Rethinking the Warm-up, part 2


Recently I was pointed toward some relatively recent research that indicates that a less strenuous warm-up gets better results. For example, this article from the New York Times:

The underlying study they reference is here. I have wondered if the LONG warm-up products out there are too much, and this study would say yes, with too much warm-up the athletes studied were not able to perform at their peak. Basically, they were too tired.

When I do The Brass Gym typically I start it as presented but by the time I get to beautiful sounds I am way ready to do some real playing. For the last several years I typically warm-up for 10-20 minutes before any playing session. Less than ten and then into real playing is not good, but if I have ten I can play pretty much anything.

Few sources present a shorter warm-up as the standard thing to do. One source that I am aware of that promotes a short warm-up is the Harry Berv book, it is certainly shorter than average and very much of the type that we might be better off using. According to Berv,

One most important rule, not only in the warm-up, but also in the practice session, is this: Do not strain or fatigue the embouchure. This can strain the muscles in the area and set the player back for an indefinite period before they are healed. The warm-up session should have a duration, at most, of ten minutes of actual playing. In this time all the areas involved should be limber enough to cope with any problems encountered in the actual practice session….

If the warm-up session is too long, it will undoubtedly cut down on your endurance. In my opinion, too many players succumb to the idea that the warm-up session should last for a half-hour or more. It becomes fixed in their minds that this is a necessity and feel they cannot function properly without it.

A bit more from Berv on the topic may be found in this article in the Hornmasters series. Give the idea a serious try, as there is an underlying point that is correct, not too intense or too long is likely better.

For Part I see this article, which rethinks the warm-up in potentially a similar way, but from a different angle….

University of Horn Matters