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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Fri May 12, 2017 1:15 pm

happyroman wrote: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.

How does this work? I really don't get it. I sit and force my embouchure to vibrate, and I get better and better at forcing it (which is the only way it will vibrate without the resistance of the horn or something doing duty in its place). And somehow getting better and better at forcing my embouchure to vibrate magically flips over into not forcing it?

Practice makes habits. If I practice forcing it long enough, it seems to me I eventually master forcing it and can't readily do anything else. No?
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Fri May 12, 2017 1:22 pm

As there is a school that believes that brass players' lips are more like a pair of drum sticks (rather than like a bassoon double reed), it's really difficult to contribute to threads that trail off in this direction...
...That having been said, bassoonists work on their reeds for considerable amounts of time (some, about as much time as they spend playing) to make reeds that "want to vibrate" rather than having to be "forced to vibrate".

Typically (having family members who make bassoon, oboe, and English horn reeds, and unlike what is available for sale in stores), there really isn't such a thing as a "hard" reed that is a "good" reed.
Further, professional single reed players (in particular, clarinetists) do buy "#4" and "#5" reeds, but (what many do not understand) with the goal of shaving them down ~themselves~ to their personal/custom version of a "#2-1/2", "#3", or "#3-1/2" reed.

How does this relate to a brass embouchure...??
I dunno. I'm only posting. It's your job to find relevance in my posts. :lol:
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Fri May 12, 2017 1:31 pm

bloke wrote:...That having been said, bassoonists work on their reeds for considerable amounts of time (some, about as much time as they spend playing) to make reeds that "want to vibrate" rather than having to be "forced to vibrate".

I'm going to bet that the said work to get the reed to want to vibrate does not involve forcing it to vibrate for hours on end. At least the forcing is not the efficient cause of the wanting.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby bloke » Fri May 12, 2017 1:57 pm

Michael Bush wrote:I'm going to bet that the said work to get the reed to want to vibrate does not involve forcing it to vibrate for hours on end. At least the forcing is not the efficient cause of the wanting.


Here are some things that (when anything does) can stress me when playing gigs...
- my lack of preparation
- others' lack of preparation
- both of the above
- not knowing the tune at all, when backing up a well-known vocalist/instrumentalist
- tune-after-tune-after-tune of Jeezak/always-and-octave-below-the-bass-trombone/Clydesdalian tunes (I call this "accordion-effect fatigue".)

...but lips/embouchure fatigue...?? not so much. It's a tuba. The muscles around my lips are never particularly taxed. Written parts rarely make it into the treble clef.

bloke "I suspect, very much, that I'm not 'getting' what you're communicating, which isn't unusual. There's tons of stuff that I'm not insightful enough to 'get'."
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Michael Bush » Fri May 12, 2017 2:24 pm

bloke wrote:
bloke "I suspect, very much, that I'm not 'getting' what you're communicating, which isn't unusual. There's tons of stuff that I'm not insightful enough to 'get'."

I'm pretty sure we're in agreement.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby happyroman » Sat May 13, 2017 8:03 am

Michael Bush wrote:
happyroman wrote: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.

How does this work? I really don't get it. I sit and force my embouchure to vibrate, and I get better and better at forcing it (which is the only way it will vibrate without the resistance of the horn or something doing duty in its place). And somehow getting better and better at forcing my embouchure to vibrate magically flips over into not forcing it?

Practice makes habits. If I practice forcing it long enough, it seems to me I eventually master forcing it and can't readily do anything else. No?


Are you talking about the mouthpiece or the rim? In either case, you start in the lower middle register, where it is easiest to play. You start by developing some kind of buzz. In the beginning, it is not important to be "right." However, it is very important to have the mental concept of what you want to sound like very strong in the head as you are buzzing. Then, as you continue, you work to decrease the amount of "forcing" necessary to get the lips to vibrate while achieving the same results in terms of the sound of the buzz.

You are correct that if you continue to practice forcing it, that is the habit that is being developed. The initial "forcing it" is the crudity, and the gradual development of skill is achieving a better sounding buzz with less pressure required. The key to the process is to hear the sound you want in your head and striving to imitate that. Mr. Jacobs said that two of the best teaching tools are intuition and imitation. You intuitively conceive of the sound and try to imitate it.
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Re: Mouthpiece Buzzing

Postby Leland » Sat May 20, 2017 7:42 pm

I had the opportunity last week to introduce my trombone-playing nephew to buzzing the mouthpiece while it's plugged into about a foot of vinyl tubing.

He's nursing a broken wrist, so we spent the entire time buzzing, doing some basic exercises and following along with some recordings I've got.

As I described earlier, when buzzing, it's really easy to overblow, simply because you're expecting a noise that's somewhat loud. So, when we started getting into some of the longer-phrase'd exercises -- say, 15 counts playing, 1 count breath -- the fact that he was overblowing meant he always ran out of air before the phrase was done. It took a few tries, but he eventually was able to smoothly buzz for an entire phrase.

Now, I don't know how well he'll keep up with practicing, as he's got other hobbies occupying his mind and the school year is winding down and he hasn't decided whether to try out for marching band and even if he does, his hand will still be in a cast. But if he's up for it, I can get him up to speed as far as marching technique goes, and he'd be a shoo-in for the band. ;)
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