Day 2 - Buzzing

Ok - yesterday we talked about adding Breathing exercises to our practice schedule, an easy addition to our daily routine. Today, likewise a very easy but powerful tool in making our practice time more beneficial. 

Buzzing on your mouthpiece has garnished many discussions of late, some quite heated. The key aspect of any of these practice techniques is to see what works for you, and then either stick with it or not. I personally have always got benefits from buzzing, and it's a very important part of my practice time and warmup. 

I don’t personally spend a huge amount of time buzzing, I aim for around 5 minutes each day. It’s a great way to connect the buzz with the air and make sure everything is working. Creating a good buzz is a key element to creating a good sound. 

So - some very simple exercises to get us started. 

First up - lets play a few long notes to concentrate on the sound we want to make. A couple of rules around buzzing:

Hold the mouthpiece lightly, with only 2 fingers (so you don’t use too much pressure)

No pressure, relaxed grip

No pressure, relaxed grip

Do these exercises in front of a mirror to make sure you are not straining

Always think of the air you take in and connect it to the sound you are about to make

Start the metronome going at crotchet = 60

Lets start on a low C (Bb concert pitch). Focus on a compact but warm sound (try to stop the sound from being airy)

Hold a C for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a B for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a Bb for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a A for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a Ab for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a G for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a F# for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats


Then go back up to the C again

Hold a C for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a C# for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a D for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a D# for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a E for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a F for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a F# for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats

Hold a G for 8 beats - and rest for 4 beats


Great - take a minutes break and relax - maybe do one of your breathing exercises 

Now we are going to do scales in 5ths - keep the metronome running 

So, first up starting on a C (concert Bb) we are going to head up on a C scale for 5 notes, and back down. 

C - D - E - F - G - F - E - D - C - slur every note, no tongue except for the first note. 

B - C# - D# - E - F# - E - D# - C# - B 

Bb - C - D - Eb - F - Eb - D - C - Bb

A - B - C# - D - E - D - C# - B - A

Ab - Bb- C - Db - Eb - Db - C - Bb - Ab

G - A - B - C - D - C - B - A - G 

Now repeat this exercises, but starting on the highest note and going the other way, we will start in the other direction now. 

D - C - B - A - G - A - B - C - D

Eb - Db - C - Bb - Ab - Bb- C - Db - Eb

E - D - C# - B - A - B - C# - D - E

F - Eb - D - C - Bb - C - D - Eb - F

F# - E - D# - C# - B - C# - D# - E - F#

G - F - E - D - C - D - E - F - G


Good work! The last exercise is very simple. I just want you to buzz your national anthem - wherever you are from (you can stand if you want...). Start in the middle of your range, you don’t want to be doing the Mariah Carey version of the anthem, just a standard one in the low/mid range. 

Take it easy on the anthem, nothing too high!

Take it easy on the anthem, nothing too high!

Great - you should be feeling great now. When you finally put your mouthpiece into your instrument, you should feel ready to get on with the rest of your practice time. 

These are very basic buzzing exercises, email me for more technical ones at bilbobremner@gmail.com

Enjoy and happy practising

Dave