A modest reply to Christian Lindberg´s statement about why not to buzz.
I stumbled over this short video with Christian Lindberg talking about why you should not buzz. Christian, I truly respect you as one of the worlds very finest trombone players ever, but I have to disagree with you on this one.
I would argue that what you in your video call your best effort on a beautiful sound on the mouthpiece, is mainly getting as much sound pressure out of it as possible. That is the equivalent to forcing more air through the trombone, than the embouchure for the given note you play allows. That too, will result in a squeezed sound with few overtones.
Rather opposite, a soft, airy mouthpiece sound is what will trigger a full sound on the trombone. Getting a good sound on the trombone (or any brass instrument), is about finding the easiest way to get the air out of your body and through the instrument, starting at your toes and following it through the bell of your horn. In the video below that I made on the subject, I have made an attempt to showcase that. (Since I am not particularly happy to hear my own voice recorded, I have chosen to hide behind written words and practical examples instead.)
Buzz and become a better musician
Besides building up embouchure, buzzing is a great tool for brass players to become a better musician. In the end of the video, I play a blues solo on the mouthpiece while moving the slide accordingly (admitted, the pitch is not perfect all the way, but I still find this useful as long as I at least can hear what note I intended to play). For me as a jazz player, this is a great way to connect what you actually hear and can relate to while playing. Regardless if you play improvised jazz, or classical etudes, you have to be able to hear the next note before you play it in order to make music out of it. Once you play it, it is too late to start thinking of how to phrase or pitch it. That should take place in your head in advance.
So dear Christian, while I am in absolutely no position to help you improve your trombone playing, I would love to take on the challenge of giving you some ways to use buzzing to improve your overall musicianship. Let me know if your are up for a challenge!
Jazz trombone player and slightly hubris plagued buzzer
Being able to switch registers rapidly and with ease, is a key to a relaxed trombone technique. In this trombone lesson, I give you some advice on how to achieve this, combined with five pages of exercises. Before you download and print the free sheet music, please read the full article. This will help you get the most out of the exercises.
The distance between high notes and low notes are only a few millimeters. Moving the cheek a few millimeters down, and increasing the distance between the lips another few millimetres is basically all it takes to make a leap of an octave. The problem is, that many of us brass players (my self included if I don´t focus while playing) tend to engage too many muscles and strange parts of our body when we play large intervals.
Playing a low note with a big sound is only possible with large opening between your lips, and by moving your cheek slightly down and out. Air compression will be low. Besides making sure that the embouchure is stable, playing low notes should be a very relaxed task, and your focus should be on moving a lot of air.
Playing higher notes requires a smaller lip opening and a higher cheek position. This will automatically lead to a higher air compression.
This is a really important notice: Correct high note embouchure combined with an open throat will trigger higher air compression. Increasing compression will NOT trigger correct high note embouchure or air flow. Continue reading
Making music is about much more than hitting the right note. Actually, hitting the right note is the least of it. After years of teaching and conducting musicians on all levels, this is the formula I have come up with in order to make music happen as soon as possible. This is of course not only a trombone lesson, but is true for all instruments.
When you play a piece of sheet music for the first time (or first few times), you probably won’t be able to get everything right. This is human and you won’t get shot for playing wrong notes. You might get shot for playing bad music though, so this is my approach to ensemble playing in general and sight-reading new music. Focus on: Continue reading
This is the trombone embouchure article I wish I had read many years ago (a bit hard though, since I had not written it then…). It would literally have saved me for years of struggles. I hope that you will benefit from it now instead, potentially saving you from a lot of trombone agony and brass pains.
Don´t blow at your trombone
Have you ever thought about the best way of getting air out of your lungs (or wherever you keep it) and through your trombone? This is the single most important thing to get right for brass players. Once you master the task of effortlessly getting the air out of your body and through your horn, you will be able to focus on playing music. Getting this 90% right is not all that hard, and then you will spend the rest of your life perfecting those last 10%.
In order to turn that precious air into beautiful trombone music, there are three obstacles you have to clear: Continue reading
I am a bit ashamed. Despite the good response I got on the book ’10 Jazz Etudes For Trombone’, it has taken me four years to complete the second edition. But finally, here it is, the brand new trombone book
10 More Jazz Etudes For Trombone
written by Anders Larson (that´s me).
The structure of the book
If you are familiar with the first edition of the jazz etudes, you will recognize the setup in the second edition. For those of you who do not know the first book, this is how it is structured: Continue reading
I knew there was a practical use for trombones, but I am still amazed that it turned out to be so valuable in real life. Due to the size of these animals, the cowboy has wisely chosen a large bore trombone. Mouthpiece size and rim shape remains unknown.
This is also proving that there is is a large audiense for improvised trombone music.
Blow cowboy, blow!
Holiday season is here, and in my case that means a healthy break from my dear friend mr. Small Bore Shires. I have no trouble leaving for vacation without bringing my trombone. I don´t know if that is a good or bad thing…probably good. At least I use to bring my mouthpiece, and plan to play a little every day. That usually means that I find it hidden deep down in my bag one of the last days of the vacation. This is followed by a controlled panic, and I usually start buzzing at this point. Continue reading
The worlds biggest jazz festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, begins july 4th, and there are plenty of opportunities to hear Elektrojazz live!
July 4, 19.00: Bernstorff Slot
July 7, 21.00: Nørrebro Bryghus
July 8, 22.30: Cafe Bopa
July 11, 18.30: Scandic Front
July 12, 21.00: Kvarterhuset
I am eager to get my band Elektrojazz on stage and present the music from our new recording ‘Cars’. We play rare grooves, funky latin and jazz, all original music. If you are in or around Copenhagen the next ten days, please drop by! Some more info about the venues and concerts: Continue reading
This simple little mouthpiece exercise is actually quite effective. I recently had one of those days where both breathing and embouchure felt a bit locked in. I used these patterns to kickstart both, and was impressed with the result after just few minutes.
Before you take the ride, please read the following instructions: Continue reading
Elektrojazz: Rare grooves with funky latin and soulful trombonious jazz
A few years ago, I decided to start up a new musical project, and cover new musical grounds. This was the beginning of Elektrojazz, a groove jazz band where I try to capture the sound and feel of the seventies soul/funk/jazz/latin music.
I spent quite a lot of time writing a completely new repertoire for my new band, and before hitting the recording studio last year, we got to play a good bunch of live gigs where we could dig into the music.
Since we play music inspired by the seventies, and I am a big car fan, I decided to make the album into a tribute to the greatest cars of the seventies. Each track on the album is Continue reading