I can't do the lip buzz - can I still play the trumpet?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by zorrosg, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. zorrosg

    zorrosg Pianissimo User

    Jan 30, 2011
    So I recently bought a nice YTR2335 from a seller in the classifieds here, and got the trumpet in yesterday. So today I start to try it, and search on Youtube for embrochure and beginner tips.

    There are quite a few demos of the lip buzz technique, but so far, I can't seem to do this. It seems like I'm not genetically able to buzz my lips like the way it is shown, where they can actually sound like a soft trumpet. So it is quite a discouraging start.

    However, I notice that when I put a mouthpiece to my lips, then I can produce a sound. I am conscious not to press too hard on my lips and in fact I try not to press down with the mouthpiece at all. I am also in the process of finding the sweet spot for my embrochure, and working out the best proportion of distribution between the upper and lower lip on the mouthpiece (a B&S 7C). ponn the trumpet I can now play maybe 3 open notes. So I am wondering whether one is still able to play the trumpet if one cannot do the lip buzz, or is it doomed to failure?

    I play quite a lot of instruments , including saxophone, so once I get past the embrochure part of the trumpet, I should be able to progress on my own, with practice. But the embrochure for trumpet is something that I find rather difficult, but I am quite keen in learning how to play the trumpet and try to work up to playing the Green Hornet theme by Al Hirt (just kidding)...

    Thanks for you feedback and advice, cheers!
  2. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    You'll be fine. Unless of course you do happen to have a genetic disability that doesn't let you play the trumpet! :) It'll just take some practice.

    From what I understand, you are just now (recently) starting to play the trumpet? If so, this seems like a natural "problem" (it's not really a problem).

    If I went to a gym right now, picked up a basketball, and tried to make a shot from half court...I can almost guarantee that it would not go in. However...If I practiced at it consistently for a long time I would get better at it. The same thing applies with your situation. Practice up and you'll do just fine!

    Good luck,
  3. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Hey, I only learned to lip buzz over the last couple/three years. It's fun, but doesn't really do a whole lot for my playing, maybe helps strengthen the corners when I don't play out as much as I want. Frankly, I get more benefits from low lip buzzing. High lip buzzing in my opinion seems rather silly. The horn provides more than enough resistance. Why provide it all in your face?

    Play on!
  4. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Trumpet is disturbingly difficult at first compared to saxophone in the beginning

    I console myself by the fact that compared to a saxophone just about any sound that you do make does sound pretty good.
  5. zorrosg

    zorrosg Pianissimo User

    Jan 30, 2011
    I definitely agree that trumpet embrochure is much more difficult compared to sax. The only reason I am proceeding forward, is that recently, I suprised myself by being able to make some trumpet like sounds on my crap pocket trumpet, and then suddenly I had some self belief that I might be able to pick up the trumpet a this late stage.

    Nowadays, there is so much info, which is a great thing, but one can get overloaded by information. Virtually everyone who gave me an answer said not worry about lip buzzing, and what was more suprising is that most of them said they weren't really sure if it was helpful at all.

    In the end, one just has to play. I'm just gonna do long open notes for a week or two, and try to get my embrochure and sound sorted out, before trying anything more. So we'll see if I can make it to the ranks of the trumpet community, and then inevitably I will be shopping for another horn. Ya, shopping is what I do best haha... Thanks everyone! :-)
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    OK, try this .... say the word Mum (Mom) and hold the very last mouth position .... tension the edges of your mouth but ever so gently .... and blow quietly and alter the "corner of mouth tension" (tighter or more relaxed) till the lips vibrate .... everything gentle.

    Right ..... how did that work?
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    OK, this is good. Based on this information about your start, it does not seem like your embouchure will keep you from developing trumpet skills. Many players (including me) did not develop this quickly. So, the next question is about the buzzing...

    Buzzing the lips without a mouthpiece is referred to as "free buzzing". There is a lot of debate about the benefits of this. As you have already seen, it is not necessary to be able to free buzz in order for the trumpet to make the proper sound. Many noted players and teachers claim that free buzzing does not help develop skills at all. Others claim that it does but the fact that many players do not do it would support the idea that it is not a requirement, whether or not it is beneficial.

    So, keep on going. If you ever develop the ability to buzz, that is fine but if not, don't worry about it.
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  8. rainbowboy023

    rainbowboy023 Pianissimo User

    Feb 15, 2011
    Lip buzzing isn't that important actually, I play professionally and while I can lip buzz, I never do since I noticed that if I put my lips together and blow into my mouthpiece without buzzing the trumpet still ends up sounding a note usually with better tone than when I actively try to buzz and with much more ease.
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The lips "buzz" for only a few round trips before the standing wave is established. After that, the standing wave causes our lips to buzz. Consider that the trumpet is about 134cm in length and the speed of sound 340m per second, that isn't very long.

    You'll be fine.

    Have fun!
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Try this link for info on lip buzzing.
    The Trumpet embouchure - how to buzz

    Hard to believe someone would post that buzzing is not important.

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