Bad Buzz from decent player

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MahlerBrass, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    366
    0
    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Hey there guys, I'd like to think that I'm a pretty OK player, I'm principal of my college wind ensemble (a really good wind ensemble), asst. principal in the orchestra, play second book in our jazz ensemble, play quite a bit of lead in a really good big band in town, and spend plenty of time with auditioning and learning new rep. whether orchestral or solo. Now my problem is, even after years of playing and getting calls back for gigs and whatnot (all good signs), I have a really bad buzz. Sometimes I'll get nothing but air, and when I try to buzz a clean smear it always breaks up. So what I can I do to help this, and does it really matter to clean up the buzz at my level. Thanks a lot!!
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
    10
    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    MB,

    We need clarity...

    Are you talking about the so-called "double buzz" that creates a rasp in the sound or are you talking about mouthpiece buzzing? Or are you perhaps talking about "bottoning out" on the mouthpiece which is another way of saying that your lip is vibrating against the bowl of the mouthpiece?

    ML
     
  3. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    366
    0
    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    I'm talking about actual mouthpiece buzzing. My sound on trumpet is fine, and obviously I do have some problems, I mean I am a college student, but my actual mouthpiece buzzing is really bad, kind of worries me. Thanks a lot!!
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
    10
    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    Okay, got it...

    Give me a little bit, I have to run and play a show but I'm off for the concerto so I'll consider the possibilities that are most likely. The symptoms are pretty classic so I think we can get this lickes pretty quickly.

    ML
     
  5. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    366
    0
    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Nice!! What concerto are you playing? You know I heard your clips on the Monette website for the first time not too long ago, WOW!!! Way to be amazing Mr. Laureano!!
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
    10
    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    MB,

    Thanks but you misunderstand me... I just meant that I would not be playing the Concerto on the program which is the Nielsen Violin Concerto.
    Sorry if I misled you unintentionally. The balance of the show is Tchaik 5 and the first number was a techno piece by Todd Levin called "Blur"... cool piece.

    Anyway, we need to understand something about mouthpiece buzzing: the absence of sound is the absence of vibration. Right? Okay.

    I am admittedly prejudiced regarding certain mouthpiece warmups that people use and the "siren" or big slide from bottom to top or vice-versa is not something I advocate.

    I feel so because rarely is there a musical application to doing so and I believe that buzzing is best used in two circumstances: musical and ear training.

    My guess is that you do a lot of buzzing a) without vibrato and b) as long tones. Even if I'm wrong, I'm going to write with that premise and hope that it kicks off a thought or two that you can use.

    From the work that I did with Arnold Jacobs I learned that buzzing melodies in a musical way can do more to stimulate the muscles that help stabilze the embouchure than any other technique over the long run. One of my favorite tunes to buzz is "Maria" because it encompasses a wide range of register, dynamics, and tone color if you have a good imagination.

    To buzz for its own sake is not useful because we shut off our minds to musical stimulus and it is that stimulus that helps us connect notes to notes. The reason the buzz shuts down on you is because the embouchure is not stabilized to hold itself in a strong way. You're probably "set" for a certain register and changing only intraorally as you ascend so the embouchure "collapses", doesn't vibrate, and no note sounds, just air!

    You need to musically stimulate your brain to order positive, warm sounds by "singing" through the mouthpiece. Use the vibrato, no one's going to arrest you if you buzz a mouthpiece and use vibrato. Pretend you showed up to a gig and left your horn home. You still have to perform on the mouthpiece and it can't be merely okay; it has to be gorgeous.

    As long tones you may wish to play along with as piano for ear training. Still use the warm vibrato and try to get a beautiful baritone sound like Sherril Milnes or Robert Merrill. Warmth,warmth, warmth.

    Don't do any of this for more than 15 minutes, I caution you. That's an advanced technique, to do a whole practice session on the mouthpiece...

    One last thought:
    So, you don't have a great buzz. Big deal. My pedal tones are atrocious but I'm not losing any sleep over it as long the money end of things, the sound, is solid and warm. So, if, as you say, your sound is fine I wouldn't worry about it too much. It'll come over time, most likely.

    ML
     
  7. gregc

    gregc Mezzo Piano User

    546
    3
    Apr 5, 2004
    New York, U.S. of A.
    Is this guy cool, or what? Manny, thanks for taking the time to post. We ALL learn from you.
    Thank you*
    gregc
     
  8. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    366
    0
    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Wow, that's certainly something to sleep on, thanks a lot Mr. Laureano. Just one question, you stated that you felt that mouthpiece buzzing has no musical application, how do you feel about certain other studies (ie. Clarke, Schlossberg), these are pretty straight forward studies, do you others to compensate musicality and keep the mind thinking? Thanks a lot again!!
     
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    4,529
    8
    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I don't think Manny said that mouthpiece buzzing was useless. Rather the way many of us buzz is not helpful and that if you do mouthpiece buzz, try to make it as musical as possible.

    So you can put a mouthpiece to your chops and go "Bzzzzzzzzziiittttt!". Big deal.... what does that prove? BUT if you can put the mouthpiece up without the benefit of a horn attached and buzz your way through some music, as musically as possible, THEN you are learning to focus on your notes and provide the highest quality buzz for the horn to amplify.

    Or did I read it all wrong?
     
  10. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
    10
    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    MB,

    Just to clarify...

    What I meant to say was that CERTAIN buzzing exercises didn't have a musical application such as the siren or when folks just make "noises" on the mouthpiece because there's a desire to "wake up" the flesh or get it warm. That's generally what I avoid when I use the mouthpiece.

    The exercises that Schlossberg includes or other methods are good as long as they're not played in a sterile fashion. The player needs to go for the fullest sound he can and have every region of the lips vibrating to create a good sound. I find myself able to do that when I have a musical context.

    Here's an extreme an example of what I detest seeing regarding buzzing:

    I actually had a brass-playing colleague who I observed one morning reading the morning paper, crosslegged, bent over (so he could read the paper resting in his lap) with the mouthpiece in the other hand, buzzing low, low pedal tones that sounded horrible. It was the most mindless, unmusical display of buzzing I've ever seen. He was a decent player regardless but I saw that event as an incredibly useless, waste of time.

    That's what I'm talking about.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving.

    ML
    [/quote]
     

Share This Page