Yesterday, I posted some thoughts and a demonstration video on free buzzing as part of a good fundamental/warmup routine. Today, I would like to build on those concepts with a “cutaway” mouthpiece, sometimes called a “visualizer.”
My list of guidelines for visualizer buzzing is nearly the same as for free buzzing:
- Only use as much effort as you need to produce a sound–and no more than that. This is important for every individual muscle. Corners, flat chin, upper lip not too tight are earmarks of a good embouchure.
- Strive for a pretty, compact sound. Keep the volume moderately low.
- Try to start notes initially without any tongue articulation (breath attack–sometimes called a “poo” attack).
- Use a reference pitch (e.g., a tuner drone or piano).
- Starting on an easy note (like low C), repeat this note with a breath attack (half note, half note, whole note). Then explore going up the scale or down the scale with the same pattern.
- Keep the aperture as rounded and small as works for you. “Hug” the aperture.
- Try doing some glissandos (“sirens”). Encourage your lips to vibrate without gaps as you go up or down.
- Try doing some smooth, slurred scales. Avoid bumps, huffs, gaps or “notchy” playing.
- Stop when you get a little tired. Three to five minutes is plenty.
And like yesterday’s post, here’s a demo video.
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