Warm-ups serve a variety of purposes. They get our bodies ready to perform in terms of breathing and moving air, our fingers and hands limber, and for wind players, the engagement of the fine muscles of the embouchure. Equally important, warm-ups should also get our brains engaged in listening and making musical sounds. A good warm-up not only gets musicians ready for a practice session; it can also contribute to the development of their overall musicianship skills.
Student musicians also need to be trained in proper individual warm-up techniques which are completed before the group warms up as an ensemble. Basic individual warm-ups usually include the following elements:
- Long tones at medium to soft dynamic levels
- Mouthpiece buzzing and a few simple lip slurs (brass players)
- Articulation variations including slurring and tonguing patterns
- Percussionists should stretch their fingers, wrists, arms, neck and shoulders
- ALL musicians (including percussionists) should try and incorporate some deep breathing exercises
Here are some warm-up ideas for ensembles.
Be creative and see if you can come up with some of your own.