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: Flexibility – moving around

    Yet another flexibility exercise – seems to be that time of the year! These patterns show you some ways to get out of the first-down-to-seventh-position-playing-the-same-pattern-mode, making it more fun to play. This also makes your flexibility practicing come closer to the actual use of it in real music.

    Many trombone (and other brass players) tend to do their flexibility home work, but as soon as they start moving the slide around, they put an attack on every note and cut up their airflow. Don´t go there! On of the benefits of flexibility exercises, is that it improves your legato playing – that is, if you actually use your flexibility skills. Both legato and flexibility should focus on constant air flow! Continue reading

      Trombone lesson: Mike Stern lick in all keys

      I stole this phrase from a Mike Stern recording a few years ago because I liked the sound of it. And bored on a rainy day, I decided to write it down in all keys and work on it on the trombone. It turned out to be a quite hard but rewarding technical trombone exercise. Try to play it as written, and you´ll get a good high range work out!

      Enjoy…
      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: maj7 and maj7#5 patterns in jazz improvisation

          Are you a jazz improviser? Do you know all the maj7 (major seven) and maj7#5 (major seven sharp five) patterns in all keys by heart? If not, I strongly recommend that you get started! They are extremely useful in when you improvise since they set the mood of a chord very clearly, and most of them are quite well suited for trombone as well.

          The reason that I bring up the maj7 and the maj7#5 patterns at the same time, is because Continue reading

            Trombone lesson: High range glissando

            This exercise is intended to help you expand your range with full control of the embouchure. It is designed to let you start in a comfortable mid range, and work your way both up and down, making sure that your lips are prepared to play in any register at all times. I like the idea of expanding the range both up and down in the same exercise, as it helps you keep the embouchure in place, as well as you “warm down” a little between the high range pats of the exercises.

            Your focus should be to keep the same lip position on the mouthpiece, regardless of the register you play in. The only change should be 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: Crescendo with full control

                Can you play a perfect crescendo in the middle/low range going from ppp to fff in one breath? This exercise is great to improve those skills!

                But before you start playing the exercise in the sheet music gallery, please read the following:
                The goal is not to play as strong as possible all the time! The goal is to get the feeling of opening up your throat and let the notes in ff pour out effortlessly.

                The analogy of a water pouring out of a tap is a great way to visualize the air flow. Take a look at these three pictures: Continue reading

                  Trombone lesson: Lip trills

                  Admitted, this exercise is not the most fun you can have with a trombone, but there´s no way around the fact that there´s a lot of hard work involved if you want to be a top performer on a brass instrument. Footballers don´t kick a ball around all the time at practice…

                  With that in place: Let´s do something about the world of lip trills. Regardless of the genres you play, they will be needed at some point.

                  There is only one way to make it work, and that is to start slow. Find a metronome, and set a slow tempo that allows you to play the whole phrase. I recommend that you write down the tempo you can play it in today, and try to raise it by a few beats per minute every day over a period of time. The goal is to get to the point where you don´t notice the individual notes, and just let it flow. Think of it as running, you don´t want to think about every step you take, but rather just the direction and the speed. Continue reading

                    Trombone lesson: Flexibility – working on speed

                    Having good flexibility on your brass instrument is fundamental. In basically all music you will play, you will find use for the flexibility skills you worked on in the practise room. Not always the most fancy and exciting work, but someone has to do it – and I´m afraid that someone is you. And me. And all the other brass players out there.

                    The exercise
                    Working on control and precision is important, but you should work on speed as well. This exercise really help you speed up your flexibility chops. The pattern I have chosen as example is by no mean my own, but at the other hand it is well known and I doubt that someone will come after me and claim ownership to it! Of course, you can use any pattern you want, but this one is well suited to play in a high tempo. Continue reading