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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:43 pm

I constantly use a tuner when practicing, but don't stare at it.
I glance at it every (guess) ten to twenty seconds, to ~see~ if my pitch concept is coming close to aligning with reality.
If it's within a cent either side, I'm happy. If it's within two cents either side, I'm not upset.
More, and I re-run the passage until I've taught that passage to my mind correctly.

I always use equal temperament, and don't use any of the exotic tuning settings.
If I can keep my playing between the ditches on the Equal Temperament Highway, I might (??) be sensitive enough to tune chords when playing with others.

I don't use a tuner on stage (deferring to "only listening"), unless there's a problem, and if I don't mind risking pissing off someone else (though bass trombonists seem just about as difficult to piss off as big ol' mutt dogs...i.e. nearly impossible).
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby happyroman » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:56 am

I'll finish my meager contributions to this thread with the following.

Arnold Jacobs is considered by many to have been, if not the best, certainly one of the best players and teachers ever. He buzzed on the mouthpiece and rim throughout his career because it helped him be a better player. Because he found it so valuable for his own playing, he used the practice in his teaching and encouraged his students to buzz their mouthpieces as well.

I simply shake my head in disbelief when I hear someone dismiss such a valuable practice tool. I firmly believe that anyone who says they don't get any benefit from buzzing falls into one of the following categories. They don't understand how to use buzzing in their practice in order to achieve maximum benefit, or they haven't committed to doing it for a sufficient length of time to be able to make a realistic determination of its value.

When we are learning a new skill, we are not very good at it. Human nature says that we will tend to stop doing things we don't do well in order to focus on things we are good at. If you have tried buzzing and stopped because it sounded like crap, so you stopped, I highly encourage you to try again and continue it for an extended period, just a few minutes a day for a couple of months. If you do this, I firmly believe you will be hooked because of the rapid improvement you see in your playing.

Here's a link to a short video of Jake in a Master Class discussing buzzing on the mouthpiece and its value. At the beginning, he says "There are no shortcuts in this profession that I'm aware of. But there are ways of maximal efficiency and this is one that seems to almost qualify as a short cut."

http://www.windsongpress.com/mouthpiece-rims
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:12 am

I don't believe there's any chance of great numbers of people ~not~ engaging in simulated tuba playing because of this thread, and nor do I believe that there's a great number who would decide to do it based on anything else on the internet.

Another fail-safe (as if throngs of students would have flocked to blokeplace otherwise :lol: ) for the school of simulated playing is that I haven't accepted students for decades (again, other than a handful of people preparing for job auditions). The downbeat is 11 A.M., Riverside Drive is closed today (which means "mystery parking"), and I need to ship a tuba at Greyhound on the way there.

As to the buzzer evangelists, I believe their school is quite safe.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Will Jones » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:18 am

Dr. Bowman would suggest putting your little finger slightly over the end of the mouthpiece to add some resistance back. I also had a friend that made a little PVC "bit" with a hole so you could actually put the mouthpiece in the horn and buzz. I think both of those modifications are beneficial.

But buzzing is not the end-all. It's a diagnostic, and a check up to make sure nothing's going wrong.

Bottom line for me is that buzzing is helpful mostly because takes away a crutch. It's Something I do during my practice, I think probably every day, to ensure I'm actually producing the pitches with my air/face aparatus rather than relying on the horn to get the pitch in place. But if you are practicing for the best sound, that's a combination of your air/face together with the resonance of the instrument. I think you can make a good sound by buzzing - but In my experience, a great sound stems from an air/face aparatus that interacts beneficially with the resonance the horn is sending back at it. It's not the same thing, and over-focus on buzzing without the horn might mean you aren't producing the best possible sound. Maybe the oral cavity isn't the right shape. Maybe the embouchure isn't the right suppleness. Maybe the air maybe maybe. Who knows? A good buzz into the horn is just the starting point. Getting the buzz to interact well with the horn is the ultimate goal.

This video by Jim Markey is another good reference: key phrase "the very same principle that tells us the buzz isn't everything tells us the buzz is important."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1OX7-_80eI
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:31 am

happyroman wrote: I firmly believe that anyone who says they don't get any benefit from buzzing falls into one of the following categories. They don't understand how to use buzzing in their practice in order to achieve maximum benefit, or they haven't committed to doing it for a sufficient length of time to be able to make a realistic determination of its value.

A few months ago on Facebook this discussion was going on in pretty much the same way as this thread, and some guy straight-up said that if Winston Morris, in particular, has no use for buzzing, "He doesn't know what he's doing."
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:10 pm

TNFJ talking in circles
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Lectron » Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:28 pm

Do I buzz, yes I do.
Why?
It's easier to lump around than a tuba and it kinda works.
Mostly do lip-buzzing without MPC
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:09 pm

bloke wrote:TNFJ talking in circles

It's what we do.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:17 pm

I'm glad someone got the joke.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:57 pm

bloke wrote:I'm glad someone got the joke.

The particular species of beetle it is being central to the joke... :lol:
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Leland » Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:33 pm

Halfway between mouthpiece buzzing and playing normally on the horn:

Am I the only one who's tried... no, actually used... holding open spit valves to practice?

It throws the resonance of the horn WAY out of whack (if you can open multiple spit valves on the main bugle, even better, because just one open valve creates some weird nodes while a second or third open valve can offset them) but maintains some semblance of resistance that's pretty much the same as playing the horn normally.

The "pfff-pfff-pffff" hiss of the leaky valves also exposes the amount and stability of the windstream.

And, of course, if you try to buzz the wrong pitch, the horn absolutely will not help you.

If you can play a passage on a "leaky" horn with all the correct pitches at the correct dynamic phrasing and on time, I'll just about guarantee that when you close the leaks, you'll sound like you've gained at least a week's worth of practice.

I've used this several times in sectional rehearsals, and it's worked great every time.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:52 pm

Leland wrote:Halfway between mouthpiece buzzing and playing normally on the horn:

Am I the only one who's tried... no, actually used... holding open spit valves to practice?

It throws the resonance of the horn WAY out of whack (if you can open multiple spit valves on the main bugle, even better, because just one open valve creates some weird nodes while a second or third open valve can offset them) but maintains some semblance of resistance that's pretty much the same as playing the horn normally.

The "pfff-pfff-pffff" hiss of the leaky valves also exposes the amount and stability of the windstream.

And, of course, if you try to buzz the wrong pitch, the horn absolutely will not help you.

If you can play a passage on a "leaky" horn with all the correct pitches at the correct dynamic phrasing and on time, I'll just about guarantee that when you close the leaks, you'll sound like you've gained at least a week's worth of practice.

I've used this several times in sectional rehearsals, and it's worked great every time.


This seems to have merit.
I believe I'll give it a shot.
thanks!
The positive features promise to be that the embouchure will function just as it does when playing, there will be considerable resistance, but there will be enough instability to open the (as they are named) "slots" super-wide, so the player must (as with the free-buzzing school) generate all the pitches.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Leland » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:51 pm

bloke wrote:This seems to have merit.
I believe I'll give it a shot.
thanks!
The positive features promise to be that the embouchure will function just as it does when playing, there will be considerable resistance, but there will be enough instability to open the (as they are named) "slots" super-wide, so the player must (as with the free-buzzing school) generate all the pitches.

It's eye-opening, both the first time you try it (as in, "holy crap this is hard") and when you put the horn back to normal. It might only take a few minutes of effort, too.

Holding the spit valves/water keys open can be tricky. I think a rubber band would work, though. A quick experiment can be done by pulling the main tuning slide out of the horn (although the short pipe have some nodes of its own).

I arrived at this idea like how they arrived at Post-Its, Slinky toys, and Silly Putty: pretty much by accident. During my first year on contra in drum corps, I had a horn with a cracked ferrule for a few days and kept using it in rehearsals until we found a replacement. It was like golfing with a fishing rod. Many years later, I used my own 2-valve King contra in a hornline with 3-valve horns, and I played along with the warmup exercises that required a third valve by holding open the water key and lipping down; when I got back to my concert tuba that fall, my low register was nicer than ever.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:59 pm

Leland wrote:Halfway between mouthpiece buzzing and playing normally on the horn:

Am I the only one who's tried... no, actually used... holding open spit valves to practice?

I associate this practice with Roger Lewis, perhaps mistakenly. But I think he has suggested it on here. I used to do it and then stopped for no particular reason. Maybe I'll go back to it for another try. It will wear out your chops pretty fast!

Plastic zip ties will hold it open very nicely. Still have them in my practice tools bag.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Mon May 01, 2017 3:48 pm

Leland wrote:Holding the spit valves/water keys open can be tricky.


prop it open the the pencil that's sitting on my music stand...
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Leland » Mon May 01, 2017 9:23 pm

bloke wrote:prop it open the the pencil that's sitting on my music stand...

Michael Bush wrote:[Plastic zip ties will hold it open very nicely. Still have them in my practice tools bag.

There we go!
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby happyroman » Tue May 02, 2017 10:17 am

Roger Rocco has an old tuba that has the valves removed that he plays regularly. He calls it the "Valveless Tuba" and demonstrates it near the end of the following video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Leek2HnVtW8
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Slamson » Thu May 11, 2017 4:55 pm

I get the funny feeling that some folks thought that since I said "I hate mouthpiece buzzing", that I don't DO mouthpiece buzzing. Far from it. I keep a Kelly 18 in my car at all times so there's never an excuse not to buzz driving from gig "A" in Forgottonia to gig "B" in Lower Slobovia. I do hate buzzing, though because:
(a) It reminds me how much my breath support is relying on the back pressure of the horn;
(b) I get tired so much quicker; and
(c) I just can't enjoy listening to a mouthpiece buzz (by anyone)

But I DO IT! For me it's like taking Castor Oil or some other sort of medicine - I do it because it's good for me, not good to me.

Be careful out there, though - a trombonist colleague of mine who was buzzing (not buzzed) while driving got pulled over by a cop because he thought he was hitting on a bong.
sorry, I don't do signatures.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby pecktime » Fri May 12, 2017 12:26 am

I get the feeling that not everyone buzzes the same way...

I was taught to increase the resistance on the mouthpiece by cupping it with my hand. The BERP device does this for $20.

I have tried buzzing the MP with no resistance and it does not produce the good results (for me) of buzzing with resistance.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby happyroman » Fri May 12, 2017 9:06 am

pecktime wrote:I get the feeling that not everyone buzzes the same way...

I was taught to increase the resistance on the mouthpiece by cupping it with my hand. The BERP device does this for $20.

I have tried buzzing the MP with no resistance and it does not produce the good results (for me) of buzzing with resistance.


This is an area where Mr. Jacobs would say that any time we learn something new, we start with crudity. Then, from crudity comes skill. Adding resistance like you mention makes it easier to get the lips to vibrate, but if you persist with the mouthpiece alone, once you are able to develop a strong buzz without the added pressure, you will see more benefits when you go back to the tuba. Then, take it even further by learning to buzz on just the rim. It is harder to get the lips to vibrate with just the rim than it is on the mouthpiece.

Practicing in this manner, as Mr. Jacobs would say, develops an embouchure "that wants to vibrate" as opposed to one that we have to force to vibrate. This makes our playing much more efficient, and efficiency for a brass player directly correlates to a beautiful, round tone.

I really like the BERP, as well, but cut the end off to eliminate the added resistance. But the ability to play a passage on the mouthpiece while fingering the instrument is a valuable practice tool. The BERP allows us to immediately go back and forth between the mouthpiece and the instrument and that is a very powerful practice method, especially when working out a difficult or tricky passage.
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