I have come to believe that the warm-up is the single most critical element to improving on the trumpet.  I have talked about this concept with every student that I have ever met with.  I have also been talked to about this concept from the many different trumpet teachers I have studied with over the years.  Everyone has their own take on this but I think the main thing is to develop your own take on a good, thorough warm-up routine that does more than get you ready to play the next rehearsal or gig.  Then, most importantly, be consistent with it.  The routine can and should evolve as you develop and learn more about your own playing.  The smart trumpet student will spend time checking out the routines of some of the past master teachers; Stamp, Adam, Caruso, Gordon…  What were these warm-up/development routines all about?  Live with them for a few weeks and analyze what they do for your playing.  Take what you like and leave the rest.  Basically, what I have ended up using for my own personal warm-up/development routine is a combination of concepts from a number of different resources.

What a Routine Should Do

A good routine should address issues in your playing that need work and also reaffirm things that you are doing well.  After all, a part of warming up is getting your mind right, and positive reinforcement is a good confidence builder.  A good warm-up should also be flexible.  Meaning I should be able to feel comfortable and ready to play in 5 minutes (or less) if I need to.  Conversely, if I have the luxury of more time to devote to my warm-up, my routine should improve my overall playing.


I warm up differently for a classical concert than I do for a jazz gig than I do for a commercial setting.  What I have come up with is that I’ve broken the concept of playing the trumpet into four main areas- or four food groups.  Sound, Technique, Strength, Musicallity.  To get a balanced diet I need a little something from each of the food groups every day.  However, the specific content within a food group can be specific to the musical genre.  For example; Technique is one of the food groups.  I don’t need to warm up my double tonguing for a jazz gig and I don’t need to play a lot of diminished patterns for the symphony concert.  Both of these elements, articulation and scale work fall into my Technique category but I can tailor what I warm up on depending on the day.  The key is understanding what goes into each of the four categories and why they are there.  Then be sure that you address something is each category every day.

I wrote an article for the ITG Journal a few years ago that delves into the idea of my four-part warm-up routine in detail.  I will be posting it here at AllThingsTrumpet in a few days.  (I need to do a little editing and add some musical examples.)

So, please stay tuned.  And stay in tune.

Here are the four parts of my routine.  Each part can take 5 – 15 minutes.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4