Fast warmup exercise
We began on 2nd line G and played a series of five notes without using the valves, bending each note down to pitch, as follows: G, F#, F, F#, and G. These were played as 1/4 notes at about 120 mm, a little slower sometimes. The next set was F#, F, E, F, and F# and so on down through the C below the staff. After those and the subsequent rest, we began again at the center space C…same drill.
It’s really a great “burn” creator for your corners. I’ve used it off and on for 40 years. A great readjuster when you have done something stupid with your chops the night before. Don’t play it loud…mf is right.
No attack range stretcher.
Place the horn on the closed chops. Then make a “hoo” air rush at the mouthpiece with no tongue. Starting on end line G, play G, Ab; G, A; G, Bb; G, B; G, C…as high as you can go, each time returning to G. Each note should have a full big breath in between. . . like huffing and puffing. Play each note with a quick turnaround after each breath…no waiting or holding the air, so that the exhale is a continuous movement with the inhale. This can make you dizzy quite easily and if it does, slow the pace. Mr Schilke said he had students in Chicago doing this exercise to double C.
After reaching the apex, rest and take the exercise in the reverse direction. After a few minutes of this, you will feel as if you have done a serious physical workout. And, well…you have!
Tom Baker, former lead player with Stan Kenton, reports:
The even quicker warmup
When I was taking trumpet lessons from Ren Schilke, he had me play High C as the first note of the day. “Make High C your first note of the day. That way, you won’t have any problems with the other notes. Everything else is a piece of cake if High C is your first note. You must have a positive approach to the trumpet.” Ok. That’s what I did. During the same time period (’72), I went to San Francisco to take trumpet lessons with Forrest Buchtel, on Mr. Schilke’s recommendation. We got up in the morning, 8:00 a.m., kind of hung over, and Forrest said to me, “What is your warm-up?” I said “My warm-up is a high C!” Forrest said, “Really!! Show me!” So I played a High C, cold, nailed it. Forrest says, “That’s not a High C, that’s a MIDDLE C.” Then he grabbed my trumpet from me (my mouthpiece and all) and absolutely pasted me with a Double-High C, gave the trumpet back to me, and said ,”THAT’S a HIGH C. Mr.Schilke told me that.”
Bill Anderson recalls these exercises from Mr. Schilke. One does start to understand how the Chicago Symphony developed its reputation for great power.
I had the pleasure of studying with Mr. Schilke in the late 50’s. One exercise he would have his students do was similar to the power exercise described by David Bilger. He had his students play the interval exercises found on page 125 of the Arban book.
However, instead of playing them as written, they were to be played as all 1/2 notes as loudly as you could without distorting the sound. He had you start with the one in F major, (near the middle of the page), and then work your way up and down the page until you played all of them. Then you would start over again playing everything as 1/2 notes, only this time you had to slur the lower note into the upper note. The low note was played FF, and the upper note was played as softly as you could without “squeezing” or “pinching” it..
Extreme characteristic studies
Another thing he had us do was to play the characteristic studies near the end of the Arban book, only each study was to be played FF from start to finish. Again, while each study had to be played loud, your playing had to be controlled–not blasted. When I started playing these studies, I had visions of my chops turning into raw meat, but after I had been playing them for a while, I was surprised how they helped my endurance.
© 2001-2006 by James F. Donaldson
All rights reserved