Developing a good warmup routine

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by schleiman, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Hello everyone. I am looking for some ideas on developing a good solid warmup routine. Just so we are clear, I have been at it 2 years now, and I am an OK player for having played that long I suppose. It is my aim to be the best player I can be, to have a local jazz group, and at least once in my life play in an orchestral setting, in a funk/R&B band, a big band, and lastly in a pit orchestra for some kind of play or musical. (Paid or not, I just want the experience) I want to be a solid player. I practice every single day, and my sessions last anywhere from 2-3 hours. I understand that we are all different, and that 1 size doesn't fit all, I am just looking for ideas on how to organize my practice. Firstly, I have a couple of questions:

    Should scales be part of my warmup if I haven't learned all the major and minor scales yet?

    How do ya'll break up your routine, by minutes? Days of the week? etc...

    My chops respond differently every day it seems, is it normal to need to adjust your warmup everyday until they feel responsive?

    Here is my current warmup routine:

    Pedal Tones (An exercise that takes about 15 minutes, I find this helps wake things up for me)

    Whisper soft long tones going down chromatically from G in the staff to F# takes about 15 mins


    Chromatic lipslurs starting with g in the staff and going down, then C in the staff and going down, then E, then G takes about 10 mins

    That's what I do every day. After this I start working on learning the music for the community band I'm in, or work on improv, or sight reading. I've just started yesterday incorporating Clarke Studies to develop better finger flexibility, but as it hasn't yet been a part of my everyday routine, I didn't want to include it yet. I want to systematically approach this because it's easier for me to progress if I have a clear idea of what each exercise achieves, and if they are organized. I appreciate any and all comments and/or criticisms you may have. Thanks again and take care!
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  2. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007
    Warm up is just that, a warm up. I'm not a fan of pedal tones, but I'm not going to get into a big thing about it because I know some players use them religiously. If they work for you, great. The thing that I use that really helps with consistency is the Bobby Shew 5 minute warm up before I do a regular warm up or gig. His warm up consists of:

    1. Lip flutter for one minute.
    2. Lip buzz for one minute.
    3. Mouthpiece buzz for one minute getting a clear sound.
    4. Play on the horn for two minutes gradually to where I will be playing as far as range.

    After that, just doing things that focus your embouchure,whether it is Carmine Caruso, Reinhardt, etc. Scales are scales and not a warm up. Make the warmup more simple, focusing on what your chops have to do.

  3. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I do some long tones -- usually in the staff, and below the staff stuff --- maybe 10 minutes or so --- rest a bit. Then usually scales - eigth notes or fast triplets -- I try to run through the scales --- and also do the chromatic scale (sometimes I tongue them, sometime slow long tones) depends on how I feel -- usually a 20 minute warm up or so, with rest in there. some here will think that is 2 long, some not long enough -- -you just have to "learn" to listen to your body. Kind of like high notes -- when I play them too much on a previous day, then I got to "limit" myself to not go above the high C for a day or two, until my old body says -- "I feel better now" ROFL ROFL ROFL ---- everyday is not the same!!!!!!!!!! at least for me!!!!!!!!!!
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Trumpet Warm Ups Sheet Music by Walter Moeck | Sheet Music Plus

    This is the warm-up I use. I have shortened the rest intervals down but the routine is the same. IMO, more than 10 minutes to warm up, you're into a practice routine.
    A warm up is just that so you can do the other stuff with the blood flowing. Scales should be part of a regular practice routine.
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I play a scale, Bottom C to High C, and then check the tuning, warm it up by blowing into it with air etc. Take about 30 seconds...

    Play a couple of Pedals to be sure that I am loose enough.. Ready to go!

    I don't want to waste any of the good notes:-)
  6. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    A warm up is not a Daily routine, or practice, that is more specific. Warm up is just that, warm up the Chops to be sure that the ear-fingers-lips are co-ordinated, and in tune. Gig ready to run!
    wiseone2 likes this.
  7. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    I make sure my lips are flexible by pursing them a few times, blow through the horn until it's warm, play a second line "G" until it feels right, then a couple of quick chromatic runs between low "G" and second space "G". A little easy double and triple tonguing in the staff. Then I put the horn on the stand. I'm warm. If I'm practicing I go right to what I'm practicing. If I'm performing or rehearsing I sit quietly, visit and generally wait for the conductor/director. I play with a couple of guys who spend a lot of time warming up, and devote a fair amount to high range warming up. Their lips are always shot half way through the concert or rehearsal.
  8. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    First.. Austin should have some great teachers... if you are going to put in that kind of time why not, right?
    Claude Gordon's Systematic approach has a daily routine and suggests exercises from other books.
    What I do or have done, depending on time
    Vizzutti's Book 1 suggested warm-ups ... I take the first set down to pedal tones
    Vizutti or Clarke Technical Studies ... metronome... one a week. If I have the time I do one slurred, another one single tongued and another one double tongued
    Arban's ... exercises starting on page 125 ... one a week.. metronome
    lip slurs ... many different books on this ... ,metronome
    sight reading ... Dr Mark Ponzo has a really good book but it might be a little advanced
    pieces you are working on ... one competition type of piece
    range exercises
    I rest for as much as I play during the exercies..may only be 20 seconds at a time
  9. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    There myriad opinions on warm up, and everybody's needs are different. I've known lead-high note type players who didn't really warm up at all. Personally I believe that one should develop a warm up routine and stick to it. That's partly because I've found that if I don't warm up, I last about 20 minutes then I can't really play anymore. With my daily warmup I'm good to go for however long I need to.


    - there should be a distinct difference between a warm up and practice. I blur that line a bit which I'll describe below.
    - think of the warm up as you might if you were an athlete. If you were a 440 runner, you wouldn't practice by running out of the locker room and onto the track, then run a 440 at full bore, would you? If you did, you'd likely hurt yourself.
    - the warm up should not be too long. I've read accounts over the years of players who suddenly started having trouble with their chops. Then they realized they'd started doing an hour and a half warmup routine everyday. I'd say 1/2 (with rest) is about optimal.
    - don't warm up LOUDLY! Ease the chops into working mode...

    My basic warm up

    - I run through the Clarke Characteristic Study (I think it's number 1 - it's starting on a note and playing up chromatically a try tone, then down) starting on a low G. I do each one three times from low G starting note to the G and octave above
    - I do some long tones
    - I do some slurring/flexibility exercises
    -I start in the lower octave, but end up doing some playing up to high c (c above the staff)


    In the Caveats above I said to make a distinction between your warm up and practice, however, you CAN do things to optimize your warmup.

    - when playing long tones, use your scales as the basis for the exercise. Playing your major and minors everyday keeps them fresh under you fingers and using them in your warmup means you don't really have to spend valuable practice time later on them.

    - Remember that chromatic exercise I do? Well sometimes I play them backwards, accentuate different groupings, etc.

  10. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008

    I'm a big fan of this warm-up methodology.

    Works for Shew, Roger Ingram, and lots of other pros.

    I add about 2 or 3 minutes to steps 1 - 3, but that's just me.

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