Two completly different views on buzzing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by daveythewavey19, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. daveythewavey19

    daveythewavey19 New Friend

    Jan 31, 2007
    I'm in my first semester in music school and I don't think I'm going to last very long. I have so many problems with my playing, I think it may not have been a good idea to major in music. But anyway, here's a common subject, BUZZING on the moutpiece.

    My high school teacher, who taught me most everything i know and who himself is a great player, put almost no value on buzzing. Now at school, my teacher, also a great player, though I've never heard him play much, has us using four books for buzzing; Stamp, Thompson, Sachs, and some other book i forget the name of it.

    Anyway, i see value in buzzing as a warmup tool but i don't see it as a major piece of trumpet playing. I mean, no one goes to a concert to hear mouthpiece buzzing.

    My highschool teacher taught me to play on the leadpipe as a warm up so you get good tone. He would blow through the mouthpiece, bring it up to the horn, and there would be the note. no buzzing whatsoever.

    Now im stuck buzzing 45 minutes a day in various patterns. And I feel like I'm getting worse. And it's frusturating because the Maxwell first trumpeter book we use says, "Everyone finds their own way of playing," yet my sucess at school depends on my changing my embacoure to fit my professors ideas.

    What are you're opinions of buzzing? This is an overdisscused topic I realize but it's fundemental.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    When we sign on with a teacher (and more so with a professor) we do so with trust and faith. Your teacher thinks you could benefit from buzzing, so why not trust him and do it in good faith and discover for yourself what develops over time? Some good sound pedagogy involves breaking down some old habits and developing new ones. New habits take about three weeks to develop, and can take longer if they are fighting against an old, bad habit. Even then, fatigue will let those old habits pop up again, so be patient, and trust your teacher for a season.

    Good luck!
  3. mrtrpt

    mrtrpt New Friend

    Sep 23, 2007
    don't get rid of playing the leadpipe. Try to play the moutpiece the same way you blow through the leadpipe. with a little practice you can get blowing into the mouthpiece to produce a sound as easy as you can blow into the leadpipe.

    If you are new to playing the mouthpiece 45 mins is no doubt "ruining" your playing, just because you aren't in shape to do that much....

    Sing every exercise before you play it on the mouthpiece, this will provide rest time and will make sure you are hearing the pitches before you try to play them which could improve accuracy, which makes you have less mistakes, which saves face....

    I know that most people think that playing the leadpipe and playing the mouthpiece are two totally different schools of thought... but I have found that you can learn to do both with the same concept and have been quite succesful with it. So don't throw one away to do the other...

  4. daveythewavey19

    daveythewavey19 New Friend

    Jan 31, 2007
    yea, i'll have to keep on cracking away at it. lots of hard work ahead.
  5. derekkress

    derekkress Pianissimo User

    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal Qc Canada
    What don't you like about your playing now?and why do you think you are getting worse?
  6. MrClean

    MrClean Piano User

    Oct 22, 2005
    Perhaps we can use your own words to clarify this:

    1). Your high school teacher taught you most everything you know, yet you have so many problems with your playing

    2). There are four books on buzzing you are using. The three you listed are by absolute monster players/teachers. Seriously. This is not provincial HS teacher stuff - these are world-class, world famous artists.

    This will not fix itself in a day, a week, or a month. How committed are you to improving your playing? You either trust your current teacher or you don't. If not, don't waste your time. Or his.

    Your call, kid.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    buzzing is a concept shared by many teachers. It is a VERY concentrated way to build power, intonation and tone. As you never spent much time buzzing, your chops are a bit "weak" for that program. You are learning a complete new approach to the horn that has proven itself many times over. I think you will make it.
    As far as you having so many problems, I do not believe that this is true. I think up until now, your focus just has not been on the basic mechanics of playing. This comes to light with the new routine. Your musicianship will not go away and you will find ways to incorporate the good from your previous style with the good that you are now building. You may need 6 months to get comfortable, once that you do, you will discover a whole new world of playing. Go for it! Keep us informed about your progression!
  8. pops

    pops Pianissimo User

    Mar 17, 2004
    OK so based on your description you play a very open aperture setting and you have lots of problems.
    This is why many teachers make students learn to buzz. It can't be done open and it solves the problems.

    Right now you are trying to buzz by adding facial tension but this isn't how it is done.

    This is why some people do tend to over do lip buzzing and get tight because of using unneeded facial tension.

    I lip buzz so loosely that it simply couldn’t happen to me.

    If the lips are touching and you blow air they will buzz. Just spit and keep blowing air. You are trying to adjust a bad embouchure and force it to buzz.

    Better to just relax and blow allowing the lips to vibrate.

    I advise LOOSE lip buzzing for about a month. Start with low vibrations and let it adjust up without tension.

    Mouthpiece buzzing is FOREVER.
    It is the most important thing you will ever do.

    Arturo Sandoval (50 or so albums, several Grammy awards and movie sound tracks) STILL lip and mouthpiece buzzes EVERY day. BTW he can lip buzz a loud double high C.

    Bud Herseth (principal trumpet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 53 years) said in clinics that he mouthpiece buzzed an hour a day.
    Here are 8 quotes from Herseth:

    1. “Practice on the mouthpiece every day before your regular session. Walk around and play anything musical (no drills) from excerpts to pop tunes. Concentrate on being very musical on these pieces, and most important, on a very LARGE SOUND on the mouthpiece.â€

    2. “The mouthpiece, because of the lack of divisions, it is possible to go over all ranges, and it forces you to use your ear. Also in emergency situations, it can be used as a substitute for regular practice on the horn.â€

    3. “Play a complete session on the mouthpiece once in a while. This keeps you from getting hang-ups on the horn, and improves everything from sound to articulation.â€

    4. “Whenever you are having problems on any piece, play it on the mouthpiece.â€

    5. “After working on the mouthpiece, do the same on the horn. Play everything from excerpts to pop tunes on it to do things musically.â€

    6. “Practice a session on just the mouthpiece.â€

    7. “I take my mouthpiece along and buzz in the car while I’m driving to the golf course.â€

    8. “I do that (Mouthpiece buzzing) for about 15 minutes two or three times a day.â€

    (My only change is I like students to also do Arban exercises on mouthpiece. You can concentrate on your main problem area that way. Bud is WAY past that.)

    Andrea Tofanelli (Italian TV and movies) mouthpiece buzzes 1-3 hours EVERY day. Armando Ghitalla changed his embouchure and told him to buzz. He starts on Low C and ends up in the dog whistles. In fact my Border Collie barked at Andrea’s mouthpiece buzzing. That is how strong his buzzing was.

    Buzzing works and that is why James Thompson the Trumpet Professor at Eastman for the last 17 years wrote a Buzzing exercise book.

    These people are the TOP of their respective fields in Trumpet playing. They got there by mouthpiece buzzing and they stayed there by mouthpiece buzzing.

    You do NOT have to buzz to play a note on the trumpet. The lips HAVE to be close enough and loose enough to buzz to allow the feedback to work.

    However; MANY of us CHOOSE to buzz when we play.

    There is an extra bit of control when the trumpet is played this way.

    You have to remember that feedback stops helping by High G or A and playing is ALL YOU.

    People who play by buzzing don’t need to shift gears and play differently up there compared to down low. WE do the same things.

    People who use feedback have to learn to shift gears and they have ZERO practice and experience in what gears to use. So by the time they get there they are years behind in prep work.

    Basically for most people starting out the buzz should be an octave lower than the pitch you want to play. When you get MUCH better then you learn to buzz the correct pitch with the same facial tension and this doesn’t have to be the case. (People always try to control with facial muscles and get too tight. Do NOT tighten the face to play: think COMPRESSION not tension.)

    LOTS of people buzz. You hear their playing every day.
  9. derekkress

    derekkress Pianissimo User

    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal Qc Canada
    There you have it "Pops" summed it up perfectly!My only comment is we tend to forget our real instrument is our embouchure the horn we play is simply a receiver/amplifier.When I'm not buzzing but actually playing I'm always thinking of the "feel" of the note via what I was really feeling when buzzing and tongue levels.Good luck but you won't need it since there is so much good advice and support here in this forum!
  10. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    i like buzzing too, but don't do a lot of it. i have thick lips and find that when i buzz on the mouthpiece, the lower lip rolls out and since there is no room for it, it pinches the upper lip off. when i do buzz i focus on not letting that happen.

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