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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Mouthpiece buzzing in the General forums; I have a pretty busy schedule which limits my practice time. So I've taken to driving along buzzing low tones ...
  1. #1
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    Aug 2009

    Question Mouthpiece buzzing

    I have a pretty busy schedule which limits my practice time. So I've taken to driving along buzzing low tones on my mouthpiece. Is this "facetime" and helping or hurting?

  2. #2
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2009

    Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

    Stick a 4 foot hose on the end for back pressure. Be aware that police officers will wonder what that silver thing is you're putting on your mouth!!!!

    Is working weights "facetime" if you're throwing a javelin?

    Practice throwing the javelin as much as working out.

  3. #3
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2005

    Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

    When you do get to practice, if your trumpet playing is as good or better than normal, then the mouthpiece buzzing is probably fine. If your playings gets worse, then it might not be helping.

    When your practice time is limited, any trumpet related activity is probably better than none, unless you feel like playing the mouthpiece all the time is throwing everything out of whack. Only you can answer that!

  4. #4
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    Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

    When I was first starting my comeback effort and had no chops whatsoever, I found that it did help (that is the MP alone - no hose attached). However, when I reached a certain level of ability, I found that it no longer helped. It was about the same time that I found that I could lip buzz actual notes, not just blowing spit all over everything. I don't know if the two factors are related but I would guess that they are so that may be a signal to you that MP buzzing has lost its benefit.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

    Ultimately, if you do not have enough serious time on the trumpet, the mouthpiece will not bridge that. The embouchure when buzzing without the horn, is completely different.

    If you are happy with your results, we do not need to phantasize about everything that could go wrong though!

    Maybe a pocket trumpet and a silent brass mute would be a better alternative?
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  6. #6
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    Re: Mouthpiece buzzing

    I am in the process of coming back -- I never really left, but I wasn't practicing seriously and my range and tone had suffered horribly. I was still good enough to show my private students (elementary and middle school and not-too-serious high school students) how things should sound but way below what I am building towards now.

    I have found mouthpiece buzzing in an organized manner as in the James Stamp Warmups and in the Thompson Buzzing Book to be immensely helpful each morning. I am spending about an hour going through these two sets of exercises, playing along with the recordings for intonation and to do them at the proper speed.

    Buying these two books and then either putting the necessary tracks together on your own CD or having the CDs in the car and buzzing along to them (they each have a demo track of a few measures and then the real accompaniment begins for each exercise so you don't need the music) while of course keeping the bulk of your attention on your driving may well help you.

    I doubt seriously whether simply buzzing low tones will do a lot of good, but an organized approach to getting breathing, mouth cavity shape, embouchure coordinated properly can work wonders.

    Following ITG in Harrisburg I kept my mouthpiece out in the car and kept working on several things that had been pointed out in the various workshops -- one person demonstrated how effective it is if you form your lips as if you were about to say "hmmm" and then place the mouthpiece and simply blow without tonguing, and I worked on that while driving and found that it really did help to get the mouthpiece in an ideal place. Think "hmmm . . . pooo."

    Another person was big on breath attacks also and suggested simply practicing getting the lips vibrating with the breath attack, something which is very easy to practice while driving.

    Regarding rowuk's comment on how the embouchure when buzzing is completely different from when the horn is on the mouthpiece is true -- it's so much easier with the horn, so buzzing with the mouthpiece alone is like working out with weights to strengthen your batting arms in baseball. People swing two bats or a bat with a weight on it so that it's easier and more controllable when they actually are at the plate with one bat -- I find mouthpiece buzzing to be much like that.

    It's not a replacement for practicing with the horn, but it's certainly better than sitting at stop lights doing nothing.

    But remember there are some excellent teachers out there who advocate not buzzing at all, so you need to decide if it's helping you or not.

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