Rethinking the Re-Warmup

I posted a while back on tweaking the daily routine, but neglected to mention that experimenting and modifying your re-warmup patterns can also be a very useful exercise.  Here’s a case in point.  I usually begin my practice day with a fairly involved routine, Douglas Hill’s Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player, which usually takes about an hour or so.  This is followed by several minutes of rest – 20 to 30 min. – then another hour or so of practice. At this point my mind and face need a substantial break, so I like to rest for a least a couple of hours or more before doing any further practicing that day.  After this extended break I need at least a 5-10 minute re-warmup to get things going again.  In the past I’ve approached this re-warmup session a little haphazardly, and looking back I realize now that I probably wasn’t doing the right kinds of things to wake up my embouchure, namely too much upper register, loud playing right away.  Consequently, while I could make it through the third hour or more of playing, I wasn’t always in the best shape by the end.  I’ve found lately that by taking a little extra care in the re-warmup session – some middle register long tones and gentle air flow/flexibility studies – I’m in much better shape for the entire third hour of practice, right up to the end, and my chops feel much better the next day. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?  I suppose I just expected to be warmed up already for that final practice session, and didn’t want to take the time to warm up again properly.  Take it from me, it makes a difference!

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