A "Preliminary Warm Up"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    A long time ago I figured out that my first few notes of the day, especially in the morning could discolor my whole performance/practice session. Giving me an unfavorable attitude about the day to come. If I took these tones seriously that is. Also the feelings in my chops would sometimes be negative. Occasionally irritating and in rare cases painful.

    So what i came to believe was that on those days and most days for that matter I was far better off playing for just thirty seconds to a minute on some low, soft chromatics and then taking about five to ten minutes completely off the horn.

    I would blow some soft chromatics, put the mouthpiece in my pocket to warm it up and then go put the water kettle on the stove for coffee. Returning to my horn after a warm cup of Java everything came back to life like the day before. Like magic!

    Then there would be some rare occasions when even this didn't work. Like the morning after a heavy heavy R & B gig. Or the Sunday after a very demanding week of professional engagements that had collectively charlie horsed my chops. On those days I would either not play at all or extend the "Preliminary Warm Up" into several sessions. Each with a moderately long break including several cups of coffee. Or go do the chess puzzle

    here: Chess Puzzle of the Day

    On the worst of the worst days when I absolutely had to play? Well I'd take a whole hour or more to warm up but with long breaks and lots of pedal tones in between. About the only time I will even do pedals now is when I probably ought to be taking the whole day off.*

    By realizing that the chops needed time to wake up I'd vastly improved my whole outlook on the day and future of my general trumpet playing career. Another thing that can help is giving yourself a facial massage fifteen minutes before the first note of a gig. In fact the "Preliminary Warm Up" acts exactly like a facial massage. It's what it is really.

    Another good idea on those days when you simply don't have time to practice? Just do at least the "Preliminary Warm Up". I can go two whole weeks with no gigs or practice and still keep half decent chops by simply performing this warm up trick every day. Keeps the chops engaged to the brain.

    So try my "Preliminary Warm Up" and see what happens.





    *Pedals when done to reinvigorate a beaten up embouchure can be detrimental. An addiction. More beer for a hangover: Your chops are mashed so you play a bunch of pedals. Bringing your chops temporarily back to life where you can beat them to death even more. The "hair of the dog that bit" etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
  2. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

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    Actually, I do this to set my chops before I start my scheduled routine. I lightly work in chromatics up and starting from midline G down to F#, then up to middle C. When everything feels warm and smooth, I move on to the scheduled practice session. This preliminary setting-up drill only last about 1 minutes when things are good from the start and 5 minutes when for some reason everything is not in synch. I have done that since day one.

    BrotherBACH
     
  3. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

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    I typically start on 2nd line G, and just try to make the most effortless sound. I'll do some chromatic intervals down to C, then again, going up to C. Then I do low C to B and back, then C B Bb and back, etc. (All of this, of course, with some rest in between). This usually takes me a few minutes, and then I'll wait a bit before reinitiaing. It really helps me to relax my chops
     
  4. MSfortissimo

    MSfortissimo Pianissimo User

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    I hate that I don't have time for this in school
     
  5. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    You could try the facial massage before band class. Start with hands on both cheeks, press moderately and run circles. Each circle should both pucker and stretch back the lips.

    After that localize the massage to the upper and lower lips.

    You live in S/F too huh?
     
  6. MSfortissimo

    MSfortissimo Pianissimo User

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    Haha yeah, I do that. I also like to puff my cheeks once or twice to fully stretch out my face.

    And sort of, I live in a city just south of SF
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that the lesson here is being in tune with your body and being able to listen to the voice in you.

    I am also primarily a 30 second "get oriented" player. I do get to gigs early enough so that IF orientation is an issue, that I could play more.

    For me, flapping the lips accomplishes the basic "get the blood flowing" function.
     
  8. trumpetplanet

    trumpetplanet New Friend

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    Valuable advise! When I was at college I often went for a brute force warm up on those kind of days. I knew it was bad but my lip was knackered most of the time anyway.
    I guess we all have 20/20 vision in hindsight!
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I like the Heimat tone concept of Gerald Webster.

    Gerald Webster discovered that when we play a medium high, medium low, medium loud tone on our mouthpiece first thing in the day, the same pitch will come out, our personal "home" tone, or Heimat tone (he discovered this while touring with Edward Tarr in Germany, thus the name). "Personal" means just that, each person has his/her own Heimat tone -- there is no "good," "bad" or "ideal."

    Some players start their warm-ups on c below the staff, then work their way upwards, but that makes any thing above c below the staff a more or less a high note. Rather than starting in the lower register, consider starting at your personal Heimat tone and expanding from there. That gives us the feeling of having more low tones to play, and fewer high ones to struggle for.

    Hard to diagnose things over the internet, so the best we can do is make suggestions for you to experiment with.

    Have fun!
     
  10. trumpetplanet

    trumpetplanet New Friend

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    What do you suggest as a way to determine your Heimat tone? When I pick up my horn and play I generally decide what not is going to come before I blow. So I'm confused by the idea that my first note should "just happen". Or have I completely misunderstood?
     

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