Warming up

The warm up is about getting ready for the game in the shortest amount of time. This is done by stimulating the blood flow and conditioning the lips so they are supple.

supple lips is the result we want from the warmup. The lips should be soft, but not so soft that they get stuck with rim friction. The advantage of supple lips include easy response to the air stream and allows us to play with closed lips, gives better flexibility, control, tone quality and consistent performance every time we have warmed up!

The lips will get softer with lip fluttering, buzzing and loose pedals, while loud and high playing stiffens the lips.

Lip fluttering

I use mainly lip fluttering ("horse flapping") for warming up. This is the most effective way I know of getting ready for the game in the shortest amount of time. It softens the lips and stimulates the blood flow very efficiently. I also use it whenever I feel tired. It works, its magic!

Lip buzzing

After the flapping, I do some lip buzzing. Lips should respond easily with the lips held closed. Remembering how the lip buzz feels when warmed up, I go back if I have not done enough fluttering. The lip buzz must not be exhaggerated, like buzzing loud and high, as this might result in stiff lips.
Fluttering and buzzing lips

An excellent exercise for learning how to buzz is found in Nick Drozdoffs book. While playing a low C, the horn is angled downwards until the top lip is free to buzz alone. One advantage of this exercise, is that the lip buzz will be very similar to the buzz used on the instrument.
Drozdoff's Peel away exercise

Beware of that when buzzing, there should be no hint of a smile. The buzz should be concentrated, some puckering is required to achieve this. If buzzing is done like this, it will also have a strengthening effect.
Ideally, the embouchure used for buzzing should be the same as for playing the trumpet.
M-setting and the True buzz

A wide and unfocused buzz should be avoided.
False buzz

Mouthpiece buzzing

When the lip buzzing is completed, I do some mouthpiece buzzing. The lips should respond easily, even in pianissimo. Also, I check in the mirror to see that my throat is expanding.

Exersises from the Sanborn and Maxwell books on mouthpiece buzzing are excellent.
Buzzing the mouthpiece

On the instrument

After the mouthpiece buzzing is done, the trumpet is next. The embouchure is set with closed lips. Response should be immediate with breath attacks in pianissimo. This indicates that the lips are softened enough.
Bill Carmichael demonstrates breath attacks with closed lips in his video.

After some lips slurs, a couple of scale runs, light tonguing and testing the high notes, I am ready to go!
Warmup on instrument

Nick Drozdoff has an excellent book on buzzing techniques called Embouchure Design


Copyright Rune Aleksandersen 1997 - 2002