Warm-Up Exercises for a High School Concert Band

Written by cee donohue
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Warm-Up Exercises for a High School Concert Band
Warm-up exercises are a vital part of a good performance. (orchestra image by Pedro Luis from Fotolia.com)

Before any type of musical performance, there should be warm-up exercises. Whether you play an instrument or your voice is your instrument, you are bound to perform better if you are warmed up. Just like an athlete, you don't want to start playing the game before your muscles and body are ready to give their maximum performance.

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Scales are a must for any musician. It's one of the key warm-up exercises because it promotes coordination, control and evenness. Scales also help you to learn chord progressions and assist in recognising melodies and harmonies within the scale. Scales keep fingers nimble and ready to play.

Lip Slurs

Lip slurs involve moving slowly and smoothly between two notes. It's a good warm-up exercise particularly for brass instruments like the trumpet and trombone. It improves and builds strength and flexibility. Depending on the instrument, you want to change the fingering positions to make them more difficult and repeat the lip slurs.

Long Tones

Have the different sections of the band do this exercise one at a time. Take a deep breath and see how many notes can be played without taking a breath. Try to hold each note for eight to 10 seconds. This is a good exercise for the diaphragm, breath control and endurance. This exercise is also helpful in developing a pleasing tone.


For percussion instruments, warm-up exercises should be practised at different tempos and various dynamic levels. Start with single stroke exercises and increase tempo and difficulty level. Include flams, rolls and rhythmic patterns.


Whether you are playing a sport or playing an instrument, stretching your body will help to warm up and relax your muscles at the same time. Start with some head and neck stretching--gentle rolls to the right and to the left. Reach arms up over the head and inhale, then exhale and bend over while trying to touch the toes. Twist the torso right and left with hands on the hips. Stretching combined with instrument warm-up exercises will prepare you for your optimum performance.

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