For some reason, whenever I play a piece of music (in this case, H. Vincent's 'Air for Baritone/Cornet'), I find that my tonging is very stutters and rough between notes, yet if I play one note, low or high, and tongue it, it sounds just fine. I have a solo tomorrow (March 1st.) and it sounds pretty bad for this reason. Are there any ways which I could improve my tonging so that it actually sounds decent + tips for my first solo? I have been playing since November of 2022.

P.S. I have to slur (legato) most of it, where most of the sputtery/stuttering sound occurs.

1 Answer 1


Air for Cornet

The first three notes are 3rd position F, 4th position A then 1st position C. So you have only a fraction of a second to move from 4th position to 1st position. With practise you'll find that you can move almost instantaneously between those positions. But you've not been playing long enough to acquire that skill yet. You're doing well to be tackling this piece after only a few months playing, though. Well done!

The reason for the sputtery attacks is that you're articulating while the slide is moving. So it's not the actual tonguing that's the problem - it's the synchronization with the slide movement. But with practice you'll improve. Try to be patient with yourself - you hear other players who can do this sort of thing - but they've spent hours working on it.

  • Thanks, it's in a few hours and I have classes so I can't practice until then. But I'm glad I haven't been messing up horridly. One more question, when I'm playing, is it normal to hear air escaping the side of my lips and not going in the mouthpiece? I can't hear it on recordings but it is easy to hear when I play, for me at least. Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 13:16
  • Your embouchure shouldn't allow air to escape round the sides of the mouthpiece. There are several reasons why this might be happening. Your in-person brass teacher should be able to sort this out, or at least give you some exercises that will eventually sort it out. It's not really possible in a forum like this to say what the actual problem is. Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 18:22

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