Sing Buzz Play – All Keys

Many of us know the importance of connecting your ear to your instrument. Here is a graded sequence of 20 musical gestures with precise instructions. I believe if you practice these regularly, your hearing awareness and key sense will improve.

Bass Clef Version

Treble Clef Version


  • These progress from easier to harder. Start with the first one so you become familiar with the approach. After that, if they seem too easy, jump ahead a bit.
  • First, the patterns appear with staff lines. Second, the same patterns are repeated without staff lines and with numbers to represent scale steps. Use either one. If you learned solfège with movable “do,” you are welcome to use those syllables. I tend to sing either with “ah” or perhaps with the scale step numbers. I abbreviate “seven” to “se’n” so it is one syllable.
  • The initial keys are C major and its parallel minor (C minor). I chose these keys because they seem to fit a variety of vocal ranges. You may choose to sing them up or down an octave to fit your vocal range.
  • This isn’t just about getting the right notes to come out. Produce a beautiful and musical sound with your voice and on your instrument. Versions are available for both bass and treble clef. If you play a transposing instrument, things get a bit trickier. Work with your teacher if needed.
  • I designed these to have a smooth ‘workflow.’ You can move from singing to buzzing and back to singing while putting your mouthpiece back in the instrument.
  • I strongly prefer the key sequence of descending perfect fifths. To me this is the most natural progression (however, most Circle of Fifths charts move in the other direction – adding sharps). You can experiment with other sequences.
  • Patterns #1-#12 start on scale step 1. Later patterns start on 5 or 3. The final pattern does use a chromatic inflection.
  • You are welcome, as you proceed through the keys, to sing the entire pattern in each new key. Once again, fingering or moving your slide (if only in your mind) helps to cement the connection between the aural and the kinesthetic. If you don’t sing complete patterns or even the notes under the dotted slur, at least sing the tonic note and possibly the third to clarify key (and mode) in your mind.
  • I don’t think of this as a warm-up but I suppose it could be used that way.
  • Over time I may revise these. Take note of the version date below my name on the PDF.
  • While this has a copyright notice, you are welcome to copy as needed as long as this doesn’t appear in another copyrighted work without permission.
  • The minor keys use the melodic minor scale. See below.