From: Tim Phillips <>
Date: Tue, 05 Nov 1996 12:57:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Buzzing

Jason Dovel wrote:
> > >Buzz: I can't lip buzz very well, but then again, not even a lot of
> > >pro's can either. The m-piece buzz is free and flowing, but the extra
> > >air noise is there.
> This is something that never made sense to me -- the section leader of
> our Tpt section last year could play a high G (above high C). But he
> could buzz his lips or his mouthpiece at all. Yet I can buzz just about
> an scale with the mouthpiece alone or without ANYTHING and still can't
> play that high. Is this just a bunch of hoopla about buzzing, or does
> it really help?

There are different opinions on buzzing. Like any exercise, knowing the "why and how" is the problem. Your lead player may be one of those natural "got it all from the factory" genetic trumpet players and maybe cannot buzz. There may also be other deficiencies in his playing that may never improve because of the inability to buzz - it is impossible to say... But neither scenario logically means that you have to be able to free buzz, buzz the mouthpiece, or not to be a good trumpet player.

As you progress and your ears get better, you may find that what you accept as good or even great, may not be that good or great at all...

Buzzing can help certain problems - but like any technique, doing so by young inexperienced players who's apparatai (Peter, is that a word???) are still developing, can do either good, no good or harm. For example, I studied with someone who claimed to be a disciple of Arnold Jacobs when I was in high school (before I met someone who really knew aka John Sizemore). The other teacher (not John) had me doing several exercises which eventually almost destroyed my playing. My sound was the worse it had ever been and flexibility was gone. I don't know if it was my not practicing the exercises properly (though I am considered more than marginally intelligent) or his inability to accurately describe the "how"" and "why" to a high school student and then see that things were not going the right way. I think it was the latter.

All the younger players on this list who are serious about playing (and not just talking about it) should do whatever it takes to find a competent private instructor and take lessons - even if you have to barter yard work or something to pay for them. You may find a lot of teachers are really willing to try to help young people who "really want to learn" and are willing to pay the price in the practice room to do so. Don't take no for an answer - bug your parents until they say yes.
It is your future, after all...

Practice without direction may work, but it would be like you trying to come and see me, me telling you that I live in Western North Carolina and good luck finding me. I hope I'm making sense.

Tim Phillips