Lip- and mouthpiece-buzzing

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by oj, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005
    In searching for an email address (for Allen Vizzutti), I stumbled over some old email. One was from the late Ted McIrvine. Here is part of what Ted said:
    Ed, could you perhaps say a bit more about this topic?


    Btw, I think Allen Vizzutti is a proponent of the same thinking:
    more here:
  2. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Ed -- I'd be interested in seeing your reply to this as well. I've been a proponent of Vizzutti's approach for some time.

    Personally, I agree on the lip buzzing as well. Yes, the lips DO buzz, but I think focusing on the buzz really does something averse to the sound. I've got several middle school students who have just begun on trumpet and their band teacher have them doing all manner of buzzing exercises. I work to get their focus off the buzz and the sound seems to open up tremendously.

    So I'm curious, too. This always seems to be a bit of a tough subject with so many different mindsets out there regarding embochure development. Would you have anything to add???

  3. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    Embouchures are very personal things. What works well for you might be harmful for someone else. There are marvelous players who buzz constantly - I think I heard somewhere that Herseth buzzed-There are marvelous players to whom buzzing is anathema. There are probably players who tried buzzing and it neither helped nor hindered them. You gotta be pragmatic. If it works, do it. I it doesn't, stop. Its really a mistake to generalize from one teacher or succssful player to all since there will always be an exception. I see these same arguments for pedal tones, the pencil exercise and tonguing all the time and they can never be resolved since all positions are effective.
  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    OJ, Rich, and Jerry

    I've changed directions on this topic as often as my socks. Ted's note certainly reflected my NYC, pre Stamp, attitude. My current thinking is that buzzing is good (Jim Thompson's Buzzing Basics has done wonders for those playing station-to-station, instead of blowing between the notes). I say this, however, with two caveats:

    1) Developing buzz-consciousness, instead of sound-consciousness, is a bad thing. I believe that it's vital to listen to yourself as far away from the bell as possible -- in short, to fill the room you're playing in.

    2) Our buzz should sound soft and fluffy (no angry hornets), and should respond effortlessly to the vitality of our blow.

    Watching with great interest,
  5. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005
    By the way, everyone should listen carefully to Jerry's point -- there is no "one size fits all" in music or in developing a trumpet technique.

    Experiment. Use what works for you/discard what doesn't and, as my friend Charlie Gum said (on a different topic), rinse and repeat.

  6. mazzrick

    mazzrick Pianissimo User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Berlin, Germany

    On the topic of "filling the room one is playing in," I have some difficulty playing in very dead accoustics. Currently, home at my parents' house, for instance, my bedroom is carpeted, has a low ceiling, and lots of sound furniture and curtains etc. in it. The room essentially kills the sound and leaves little to no ressonance. How do we go about surviving in rooms like this without getting very tired very quickly and losing almost all response and sensitivity. Is there anything, besides the obvious (trying to make sure the breath is full and taking semi-frequent breakes)? Maybe a different aspect of sound to focus on? Because trying to fill the room and get a full resonant tone is extremely tiring?
    Happy holidays, and sorry for the off-topic posting.
  7. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    I’m clearly from the “mouthpiece buzzing is beneficial†school of thought. What I’ve found is most important echoes the ideas here, but I’ve always wondered why some fantastic players / teachers find benefit from buzzing and other equally fine players / teachers find it harmful. I think it all comes down to how buzzing is approached.

    Is the mouthpiece buzz very tight and mosquito like? Or is the buzz a little looser, fuller and closer to a motorboat? Should the buzz be an isolated activity, or should it be related back to the horn? I think that the answer to these questions is very important to find the benefits related to buzzing the mouthpiece.

    If you review the James Thompson material that Ed mentioned, there is a short amount of time buzzing (2 minutes) followed by repeating the same exercise on the horn (2 minutes). This back and forth approach is always relating the buzz to the instrument to assure that buzzing is not an isolated activity. The marvelous modeling that is provided on the CDs provided with the Buzzing Book allows the proper sound to be cultivated (on both the mouthpiece and horn) which leads to a colorful, vibrant, resonant sound (no forcing).

    In addition to the Thompson material, I love the essays written by Sam Burtis who was a student of Carmine Caruso. This is the third page of an essay entitled Buzz Off! and he clearly states, “PLEASE don't buzz when you don't have the horn handy for comparison (at least until you've become very proficient at matching how you buzz and how you play)â€.

    Another idea that Burtis relates is the idea that it’s possible to find an ideal angle when buzzing the mouthpiece that responds easily and sounds the best. Based on old habits, it’s possible that this angle is not the same when you are holding your instrument. He suggests buzzing the mouthpiece and then very slowly inserting the mouthpiece into the leadpipe while playing, and maintaining the same angle with respect to your face. If this feels different the first time that you try it, it’s very possible that when holding the horn, you are not aligning with this “ideal mouthpiece†angle.

    He discusses this in more detail in An Alternate Approach to Embouchure Development, Part 1 and Part 2

    I should also stress that I'm from the school of thought that "the horn plays the lips" and I think that mouthpiece buzzing in the ways descibed above does not contradict this thinking.

    I hope these ideas are helpful!


    We’ve discussed this topic in detail in the folder entitled The Room. Please read the ideas in this link.
  8. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005

    Have you tried the obvious - making sure the breath is full and taking semi-frequent breaks?

    Seriously, that WILL help. Also, imagine that you're practicing in the Concertgebouw, Pollack Hall, Taj Mahal, (fill in acoustic here). Your imagination and the way you connect it to your ear is more powerful than you might think.

    Then again, there's always the basement. . . (?)

    63 hours and ticking. Happy holidays.

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