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Music Department
Advanced Conducting: Music 336
Dr. Peter LaRue

The Warm-Up Sequence

There follows a listing of the reasons behind a "warm-up" for a rehearsal and options which you might choose when "warming-up" your ensemble. Many consider this facet of the rehearsal sequence to be the most important, and I do not disagree. Through our working lifetimes, we constantly seek other options for the "warm-up" sequence and refine that which we have already been doing.

Purposes of the Warm-Up:

1. focus and engage the minds of participants
2. adequately prepare the "breathing apparatus" for singing/playing
3. adequately prepare "psycho-motor" facets of singers/players
4. work on improvement of technique
5. work on improvement of issues of musicianship
6. work on improvement of issues of intonation
7. work on issues of ensemble [balance, blend, etc.]


There follows some specific strategies which are appropriate for any orchestral or instrumental warm-up - they are submitted - not to diminish the importance of the warm-up sequence for choral ensembles - but as specific strategies which help in any instrumental venue. For choral ensembles - I would suggest use of the Robert Shaw or Norman Luboff Guidelines which over the years - have been oft-printed in the ACDA Journal.

Instrumental Only: Oft Used Warm-Up Activities

1.  play scales [review old, work in new keys or modes]
2.  play exercise [such as Clarke Thing, Hovey ex., etc.]
3.  play chorales [M. Lake arr. of 14 Bach Chorales the standard]
4.  specific rhythm problems [which are coming up in music]
5.  long tone [of particular benefit to brass players-no vibrato]
6.  lip slurs [works for brass and WW, get clarinets across break]
7.  breathing activities [many options, should not be overlooked]
8.  tuning activities [listed below]

Instrumental Only: Tuning Strategies:

1.  conductor tune 
2.  tune to lead clarinet/oboe
3.  section tuning               
4.  students on machine [either matching pitch or diagnostic]
5.  sol la ti do
6.  chord exercises [unison, fifth, third, etc.]