How important is buzzing?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Seedhouse, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Hi, as i've moved mouthpiece position and embouchure shape, I was beginning to wonder how important buzzing on the mouthpiece or without the mouthpiece really is to us as players- not just when changing mpiece position etc?
    Cheers, Alex
  2. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Buzzing is very important. If you can't control the air flow through your lips with the mouthpiece or without, then you'll have poor air flow through your instrument.
  3. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    yes its almost essential for good playing!

    you should do 5 minutes of 'buzzing' on your mouthpiece before you pick up your instrument. This gives your lips a gentle warm-up before getting onto the 'heavy stuff'. Just like gymnasts for example and sportsmen and women, in general. :lol:
  4. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    What types of exercises do you do when buzzing though, probs scales and arpeggios but any others?
  5. grandfilth

    grandfilth Member

    Ok ive never really understood this whole buzzing thing...Why not just do a good warm up through youre instrument?!After all if you made a nice sound buzzing, it might sound awful through your instrument. Then again I guess it depends on the extent to which you think about what you're doing when you're playing....
  6. i try to buzz as little as possible bcos i dont think its a realistic simulation of playing at all. theres no resistance behind the mouthpiece that the instrument gives, but i do occaisionally buzz for stamina and register work. cant really describe the exercises i do bcos they are in no way related to my playing embrachure, sorry
  7. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    I play low notes-usually around bottom C to E playing up and down in these notes, initially. Then i might play a single octave arpeggio starting on low B(by the way i use a piano or keyboard to know what note im playing)

    as for why i do it - playing an instrument is to your lips as gymanastics is to the body. you have to do a gentle warm-up before-like rolling your neck and stretching your arms over your head etc (we've all done it in P.E. classes at school!) and its helps prepare your muscles for a heavier physical exertion.

    you could do a forwards roll straight off if you wanted but you would probably feel worse than if you did a warm-up first

    same with lips. they are very delicate and need careful attention so i always start with 5 mins of buzzing.

    iv noticed the difference!!

    united co-op yorkshire
  8. tim

    tim Member

    When my lips not in to good shape i buzz through hymn tunes. It's not to much hard work when the lips not in shape and it helps you to pitch notes when playin your instrument and it helps you listen to your intonation.

    Also as well as scales and arrpegios theres dom 7ths and diminished 7ths and you can go up and arpeggio and down the dominant 7th and combinations of the two.
  9. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    buzzing is just a way of warming up without the somewhat larger sound produced through the instrument. Personally I buzz to get blood back in my lips, but I don't think you mean that.

    buzzing is just a warm up. Alternatively try just playing mid range notes quietly and don' strain your lip too much. This can be done with or without the instrument. Don' forget to warm up all the muscles you use. This includes steady deep breathing, and controlled lip flexibilities. Control is the key in the warm up. Push the limits later, but the warm up must be controlled!
  10. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Buzzing I have found is a means to an end. I used to be firmly in the non-buzz camp but now stand with a foot in each. I believe you can play very well without being able to buzz (and I know several players that do).

    However, not being able to buzz indicates to me that the mouthpiece is being used as some kind of embouchure 'crutch' - without the mouthpiece the embouchure doesn't work. This I have found leads to increased pressure and reduced flexibility. Being able to buzz without your mouthpiece means that you are free from this reliance and can play with less pressure, increased flexibility and are more relaxed generally.

    In practice terms I would suggest that players be able to buzz and are able to add and remove mouthpiece/instrument whilst maintaining that buzz. That said, I don't believe it is something that necessarily needs to be incorporated into a daily routine.

    I also think that the air flow point is a not entirely accurate. Yes you do need a certain amount of air to get the buzz but you can also buzz without proper support and airflow. Rather use a practice mute (properly!) for 5 mins to help with this.
  11. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Those who are not "into" buzzing might be interested in this excerpt from an article by internationally-respected trumpet player Bobby Shew:

    "Setting the instrument aside at first, we have learned thru the medical and sports training professions, that a simple "fluttering or flapping" of the lips and cheek muscles acts as a form of massage and increases the blood flow into the muscles. This helps "clean" the muscles of residuals such as lactic acid, etc. that accumulate from previous playing periods. It also helps provide oxygen and blood sugar to the muscles, both of which are necessary in order for the muscles to function at their best. This "muscle preparation" should be done for anywhere from a couple of minutes up to perhaps 5-10 minutes, depending upon the individual as well as the desired condition for whichever playing situation one is preparing for. A few rest periods intermittently placed will help things settle and will also help you OBSERVE the improving condition."

    I also recall attending a masterclass/seminar -type event led by Alan Morrison at which he explained the principles behind buzzing and warm-up routines in very similar terms.


  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    It's very important in my line of existence, but since an unfortunate accident over thirty years ago, I can only do it to about 50% capacity.


    Eric the half a bee

  13. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    I wondered how long it would take for a Monty Python fan to show his true colours!!!
  14. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    ditto. I never buzz on my mouthpiece unless im bored.

    this is true. I'm sure we've had a buzzing thread before cos i remember saying it before now...
    actually now i remember it wasnt buzzing on the mouthpiece.. it was buzzing through the lips without the mouthpiece.
  15. Despot

    Despot Member

    Any professional orchestral player I've met seemed to favour buzzing.

    One tuba player kept his mouthpiece next to the bed so he could buzz before went to bed and in the morning when he woke up. Also took it with him in the car, and buzzed away while in traffic!

    In the past, driving a lot and not having a lot of access to an instrument a every day, I found it a great way of keeping the lip in; the muscles fexible. Not a replacement for playing, but at least things didn't get worse!

    For more resistance, stick your finger on the other end! :D
  16. jambo

    jambo Member

    I inherited a pupil at the school I teach at from a previous brass tutor. The lad is really keen but just couldn't play any two notes consistantly nor produce anything like a proper sound. After some investigation I discovered that he couldn't buzz and in true teenage style had never heard of it...
    Anyway, having sent him away to amongst other things practice buzzing with and without the mouthpiece, he is now on the mend as a cornet player. Thus, i'm in favour of buzzing.
  17. tim

    tim Member

    Ive heard of a pro trumpeter that not only takes his mouthpiece he takes his trumpet and practices his parts while driving on the way to gigs/rehersals!!!! i guess he must steer with his knees but it can't be safe!!!
  18. Buzzing can be good - or it can be bad - it just depends upon the player.

    Myself - I have a "manufactured" embouchure. ie I have been playing 38 years and over that time I have developed an embouchure that works. It isn't a "natural" embouchure.

    If I was to start learning again........I would start by free lip buzzing, then MP buzzing - then try it on the instrument. It is tempting to do that even now for me - but my teacher tells me that it would take at least two years to start again with a "natural" embouchure, to get where I am now. So for me, buzzing isn't an option. With his teaching I am developing -as long as I progress, I am not really bothered.

    The most important thing to remember about buzzing, is that for it to be an asset to your playing - you MUST buzz exactly as you do when playing on the instrument. You should be able to buzz a "g" (for example) , put the instrument on and hear a "g". Also play a "g" and take the MP and instrument off and still hear it buzzing. If you can do that - you have a "natural" embouchure. If you start buzzing in a way that isnt your usual set up - you are developing "another" embouchure.......which isn't so good.

    I will in the next two weeks be starting to teach my grandson how to blow - I will start him on recorder, then get him free lip buzzing, then buzz a MP - THEN and only THEN he gets the Cornet. It will be his reward........

    He will then have a fantastic start to his playing career.....a totaly free natural embouchure (he is 6 years old by the way). Those Jock McKenzie books are so good - I use them also - play along with the CD - if they seem too easy - knock it up an octave....

    I do realise that this is a "red hot" subject, and people all have differing views on this........but as I see it, my comments above make total sense.

    If any of this sounds a bit teacher is Roddy - see his Embouchure Enhancement book reviews in Tmp Review section......
  19. jambo

    jambo Member

    I actually saw someone doing that once on the motorway, had to applaud.
  20. tim

    tim Member

    I have to say being a proper recorder player the instrument shoudln't b used in ways like this. If you use thew wrong breathing technique you will just compound the error when using a brass instrument