The lip buzz (looking for guidance)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Zack Pomerleau, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. Conn-solation

    Conn-solation Pianissimo User

    Jan 22, 2011
    On my way to Bearberry Ab
    I played all my life without being able to ''free buzz''. My first teacher wanted me to learn to free buzz ''a bit'' and to mouthpiece buzz even more for warm up. My dad would tell me to quit fooling around and get practicing when I did any buzzing when he was around....

    I managed to play with some success in the limited music environment I grew up in, but never developed a range much above the first A above the staff and that wasn't consistent.....

    When I ''came back'', I determined to teach myself to free buzz (just because I wanted to) and to that end, I did it every day whenever there was no one around - forming my embouchure by holding the end of a pencil between my lips and doing the buzz after removing it by using my fingers to simulate the mouthpiece on either side of where the pencil had been....

    It didn't take long to catch on to and as a result after a month away on a motorcycle trip, my range went easily above the A (now to the D and sometimes E in personal practice time) and my flexibility and endurance seemed to improve when I got back to holding the horn again......

    Just to be clear... I'm not seeking the specific range but that range gives me better confidence and security in the music range for the community band I'm in and in the personal satisfaction of doing something I've never done before.

    Could there be other factors causing the "improvement"...... sure .......but I'm not practicing much different than I ever did ........ All I know is the results that I've seen for myself.

    Mouth piece buzzing is a requirement for the trumpet exams for the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music... Buzz in tune, a section of a piece/line of music....

    Free buzz isn't absolutely necessary but now I'm addicted to the lip tingle it brings when I do it.... :lol: :dontknow:

    For me, the N+1 is a greater concern...... :play:
  2. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    Buzzing, like pedals is one of those things some teachers/players recommend, others forbid. Everyone's embouchure is different, everyone's learning style is different. BE pragmatic. Find out what works for you.
    gmonady likes this.
  3. musicman1951

    musicman1951 New Friend

    Dec 9, 2014
    Albany, NY
    Just to be clear: my recommendation to skip free buzzing was to a beginner who didn't have a horn yet. I think it's a great warm-up and good strength training - and a terrible way to spend extended practice sessions before you even play a note on a horn.
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I wish I could find the link. There's an Academy that works on nothing for the first 2 weeks but horse flapping and mpc work. The kids don't touch a horn until after the second week. It's in France?? I will see if I can find it. It was in my bookmarks 2 computers ago! ;-)
  5. jmberinger

    jmberinger Pianissimo User

    Jun 5, 2007
    Long Beach, California
    Toby, the concept of buzzing works in conjunction with the sound production of the mouthpiece, the lead pipe and the totality of the horn. Even very strong professional trumpet players cannot maintain a "buzz" for the entire range of their trumpet sound production.

    Two thoughts, the first of which is why do not you have a trumpet? If the answer is finances, there are options and I'm sure others will comment here. If it unavailability, check pawn shops and trumpet area on this site for student horns. Your trumpet does not have to be the most expensive. An Olds or Conn are great learning horns.

    Second, using the mouthpiece is substantially better use than just lip buzzing. The cost of a mouthpiece is minimal and if you wish to send me an e-mail (see the member posting area) I will send you a Bach 7C, which is a nice student mouthpiece and is often used by professionals too.

    For the methodology of using the mouthpiece, search on the "Stamp method" or ask one of the professional online here.

    And one other comment, playing "mouthpiece" is the not the goal either; playing trumpet is. There is no mouthpiece "section" in a band or orchestra and there are no solo parts for mouthpiece (well, there is at least one). While it is a foundation, it is not the substance.

    There are many, many excellent articles and professional on this site, with lots of comments to keep you in the right direction. And stay off the general internet on this issue; some of that stuff is crazy. Ask the pros here; they have substance.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I understand! ;-)
    If we called it something other than buzzing, which is an annoying sound, vibration, oscillation, etc., maybe it wouldn't cause such a seemingly visceral reaction. :-)
  7. BustedChops

    BustedChops Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 1, 2011
    Free buzzing is wasteful of time and effort. Listen to the tonalities of yourself through the horn. The secret to sounding good is sounding good. Find a set it and forget it spot on your mouthpiece...We all have different dental and mouth structures. I myself can't play any note above staff if I do not play to the side.

    It's important to learn how to control buzzing to be in sequence the the partials of notes. One thing you hear often is "the notes are closer than you think." And also "play softly and musically as possible." These two basic fundamentals make getting a musical sound out of your instrument.

    Find the sweet spot on your mouthpiece and forget about it. It's like opening a door the handle is always there.

    Horse flapping without a mouthpiece can help relax the lip muscles. But it is like a tenderizing effect, and very temporary. Controlling the the flow of a air is what needs to be done while buzzing. A really good horn player does not need to play louder to go higher.

    Consider buzzing and airflow to be non negotiable. Work both of them in your routine and you will gain a more full lush tone. Listen to guys on youtube play a song...they sound rushed, notes are chipped when going slightly above the staff. This is something you can learn to avoid entirely.

    Then dig around you'll find some amateur horn players with exceptional even round tone. They aren't forcing the lungs to collapse in between passages, They are expanding and contracting the lungs with a sense of control.

    Jedi Rowuk is always harping on us about breath control because it's the difference between playing notes or making music.
  8. Zack Pomerleau

    Zack Pomerleau Pianissimo User

    Oct 6, 2008
    jmberinger: Still looking for a horn. Have bid on some but no luck yet, but got some leads! About the mouthpiece, really nice of you but you don't have to do that! I really just wondered because I have heard SO many people claim you need to do this to play trumpet, now I'm hearing so many players say the opposite. Funny thing is, I don't think the people saying you had to were really players. I can't buzz though like I hear people do, but I can definitely get the shape right. I don't actively practice, though. Not a big deal to me. I'll look up the Stamp method. I have heard some people mention a fraction, 1/3 top lip, 1/8 bottom or something (making up the fraction because I don't remember it). I just know the top lip is more covered I believe. I just know lots of those videos on YouTube seem odd, so I figured I'd ask here, and I'm glad I did. It's hard to discern fact from fiction!

    BustedChops: I know lots of people mention that, how you should play, I think I notice the way my lips form is off to the side a bit. Not sure, though. I'll definitely make sure I get it right by asking and finding a good instructor to show me. I think what I'm getting from your advice is, play everything you can softly with full tone and good breath control. I've heard a lot of wind players talk of this, and as a singer I hear of this a lot with diaphragm exercises and high notes. You can just blow as hard as you can, or belt it, but it'll be breathy/airy, bad technique etc. Doing it softly requires technique, helps with tone and diaphragm control, etc. It's like drum rudiments, you do doubles slow to gain the pull technique (first hit is like a throw, then you pull with your fingers, but when going slow it can be difficult especially with your weak hand). You create muscle memory. Then go faster and make the movements smaller, and do it without tension.

    Tobylou: I saw a website that mentioned only practicing like that, too in fact! I was like...uh, guess I won't be touching the trumpet much!
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    The op has no horn. Wants to work on his chops until he gets a horn. If he had a mpc, there would be the same reaction to advice to play the mpc. The video speaks for itself. The player in the video has impeccable credentials.

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