A proper warmup should take no longer than ten minutes. This set must be something you do every day.
Breathing is not new, in fact, it’s required. However, we must interrupt this involuntary function to make our horn go.
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel here. Sam Pilafian and Patrick Sheridan’s BREATHING GYM is a good resource. I am not a fan of practicing tension, which they do on occasion, but I leave that to you.
The overall product is very good! Spend three to five minutes dedicated to breathing vigorously!
The first thing I play, every day, is the Low Flow Warmup. Getting into the low end of the horn gets the lip tissue moving and the oral cavity open. This process oxygenates the blood stream and warms the tissue.
If this is new to you, play the exercise using only the seven common valve fingerings on the F side:
open, 2, 1, 12, 23, 13, 123
If you are ready to dive deep, continue the exercise using the recommended fingerings.
Once you have the pattern down, try the extended version below. It will test your scalar knowledge!!
The Aperture — young players must understand that their instrument makes no sound and their mouthpiece makes no sound. It is their airstream’s relationship with the aperture that creates the movement necessary for sound production.
The exercise below is focused on the start or the vibration using the airstream. The tongue is later added to show the student how the tongue need only interrupt the airstream, in order to articulate, not stop it.
Young brass players, recognize that the activation of the aperture, in tandem with the application of the mouthpiece, creates a lip reed-like vibration.
Begin the vibration (buzz) using your airstream only. Do NOT involve the tongue.
Working on your buzz is personal. The reason is because every face out there is personal and unique. Everyone’s lip structure is unique. Everyone’s jaw structure is different. Everyone’s teeth placement is different!
The two topics below are quite different.
The free buzz section removes all secondary physical variables (the mouthpiece, the horn) and focuses specifically on using the aperture
The mouthpiece buzz section works specifically on creating a focused buzz by applying free buzz mechanics in combination with a dedicated airstream. If this is your first time working on these items and you do not have a coach to help you through it, start with the mouthpiece buzz exercises first.
Put it together
This is the first thing you should do post-warmup!
“You must have a long-range goal to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.”
Charles C. Noble