It's been a while! Today's post is about buzzing - the where, when, why and how!
Buzzing should be a part of everyone's daily routine, but it must be done effectively and safely. Every brass player should keep these in mind when buzzing:
Buzzing should take place at the start of every practice session, as well as during the practice time. Buzzing sirens or "roller coasters" is a great way to warm up our lips and get our air moving for the day! After that, buzz some simple songs, like Mary Had A Little Lamb - this will help our lips and brain work together to buzz accurate pitches.
During the practice session, buzz parts of the etude/solo/music that give you trouble - this could be faster passages, or perhaps a note you keep missing. By buzzing the accurate rhythm and pitches (without tongue), you'll find it easier to produce on your instrument.
Beginning students: Can't take your big instrument home? Buzzing is a great way to practice at home without the horn. Buzz only 5 minutes at a time, with breaks in between. You can even sit down to watch TV and just buzz during the commercials! Just don't forget to use that great posture you use in school!
So what are the benefits of buzzing? By buzzing in tune and in time, our body is trained to produce the music we want without the extra aid of the instrument. Because of that, the instrument will ring more and produce a more beautiful and resonant sound and it will be easier too! This will improve legato playing as well as technical playing, and you will find that over time the intonation will improve as well! The benefits are endless!
Remember to buzz every day and talk to me in lessons if you experience success, pain, difficulty, or want more buzzing tools! Happy Practicing!
Jeff Dunn, trombone
An avid educator, performer, and advocate for music.