Daily Flute Warm Up
Warm ups. Not exactly a very sexy topic, yet so important.
I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks warming up is unimportant, yet, strangely enough, many people go about it in a haphazard or random way. While this style will no doubt get the blood flowing and help you prepare for practice or performance, a more focused and consistent approach will yield better results, ie better performances and more productive practice time. This is why I have developed a 10-15 minute routine for use every time I practice or perform.
When making a routine, it’s important to include exercises that focus on exactly what you want to warm up. For me, I want to focus on three areas in my warm up.
1. Long tones for consistency of tone throughout the range of the horn.
Click the link below to see a notated version of my warm up.
1. First I start with a simple series of long tones. I will repeat a section or the whole thing until I feel I have a full and round sound in all registers. I want every note to sound as full as the first ‘b’ and have that kind of clarity. My goal here is to make the flute really resonate and sound rich.
2. Next I move into some scalar-type patterns. First I do half-steps (chromatic) and then whole-steps (whole tone.) I alternate all slurred and then slur 2 tongue 2. The goal again is to make each note sound full and clear. Often times this is difficult when going over the break to the ‘d’ and ‘e-flat.’ These ‘longer’ notes don’t want to respond as quickly and so this exercise is meant to focus on that, as well as warm up the tongue for articulating. Also, these patterns will get the fingers moving and get them coordinated with the tongue. It is crucial to use a metronome for these. I usually start mine at about 118 BPM, which is just about the limit of where I can consistently tongue sixteenth notes when i’m not warmed up.
3. The third and final part of the warm up is simply playing major scales over the entire range of the flute while aiming to keep the tone consistent and beautiful and the technique smooth.
By going through these simple exercises I know that I have worked all three areas in a simple and focused way. This warm up has served me well, whether I go on to perform a show where doubles are required or just have a tone practice in my living room.