Warming Up – Summer Edition Changes

For most horn players, the summer is a great time to try out a few different things.

Whether it’s a new mouthpiece, a new horn, or some new etudes, the summer provides enough break from the routine of school or work that you should spend a little bit of time experimenting.

James Boldin’s blog is a great resource, and it looks like he’s been doing some interesting experiments with his warm-up routine over the past few months:

In the past, I generally avoided low register “blasting” in my warm-up and daily maintenance routine…However, during a recent evaluation of my regular practice materials, I decided to incorporate some low, loud patterns back into my daily regimen.

James is using the warm-up routine created and sold by Denise Tryon, former 4th horn in Philadelphia orchestra, as well as a former member of Baltimore, Detroit, and others. She’s the current horn professor at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the former horn professor at Peabody Conservatory. You can buy the “DT Routine” here if you’re interested.

More so than the specific exercises that James does, though, I find his observations on the pros and cons of when (and when not) to play these kinds of exercises interesting to consider. I’ve been doing long tone exercises throughout the range with varying dynamics for a long time, but I think his post will encourage me to reevaluate my warm-up pacing and organization over the next couple of months.

If you’ve been noticing some of the same issues with your playing that James mentions in his post, maybe give your loud, low register some attention. You don’t have to use the DT Routine, of course – find any sort of low register exercises and start to crank the volume!

I hesitate to say this, but while I have the utmost respect for Denise as both a player and a teacher, I have to point out one thing I disagree with. On her DT Routine page, she opens with:

This routine is the biggest key to my success.

(Emphasis hers)

While I think I know what she means, I have a knee-jerk disagreement with this statement.

While I’m sure the exercises she has are excellent, and the routine is well-thought-out and worth the money, her incredible career is (I believe) a result of lots more than just the selection of notes she plays. You can hear some of her low horn stuff on her Youtube channel, and it’s obvious that she’s a monster player.

That being said, if you feel like your low register is missing something or you just want to expand your warm-up horizons, definitely check out her DT Routine. I certainly will be!