Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 00:55:31 -1000
Subject: Re: [TPIN] Bill Adam or James Stamp?

>Lately I have been experimenting with both Bill Adam and James Stamp's
>concepts of buzzing.  I am confused as to which concept is more correct.
>Both authorities agree that there must be a minimum amount of tension when
>buzzing.  Stamp believed that buzzing should be done on the mouthpiece
>alone.  Adam believes that when the player buzzes on the mouthpiece alone,
>too much tension is created and the results are not beneficial.  Because of
>this, Adam developed a new system of buzzing which involves placing the
>mouthpiece in the leadpipe with the tuning slide removed, and buzzing the
>pitch of the leadpipe.  I would like to quote Bill Adam on his system:
>        - "There has been much talk about buzzing the mouthpiece on the lips.
>I agree with some of these theories, when they do what they say they will
>do.  However, I have often found that when we just buzz and purse the lips,
>the lips become too tense.  If we can buzz the mouthpiece without getting
>tension behind the lips we're in good shape." -
>      My question to all of you who have actually read this far: Is one
>concept of buzzing any more correct or beneficial than the other?  Also, is
>it possible to get any unwanted results from either system?
>      Thank you for your time, I'm sorry this kind of turned into a short
>Ben Russell
>Lancaster, CA

The short answer is no. If done correctly, Adam's and Stamp's approach achieved similar results. I'm a die-hard Adam student who studied with Mr. Adam for over 5 years and studied with Adam students since I was 13 years old. I will say, however, that I have met many Stamp students and am very impressed with how they play.  With students like Malcolm McNab, Tommy Stevens, et. al., I would have to say that there must be something to that approach.  From talking to the Stamp students that I have met, I have gathered that they approach mouthpiece buzzing in a much more relaxed fashion than many people. They go for an efficient, relaxed, rather airy buzz when working with the mouthpiece.

To say that Bill Adam did not have students buzz the mouthpiece would be incorrect. In fact, he had me buzzing just about everything I played for him over the period of one semester.  He used mouthpiece buzzing when it was pedagogically appropriate for the individual student.  For some, mouthpiece buzzing would create undue tension and create the dull sound you mentioned. For others, buzzing would have tremendous benefits in regard to embouchure development, pitch accuracy and overall finesse on the horn.

Remember, neither Stamp or Adam or any truly brilliant teacher has a set method. A great teacher diagnoses the problems a student is having and provides a set of exercises that will benefit the individual student. I can remember countless lessons where I would show up at Mr. Adam's house early and hear the end of another student's lesson. Mr. Adam would look at me and say "Now, Mark, don't you do what I'm assigning to *****".  At the end of my lesson, he would give the same warning to the student waiting for his or her lesson.

To use Adam's nomenclature, you blow the pipe to "get in phase with the horn".  It is a simple warmup exercise that, by focusing your attention on producing a full, resonant buzz on the tube, allows the player to get breath, embouchure and instrument to respond in sympathy to one another and create a full, resonant sound with the least amount of effort.  When done correctly, if the mouthpiece is pulled from the leadpipe, all you will hear is air whistling through the backbore of the mouthpiece. Though the lips are vibrating in response to the moving air and causing a disruption in the air stream that will activate the air within the trumpet to set up a standing wave,  the mouthpiece itself does not need to produce the pitch.   In fact, when I do clinics, I demonstrate that when I just blow a relaxed stream of air through the mouthpiece then add the trumpet, I produce a big, full sound. If I buzz the same pitch then add the trumpet, the sound is much more muffled.

Some people have mentioned playing scales and such on the leadpipe. Though I admit to not having tried this, I know that this goes
against Adam's idea of what the leadpipe is for.  The approach is to get the pitches of the harmonic series of a tube to resonate in the most efficient manner.  Forcing the embouchure to produce pitches outside the harmonic series may have pedagogical use, but those types of leadpipe exercises never came from Bill Adam.

Mark Minasian