pBuzz case study

Manny Munoz, Salvation Army School Music Director
Manny has worked as School Music Director at The Salvation Army in Clearwater, Florida for two years.  The Salvation Army has an established tradition with brass instruments in churches, outreach and music programmes.

  • pBuzz worked really well as a fun starter brass instrument
  • Online resources helped guide the summer programme content
  • The unique nature of pBuzz was rewarding for students and parents

Getting started
The Salvation Army was looking for a way to introduce brass into a new elementary school programme that would be low-cost and low-risk, as the future of the programme wasn’t secure.
Through pBone, which Manny (a trumpet player) was familiar with, the pBuzz came to his attention. It was affordable and taught the basics of buzzing to kids. With its fun slide and the natural transition to trombone, it piqued his interest. Manny bought one for his nephew to test it out – and he was impressed. He then reached out to WMG to purchase a set of pBuzzes for the programme, which they used in the summer.
Teaching methods and resources
Manny depended on the videos and resources available on the website, which he found a helpful place to start.  His general impression was that it was most important to have fun with the pBuzz, rather than worrying about the specific notes too much – the recordings to march along to were particularly helpful.
Successes and challenges
It was the first time the Salvation Army had done anything like the four week programme with pBuzzes at an elementary school, in partnership with a summer care provider. The kids taking part were 3rd-5th graders (8-10 years old), and were taught three times a week for an hour.
At the end of the programme, they put on a recital which all the children played in. Parents and staff alike really enjoyed seeing the kids, some of whom had never played instruments before, and none of whom had played anything like the pBuzz, performing together.
The pBuzz was really useful for keeping things light and fun in the time constraints, whilst also being a good introduction to brass.
The advantages of pBuzz
Manny considers posture early on when learning brass to be crucial – when the kids do transition to a real brass instrument down the line, it’s easier if they’ve learnt to buzz and stand up straight with the lightweight pBuzz.
Manny found the pBuzz affordable and easy to transport, and it was a bonus that free resources existed. It was a good fit for the Salvation Army’s fun summer programme, encouraging the kids to get started in brass and perhaps join further brass programmes later.