Were you taught how to buzz?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by megga, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. megga

    megga New Member

    I've been reading a whole load of stuff on the internet recently about 'buzzing'. That's 'free buzzing', 'mouthpiece buzzing' and 'instrument buzzing'.
    The general consensus would appear to be that these techniques, once mastered, just might be the 'holy grail' for all aspiring brass players.
    Now, I feel a bit cheated. I don't recall anybody mentioning anything about this when I went along for my first cornet lesson some thirty five years ago. Is this some newly discovered panacia? Hadn't they heard about it way back then?
    But wait a minute! I must be 'buzzing' because that's how the sound's produced, right?
    Well if I'm 'buzzing' as I should, why do I still have to screw the mouthpiece onto my lips as soon as I try to play anything above the stave? You're supposed to be able to play without any pressure.
    I'm sure someone can make sense of it all?
  2. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I was taught to buzz on the mouthpiece alone as a means of learning how to keep the sound steady and to extend the range. I've used bare lips, a full mouthpiece, and a mouthpiece rim alone.

    I've never heard of buzzing as a means to learn to play without pressure. If you're playing cornet, try hanging the cornet from a support and attempting to play open notes with your hands behind your back. If you try to apply pressure, the instrument simply moves away.
  3. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I don't know that I was taught how to buzz...they just said buzz your lips...now try it with this chunk of metal on there.

    Quite simple...but I'd like to think it worked.
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I was first taught in late primary school by the breed of instrumental teachers who came direct from brass bands and by one in particular who told me to imagine spitting a grain of barley of the tip of my tongue. I discovered the buzz technique when I was exploring different tonguing methods when I was about 12 or 13 years old and changed my ways, much to the disgust of my teacher. I find that the buzz technique is the best way of getting a new-start to at least produce a sound quickly and develop his/her enthusiasm. Mind you, I still cannot create the Gourlay 'open' buzz, when you can place a pencil in the mouth aperture and still allow the lips to buzz freely! :-(
  5. trombelle

    trombelle Member

    my trom teacher has recently been *trying* to teach me how to buzz (without the mouthpiece in particular). you'd think that since playing is ultimately buzzing into an intrument it would be easy, right? wrong! it's really brought me back to basics, making me focus on tuning and breathing in particular. it's also a good way to warm up. usually my teacher plays a B flat on the piano then move in semi-tone patterns up and down and i buzz the pattern back. i find it fairly tricky and usually end up huffing 'but i CAN'T do it...can't i just play some music?!'. in all honestly tho i've seen quite a big improvement in the last few months, in terms of intonation and how good i am at actually buzzing.

    i've been playing the trom since i was about 10/11 (so roughly for about 7 or 8 years) and these are the first formal lessons i've ever had so it's the only teaching method i know. i find it useful and my dad is a bit of an enthusiatic old-timer convert.

    i guess it comes down to personal preference and learning style. seems to be working for me tho! :)
  6. Try this link


    Just over half way down the large page you will find "The Mouthpiece Peel Away" Trumpet Lecture.

    In fact the whole series of lectures is excellent. Nick Drozdoff is a very good player and teacher.
  7. six pints

    six pints Active Member

    i wasnt introduced to it until a couple of years ago. i found it helped when my lip was tired and i needed to keep practising- a couple of mins buzzing and ur away!!
  8. Geff Thompson - Buzzing Basics (or is it Jeff??)

    This book is another good source of information on this subject.
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  10. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I'm far too lazy, and I had a pretty poor teacher when I started, so I'm trying to ignore all the basics I missed...
  11. alanbry

    alanbry Member

    When I was originally taught it was a case of spitting a bit of cigarette paper being the technique.

    It was not until an absence of some 28 years and starting again I retaught myself and learnt about buzzing and the Colins Books from research off the web. All in all thank goodness for technology. I believe I have a better technique and tone than I did all those years ago.
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    erm., ... found out that his name is James Thompson and has two books published under the title "Buzzing Basics". A wee link to introduce tMPers to his methods and the person...

  13. Oh!!!

    I thought it unusual that a fast bowler would be writing a buzzing book. :-?
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    that got me stumped at the time ... and maybe a little under-hand too? :rolleyes:
  15. Syrup

    Syrup Member

    All sounds far too scientific for me, I was never taught to buzz and have never tried to do it since. I've always used the total pressure method, never known any other way, and its worked pretty ok for me over the years (apart from 1 episode just before the Munich Europeans!).
  16. JSmith

    JSmith Member

    Check out the work of late US Tubist and all-round teaching God Arnold Jacobs. You can download videos of some of his lectures at the "Windsong" website. He discusses with much insight and scientific know-how the mechanics of playing, but also the need to seperate music making from mechanics. An excellent book is available about the man, his career and his teachings called "Song and Wind".

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