This post is the second in my series on learning to double tongue. It focuses on learning to alternate the first and second articulated syllables. The challenge is to get the second syllable (the “ku” or “goo”) to sound like the first (the “tu” or “doo”). The feeling of producing the second syllable should be as close as possible to normal single-tongue articulation because this allows for a seamless switch between single- and double-tonguing. I have two exercises that I practice to accomplish this. Here is the first:
This exercise should be practiced slowly with a goal towards making the sound resulting from the “ku” articulation very similar to the sound of the normal “tu” articulation. Care should be taken to ensure that the voicing is high (with the roof of the mouth high enough to allow for a lot of resonance). I practice this exercise every other day, even though it is no longer a challenge for me. Often, when I speed up my double tonguing without having practiced this exercise slowly and carefully, then the roof of the mouth drops, the position of the tongue drops, and the articulation becomes “thuddy” and unfocused and it is impossible to double tongue above the break. This happens only when I get impatient and skip my slow practice.
Here is exercise number two:
This exercise focuses on getting you to push more air through the instrument as you articulate. The reason that the middle of the articulated passage is on beat one of every bar is that it is natural emphasize beat one. Give a small crescendo toward the first beat and then a light accent on beat one and you will help strengthen the second syllable and make it sound more like single tongue articulation. This second exercise can also be practiced using only “ku” (as in Ku-ku Ku-ku….Ku-ku Ku-ku…etc)
Both of these exercises should be practiced slowly (I usually set the tempo at quarter note = 60-100) and at a comfortable mf dynamic. Think of them as long tones with just a few articulations in the middle. At some point you will need to increase the speed, but first spend a week or more just practicing these exercises slowly and focusing on the quality of the articulation.