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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, November 1, 2010


The PMC Quick Note is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest. The Quick Note contains helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues!

BERP Your Way To Success

The BERP (Buzz Extention and Resistance Piece) is a revolutionary brass instrument accessory that has dramatically improved the way ensembles rehearse. Although it was conceived and developed for individual practice, many high schools, colleges, and drum corps are incorporating their use into daily rehearsal to build endurance, accuracy, intonation, and tone quality. Before we get into how they can be used, just what is a BERP?

The BERP clamps onto the leadpipe of any brass instrument. There are different sizes for trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba. The player can put the mouthpiece into the BERP and buzz the passage while maintaining proper hand position and horn posture. The player can press the valves or move the slide to match the pitches being buzzed to connect the feel of playing and the pitch of the buzz. The player can also adjust the resistance of the mouthpiece by changing how much of the openings at the base of the BERP are closed. Even with the BERP affixed to the leadpipe, the player can quickly move the mouthpiece from the BERP to the leadpipe and back.

Purchase a set of BERPs for each brass member and then try some of the following application ideas:

  • Have all brass players warm up on the BERP as woodwind players "lead" them through group warm-ups. The brass players will not only gain flexibility but they will improve intonation as they tune with their "ears" instead of their instrument. The improvement in listening is a definite benefit that is often overlooked in group-use of the BERP.
  • During marching or concert season, occasionally have all brass players use the BERP while the rest of the percussion and woodwinds play normal parts.
  • To improve individual player confidence, have all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors play in the BERPs while the seniors play on the instruments. This will expose individual players and force them to "lead" their section. Repeat this exercise with the juniors playing while freshmen, sophomores, and seniors are on the BERPs. This is also a great way to quickly evaluate which students need more work on their individual parts. :)
  • Since the BERP has an adjustable resistance dial, have the brass players open it all the way up and then try to buzz some sustained passages in their music. The students will have to greatly increase their intake of air to sustain the passages. Once the mouthpieces go back into the instruments, they will be able to extend their phrasing and improve tone quality.

There are many more possibilities and we would love to hear them! Send ideas to and we will pass them along!

Retail price $21.95
Special price $14.00
Prices are good through the end of November, 2010. Be sure to specify how many you want for each type of instrument: Trumpet, Horn (and Mellophone), Small Shank Trombone, Large Shank Trombone/Euphonium, Tuba (and Sousaphone). This special is only good by placing the order through your PMC road rep. These prices are not listed on our website or in store.

For more information, check out the BERP website

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative


Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


Springfield Bob Hopkins, Wayne Blades, Brett Palen, Eric Matzat, Jason Moore, and Paul Bowen (417) 882-7000
Columbia Robert Pitts and Jake Herzog (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp and Harlan Moore (816) 792-8301
Joplin Dave Coble and Chelsea Samuel (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Mark VanVranken and Tiffany Dempsey (918) 770-6827


If you would like to submit material, make corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Eric Matzat.  

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