Can you buzz? This is why you should! And how to.

I was wrong about how to lip buzz for many years. Now I believe I figured out how to approach it. This is really helping my playing, hope it will help yours too! I recommend that you spend the first nine minutes of your trombone practicing on this.

Ingredients:
– 2 lips
– 1 or 2 lungs
– 1 trombone mouthpiece
– one arm with hand attached (or a mouthpiece stand)
– 9 minutes of precious time

trombone buzz ingredients

Combining lip and mouthpiece buzzing

Lately, I have been experimenting with a combination of lip buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing. It has proven to be a great way to build up embouchure, as well as kick starting the lips. Using the lips attached to my specific body, I have found that lip buzzing somewhat equals mouthpiece buzzing one octave higher. In other words, a phrase played on the mouthpiece should be buzzed one octave lower on the lips to be comparable.

Buzz right or go to bed

Years ago, I occasionally did some lip buzzing trying to expand my high range. I once did this before a gig in the same dressing room as a really (as in really) good trumpet player, and he noted that I was able to lip buzz much higher than him. Since he has a world class embouchure, and plays effortlessly in any range, it got me thinking. I had seen him do some lip buzzing, and noticed that his buzzing sound was much richer and mellower than mine. This got me thinking, and I realised that I was actually lip buzzing all wrong! Continue reading

    Trombone lesson: Extend your range on mouthpiece

    trombone mouthpiece silverThis 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

      Trombone lesson: Brass embouchure with vowels

      Using vowels to improve and optimize your trombone embouchure

      I have written a lot about about air flow and keeping the throat wide open while playing trombone (and other brass instruments). Here is a really cool trick to improve your embouchure and make sure that you get the most out of your efforts. When you get it right, you will probably experience that your playing will be a lot more effortless, both in the high range and low range!

      Your lips are not to be compared with a guitar string that produces a higher pitch the more you stretch it!!!! This is a very common mistake, and a dead end for trombone and brass embouchure. When you get it right, you will be amazed how little effort is actually needed, regardless of the range you are playing in. Continue reading

        Trombone lesson: Flexibility with pedal tones

        I have written about the value of working with pedal tones before, but there is more to it! In these exercises, focus lays on including pedal tones when you work on flexibility on the trombone (or other brass instruments), and being able to access them effortless and without changing the embouchure to much compared to the normal range. Continue reading

          Trombone lesson: Practice with the “wrong” mouthpiece!

          Practicing low range with a small mouthpiece
          If you are working on the low range, consider doing the exercises you work on, on a smaller mouthpiece, or even on a smaller trombone if you play on a large bore tenor or bass trombone. Why? Well, playing a smaller mouthpiece makes it even more important to have the airflow centered in order to get the full sound. Big instruments and mouthpieces tend to be more forgiving if your embouchure and/or air flow isn´t dead on. You can test yourself: play a few notes in the low mid / low range in f on your large equipment. Now do the same with a smaller mouthpiece/trombone. Can you get the full sound out of it, or does it feels like it “locks up”? Of course, a big fff low E on a small bore horn with a 12C mouthpiece wont sound that great, but in general, you Continue reading

            Trombone lesson: Save chops!

            You might know the feeling, playing all those scale patterns one half tone up at the time… Seven keys to go ands the lips already feel as flexible as a train rail track!

            There are lots of exercises where you gradually expand the range, and end up playing in either the extreme high or low register. I will give you a little but effective tip how to get the most out of those exercises, without busting your chops.

            Expand from the middle
            The solution is simple, make sure that you start in the middle range, and work your way both up and down from there. Mixing high and low range both save chops, and helps you to play with the same embouchure in all registers. This mouthpiece exercise works this way. Continue reading

              Bach Cello suites in all keys


              Bass clef bundle:

              Bundle: Cello Suite no 1 & 2 in bass clef
              Bundle: Cello Suite no 1 & 2 in bass clef
              A total of 306 pages in PDF format, bass clef. Save 9.95!
              Price: $29.95

              As far as I know, this is the first edition of Bach´s Cello Suites IN ALL KEYS! Now you can get Suite no 1 and Suite no 2 edited for brass in all keys, available in PDF format. With 120-152 pages each, there should be enough music to keep you busy for the rest of the week…and the next few years!

              There are two versions available of each suite: high brass (treble clef) and low brass (bass clef). Since all keys are represented, it doesn´t matter how your instrument is tuned, there will always be plenty of well suited etudes for your instrument – trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tenor horn, alto horn, french horn or tuba. Continue reading

                Trombone lesson: Improve your playing in five minutes!

                Doesn´t that sound nice, improving your playing in five minutes! Well, this exercise will not actually make you play trombone better, but it will help you get the most out of what you already know.

                As I have written before, getting the airflow up and running in a relaxed manner really helps you get a good response on the horn. This small warmup and breathing exercise is all about that. Continue reading

                  Trombone lesson: My favorite warmup

                  Nothing fancy here, just a great warm up exercise that I use on a (almost) daily basis. It´s a good combination of legato and staccato and starts in a relaxed range and goes down. Deep down! Try not to give up half way in order to get the most out of it. Continue reading

                    Trombone lesson: Mouthpiece warmup

                    Don´t forget not to play the trombone all the time! And while not doing that, I suggest that you work on the mouthpiece alone. It´s great for improving air flow, attack, strength and sound.

                    When you are buzzing, try to make the sound as big and open as possible. I try to focus on getting as many overtones in the sound as possible. Once you get it right on the mouthpiece, the tone quality on the horn will improve as well. Continue reading