Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Surfing on the breeze

It seems I never have time for elaborate blog posts so here's a short one.

So many people pinch off the air as they buzz. There is a standard trick I like to use.

  1. Blow silent air through the mouthpiece (against a pinwheel or something similar). If you're using a pinwheel, don't make it spin at full tilt. A nice steady breeze should do the trick.
  2. Start blowing that same silent air and then gently bring the lips together. Hopefully they'll buzz.
  3. Make sure the pinwheel doesn't stop spinning when the note starts. Many, many students start the buzz and instinctively pinch off the air when starting the note. I'm surprised how often, when they finally get it right and buzz with a nice full sound, they say to me, "Wow, that feels completely different."

Band directors, go get yourself a pinwheel and use it with those starting students!

The first habit is the one that sticks. If their first experience is a buzz with freely moving air, they are likely to avoid major trouble down the road.