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Author Topic: buzzing issues  (Read 24710 times)
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sfatbn07
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« on: Sep 02, 2010, 10:15AM »

So I feel lame asking this as I played trombone from 7th through college, but I am now teaching a combined low brass class and I am having some buzzing range issues.

The tbns and btns can all roughly match an F (this is day 3 of buzzing) but they cannont seem to get higher or lower.

The tubas are currently on a 2nd line Bb. For some reason they can all do what I call a "horse" buzz without the mouthpiece but stick the mouthpiece up and they are buzzing up with the tbns and btns.

I've demonstrated on both a tbn mpc and tuba mpc the buzzes I'm after.

We've done Sirens, Bottle Rockets (low to high), and Dive Bombers (high to low) in an effort to get some range going. However, it doesn't seem to be working.

I've talked about embouchure/aperture and air direction in relation to low and high buzzing. (Firmer for high, more relaxed for low... blow up for low, middle for middle, down for high, etc.)

I've currently hit a road block on what else to tell them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 02, 2010, 11:14AM »

Hi sfatbn07

I also buzz with my kids I teach. I have a book where there are "buzz drawings"  Its some thick lines that is supposed to be the buzz.  Some goes in a straight line and then we just try to buzz a straight note. Some lines goes straight then goes upwards, some downwards. Some is supposed to be a firecar or a police car.

Then this book have lines combined with real note values. Like hole notes, half notes and so on. So they learn the note values at the same time.

This is some we always do before playing the horn. I also play this lines and note values on the horn with them. 

This seem to be a good routine for the kids and funny enough they like to do this stuff. And its good for me too.  This don't take so much time either. Just 5 minutes or so.  I have also given each kid homework to draw their own buzz drawings. I ask them to use some colour and we put the drawings up on the wall. Then we buzz them whenever we want.

I think the kids like it because we are always counting when doing them. So they get a early feel of doing something together in time.

Leif
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 02, 2010, 12:15PM »

I am very picky about the way I teach buzzing, because if you do it correctly it trains the right muscles, in the right position.  If you do it differently, there is a definite risk of training the wrong muscles or the wrong position of them.

Some people fall into the right position quite naturally, but most don't.  And the "right position" changes with strength development.

Here's the safest way to get people to buzz with a good formation:

Pull you bottom lip in and other the bottom teeth.  Hold it there while letting the top lip overlap as if saying "M" while almost biting your bottom lip.  Blow air and you should get a buzz, usually around a middle Bb.

I do not recommend buzzing low notes or even as low as an F in the staff.  It starts to use the wrong muscles.  Good exercises are holding notes steady with a "clean" airy-soundng buzz, and doing sirens or tunes, as long as they stay above middle F.
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 02, 2010, 01:35PM »

That's interesting Doug, thanks for the tips. I can understand why you recommend not going under the regular F. For some kids the embouchure just fall apart and they have no control over where the lips are or what muscles to use. For some they keep the setting and can buzz down to Bb without falling apart. 

I have one question for you. When I have a 10 years old beginner I tell him not to do so much. Because some kids have a belief they have to do so much strange things with their lips. I tell them just to put them natural together and make the buzz. For most people this works. And often the note is about F or a bit higher.  I will try your method from now but for most kids the lips goes to the position you told very natural. But for some other kids the lips will be about the same position or the underlip goes to fare out, and a lower note is getting out. OK I see it now, then just tell them to have the underlip a little bit more in?  Hope you understand my long bad explanation. If the lips and embouchure is firm and they buzz downwords without any problem then its OK to go under F?

In the very beginning I give them an F in my buzz but I don't stress so much what pitch they do. The first couple of lesson my goal is not an exact pitch but just to keep a note straight. It make their embouchure some stable in the beginning.

Well, Doug this interest me a little because I feel the first lessons and buzz is important. That's what we teachers work with every year. When it goes OK its easy for a teacher, could you tell more about what problems that often goes wrong and how to deal with it? For my self that would be interesting to learn about. Its often there we struggle as teachers and are not sure what to do. Sorry the long post but this is what I feel is important to a teacher. We all know we can avoid a lot of problems if the start is as right as possible for a beginner.

Leif
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 02, 2010, 02:39PM »

The biggest problem is when the bottom lip flips out.  You need to learn to control the muscles that hold the bottom lip in, and pulling it in over your bottom teeth is the best way to do that.

I would say aim for middle Bb, stay away from F, even if everything is firm.  After 10 years of successful buzzing you can feel free to buzz whatever you want.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 05, 2010, 08:19PM »

My interpretation from reading this thread was that the OP was talking about mouthpiece buzzing and that Doug and savio were talking about free buzzing.

Might make a difference? 
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 05, 2010, 09:37PM »

"Enquiring minds want to know."  Really! This is an area I'm just beginning to explore.
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 24, 2010, 08:53PM »

Interesting. I am hoping that I fall in the "right" category for buzzing. I do alot of it, have  been working on getting a good buzz ;-) Not that kind of buzz! Seriously, I have gotten a few comments on how well my buzz sounded, looked etc.. I am taking it that I am doing the right things. I read your post carefully Doug. My teacher recommends the sirens and buzzing tunes as well. He's a bass trombone player so he is buzzing low stuff all of the time. He can buzz seriously high stuff as well. I don't really mess too much with real low stuff or real high stuff, mid range buzzing,with a good robust buzz sound.

Good information though, thanks.
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 03, 2010, 09:14AM »

I start out free buzzing, then mpc buzzing, everyday before picking up the horn, so I'm interested in how much time should be spent on this, in general?

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« Reply #9 on: Dec 03, 2010, 10:45AM »

I have never been taught specific mouth placement for my buzzing beyond doing it the same way i buzz on my horn. My teacher has always stressed the importance of free and mpc buzzing, one of his favorite quotes is "if you can't buzz  the music correctly you can't play the music correctly."
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 03, 2010, 10:49AM »

5 minutes of freebuzzing is plenty.  There's no reason to do any more than that, and doing too much can definitely be a problem.  Think of it as lifting weights.  You only do one particular exercise for 3 sets of 10, then you rest and move on to something else.  Doing the same exercise over and over will make your muscles overbalanced in one area to the detriment of other things. In terms of strength building, 5 minutes of buzzing is equal to at least 30 minutes of playing.

I'm a little concerned about LLCJ103 aiming for "a good robust buzz sound."  Buzzing loudly is not good; I like to keep it soft.  The benefits of buzzing are largely from improving response, and that doesn't happen if you buzz loudly or use too much air.  Try to become efficiernt by buzzing with a minimum of air, and holding as long as possible with a steady soft buzz - this improves control.
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 03, 2010, 06:00PM »

Doug - what are your thoughts on mouthpiece buzzing? It's not something I've seen or heard you comment on. Is there a place for it?
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 03, 2010, 11:34PM »

I don't do it and I don't use it in my teaching.  I use techniques that I feel are much more valuable.
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 04, 2010, 03:16AM »

There are many thoughts and ideas about buzzing.
A few of them are represented among these forums members.

I don’t want to start a new discussion; I just want to give my thoughts.

I know some musicians who can buzz all over the map, resonant and artistic.
Sometimes they are very good players, sometimes not.

I know some extremely good players who can’t buzz at all.

I know some who only buzz without the mpc, some buzz only in visualizes, some buzz only in the mpc.
 
Some do it very good and it seems to work on their horns as well.
Some does not succeed as buzzing artists that well.

Many of these people are very sure about the benefits from buzzing their way, very often I believe them as they are good players. Sometimes I am not so sure.

I do use some buzzing in my own teaching, but very sparingly, and not to every one.

For what I have experienced, buzzing is a technique that is good for some, not so good for others.

I could write a whole lot more about buzzing, but I rather not as the risk of misunderstanding information that is written is so big.

 

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« Reply #14 on: Dec 04, 2010, 12:30PM »

I don't do it and I don't use it in my teaching.  I use techniques that I feel are much more valuable.

Enough said. thank You!!
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 04, 2010, 01:24PM »

I don't do it and I don't use it in my teaching.  I use techniques that I feel are much more valuable.

Hi, Doug,

Can you elaborate as to why you don't use M/P buzzing and what are the other techniques you use instead?

Thanks!
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 04, 2010, 01:52PM »

I use ALL of my other techniques instead.  Sorry, I can't write a book here about every way that I teach each individual.  It's all about form, and making sure that form is correct for each individual's physical makeup, and that it makes playing as efficient as possible in every way.  That seems kind of broad, but it's actually very specific to the individual because everybody's different.
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 04, 2010, 03:15PM »

I use ALL of my other techniques instead.  Sorry, I can't write a book here about every way that I teach each individual.  It's all about form, and making sure that form is correct for each individual's physical makeup, and that it makes playing as efficient as possible in every way.  That seems kind of broad, but it's actually very specific to the individual because everybody's different.

I read about people that take lessons with you Doug Elliot. Even today I got a nice story here in the forum from a member about how you can see what each individual needs. Embouchure and buzzing is what I an many feel insecure about. I know you cant tell so much because all questions here is individuals asking. But wish you somehow could do some of your experience out maybe in a book or article.

Anyway I think we all feel that the center of technique and how to play trombone, is much about embouchure and how we buzz. The buzz is what makes the sound after all. The better we master it the better we express music. So I'm interested in this for my own playing and also because I teach trombone.

Leif
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« Reply #18 on: Dec 04, 2010, 03:29PM »

Neither of my teachers advocated buzzing. (Emory Remington and Robert Harper). I don't "buzz" and I can still play most anything. Weird, huh.
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« Reply #19 on: Dec 05, 2010, 03:28AM »

Derek Watkins (fantastic lead trumpeter in London) told me : “I can´t buzz a f***ing tone but I can play all the tones on my trumpet”

Buzzing is not a “must” to reach mastery of brass playing.
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