Tongue Through The Teeth?

If you are new to the idea of allowing the tongue to protrude through the teeth when you play then it may interest you to check this list of trumpet and cornet methods that instruct the player to do so:

The list is likely to be incomplete, but will be updated when new information comes to light. Selected quotes are only for illustration and it is encouraged that those interested take a look at the original books when available. For further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Author Title Edition / Year Quote / Notes
anon. G.C Conn Corp. The Virtuoso Course Of Cornet Instruction 1910 The tip of the tongue is placed on the upper lip just barely above the line where the lips meet. Place the cornet to you properly closed lips […] and with a full breath try repeatedly to make the tone pop like the pop made by jerking a cork out of a bottle.
Callet, J. Trumpet Yoga, Brass Power and Endurance, Superchops (book and VHS), Beyond Arbans, Trumpet Secrets, Master Superchops (DVD) 1970s-2000s Tonguing through the teeth has been an important part of Jerome Callet’s teaching for many years. Over time it has become a primary focus as he attests that correct use of the tongue will override other bad habits.
Civiletti, R.J. TCE Training Manual, TCE Power Training 2005, 2017 These books are about Bahb’s technique which expands on the work of Jerome Callet with his own teaching style.
Dauverne, F.G.A. Methode pour la trompette 1857 The tongue is to wind instruments, and to the trumpet especially, what the bow is to string instruments, upon which one articulates the notes by striking of the bow; one must articulate them on the trumpet by the striking of the tongue. To have an accurate idea of tonguing, one must conceive that it is by it [(the tongue)] that the sound is interrupted: then will one understand that the tongue is active but during the moments of silence, that is to say in the intervals of sound which it cuts off, by setting itself on the edge of the lips and on their internal surface, principally of the upper one, in order to attack it again by retracting. Notice here that he instructs not only for articulating on the lips, but for the tongue to stop each note as well, as described by J.Callet in the text of his “Master Superchops” DVD.
Franquin, M. Method Complete de Trompette Moderne 1908 In order to make the sound, it is not necessary to set the tongue against the lips in advance, suffice for it to contact them to insure a neat sound beginning. It should touch but not push and even less rest; this would give stiffness, hesitation and would trouble the sound’s purity.
Harper, T. Instructions For The Trumpet 1837 Apply the mouthpiece to the centre of the mouth… at the same time introduce the tongue between the teeth (the tip just touching the upper lip). Press the breath a little until the tongue is withdrawn from the lips with a slight jerk (similar to that of dislodging something from the lips that is offensive […] the breath will follow the action of the tongue.
Hickman, D. Trumpet Pedagogy 2006 Lightly touching the tip of the tongue on the upper lip and releasing it in a quick but gentle manner is a good method for beginning tonguing. However, the tongue must not protrude between the lips.
Koenig, H. Tutor For The Cornet 1857 The tip of the tongue, which, until that time, should have been pressed between the aperture formed by the upper and lower teeth (so as to have corked the mouth tightly as it were), should then, in order to give passage to the breath, be rapidly withdrawn behind the lower front teeth at the same time that the monosyllable tu is articulated clearly and distinctly.
Kosleck, J. School For The Trumpet 1907 adapted for modern trumpet by Morrow, W. Place the mouthpiece to the centre of the lips, and at the same time introduce the tongue between the teeth, the tip just touching the upper lip… withdraw the tongue from the lips with a jerk, and at the same time allow the breath to pass into the instrument. Note that this description is almost word-for-word the same as Harper, T. (above). Is is possible that Morrow copied it from the accepted British method whilst making his adaptations.
Levy, J. Levy’s Cornet Instruction Book 1895 The proper way to obtain a note is to imagine that you have something on your tongue, say for instance a hair. You may try time after time to remove it, but only with your tongue. Dear pupil you must always have that hair on your tongue until you can manipulate the notes properly.
Moore, E.C. Preparatory Instructor For Cornet, Book One 1937 The tip of the tongue protrudes slightly between the lips.
Saint-Jacome, L.A. Grand Method 1870 second the tongue, made as thin as possible, is introduced through the teeth, which are opened by the action of smiling until it encounters the lips between which it is placed conveniently, third it is pressed strongly or lightly against the upper lip, which with the air of the upper teeth supports the mouthpiece.
Salamone, R. True Power Trumpet, The Double C Manifesto 2016, 2017 Ralph has studied with Jerome Callet since the mid-1980s and his “books” and videos are based upon Callet’s latest teaching ideology.
Shuebruk, R. The Complete Shuebruk Tongue Trainers For Trumpet 1925 “The action is like spitting a seed from the tip of the tongue”; “Only use the extreme tip of the tongue. Do not poke it out between the lips.”; “Do not shut off the tone with a FUTT sound”. The “FUTT” sound described here would be the result of a tongue-stop on the lips if the tongue were receding too far in the mouth.
Smiley, J. The Balanced Embouchure 2001 Touching the top lip with the tongue while playing is a basic trumpet skill. Never play a single note [in the TOL exercises] without squarely striking the top lip. Tonguing on the lips is like spitting out a seed.
White, E. On Taming The Devil’s Tongue 1982 …sharp snap of the tongue between the teeth, as though one were viciously biting off a thread and trying to spit it across the room.

After reading many of these books and seeing the choices of words that authors have used it is usually quite obvious when instructions are written that assume the idea of allowing the tongue between the teeth, or touching the lips, to be normal. An interesting case being that of Richard Shuebruk’s The Complete Shuebruk Lip Trainers For Trumpet which was omitted from the chart above. In that book he mentioned more than once that the tongue should not protrude through the lips. Why would he repeatedly mention this if the tongue weren’t allowed between the teeth in the first place? Having seen that example it was then easy to find another book of his that contained the classic phrases such as “spitting a seed” and warned about tongue-stops, which can sound nasty if you are moving the tongue too much in the mouth.

Another point worth mention is that of translations and re-edits. The most obvious example of this being the book by J. B. Arban. As this book has been translated into various languages we have seen many examples of the text being altered by the translator, or changed by the editor (usually a famous, trendy trumpeter). If one were to understand the Swedish and Danish version of the Arban, for example, you can clearly read that he instructs the player to retract the tip of their tongue from their lips, like spitting a leaf of tobacco. Although there has never been an English language edition that says these words. Even if the Swedish and Danish version of the Arban is the anomaly this evidence suggests that tonguing on the lips would have been the normal way to teach people to play in Scandinavia at one point in time. In addition to this speculation it is worth noting that both Arban’s predecessor and successor (whom he taught) at the Paris Conservatoire are quoted on the chart above. It is quite illogical to assume that they both taught something which he did not. Images for the curious are available on request.