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Do We Need To Make The Lips Vibrate When We Play?


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NickD
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:04 am    Post subject: Do We Need To Make The Lips Vibrate When We Play? Reply with quote

I'm snowed in this morning and took some time to write up a blog for the day.

I had a LONG conversation with a professional trumpet teacher who is an expert in teaching BEGINNERS.

So, right off the bat, I need to make it clear that I don't teach beginners, never have and I don't think I'd be any good at it. I have HUGE respect for those who kn ow how to start a kid off right!

The gentleman who consulted me did so as the result of watching my videos, reading my blogs and running across me in an acoustics text book written by Dr. Eric Heller of Harvard. He wanted to discuss an approach he uses to start kids off that doesn't involve buzzing the mouthpiece but rather buzzing a mouthpiece in a lead pipe or just playing the trumpet. His concern was mouthpiece buzzing.

So, I wrote this blog as a result of our conversation.

PLEASE, keep in mind, once again, that I'm no good with beginners. I was just mulling over the physics involved in what he was using to back his position. Here's the blog.

https://www.nickdrozdoff.com/single-post/2019/02/12/Do-We-Need-to-MAKE-the-Lips-Vibrate-When-We-Play

I hope you can enjoy it.

ND
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:00 am    Post subject: Re: Do We Need To Make The Lips Vibrate When We Play? Reply with quote

NickD wrote:
... He wanted to discuss an approach he uses to start kids off that doesn't involve buzzing the mouthpiece but rather buzzing a mouthpiece in a lead pipe or just playing the trumpet. His concern was mouthpiece buzzing.
...
I was just mulling over the physics involved in what he was using to back his position. ...

------------------------------
If I'm understanding correctly, the "beginner's teacher" thought that buzzing a mpc&leadpipe or a complete trumpet, is a better learning tool than just mpc buzzing - because of more resonance feedback.

The big question is whether it is also a better 'first beginning tool' - the beginner has to understand that some buzzing sound has to be produced, and not just 'blowing into the mpc'.

Using just the mpc makes sense as the 'first tool' because it can work for that simple purpose, and it is easy to hold. Once the student can make some type of buzz, it's easy to go higher/lower in pitch, and the tone and evenness of the sound can be controlled. After decent proficiency in mpc buzzing is achieved (maybe just a few minutes), then the teacher can use whatever next steps are felt to be productive.

I doubt that a beginner needs info about how/if/when the lips buzz - just the teacher doing a demo of the buzz sound and embouchure, and the the student told to do the same. The teacher can then instruct about the quality of the sound, etc.

As for 'lip vibrations', I think that mainly becomes a concern when the beginner reaches the C or D in the staff. At that point it is necessary that the student understands that the lips must be allowed/permitted to vibrate. And that the process of playing 'high notes' depends on the lips being able to vibrate.

Jay
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NikolaTomic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The big question is whether it is also a better 'first beginning tool' - the beginner has to understand that some buzzing sound has to be produced, and not just 'blowing into the mpc'.


I beg to differ on two fronts. First, I'm not sure why you think "some buzzing sound has to be produced." Am I missing something? I've never once heard a beautiful trumpet sound that I would describe as containing an obvious buzz. Second, and more importantly, I don't think a beginner needs to "understand" anything. The world is full of people who purport to "understand" how to play the trumpet and can't do it at all. What a beginner needs to do is be shown what end to blow into, and have someone demonstrate what it sounds like when a trumpet is played well. Following enough back and forth between teacher demonstration and student attempts, something resembling the sound of a trumpet will almost always present itself, at least in my experience of starting at least a couple of dozen beginners on the trumpet. I view mouthpiece playing as a potentially great tool down the line when something goes wrong, sometimes, for some players. The idea of starting anyone on a mouthpiece alone for no real reason strikes me as dangerous and ill-conceived.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NikolaTomic wrote:
... Following enough back and forth between teacher demonstration and student attempts, something resembling the sound of a trumpet will almost always present itself, ...

------------------------------
And what has the student learned to DO in the process of the back & forth, beyond "what end to blow into". I think it's that a 'sound' must be made into the mpc - and that using the term 'buzz' is easily understood and demonstrated as that sound.

edit: I am talking about mpc buzzing as the very first step in teaching a beginner how to make the trumpet make a sound. Not as an ongoing learning or teaching technique - that is a completely different discussion.

Jay
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NikolaTomic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What the student has learned is the beginning of psychomotor skill. The sound is not made into the mouthpiece, although a sound certainly might be. Why you would supplant day-one learning of what it is to immediately generate a trumpet sound based on aural conception with a false intellectual understanding of that process, and compound the problem by having the student produce tangentially related sounds on the mouthpiece instead of the actual trumpet sound on a complete trumpet mystifies me. I don't mean to be assertive here to the point of rudeness, but I teach a lot and it sometimes feels as though my life's work is correcting the ridiculous notions and archaic pedagogical baggage of other teachers.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NikolaTomic wrote:
What the student has learned is the beginning of psychomotor skill. ...

---------------------------------
I agree, that is what the student has 'learned', but what was the student 'taught' aside from
"Following enough back and forth between teacher demonstration and student attempts"?

Is your teaching method - "I'll show you the goal that I want you to achieve, and you have to learn to do it yourself"?
What do you tell beginning students to DO in order for them to start producing a 'trumpet sound'?

Jay
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder why buzzing on a mouthpiece is dangerous and ill conceived. Apart from this being a self-fulfilling statement. What is the demonstrable issue with this?

Having taught not a few dozen, but many hundreds of students, it does seem to work. Many went on the play well. Some didn't. The issue of mouthpiece buzzing (apart from two with a Salvation Army father who knew better) hasn't factored into any student's issues that I can recall...

cheers

Andy
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veery715
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me it's like the concept of buzzing the lips. One does not buzz the lips to make the horn sound, the horn coupled with the mouthpiece causes the lips to buzz when air is blown through them and the lips are held close together.

I take the liberty of linking a post from Allen Vizzutti on the other forum, TrumpetMaster. I am aware that this touches only tangentially on the topic of buzzing the mouthpiece, and I know that I am probably making inferences here that are not relevant to the discussion. I do think the linked material does bear on this discussion. If I am completely out in left field I apologize for intruding.

http://www.trumpetmaster.com/threads/vizzutti-basics-for-beginning-brass.21437/
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NikolaTomic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
NikolaTomic wrote:
What the student has learned is the beginning of psychomotor skill. ...

---------------------------------
I agree, that is what the student has 'learned', but what was the student 'taught' aside from
"Following enough back and forth between teacher demonstration and student attempts"?

Is your teaching method - "I'll show you the goal that I want you to achieve, and you have to learn to do it yourself"?
What do you tell beginning students to DO in order for them to start producing a 'trumpet sound'?

Jay


Bingo! When working with a beginning student, that is exactly what I do, and advocate doing. From time to time, a moment will come when I need to offer specific advice or recommend a student consider what is happening while playing in an intellectual way. That is not something that will often happen in the first lesson I have with a total beginner, because almost nothing I say will have context or a useful meaning to the student. I will say that, ultimately, WE ALL LEARN TO DO IT FOR OURSELVES. No teacher can download skill into your brain and body. A teacher can give guidance, suggestions, and opportunities. Most of all, a good teacher can model what good playing is, and I don't believe I'm saying anything controversial when I say that at the beginning stages, that is absolutely the most important part of what the teacher should be doing.
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NickD
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:11 pm    Post subject: GREAT stuff, for what it's worth coming from me! Reply with quote

Aside from this remark, I'll pretty much stay out of this! You expert teachers have MUCH more to contribute that I do. I just wanted to trigger a discussion. It is most intersting to see what you all do with beginning students. as a "geezer" player, I love to see ideas that can help ME!

I liked Vizzutti's remarks about striving to keep tension it of the game. This is a BIG challenge I am working with in my own playing right now.

Thanks for sharing. Now, I'll lurk while all of you put some clarity on all of this.

ND
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NikolaTomic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:
I wonder why buzzing on a mouthpiece is dangerous and ill conceived. Apart from this being a self-fulfilling statement. What is the demonstrable issue with this?

Having taught not a few dozen, but many hundreds of students, it does seem to work. Many went on the play well. Some didn't. The issue of mouthpiece buzzing (apart from two with a Salvation Army father who knew better) hasn't factored into any student's issues that I can recall...

cheers

Andy


Nowhere did I state that buzzing the mouthpiece in general is dangerous or ill-conceived. My problem is specifically with using the mouthpiece alone as a student's introduction to playing the trumpet. I will add that my dozens figure is the total number of students I have started as complete beginners, not taught altogether at any stage. Of the many more advanced students with whom I work and have worked, some play the mouthpiece and some don't. I used to do it every day, and now I do it on occasion. My playing has improved by leaps and bounds since limiting the mouthpiece playing, but the connection there is as unscientific as your assertion that "many went on to play well." The question is: Did they play well because of or in spite of the mouthpiece work?" I won't pretend to have an answer, because I don't know. I do know that a beginning player will almost certainly lack the control necessary to produce a sound on the mouthpiece without dramatically overblowing, and that is a great way to begin approaching the trumpet with considerable tension and inefficiency.
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NikolaTomic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:18 pm    Post subject: Re: GREAT stuff, for what it's worth coming from me! Reply with quote

NickD wrote:
Aside from this remark, I'll pretty much stay out of this! You expert teachers have MUCH more to contribute that I do. I just wanted to trigger a discussion. It is most intersting to see what you all do with beginning students. as a "geezer" player, I love to see ideas that can help ME!

I liked Vizzutti's remarks about striving to keep tension it of the game. This is a BIG challenge I am working with in my own playing right now.

Thanks for sharing. Now, I'll lurk while all of you put some clarity on all of this.

ND


You are a brilliant player and I have been enjoying your blog since you first shared it here. I'm sure you are a great teacher as well. I am feeling sorry to have distracted people from your work by opening what seems to be a can of worms. Thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences so generously.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this "Vizzutti-Basics" info from the linked TM site very interesting about how to teach the beginning mechanics of mpc placement and embouchure -

"One should be able to speak with the corners held firmly. Do not encourage the student to pull the corners back in a smile. Please use common sense. Embouchures vary from human to human like everything else due to variations in physical makeup such as differences in our teeth, jaws, chins and lips.

With the horn in hands, lips moistened and the new embouchure in place, instruct the student to once again create the long sustained air flow through the mouthpiece and horn in an aggressive fashion. You may hear the first note at this point. If not, repeat the routine asking students to put their lips a bit closer together. Remember not to create a pass/fail situation. Any result is OK. Sooner or later the result will be spectacular."

Jay
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

no
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What fascinates me, in teaching beginners, and this is tangental to this discussion, is what the first pitch is they produce with open fingering. Most common is C below the stave (which is what I demonstrate), but 1 in 5 seem produce G much more easily, even 3rd space C. Then there is the odd one that cannot get a pitch in the range of the trumpet at all, just producing noises in the pedal range. I assume something in the teeth/lip setup causes this. The variation can make using some band method books problematic depending where they start their first exercises.

BTW I sometimes get them to buzz on the mouthpiece first, sometimes not. It easier to get a sound with the mouthpiece in the trumpet than without. After learning to play the clarinet recently I think the trumpet is way easier
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edited

Last edited by dstpt on Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:02 am; edited 2 times in total
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iiipopes
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick is correct. The embouchure of brass playing is really nothing more than an application of Bernoulli's principle. So whatever can help a beginning student to get a sustained controlled embouchure going is what should be used; which method helps any particular student may be different for different students.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veery715 wrote:

I take the liberty of linking a post from Allen Vizzutti on the other forum, TrumpetMaster.

http://www.trumpetmaster.com/threads/vizzutti-basics-for-beginning-brass.21437/


Thank you so for the link to this insightful post. Being a "buzzer" for many years I am now in my forties learning to rather blow into the instrument (or even only sigh like demonstraded by Paul Mayes in one of his recent videos) instead of buzzing ... but unlearning to buzz is so painstakingly slow, I wish I´d never started to do so.
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tworx1957
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at the blog at www.trumpetworx.com
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Denny Schreffler
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy B wrote:
no


Last nite, I somehow got started on a thread that was responding to this thread.

I hope that Billy B does not mind that I'm posting one of his teaching videos.

This is the way the non-buzzing approach works. The lips are induced to oscillate (buzz) by the acoustic impedance from the pipe.

We do not consciously "buzz our lips."

Buzzing into the mpc works, too, but the sound that non-buzz beginners get after only a lesson or two and the natural "feel" that they achieve by using about the same amount of breath that one would use to sing, rather than "blowing," is astounding if you're used to hearing the typical "beginner" sound.

Billy B → → https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y0uuFa59brVvSCcdo49YT6OeDOSeEq_q/preview?fbclid=IwAR3398ByC5Pw8kyH0DK5V_Cs6gwkxX1e96_lNWP4cLsfSNzwYdmIWQmE7TI

And, as usual, I'll strongly recommend Greg Spence's WindWorks / Mystery to Mastery
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZRanehR-Jg&t=440s


-Denny
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