I was taught horn playing at a young age to use the syllables, "tu ka tu", but I noticed recently that most of the basic instruction books recommend "tu tu ka".
I have a difficult time doing "tu tu ka", perhaps just because I have done it the other way my entire life. I admit my triple tonguing could be improved, but my question is:
Should I relearn this technique "tu tu ka" to improve my triple tonguing technique or just work on perfecting the system engrained in my consciousness long ago?
Kendall Betts responds:
Thank you for your question.
I think this falls into the "do what works best for you" category. I've always used and taught "tu-ku-tu" myself but I've known others who advocate and use "tu-tu-ku" with success as well. That said, the reason I prefer "tu-ku-tu" is that I advocate "tu-ku-tu-ku" for double tonguing so "tu-ku-tu" seems a logical extension of the same technique for triple tonguing.
There is an old method book that goes into great detail and has exercises to improve tonguing techniques: Tongue Gymnastix by Henri Weber. Yes, that's the correct spelling! Originally published by Belwin, it may still be available. An online search should bring information.
I've also found that developing a solid, versatile single tonguing technique helps with the development of the others.