What are the benefits, and in general how do we practice by just buzzing in the mouthpiece when it is detached from the horn?
Bob Ward's answer:
I'm not a huge mouthpiece buzzer, but there are some benefits that have helped me on occasion. I do buzz first thing in the morning, just to get my chops awake after a hard concert the night before, mostly in the middle register, and not too loud. The key is to get a very razzy sound, that's not airy. Think about getting a more trumpet-like buzz, rather than a dull one. Bassoon reed crow. I think that mouthpiece buzzing can help one learn how to focus their sound, and point you in a direction of more forward tone production and more arched tongue position, especially for high note. If your buzz cuts out or becomes foggy as you go higher, experiment with arching your tongue more as you go up. Think about actually whistling the note and using the same tongue position. There is more about this on my web site at:
When you are buzzing, try and be very legato and connective. Play a legato melody, and glissando in between the notes, taking care to have the sound be unbroken. Use lots of fast air and keep the sound clear.
An odd, but useful exercise can also be performed by taking your mouthpiece, putting it on your chops, completely plug the open end, and then try and play. Obviously nothing will come out, but it forces you to have good embouchure mechanics. Try it, and notice how your cheeks snug in, your chin points and it feels good. More on this can be found in publications of Lucinda Lewis at:
Often this can be helpful for folks who are having chop problems.