mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

How and what to teach and learn.
User avatar
harrisonreed
Posts: 2511
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Contact:

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by harrisonreed » Tue May 04, 2021 5:42 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 2:30 pm
He's right: playing it in reverse sucks.
I see what you did...

Wait no.

I don't get it

( :lol: )
Kbiggs
Posts: 556
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:46 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by Kbiggs » Wed May 05, 2021 10:39 am

Here’s another view on buzzing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPXABWpao8M
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
User avatar
Wilktone
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:11 pm
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by Wilktone » Wed May 12, 2021 7:00 am

Wilktone wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 5:27 pm
I spent about 20 minutes today downloading a number of articles and papers that showed up on a college library search for mouthpiece buzzing. A lot of them are one person's recommendations and simply state mouthpiece buzzing is useful (or not) without offering any rational why (or why not). There are a small number that look more objectively at the topic. When I have time to read through them more carefully I'll report if I find anything interesting or helpful.
For what it's worth, I finally made my way through about 35 articles and papers (29 were actually relevant) looking for empirical evidence on the efficacy of mouthpiece buzzing.

There was a single paper that actually attempted to address this topic in a systematic way, Beghtol's dissertation that I posted about and linked to earlier in this thread, and that ended up coming down as mouthpiece buzzing being neutral (no effect compared between his study group and the control group). A handful of that literature attempted to address why mouthpiece buzzing is useful using some logical speculation, but a large number of them either assumed that it was effective or offered inaccurate assumptions.

Since Chris lamented that we're too often focused on pedagogy developed 50 years ago I restricted my search to things published since 2000. In spite of that limitation, several of the references I found use Arnold Jacobs as a primary resource or mirror his "song & wind" recommendations. Regardless of what you think about that pedagogical approach, it remains a huge influence on brass pedagogy today.

Assuming that Beghtol's literature review is comprehensive, it appears that no one has published (in English) anything prior to 2018 that attempts to empirically address the efficacy of mouthpiece buzzing. It appears that most opinions about it are either based on tradition or anecdotes, neither of which are a good way to truly address this topic.

If you want to see what papers and articles I read and read a a bit more of my thoughts I posted about it here.

Dave
David Wilken
www.wilktone.com
VJOFan
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:39 am

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by VJOFan » Wed May 12, 2021 4:37 pm

I read through the beginner brass mouthpiece buzzing study the previous time it was referenced.

I would love to see the study done with more advanced students. Is a beginner embouchure unable to benefit from training in the time period of the study?

Is there a third intervention that would outperform both buzzing and nothing?

Could the study be done for a longer time? I wonder if there is anything about the dose of buzzing that could change the outcome.

Pedagogical research is so tricky- I like to read papers on language instruction to figure out things about my teaching job, and often the studies have problematic aspects.

I also wonder if there has been little (no) quality research on buzzing because of the realities of studio teaching. A student is having a problem with a passage. The teacher prescribes buzzing. The problem with the passage disappears . To the teacher and the student buzzing worked. Why study it?
The problems referenced in this thread happen when a teacher tries it and it doesn’t work. Our faulty brains make the teacher cling to what worked for the last student. So it does need study but still no one is motivated to do it.

But the question I want to ask is not if buzzing works or not. Clearly it does and it does not.

The question I want to ask is why it works when it does? There is enough anecdotal evidence that something positive seems to happen for buzz lovers. When people perceive they have improved because of buzzing what happened? That would lead to an improved pedagogy.
baileyman
Posts: 662
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by baileyman » Thu May 13, 2021 6:14 am

Seems to me piece buzzing effectiveness may depend on how one changes pitches. If one uses chop strength to stiffen and loosen for different pitches, well, I suppose there is a muscular workout there to be had. Especially at around G three lines up where the harmonics of the piece intrude. But if one can tune the buzz with mouth volumes, it seems like piece work could be quite complementary. Especially doing repetitions of the same figure without horn, with horn, without horn, etc.
User avatar
Wilktone
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:11 pm
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by Wilktone » Thu May 13, 2021 6:28 am

Yeah, we should be aware of the limitations of any study when trying to apply it to the general brass playing population, as well as our own situations and that of our studio. Beghtol's research was confined to beginners in 6th grade. The results could have been different if the test subjects were more experienced players, or even just older beginners. The experiment went over the course of 1 school year, which I think would be long enough to notice an effect if mouthpiece buzzing would be truly effective or detrimental, but then again, maybe the longer someone buzzes the greater the effect. A different mouthpiece buzzing routine might get different results. There's certainly room for more research on this topic (any grad students out there looking for a research topic?).

I find it encouraging that you are thinking skeptically about research, VJOFan. Some of the literature I read through for this project were exactly opposite. There was one paper in particular that cited some MRI research and made a pretty egregious assumption that it supported his position (I went to the JAMA article he cited and read some interviews to clarify and he was pretty far off).

As a rule, us music educators don't get training in research methodology (or critical thinking) to the same degree that our colleagues in other fields often do. As a result, I've found that when we take a critical look at some of our traditional methods we find a remarkable lack of evidence for why we do things the way we do. That doesn't necessarily make them wrong, but our assumptions about why they're right can be way off.
David Wilken
www.wilktone.com
User avatar
PosauneCat
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2021 10:59 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by PosauneCat » Mon May 24, 2021 3:38 pm

One of the worst videos I've ever seen. I don't know what he thinks he's proving.
harrisonreed wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 1:32 pm
baileyman wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 6:30 am


Some craziness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZvDvuxjHvU
Ok, yeah. You could put a trombone bell up to a phonograph and sound will go through it. It might even be amplified like a megaphone. You can buzz on a mouthpiece and then insert it into the leadpipe and some sort of sorry buzz sound will come out the other end.

Did you not hear how bad all the "notes" were that he played? I have never argued that a horn couldn't be used as a megaphone, but only that it shouldn't. The physics of how those sound/air waves compress into a tube to make a stable sound is why some horns sound a certain way and why some players sound really good. That video sounded pretty horrible, ("haha, now you can tongue way faster than your friends" :roll: ) and you can't be seriously citing this video as an example of not needing air to make music on brass...

It just muddies the water, honestly.
User avatar
Wilktone
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:11 pm
Location: Asheville, NC
Contact:

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by Wilktone » Wed May 26, 2021 6:50 am

PosauneCat wrote:
Mon May 24, 2021 3:38 pm
One of the worst videos I've ever seen. I don't know what he thinks he's proving.
It's just a demonstration of physics, not a technique video. It shows how the standing wave inside a brass instrument can be excited without needing to actually blow air through the instrument.

Personally, I find it fascinating. There might not be any immediate application to how I play and teach there, but it's always a good thing to better understand the way the world really works.
David Wilken
www.wilktone.com
baileyman
Posts: 662
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: mouthpiece buzzing...opinions

Post by baileyman » Wed May 26, 2021 8:09 am

Thanks for that, Dave.
Post Reply

Return to “Teaching & Learning”