Free Buzzing For Brass Players


This video demonstrates how brass players can use free buzzing as an exercise to strengthen their embouchure muscles. For more information about this and other music related topics please visit:



  1. I just started playing the trumpet…two weeks ago….. inconsistent with sound…..some good some no so….then I started your excersise this morning….WOW….. CLEAR AS A BELL… sounds completely different…. thanks…. continued success and good health…B

  2. Yup, and for trombone players this is really good advice….keep away from flabby lips.  For trumpet players….perhaps not so much as players of the trumpet are renown for their firm, rock hard and often animal, sexual magnetism in their lips.  Just saying!

  3. buzzing forces the player to press the lips together resulting with 2 problems: (1) higher lip pressure and overall pressure (the main problem of trumpet players) and (2)lower air flow (you actually block the air stream with your closed lips!!). this is not correct playing. this is exactly what a trumpet player should avoid. lip buzzers has a lot of playing problems! be careful!

  4. Hi,
    When I free buzz or even flex my embrochure corners, after only 30 seconds my lips swell up enormously. This is not a mouthpiece issue or a pressure issue. I've been playing trombone for a little over 12 years and this lip swelling issue has caused many issues with my playing, so any advice is appreciated.

  5. that's awesome that you decided to pursue trumpet playing! I play the french horn, but i think i can help you out.
    with your embouchure, keep loose lips in the center and the corners of your mouth tight, so air can pass in a thin stream through your instrument (that's key for good sound)
    keep your lips loose and lightly say "m." place your mouth against the mouthpiece without pressing hard and blow. then tighten your corners and try to get a fast, thin stream of air going.
    hope that helps!

  6. Laugh if you want to. At almost 81 (yes, I said 81), I have made up my mind that I will learn to play the bugle, and the trumpet. Before I go to the Great Up Yonder, I will
    learn have learned at least one that an satisfied with.
    I am having problems with my embouchure. It sounds like I am playing a Tuba, instead of a Trumpet. Also when I blow, air comes out in two places, either side of center. Any advice?
    Also where can I buy a clear plastic mouth piece?.

    Phil Williams

  7. "…saying that it does completely nothing is just bollocks.."

    It does nothing that's useful regarding trumpet playing.

  8. You can read up on my take of this on my web site ( and searching for pencil trick. It's like free buzzing, when done correctly it can help build muscular strength used in playing. When done incorrectly, it can work against how you want to play.

    It's like lifting weights. Lifting can help a baseball player hit more homeruns, but he still needs batting practice. If all you have is a few minutes, play your horn instead of buzzing or the pencil trick.

  9. Does the exercise where you hold a pencil between your lips actually work? I've been doing that almost daily for a while because I don't have time for practicing every day, but I don't know if it actually works

  10. @Ormaaj, you can try rolling your lower lip over your lower teeth, like is demonstrated by one student in this video. Think of this as "training wheels" for your free buzzing. As you get better you can start moving to a less rolled in lip position.

    But don't stress over it too much, it's just an exercise and not intended to be how you actually play.

  11. I urge you to give me the source studies behind the reasoning that only a certain type of controlled stress that involves exterior pressure makes an improvement. The entire body of research done on exercise seems to indicate a plethora of different types of useable stress. That is exactly why we have multiple fitness machines to train the same muscle group. What you are saying is analogous to claiming that weights can't train pectorals, whereas a bench press can. It has zero scientific basis.

  12. Muscle fibers and connective tissue don't sense the type of stimulation you apply to them. There is only one way to produce tissue reinforcement, namely through controlled application of stress to the tissue. Free buzzing may stimulate the fibers in a different way, but it still stimulates the very same fibers, very intensely so. Perhaps it is not as optimal for intensity as using a mouthpiece is, but saying that it does completely nothing is just bollocks.

  13. It seems to help more for ear training than anything. Isolating the pitch in your head and knowing the tone before you play is an important part of the relationship between embochure and mouthpiece/horn

  14. You train and strengthen the embouchure for playing the horn by playing the horn and resting when the chops are tired.

  15. "…I am often annoyed by people's ignorance of physiology in relation to this topic…"

    And then goes on to talk a bunch of nonsense – oh the irony.

    The mouthpiece alters the lip tissue and the muscles are focused and engaged in a way that can't be reproduced without the mouthpiece in place. Even a mp buzz without the horn is different than with the horn. Free buzzing is utterly dissimilar to the playing buzz. They're unrelated acts. A brass player derives no benefit from free buzzing.


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