Lead Pipe Buzzing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trjeam, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. BradHarrison

    BradHarrison Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I warm up with leadpipe buzzing every day. I find it to be a great, gentle way to get the blood flowing to the lips. I do it for around 5 minutes and then not again unless things feel really poorly...then it tends to help put things together again.

    I also do the Thompson mouthpiece buzzing routine. There are lots of great players that never buzzed but I think it's worth trying for a few weeks to see if you like it. It seems to have made a difference in my playing and the consistancy of the level of my playing. I'm much less likely to have a bad chops day if I warm up on the leadpipe. When I skip it I usually pay for it.
  2. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Well there are some variations on this, but as far as I know it is a concept that was originated by William Adam. That's where I learned it.

    Adam has all of his students start the day by playing anywhere from 5-15 long notes on the fundamental of the lead pipe. For most makes and models of trumpets this is a concert Eb (F on a Bb trumpet). For very advanced students he will have you play a few notes on the higher partials of the harmonic series above that note. For most people I wouldn't worry about other pitches. Just play the concert Eb.

    Many people seem to overestimate the role of this in Mr. Adam's pedagogy because "playing the pipe" (We never call it buzzing) is so unusual and was originally unique to Mr Adam (Others have picked it up and modified the concept in ways that disagree with our understanding of how it should work BTW). This is something we spend a minute or two on once or twice each day as a way to get everything set up and ready to go on the instrument.

    We do this because the way the lips work when buzzing the mouthpiece has virtually nothing in common with the way they should work when playing the trumpet. Playing the lead pipe has a bit more in common with the trumpet. You get the venturi effect of the mouthpiece plus the pipe. You get a limited amount of the energy reflected back to the lips and a certain amount of resistance. You get definite "slots" and pitches to center and can find the resonance in the sound that appears when you play "in phase" with the physics of the instrument. Etc...

    This is definitely something that can help most people as a way to warm up gently and also to avoid being judgmental about musical results on your first sound of the day. Beyond that, don't make too big a deal of this.

    Some lead pipe routines you will see ask you to play notes between the “slots†of the harmonic series. The fundamental note of most Bb trumpet lead pipes is around a concert Eb (maybe a note between D & Eb actually). Above the fundamental, the next note is approximately an octave higher. However, because you are playing on a short pipe the intonation of the "slots" is distorted and that octave is actually a bit on the wide side.

    If you play notes between the slots you are fighting the instrument by putting your lips and your oral cavity "out of phase" with where the physics and acoustics naturally want to resonate. I encourage you to only play the fundamental of the lead pipe. As I said, playing the higher partials on the leadpipe is only for very advanced students. Playing the notes between the slotted partials will have negative effects for most people.
  3. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Hah! I try this once every so often with a flute or clarinet...it really gets kids thinking I'm strange. (Only do this when things get absolutely ridiculously stressful and a release is of utmost importance). I've also tried buzzing paper towel and wrapping paper tubes. They sound really funny!

    On a more serious note: I use it every so often. For a while, I was playing on the leadpipe every day. Not really sure why I stopped; I guess I just needed to get playing music a bit sooner in my routine. I still do it, especially if I feel I am losing resonance. Listen for the ring in the sound when you do this. It really get me listening for that, I suppose, which carries over to when I'm on the full horn. A word of caution: place the tuning slide inside the case, not on the floor by your feet or on the music stand where it could fall or get bumped by your metronome. And don't forget that you have no need to empty your spit before you play!

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