Warming up on your trombone is an important part of your muscial day. Playing a brass instrument is much like a sport - you wouldn't go out an run a mile with no warm-up. You would need to wake up your muscles, and get them ready to run that mile. Your lips are made up of many muscles which help you to play trombone, and it's necessary that you warm them up every day. The following is a warm-up that will help you get ready to play the trombone.
- Mouthpiece Buzzing: This is a fun way to start your warm-up. Take your mouthpiece out of the case, and start buzzing in the middle of your range. Do some upward and downward glissandi (buzzing with no tonguing), making sure that you increase your air flow when you reach for higher notes. You can put your hand in front of the mouthpice to feel the air flow.
- Long Tones: Be sure to listen to your sound during this part of your warm-up. Focus on the tone, and on making it the very best that you can. Take big, relaxed breaths during the rests and breath marks. (If you can't reach 7th position, just omit the C-flats.)
- Lip Slurs: Make sure that you use no tongue on these; only your lips tightening or loosening should change the notes. Don't let your sound have bumps, and be sure that your air flow is the same throughout. Start with the #1 section, and practice that set of slurs until you are very good at them. Then add #2 to your warm up, and play both each day. When you can play #2 very well, add #3 as well. Be sure not to pinch the upper notes of #3! Increase your air flow for the higher pitches just you would for mouthpiece buzzing.
- Scales: This is an essential part of your warm-up. Play at least 2 to 3 scales every day in your warm up. Scales are the building block of music, and they need to be reviewed frequently. See the Resources section of the Just for Beginners for scales sheets you can download and print. Try to learn a new scale every week.
Now you are ready for a day of trombone playing and practicing. Go to it!
Bass Trombonist Linda Yeo graduated from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 2001 with a BM in bass trombone performance. Since graduating from Wheaton, she has established herself as a private music teacher with over 40 weekly students in her studio which encompasses four schools in the greater Wheaton area. Linda is the bass trombonist of the Prairie Brass Band in Arlington Heights, and the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra. In 2003 she was a first place winner in the North American Brass Band Association's annual solo competition held in Little Rock, Arkansas; the Orquesta Sinfonica de Monterey (UANL) in Monterrey, Mexico invited her as a guest artist in the summer of 2004.