We recently visited with Steven Greenall and Rich Breske from the Warwick Music Group – creators of the plastic trumpets and trombones you have most likely seen on the marching field or in pep bands. They also have another product that is designed for younger students: the pBuzz. The whole mission of this instrument is to introduce students to the concept of “buzzing” to create sound, that can turn into an interest in brass instruments as they get older.
What IS the pBuzz?
The pBuzz has a range of 6 notes through a moveable slide. The slide positions are shown in a variety of ways: by colors, by numbers, and by note name, so students can learn in whichever way makes sense to them. In addition to teaching students how to buzz their lips, the pBuzz also reinforces the concept that a longer slide creates lower notes, and a shorter slide produces higher notes. The mouthpiece is also coated with hygienic Bio-cote antimicrobial material, so it kills germs! We still recommend sanitizing these after playing, but this special coating adds another layer of protection for students. Finally – the instrument is made of plastic, which makes it durable and able to withstand the rigor of the elementary music room!
Here’s a brief video introduction to the pBuzz:
How are schools using pBuzz in their general music class?
Here are a few ideas to start with:
- The pBuzz is intended to be another choice for a musical instrument in the general music classroom. It contains the notes of C down to F, including the infamous B-A-G that is introduced first in many recorder lessons. The pBuzz can also play those notes, while in a lower octave, and students can make that connection.
- The pBuzz can be added to an Orff ensemble along with recorders or by themselves as another melodic instrument.
- The pBuzz can illustrate the science of sound, with longer/lower and shorter/higher connections to the slide and the pitches – a great cross-curricular / STEAM topic.
Use the pBuzz as a stand-alone unit or all year long as another option to create melody in your class. pBuzz provides a wealth of resources for using the instrument in the classroom, in addition to a video series of short videos that introduce the basics of teaching pBuzz (perfect for that teacher that hasn’t ever played a brass instrument or hasn’t played since methods class). Here’s the first lesson on the pBuzz and the pBuzz mouthpiece:
The Educational & Classroom Performance Materials web page provides all seven videos in this series, in addition to lesson plans for 4-week and 10-week cycles, stand-alone project ideas, color-coded music and backing tracks to play along with, and much more. If you’re at all interested in trying the pBuzz, this page will provide all that you need to get started.
The pBuzz was created by Warwick Music Group, a British company. To close, here is an excellent video of an “informance” on pBuzz for parents and students at a school in England – to show what students can accomplish with this innovative and fun instrument!
How much does the pBuzz cost?
Click on our link to discover how much pBuzz costs. We sell extra mouthpieces (in case students need to share instruments), and a bag is available to protect the pBuzz (teaching the importance of instrument care early). We also sell the pBuzz in a pack of 30 and will be creating smaller bundles soon. You can see the entire line of pBuzz products HERE.
If you have questions about the pBuzz, please let us know. We’re excited about this innovative instrument for the classroom!
Andrea Pelloquin is the Education Consultant specializing in print materials, recorders, Nuvo instruments, and puppets at West Music. She is a former public school music teacher and has spent the last 15 years in the world of music publishing and retail. She has also maintained a private flute and piano studio for over 20 years. She welcomes suggestions and recommendations from our community of teachers.