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pbuzz brass musicianship

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#1 ten left thumbs

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 19:48

Ok, I just discovered this:

 

https://pbone.co.uk/product/pbuzz/

 

Anyone got experience of using with children? For early introduction to brass or musicianship? What's it like, and how easy do kids pick it up?

 

Just curious.


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#2 elemimele

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 22:06

can I give a parent's viewpoint although this is a teacher thread? I'm a recorder player and ex-organist, so brass instruments are outside my area (though I got to experiment with one or two as a kid and have relatives who play). My kid was interested in brass instruments, but not ready for proper lessons, so I did get him a pBuzz to play around with, and had a go at it myself.

My feeling is that it's not a good introduction to instruments, at least not without a good brass teacher attached. Probably as with any lip-reed instrument, what you do with your lips seems to make as much difference to the actual note that comes out as the extent to which you lengthen its tube (it works like a very short trombone). (In fact it might be more variable than a "proper" instrument because the resonator is very short so it's more easily coerced into playing a note that's not really resonant).

Used properly, it covers a pitch range of only a fifth or so, which will obviously limit its musical potential a bit, but the real problem I found was that moving it over that range didn't automatically produce the right notes in the same way that if you cover the right holes on a recorder, you absolutely, definitely, get the right notes, within a very wide margin of what else you do. You can't just move it to the position marked with a note's letter-name, blow a raspberry down it, and get that note - or necessarily anything particularly close.

So it's fundamentally not all that easy to play - certainly not for a child whose help is coming from an adult without appropriate experience. It's great for learning how to get a trumpety-note, but not for learning how to play a tune on an instrument.

It's well-made, and eye-catching, fairly robust, and of good quality - feels nice and "real" and solid - no problems there. And the pricing is excellent for what it is. Basically, if you're competent to teach brass, get one and try it out, you may love it, but if you're not competent to teach brass, it will be challenging unless viewed purely as a noise-making-thingy to help young children appreciate the huge range of ways musical noises can be made.

[Someone tell me if I'm being unfair? As a parent, I still think that the rather old-fashioned approaches of singing, followed by xylophones/glockenspiels and recorders, together with appropriate percussion for playing with rhythm, has a lot to recommend it]


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#3 Banjogirl

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 22:10

I got my son one as a bit of fun for his 18th birthday. We found it very hard to play anything meaningful. One of his cousins who's a brass player did a bit better but I would have thought it might be very frustrating for a child. It's not easy to play at all, well, it's easy enough to get a note out but not to get a note of your choice, if you see what I mean. It doesn't slide all that smoothly either. My other boys call it the vuvuzela, which is what it more closely resembles than a trombone!
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#4 ten left thumbs

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 09:01

That is incredibly helpful, many thanks to you both! I am a brass player, though not a brass teacher. I have no idea how to show a novice how to form an embouchure (though, I suppose, I could ask my teacher...). I'm just always casting around for different things. I'm guessing a kazoo would be better, as it engages the vocal chords. 


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