Monday, November 05, 2012

Buzzing and Bounce Houses

Here's a trick I like to use...take a few inches of flexible vinyl tubing and pop it onto the end of the mouthpiece for buzzing.  Adds some nice resonance and a bit of resistance.

A lot of students struggle to buzz as low on the mouthpiece as on the trombone.  One reason, I think, is that the mouthpiece provides less resistance to the air.  There's less back pressure.

The tube helps with this but sometimes it isn't enough.  One trick is to pinch the end of the tube to increase the resistance.  This helps a lot of my students get those low notes.

Here's the cool part: once you can buzz that low note with the tube mostly closed off, allow the tube to open up (un-pinch) as you continue buzzing the note.  What happens?  Did the note stop?

Many of you will notice the slight sensation of the lips "falling into" the mouthpiece a little as the tube gets "un-pinched".

Think of it this way:
Get yourself a really big pressure chamber and then put a inflated bounce house inside of it.  As you reduce the pressure in the chamber, the bounce house will expand from its internal pressure.

Likewise, as the tube opens up, the pressure inside the mouthpiece decreases and the lips naturally move forward, blown by the air.  

Let them go forward.  This is different from pushing your lips forward.  They "fall" forward a tiny bit if they aren't being held too tight. 

I think a lot of players try to set the center of the embouchure too tight so it can't buzz easily.  I'm fine with the embouchure corners being firm.  But the center?  Well, for me, I want that area supple and able to vibrate easily when the air hits it.

Anyway, stop by the hardware store, buy some tubing and try it out.  Let me know what you think.