previous articles in this series:
Trombone Doodle Tonguing – Part 1
Trombone Doodle Tonguing – Part 2

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