Trombone lesson: Commute by car and buzz – 10 tips

10 Tips For What To Buzz While Driving

trombone-mouthpiece-on-dashboard-3

Do you have a car? Do you drive? Do you play trombone? Do you have a spare mouthpiece?

If you can answer YES to these relevant and life changing questions, please continue reading. If not, go practice or buy a car.

Since I am a proud trombone, spare mouthpiece and car owner, I have, as many wise trombone players before me, placed a mouthpiece in my car. As you probably figured out already, mouthpiece in car enable you to practise while driving. I give you my 10 best tips for what to practise while driving, but first a few words about road safety: Continue reading

    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

      I don´t agree with Christian Lindberg on this one

      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.


      Continue reading

        Trombone mouthpiece holiday exercise

        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

          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

            Flow and pitch on mouthpiece

            Many brass players have problems playing smooth legato lines and keeping the air flow going. This little exercise will help you overcome those issues, and it is also a comfortable mouthpiece warm up. The goal is to let the air flow freely and without interruptions when you change notes, regardless if you play glissando or legato. When playing staccato you will have to stop the airflow between notes, focusing on not building up any tensions or changing the embouchure. PLaying in pitch on mouthpiece can be hard, and doing it while playing staccato is really hard, so focus on that too. When you can play a staccato melody in perfect pitch on the mouthpiece, you probably can not play out of tune on the trombone!
            Continue reading

              Trombone Lesson: Great mouthpiece embouchure

              Buzzing for great trombone chops

              This is a simple little buzzing exercise that will help you improve airflow and get rid of bad habits related to attack or tonguing. I often use it as a warmup exercise, making it the first thing I play that day.

              The important thing here is flow. Make sure that airflow does´t stop at any time when you play the legato part of the exercise. There should be no difference in the way you blow when you go from glissando to legato. The only thing that should happen in the legato section is that the tongue make small fast movements to create a smooth attack on each note. You can check in a morris to make sure that no unwanted face or mouth movements are triggered when you go from glissando to legato.

              Play the pattern starting in a comfortable range where you have good control over sound and pitch on the mouthpiece. Try starting on a Bb or F, and gradually expand the range both up and down playing repeating the pattern. Continue reading

                Trombone lesson: Flexibility on trombone and mouthpiece – Part 2

                Did you miss part 1 in this series? Read more here: Flexibility on trombone and mouthpiece – Part 1.

                In this second part with exercises for both trombone and mouthpiece, the focus is on octaves and a mix of staccato and legato playing. The idea is to work on mouthpiece and trombone simultaneously to make sure that you use a similar embouchure. Beware of the pitch on the mouthpiece, especially when playing staccato phrases.

                When a task is repeated over time, the muscle memory will be better and better at remembering how to do it, eventually allowing it to be performed without very much effort. This is important when playing on the mouthpiece since there is no tubing to “force” the lips to vibrate with the correct speed. You should combine this with using your ears to be able to hear the next pitch, before you play it.

                By practicing the switch from mouthpiece to trombone, you will improve instrument control and your ability to hit the right pitch on the trombone.

                The trick with playing on mouthpiece alone, is also to use the muscles at the side of the mouth where the lips meet, without creating tensions elsewhere in your body, disturbing the free air flow.

                Good luck!



                __________________________________________________________________________________

                You will find this exercise and many others in the book Flexibility for Trombone – 38 pages in print friendly pdf format.

                __________________________________________________________________________________

                PS. Remember to sign up for the newsletter and get a free Jazz Etude! Find the sign up form at in the right column of the top of the page.

                  Flexibility on trombone and mouthpiece – Part 1

                  No secret for trombone and other brass players that practicing flexibility is one of the keys to good technique and chops! Playing the same exercise on both mouthpiece and instrument is great both for building up strength and gaining more control over the instrument.

                  Slightly re-inventing the wheel, I have made a bunch of trombone exercises that focus on playing both on the trombone and the mouthpiece. They are supposed to be played first on trombone and then on mouthpiece, but as a variation you could start with the mouthpiece. There will be some fiddling around with the mouthpiece on and off, but please bare with me on this one. 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