Trumpet Topics



During a clinic I was presenting some time ago to trumpet students, someone asked me if I advocated mouthpiece buzzing. "Not really", I replied. Then after thinking about it, I had to admit that I actually buzz my mouthpiece about 15 minutes every single day! I guess that it is such a part of my daily routine that I didn't even think about it.

I keep a mouthpiece in My Car, and I start buzzing as soon as I round the corner, buzzing on and off all the way to the School of Music, where I do my daily warm-up. On days that I warm-up at home I usually start on my trumpet, and now after thinking back , it occures to me that my chops usually felt better after those warm-ups that were preceded by the mouthpiece buzzing.

I usually buzz chords rather than long tones, because I feel that moving around is better for loosening the embouchure than "locking in" on a long tone. I usually progress upward chromatically until it feels slightly uncomfortable, then progress back down. For variety I may go around the circle of 5ths. (If I were to keep a tuner in the car, it would be interesting to test my pitch accuracy by checking how close I am the starting pitch after I complete the entire circle).

I made a cassette tape of some rhythm section backgrounds (swing, rock, samba, etc) with my Band-in-the-Box program which now makes my buzzing a bit more interesting (but draws some strange stares when I drive with the top down). Also, Jim Thompson, trumpet professor at the Eastman School, has also released a nice cassette and booklet called "Buzzing Basics".

There are other useful benefits from mouthpiece buzzing, but as a pre-warmup I think it is very good. If you haven't done so, I suggest that you spend a few minutes buzzing just your mouthpiece prior to your usual warm-up.

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