There are many elements that go into a quality performance. It is not enough to play the right notes at the right time. Each note has to have the proper clarity of tone, articulation, dynamics, and style. We also need to be skilled enough to coordinate these elements smoothly at the required tempo. If we can concentrate on these elements in our warm ups then they will become more natural to us when we use them as a part of the “real” music that we perform.



    Do this every time you are going play, whether it is band, a lesson, or practicing at home.Don’t wait to be told!  First try “buzzing” on the mouthpiece alone (siren exercise). Start then with the easiest note to play on your instrument with a full, strong, clear tone. Play your open or first position notes starting from the lowest.  Hold each note for at least four beats. Try tonguing and then slurring faster between notes on a long breath.. Make sure each note sounds as clear as the one you played before. If it does not, go back one note and try again. If a note sounds fuzzy, out of tune, or does not sound at all, take a full breath and try to tongue again. If this happens on a note you don’t normally have problems with it may mean that there is a problem with your instrument. See Mr. Frank as soon as you can if you notice this!



    Every week you will be assigned particular scales to concentrate on. Most music is based on a scale or key signature. It is important to be able to move easily from note to note in a piece of music. Practicing scales will help you do that faster! Always think about which notes in the key signature are sharps or flats before you begin. Start on the lowest note of the name of the scale (key) that you can play in the lowest range of your instrument. Play each note in long tones (see above) going up one note at a time to the highest octave of the key on your instrument. Try playing it backwards from highest to lowest with a slow steady beat (quarter notes). To practice your tonguing speed try playing each note 4 or 8 times on each note of the scale as fast as you can. Work on trying to play the scale up and down without stopping holding the key note of the scale for two beats and the others for one. (Do not repeat the top note on the way down.) You will be tested on two different scales for each of the three assessments during the year. If you can play it up and down at a fast tempo you will get 4 points out of 4 for each scale. If you play it correctly but slower you will get a 3 out of 4. If you make some mistakes but are able to correct them you will receive a 2.



    Getting braces on or off your teeth will take some getting used to. Do not try to play when you are in pain as that will result in bad habits. Instead, when you are able, try just playing the long tones that you can do easily and work your way back gradually. Try to avoid getting new braces or having an adjustment  just  prior to a performance.  http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/resources/articles/braces.html

    More advanced players may want to get a book that concentrates on technical exercises and etudes for your particular instrument or to work on the ones in your lesson books in addition to the warm ups I have listed above. A private instructor who specializes in your instrument may have additional ideas. See me if you would like to have some sources for books or names of some qualified teachers.