8 Exercises for Fast Articulation

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Yes it’s true! By doing these 8 articulation exercises, you’ll increase the speed of your articulation on the saxophone. In fact, it may surprise you how quickly you’ll grow.

After a few days you’ll begin to notice a difference in speed and accuracy. When you notice this difference you gain hope and motivation, which increases your chance for success. This is one of the keys to success, and everyone can do it!

After reading this post, you’ll have the tools to succeed, and it will be up to you to be consistent with practicing these patterns. It’s not a matter of practicing a long time, but getting to it every day. Do you have 2-5 minutes to practice? If you do, these exercises will greatly improve your articulation speed. It’s not difficult either!

Tonguing vs Articulation

You may have noticed that there are a couple of different terms out there that are being used today:

Just so there isn’t any confusion, they both mean the same thing. However, I’ll use the term “articulation” in this post.

It’s a Muscle

As we know, the tongue is a muscle. In sports, how do we increase muscle memory, speed, and strength? By drills and strengthening. Since the tongue is a muscle, we can take the same approach to articulate faster.


This is the first key to success. If you are unable to be consistent, this process will not work as effectively as it could. Think about going to the gym. If you take a few days off, then when you get back to it, it will take a couple days to get back to where you were. The tongue works the same way.

The Articulation Process

Check out the following articulation patterns and follow the instructions for each. Start at a tempo (with the metronome) where you are able to play the patterns correctly the first time. Yes, you may need to begin at a very slow tempo. However, that’s normal. I would suggest setting the metronome to 72 for each quarter note.

Exercise Instructions

  • Set the metronome to 72
  • Choose a major scale
  • Play the same scale for each pattern
  • Play each scale one octave
  • Play each pattern 5 times
  • Click up to 76 when patterns are comfortable at 72
  • Repeat process to get faster

Advanced Articulation

As you get this pattern down, there other things you can do to challenge your skill in order to improve the speed of your articulation. Here are a few:

  • Continue to push for speed
  • Do each pattern on each major scale
  • Play each scale 2 octaves, or range of the horn

8 Exercises for Fast Articulation

If you follow these steps you will strengthen your ability to articulate faster. With consistency, you’ll be surprised how good you will become.

Give it a try and let us know how it went. If you’ve sped up your articulation on your own, how did you do it? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment section. If you would like to print the 8 exercises, you can click here!

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