Mouthpiece buzzing

How and what to teach and learn.
Post Reply
Bassbonechandler
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:34 pm
Location: US

Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Bassbonechandler » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:54 am

How does everyone feel about mouthpiece buzzing as a part of practicing? I had a lesson with Dr. Pollard at IU about a month ago and he is a big believer of mouthpiece buzzing. Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are.
Bonearzt
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:40 am
Location: My Dungeon of Hell....Actually Texas
Contact:

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Bonearzt » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:03 am

I personally am a BIG believer in the practice!!!! I do it every time I am driving to a rehearsal or gig or even taking a break from my bench!
Not too sure about the "aids" for buzzing as I haven't tried them.

But if it works for you? There ya go!

Eric
Eric Edwards
Professional Instrument Repair
972.795.5784

"If you must choose between two evils, choose the one you haven't tried yet."
"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
baileyman
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by baileyman » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:09 am

I'll do it once in a while, freebuzz, too. I used to do it a lot more till I realized it was leading me in the direction of muscling the pitches. And then I found it only approximates how the horn operates. It's not the same pitchwise. I find the horn much more useful now.

However, if I were interested in chop strength, buzzing would be the way to go.
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by JohnL » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:37 pm

I always had trouble with mouthpiece buzzing. My tone would be pinched and nasally for several minutes afterwards. Then I heard a talk by Alex Iles where he pointed out that many people play differently on just a mouthpiece than they do when said mouthpiece is attached to the horn. This was accompanied by a demonstration of slowly inserting/removing the mouthpiece from the horn while playing a note.

Now, when I do buzz, I focus on doing it the same way I would if I were playing. The results are much less aggravating.
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Basel, Switzerland

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by LeTromboniste » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:16 pm

I hear a lot of negative stuff about mouthpiece buzzing. But then I remember a couple of masterclasses and some conversations with Jorgen van Rijen, where he was very strongly advocating mouthpiece buzzing. He is able to buzz anything in his repertoire at speed and with articulations, and he gives a lot of credit for his tone quality and consistency to his work on the mouthpiece. In one of those masterclasses he demonstrated it with my then-flatmate as the guinea pig. That guy played (and plays) great, had a beautiful tone, a very solid and smooth technique, and sounded already very much professional, but there would be a lot of notes that didn't speak quite equally well or with as much control. I think we all put that on the account of nonchalance until then. At one point Jorgen stopped him and asked him how much buzzing he did, then explained his philosophy about it to us, and had my flatmate buzz a passage and pointed out that his buzzing was not always perfectly in tune and that's why some notes were less controlled and spoke less - he was not quite in the center of the pitch on certain notes when playing the instrument, which you immediately spot when just buzzing. He had him buzz the same passage a few times until his buzzing was solid, perfectly in tune and using the actual articulations instead of just sliding. When he went back to the horn, it was a mind-blowing difference. All of a sudden he was in control of and had his usual great tone on every single note.
Maximilien Brisson
Bassbonechandler
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:34 pm
Location: US

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Bassbonechandler » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:52 pm

Dr. Pollard describes it as the "aspirin" of trombone playing. One of the rochut etudes I took to my lesson he had me buzz when I had issues get the center of notes and steady sound. Since my lesson with him, I've been using buzzing to help my playing. I think it's been helpful for me. I just like to see both of sides of it
brtnats
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:07 am
Location: Louisville KY

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by brtnats » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:40 pm

I’ve recently added buzzing to the daily maintenance repertoire. I’m having some focus issues on bass, and buzzing an exercise, playing, and repeating a few times really helps me focus my attention on the aperture and corners of my face.

Matt
norbie2018
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:10 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by norbie2018 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:28 pm

Relate it back to the instrument, making certain you have the same angle buzzing as you do playing. Use a keyboard/piano to make certain you are buzzing in tune. Try a B.E.R.P. and see if that's helpful as well. Experiment to see what works for you.
norbie2018
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:10 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by norbie2018 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:32 pm

Another approach that might help is singing the passage you are working on at the piano, and buzzing it with your instrument using a B.E.R.P. and finally playing the passage on the horn. You might also replace the B.E.R.P. with simple buzzing. You don't have to do this for every single measure if you don't have the time. I find it beneficial to just pick sections I'm having trouble hearing in my head or playing on the instrument and working on them in this way. It really works.
Pre59
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Pre59 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:24 am

I never start any tbn playing "naked". That is to say, I never start with the m/p on the horn, unmuted. I'm a fan of the Warburton "Buzzard" and having owned most of the buzz aids find it to be the most effective.
jthomas105
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:53 pm
Location: DFW-Texas

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by jthomas105 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:39 am

You do have to be careful when buzzing on the mouthpiece alone to not have some of the issues others have mentioned. If you have a lead pipe you can pull or an extra lead pipe play the mouthpiece with a lead pipe. Or you could use Ralph Sauer's device, the "Fast Air Response Tube" or F.A.R.T., a 6" to 8" flexible piece of tube you can get in the plumbing area of your local Home Depot or other store of the same type. The extension gives some resistance more like playing on the instrument.
Basbasun
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:03 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Basbasun » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:02 am

I have done mouthpiece buzzing i periods, to and fro since 1960. I was never a big fan of it, I mostly buzzed because there was not possible to play the horn of some reasons. I exerimented of different way, partly covering the shank opening with my finger, buzzing lead pipe, a piece of gardening hose," buzzing on and of" and more.
I never start the day with mpc buzzing if I have a horn ready. After some stuff on the horn horn I might do som buzzing exercises, some days. Buzzing can be a good tool, and can be a bad tool holding you back.
The fact that the buzz never really match the tone/intonation in the horn, you can learn to do the buzzing slightly different from the trombone playing, you can do that very succesfully, even without being awere about it. I can use mpc buzzing as a tool, but I rather start on the trombone, since the embouchure on the horn is slightly different I want to start the day where the chops a right. Sometimes I can´t do that, because of traveling or other things.
There are lots of issues that you can solve with mpc buzzing. I might be back on that if the thread coniou.
RustBeltBass
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by RustBeltBass » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:37 pm

It is no surprise that Dr. Pollard advocates mouthpiece buzzing as one of his musical mentors was Charles Vernon who, as a member of the legendary Chicago School of playing and teaching gives lots of emphasis on this.
I love the comparison to Aspirin in many ways.

A while ago, one of the most prominent performers in the trombone world caused an uproar in the trombone scene by openly sharing his thoughts of mouthpiece buzzing being not helpful and even harmful to ones playing.
It caused quite the controversy with great players supporting his idea and even more great players heavily disagreeing with his idea. I think the message was so shocking for many as buzzing has been widely accepted as a very useful tool.

Personally, I subscribe to the words of the best brass teacher I ever had and never met, Arnold Jacobs, who said that “you can not harm yourself/cause harm on the mouthpiece”.


I have colleagues and friends who do not buzz at all and sound great and friends who do it for 30 minutes a day and sound great. Me personally, it helped in many ways and I include it in my teachings just like I include long notes, breathing exercises and Arbans.
baileyman
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by baileyman » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:49 pm

baileyman wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:09 am
I'll do it once in a while, freebuzz, too. I used to do it a lot more till I realized it was leading me in the direction of muscling the pitches. And then I found it only approximates how the horn operates. It's not the same pitchwise. I find the horn much more useful now.

However, if I were interested in chop strength, buzzing would be the way to go.
What I feel happening with buzzing the piece is a powerful temptation to adjust pitch with the chop muscles rather than tongue-tuning the mouth cavity. It does not have to work that way as a relaxed buzz can be tongue-tuned over a considerable range. And that is good practice for sure.

The centering comments are great, and it seems muscling the pitch to get it centered is likely very useful. I am certain it is a good idea to be able to play your range on the piece, no matter how you do it. But what I feel on the horn is a process of tongue-tuning from center to center and having the pitch and partials follow. That kind of centering feels effortless.
RustBeltBass
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by RustBeltBass » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:28 pm

baileyman wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:49 pm
baileyman wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:09 am
I'll do it once in a while, freebuzz, too. I used to do it a lot more till I realized it was leading me in the direction of muscling the pitches. And then I found it only approximates how the horn operates. It's not the same pitchwise. I find the horn much more useful now.

However, if I were interested in chop strength, buzzing would be the way to go.
What I feel happening with buzzing the piece is a powerful temptation to adjust pitch with the chop muscles rather than tongue-tuning the mouth cavity. It does not have to work that way as a relaxed buzz can be tongue-tuned over a considerable range. And that is good practice for sure.

The centering comments are great, and it seems muscling the pitch to get it centered is likely very useful. I am certain it is a good idea to be able to play your range on the piece, no matter how you do it. But what I feel on the horn is a process of tongue-tuning from center to center and having the pitch and partials follow. That kind of centering feels effortless.

I am in no position to characterize this comment as correct or false and certainly do not mean any offense in my reply. From a scientific/physical point of view your observations might be absolutely right. But when I read your comment I could not help to think that you are over analyzing the physical aspects of buzzing.

There is one main reason of buzzing (as I learned it).

Buzzing is the next best thing to singing phrases we are going to play. It is the brass player’s way of singing: Instead of using the vocal cords, we use the lips. Singing on the mouthpiece. Making a musical statement on the mouthpiece.
By buzzing we take the elements of trombone away that make our job of singing on the instrument more difficult.
The weight, the slide, the valve(s).

Buzzing allows us to dig deeper into the music. Over analyzing is a danger for most musicians already, if we focus on the physical aspects of buzzing on the mouthpiece and try to understand what it does exactly in terms of corners, muscles, tongue, etc. we go astray from the music, defeating the purpose of it all.
Rusty
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:30 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Rusty » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:26 am

I’ve personally never found it helpful, as to make a buzz on the mouthpiece I feel I have to change the way I play compared to how I’d usually play the whole horn.

I have found free buzzing to be helpful, and ‘leadpipe’ buzzing according to the Bill Adams trumpet routine (adapted for trombone). On trombone you remove the outer slide and buzz at approximately a Db, using breath attacks and aiming to use as little mouthpiece pressure as possible to get the note to speak immediately. The resistance and feel is a much closer match to the full horn, but you still reap the benefits of finding a relaxed, resonant balance between the lips and air stream.

I like doing this first thing in a warm up, and try to continue the same balance and resonance on the whole horn with long tones following that.
imsevimse
Posts: 254
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:43 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:00 am

More than a short buzz has always felt bad. Lots of good loud and clear buzz sounds makes the lips stiff in the area of the lips that need to be loose and vibrant to produce a good and clear trombone sound. The buzz sound must be an airy leaky sound. That works, but it is still not the same as playing the complete instrument. If someone could explain why mouthpiece buzzing is better than playing the complete horn then I might give it a second chance.

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
GBP
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:08 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by GBP » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:37 pm

Ralph Sauer in a masterclass said that he doesn’t buzz. He felt it didn’t do anything for him. He also said that if you feel it is helping your playing, by all means continue to do so. We all have different weaknesses and strengths, so what we do to improve will be different.
Basbasun
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:03 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Basbasun » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:09 am

If I have the horn in reach, I do not buzz except to solve musical problems, sometimes the buzzing makes you hear what you shall play in another way. Singing is also good. Or better.
Sometimes students who are allreday using buzz as a tool, can buzz down to low E, but not low Eb. Very often the low Eb does not sound good in the horn either. So i try to get the to work on the buzz on low Eb, and then keep going chomaticly down. I then demonstate that what they are doing when they are buzzing is not neccesary exactly the same as what they are doiing in the horn. But the buzz can help the to start getting some control on the low range, sometimes the same with high range. But more then that practise on the horn is the main important stuff.
Kbiggs
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:46 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Kbiggs » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:08 am

For me, one of the advantages of buzzing is to remove the distraction of the instrument. It allows me to focus on the sound (pitch and timbre) that I produce without the aid of the instrument.

I’ve tried freebuzzing, mouthpiece buzzing, and buzzing with a BERP and a FART (Focused Air Resistance Tube, courtesy of Ralph Sauer). Yes, they all feel a different than playing on the instrument. They’re supposed to. And they all feel slightly different from each other. But they all have the same goal: see paragraph 1.

I don’t remember exactly who said it (Charles Vernon? Michael Mulcahy? Arnold Jacobs?), but it goes something like this: The advantages derived from mouthpiece buzzing far outweigh any differences felt between playing on the horn and playing on the mouthpiece.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
Pre59
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Pre59 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:32 am

There's some interesting remarks from James Markley re buzzing, yes or no, on the video thats on the current "slide technique" thread.

Don't ask me to find the place on it, there's other good info on there that's worth checking out.
Basbasun
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:03 am

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by Basbasun » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:42 am

Kbiggs wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:08 am
For me, one of the advantages of buzzing is to remove the distraction of the instrument. It allows me to focus on the sound (pitch and timbre) that I produce without the aid of the instrument.

I’ve tried freebuzzing, mouthpiece buzzing, and buzzing with a BERP and a FART (Focused Air Resistance Tube, courtesy of Ralph Sauer). Yes, they all feel a different than playing on the instrument. They’re supposed to. And they all feel slightly different from each other. But they all have the same goal: see paragraph 1.

I don’t remember exactly who said it (Charles Vernon? Michael Mulcahy? Arnold Jacobs?), but it goes something like this: The advantages derived from mouthpiece buzzing far outweigh any differences felt between playing on the horn and playing on the mouthpiece.
Yes. For me I like to notice the difference between mpc buzzing and playing trombone. The mpc buzzing can used as a good tool. But mpc buzzing is never the like trombone playing. It does not feel the same, it is not the same thing happening acousticly, and I believe that is something students should be made aware of.
sterb225
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed May 09, 2018 8:06 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by sterb225 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:47 am

I had followed the herd into the anti-buzz camp a few years ago. Last fall I took a lesson with Steve Norrell, who is a big proponent of buzzing as an integral part of practice. I must say that buzzing the way he advocates has immeasurably helped my accuracy and tone production. It's now a regular part of my routine. I find it very important to buzz while sitting at the piano I am reinforcing the process of buzzing the actual pitch I want to play ... just buzzing (without a solid pitch reference) as a substitute for horn time does not provide near the benefit for me.
cozzagiorgi
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:40 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by cozzagiorgi » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:00 am

sterb225 wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:47 am
I had followed the herd into the anti-buzz camp a few years ago. Last fall I took a lesson with Steve Norrell, who is a big proponent of buzzing as an integral part of practice. I must say that buzzing the way he advocates has immeasurably helped my accuracy and tone production. It's now a regular part of my routine. I find it very important to buzz while sitting at the piano I am reinforcing the process of buzzing the actual pitch I want to play ... just buzzing (without a solid pitch reference) as a substitute for horn time does not provide near the benefit for me.
Can you ellaborate a bit on what Steve Norrell does exactly with buzzing and how he integrates it in his practice?

Thanks!
User avatar
SlidemanSailor
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:38 pm

Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

Post by SlidemanSailor » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:57 am

I returned to regular trombone playing with an invitation to sit 3rd chair in NNU's big band. From zero to dream slot required rapid embouchure rebuild. Their trombone teacher suggested a length of plastic tubing attached to a spare mouthpiece that I buzzed while driving my tractor and truck. A LOT of little buzzing sessions over a couple months in places I could not have had a horn was a huge help.

I will have to go back to that program real soon here. However, I am much more interested in blowing through a horn.
Intermediate 3rd trombone, garage band lead always looking for people to play with in the lower-left-corner Montana wilderness.
mostly: 2006 Conn 88HCL 525/547 bore, rose bell
occasionally: 1958 Conn 6H
once in a while: 1976 Yamaha YSL 354
Post Reply

Return to “Teaching & Learning”