Exercise PDF: Buddha Lee

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A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious flexibility exercise.

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Years ago when I was a student at Arizona State University, Tom Bacon showed me this superb flexibility exercise. In group practice sessions, he came up with the name “Buddha Lee” because when playing the exercise it aurally sounds like “buddah-lee-buddah-lee-buddah-lee,” and the name stuck.

I am not exactly sure what the origin of this exercise is, but my trombone-playing colleagues assure me that it was originally a trombone study. I have heard it mentioned a few times that Emory Remington, one of the most well-known and influential teachers in the trombone universe was the creator, but I have yet to find any direct confirmation.

It has been published in other technique books, including “Thoughts on Playing the Horn Well” by Froydis Wee Wekre. She calls it appropriately, the “multi-flex” exercise.

Everywhere that I play this ditty as a warmup, people’s ears perk up and they ask me about it. Not only does it sound really cool, it is also an incredibly compact, multi-purpose exercise. In my practice routines, I always aim to “kill many birds with one stone” and this exercise certainly fits that bill.

If you are not familiar with this exercise, START SLOWLY. It has been written out in a form that should be self-explanatory.

Be mindful and start slowly; do not approach this exercise haphazardly. Its unique layout of arpeggios can be tricky for the uninitiated ear. A mindless attack at this exercise will more or less negate its benefits.

Focus on smooth slurs and a beautiful sound, and work your way up to a faster tempo gradually over a period of days or even weeks. With patience and time, you will notice the tremendous benefits of practicing this.

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