Your Chops, after the Warm Up


A topic that has come up a number of times over years of teaching is the warmup, and more specifically how your chops should feel after the warmup is done.

Speaking very generally, your chops should feel good after warming up! For normal, day to day playing you need to avoid over-long, punishing warmup routines such as those you see published in a typical horn method. Be a critical thinker, using how your chops feel as a guide. I talk about this some in the University of Horn Matters series:

There I wrote,

…a lot of the printed warm-up routines are probably, truth be known, a bit idealized. Some of them are totally honest I am sure, but how strictly others were followed even by the people who wrote them could be called into question.

The music you play later on may punish your chops, but the warmup itself should not. If your chops feel bad after your warmup you need to reevaluate it. Either you are playing too much or your are moving too quickly into heavy playing in extreme ranges.

I recall vividly one younger professional player talking in a master class about how they needed to warmup a while in the mid and lower range before going into the high range at all. This is really true for me. Just because you have a friend or colleague that can do some total “captain warmup” routine before every service does not mean that is what you need to do.

I warm up different ways depending on the day at this point in my career but I do keep going back to The Brass Gym for Horn as a great resource. It starts slowly and can be used flexibly, more on it here:

NOTE: You would have to be a super fan of Horn Matters to have noticed, but we had a brief hiccup with the site and a few articles posted around the time of this one were lost. This is one of them; content is really similar, but not identical to the original. 

University of Horn Matters