Trumpet Warm Up Exercises-Best Routines And How To Warm Up

On this page you will find trumpet warm up exercises for beginners, intermediates and advanced!

Trumpet Warm Up Exercises And
How To Warm Up On Trumpet

Wondering how to warm up on trumpet, and now you are looking for trumpet warm up routines and exercises? If so this is the ultimate page for you, so grab a cup of coffee and stay for a while, because this could really improve your trumpet playing significantly.

The page is structured like this, and I recommend you read all of it…

1. The Importance Of Warming Up 

I share my thoughts about why we really do have to warm up before we continue with the rest of our daily “trumpet duties”. I also share my philosophy on what a successful trumpet warm up routine should accomplish, as well as what the warm up routine should look like.

2. My Personal Warm Up Routine 

Suitable for: intermediate to professionals and for beginners as well, if you can play pedal tones and you can play “G” on top of the staff with relatively ease.

After years of modifying my trumpet warm up routine, this is what I have found to work incredible well for me, and it really has improved my playing quite drastically. I have also tested it on my students and most of them have also seen massive improvements, in their playing, as a result of implementing it.

3. Other Good Trumpet Warm Up Exercises

Suitable for: Intermediate to advanced trumpet players

If you don’t want to try my personal warm up routine, that I demonstrate in the beginning of this article, then there’s a lot of other great trumpet warm up exercises that you can try out, further down on this page.

4. Trumpet Warm Up Exercises For Beginners

Suitable for: Everyone, but they are aimed at beginners that find the more advanced warm up routines to bee a bit too taxing

 Warm-ups should not be taxing and if you tried the intermediate to advanced routines, and found them to bee a bit too taxing, or you found that you could not really do my personal trumpet warm up routine without strain, then here are some good options for you.

The Importance Of Warming Up 

The alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and you immediately jump out of bed.

It’s cold in the room and you are still very tired. With your sleepy legs, and your stiff joints, you walk down to the basement. You open the door to your home gym and right away you load up the squatting rack with 300 pounds, since your personal record is 295.

You think aloud  “don’t wanna wast any energy on a warm up because this time I really want to beat my personal best!”

Does this sound like a bad idea?

Well, it is! It’s a really, really… REALLY bad idea, since this would almost guarantee a trip to the emergency room.

Before we start increasing our workload, we have to warm up the mind and the muscles…

…and we should approach our trumpet playing the same way.

We have to warm up for two reasons

First, because just like int the example above, we have to get the blood flow to the muscles and make sure we are properly warmed up. This is to avoid damaging our embouchure / face muscles, but of course also to help us play better during the rest of the day.

I have seen trumpet players damaging themselves when they have been slacking and skipping warm ups. It happens more often than one would think and I have personally had some embouchure issues because of this, in my younger days. So do NOT skip your trumpet warm up routine… and to really drive this point home…

…did you know that it is indeed possible to cause irreversible damage to the embouchure?

Second: the second reason we have to warm up is because we are setting up the brain, and the whole playing mechanism, to work properly and do a good job. You see, with everything we do in life we are programming our brain, and this is why it is so important to start our day “the right way”…

…if we want to have good trumpet playing results, that is. We’ll talk more about this later.

Also, I have found that skipping the warm up will often result in getting an airy sound on the trumpet. This is, of course, something that we want to avoid.

My Personal Warm Up Routine

  • Lip flapping
  • Golden notes
  • Descending scales and pedals
  • Lyric song to fine tune the sound

Let’s start with my favorite way of warming up on the trumpet. This is something I have put together, and modified, during the years and by starting every day like this, I feel I’m progressing much faster. My students have also seen good results with this so I really recommend that you give it a try…

…that said, we are all different and what works for one, might not work for another, so of course there’s a chance that this way of warming up won’t be suitable for you. But, as I said, I recommend that you at least give it a good try.

My Personal Trumpet Warm Up Routine
Step 1: Lip Flapping

  • Flap your lips for 1-2 minutes (use a good amount of air)
  • Rest for one minute
  • Flap your lips for another 1-2 minutes
Take a look at the video for a short demonstration

The Idea behind this warm up exercise

Flapping your lips is beneficial for several reasons. First, it gets the blood flow going and after doing this you can often feel a tingle in your lips. This is good as it’s a sign of a very good blood circulation. It’s also very helpful for relieving any tension you might have in the embouchure muscles from previous practice days.

As if this wasn’t enough it also gets your breathing going, since flapping the lips takes a lot of air and you are really engaging your whole breathing mechanism. So by flapping your lips…

  1. You increase blood circulation
  2. Get rid of tension in the embouchure
  3. Get your breathing going

All this makes lip flapping a perfect way to start off your trumpet warm up routine. I highly recommend you implement it.

My Personal Trumpet Warm Up Routine
Step 2: Golden Notes (5th line F)

Read the instructions further down in the post
The Idea behind this warm up exercise

Most trumpet warm up exercises, and routines, have you start in the low register as the idea is that warming up should not be strenuous. I absolutely agree that it should not be strenuous, however, I would like to suggest a different point of view…

...we do not start with low notes!

Why not start with low notes?

We want to get the brain, nervous system and the brain-muscle connection ready for all the playing we are going to be doing during the day. And with every single action we take, in our trumpet playing as well as in life in general, we are programming our brain.

Makes it easier for you later in the day

I have found that by starting a bit higher, like fifth line “F”, I will have an easier time playing higher notes the rest of the day, and have an easier time playing in general…

…This is because the corners of our embouchure needs to be firm, and by starting out with playing “fifth line F” as our very first note, we are programming our “brain-embouchure connection” to lock in that firmness of the embouchure corners right from the start. I have also found the opposite to be true…

…if I do a lot of warming up on low C, for example, the rest of the day is going to be harder when it comes to playing in the higher register of the trumpet.

We have to realize that, as soon as we pick the trumpet up, we are pushing the “record” button on the “trumpet programming computer”

Having the “F” firmness, in the corners is a very good baseline. It is just high enough that, when playing it, it is very natural to start firming and tensing the corner muscles. Yet it’s not so high that it becomes taxing. Hence the name “golden note”.

Don’t worry, there’s no risk of corners becoming too firm for low notes. It is much easier for the muscles to relax for lower notes, later on,  than it is for them to get firmer for higher notes, if we started off our day with a low and a too loose setting.

You may think that it sounds a bit strange, but try it out for a few weeks…

…you might get surprised.

The “F” should NOT be strenuous

Some of you might now be thinking that it sounds fine and all, but what about starting in a relaxed way? The warm up should be very relaxed and not strenuous at all, right?…

…right!

I agree, the warm up should be very easy. Playing the “F” should be done very softly and with “finesse”, and you should not go anywhere near the point of it getting taxing. To avoid “stiffness” and to ensure maxium control I always play the golden notes with a fast vibrato…

…and very softly!

How to play the golden notes

  • Play the F as a long tone with a fermata (about 10-40 seconds, never to the point of it becoming taxing)
  • Rest for a minute or two
  • Play the F again the same way but hold it longer this time (about 25-90 seconds, again, never to the point of it becoming taxing)
  • Use vibrato
  • Play very softly, without strain
  • Don’t go anywhere near getting tired (this is why I use a fermata instead of writing out any specific length, because everyone is different. It should feel comfortable)

Watch the video for a demonstration

Feel free to play around the “f” a bit, just like I do in this video. Use circular breathing if you are able to, but if not, then regular breathing will do just fine.


My Personal Trumpet Warm Up Routine
Step 3: Descending Scales and Pedals

Continue down all the way to pedal “C”. Rest a minute or two and move on to step 4

Click here to download exercise (pdf) for better quality

The Idea behind this warm up exercise

Scales are extremely important. Moving from one tone to the next is what trumpet playing is about, and there is no better way to get good at that than to program our brain in a “step by step” manner. Also, descending into pedals, and coming back up, will ensure us great control over all the registers with no “resetting” of the embouchure…

…doing this as a trumpet warm up exercise, will program/set us up for the correct way of moving between registers for the rest of the day. Moving between registers comfortably and correctly, is very important and one of the biggest pillars of the whole trumpet playing mechanism.

As you can see this trumpet warm up exercise is working in a descending manner. This is exactly because of the “firm corners concept” I was talking about in step two, the golden notes. Better to start higher and going down, than the other way around, when we are talking about the warm up routine, that is.

How to play the exercise

  • Keep the corners firm
  • Good air support
  • As relaxed in your body as possible
  • Play at a comfortable mezzo-piano
  • Aim for a full and beautiful sound in all registers

My Personal Trumpet Warm Up Routine
Step 4: Lyric song to fine tune sound

trumpet warm up exercise pdf

Click here to download pdf 

The Idea behind this warm up exercise for trumpet

Ok so the last part of my best trumpet warm up routine is, of course, to really fine tune and polish the sound. And I like to use a simple, but beautiful, hymn for doing this. Here my objective is to really focus on the sound and musicality.

I like to do the exercise on this particular hymn because this is the one I most often play at funeral gigs. So by using it in my trumpet warm up routine, the piece gets a lot of practice hours and this makes it so much more comfortable for me to perform it, when it’s time for the gig and I perhaps might be a bit tense.

By the way, if you are having problems with stage fright and nervousness then take a look at my article “how to not be nervous when performing the trumpet

But why the song as a part of the  trumpet warm up?

What is the most important thing we have, as trumpet players? …

…if you answered “beer in the fridge” you are wrong!

If you answered the Arban book, you are almost right but the correct answer is SOUND.

Sound sound sound!

The trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann  said “if you have a phenomenal trumpet sound, you can get away with murder”. Not literally of course but you can get away with a lot of other weak points in your playing if you have an amazing sound and the audience will still love you.

It is my belief that we should not move on to the rest of our practice day before we have really fin tuned our sound, really having it sound the way we would like to.

How to play the exercise

  • Sound sound sound
  • Music music music
  • Feelings Emotions Expression

There you have it, these are my best trumpet warm up exercises and by “best”I mean that, this is the way of warming up on the trumpet, that works best for me.

As I said in the beginning, we are all different. And what works for one, might not work for another, but I recommend you give it a try. See how the philosophy of not starting out “too low “, works for you. Give it at least three weeks before you make up your mind. If it’s not working for you after those three weeks, then by all means…move on!

Other Good Trumpet Warm Up Exercises Intermediate to more advanced

These exercises are suitable for intermediate to advanced trumpet players. If you are a beginner and feel that you still can do them then, by all means go for it, because is so they are of course suitable for you too.

warm up exercise for trumpet

Click here for full, printable page (pdf)

How to play this warm up exercise for the trumpet

  • Full breath
  • Steady air stream and good breath support
  • First two notes is to be played with a “breath attack” the following quarter notes are normal tonguing. Continue like this for the rest of the exercise

The idea behind the breath attack on the first half notes is that it will help the lips find their right spot on their own. In other words, it becomes difficult for us to “force” them in to an un natural position, should we have the bad habit of doing so. This is why they are excellent to implement into your daily trumpet warm up routine.


good warm up exercise for trumpet

Click here for full, printable, page (pdf)

How to play this warm up exercise for trumpet

  • First time play with mouthpiece, second time play with trumpet
  • Steady air stream
  • The second last note on the third row is of course supposed to be a “b flat” I apologize for the error.

This is a very good exercise to have in your daily trumpet warm up routine since it gets the tongue and the air moving and along with them comes the chops. It is sometimes very beneficial to work on, and come at the chops, at an angle like that.

I like to take a short rest after each row, before i continue with the next one, but you should  of course play it the way it feels best for you. Just don’t skip the mouthpiece buzzing here.

Other Good Trumpet Warm Up Exercises For beginner trumpeters

Here are some very good trumpet warm up exercises suitable for beginners. Of course they are good for trumpeters at any level, but for  people that find the other warm up routines to demanding, these are perfect. They are both easy and effective.

trumpet exercise for warming up

Click here for full page and better quality

How to play this warm up exercise for the trumpet

  • Keep a steady air stream all the time
  • Start with a soft volume and increase to forte on the long tone
  • Slowly go back to piano
  • Rest for 4 beats and continue going down, step by step

The idea behind this trumpet warm up exercise

It is a phenomenal exercise to develop air control as well as coordination between the center of your lips and the air stream. The crescendo and diminuendo makes the aperture (the small opening in your lips) go from small-to more open-to small again.

This constant movement is excellent for warming up on your trumpet and for building endurance, developing a good sound as well as air support. I recommend that you print it out, put it on your music stand and play it, every day, before you start practicing your music pieces.


trumpet warm up exercise

Click here for full page and better quality

How to play this warm up exercise

  • Steady air stream
  • Articulate the first five notes clearly
  • Slur the following five notes
  • When you play the slurred notes, try to imitate the precision you had on the first five notes you were tonguing.

If you just started playing the trumpet and you have not yet mastered slurring, don’t worry. Try to do this exercise anyway. It will not take long until you improve and, within a few days, you will be able to slur almost as well as you are tonguing the first five notes. The goal should be exactly that.


Horror stories of what can go wrong if we skip the warm up

When I was younger I sometimes use to skip my warm up routine. That was not smart, but then again, I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger. Not preparing my embouchure for heavy playing was one of them and if I could go back in time, this is one thing I would change, for sure.

I remember one particular “incident” when I was playing lead trumpet in a big band in a city close to where I live. It was a project with a singer that wanted to sing Michael Bublè songs. If you are familiar with his music then you know that the lead trumpet part is, well, pretty demanding to say the least.

I was in very good shape at the time but for some reason I started slacking with my warm up routine…

…this was a big mistake!

Something happened to my embouchure

One day I was running late and I had not played on single note prior to the rehersal, and when I arrived, they were already in the middle of “Save the last dance for me”. In the end of that song there is a pretty long run in the high register and I just jumped in with cold chops. The notes all came out strong and good, as they were supposed to, so there was no problem…

…or so I thought.

The next song was “Feeling good” and immediately when the brass section enters, in the beginning of the song, I could feel that something was wrong in my chops. And when I tried to glissando up to double high c after the triplets in the beginning, I felt a sharp pain in the left side of my embouchure. The pain lasted the rest of the rehearsal and I had lost about 40% of my power.

It will never happen again and I have learned my lesson

I’m not exactly sure what happened but there are A LOT of small muscles involved in the trumpet embouchure. One, or a few, of them probably got damaged in some way. I was very stupid for not warming up and I was very hard on myself after the rehearsal. How could I be this stupid?

I tried to warm down carefully before I went to bed and I took three days rest from the trumpet, not playing a single note. But the damage was already done and I was having problems for about five months after that big band evening.

I was having huge problems with endurance and control of my lips. Instead of being afraid of running late, I should have allowed myself to be even more late, and do the mandatory trumpet warm up routine firs before jumping in with the band. We just have to do it, no matter what or else, potentially, suffer the consequences…

…just like I did.

Not everyone is this lucky though

Luckily I got better and after about five months I was back to “normal”, but during that time I was too afraid to take on any gigs because my playing really  was that bad. I did not even take on easy gigs. My sound and control was just not there. To fix it I was resting a lot and played almost exclusively long, soft tones, some easy scales and a few “healthy” trumpet warm up exercises.

I believe the same thing happened to my father as he played the demanding Eb soprano part in a brass band in the eighties. My father did not study in a professional music school, as my grand father Rolf was teaching him. Back in those days the amateur cornetists, here in my country, did not really realize the importance of warming up.

The brass band rehearsals lasted many hours and several days in a row. My father himself believe this was just too much for him, as it was not long after that that, he had to stop playing the cornet and “move on” to bigger horns, like the euphonium and tuba. The cornet embouchure just did not work any longer. Those are his words, and not mine, but of course I think he may be right.

Warming up on the trumpet
Final words

My father and I are far from being the only ones who has had embouchure problems. Many of my friends have also been struggling and one of them had to completely quit playing du to a severe embouchure “burn out” or embouchure dystonia. A damn shame really since he was very gifted and a very good trumpeter.

I remember him screaming some high notes in the dressing room in Helsinki, when we were getting ready to audition for the first trumpet chair in the Finnish national opera. Man, those were some amazinlgy strong chops he had. (By the way, we didn’t get the job)

There are also many professional trumpeters around the world damaging themselves on a yearly basis. Some of them are able to fix themselves while others…

…well, they might not bee that lucky.

The trumpet playing mechanism is extremely complex and it is indeed possible to cause irreversible damage to it. Sometimes we get damaged even if we do everything right and, if so, then that is out of our control. However,  having a good trumpet warm up routine is something we CAN control and that is also the best way to prevent unfortunate things to happen to our embouchure.

We should also not forget that warming up is not just about preventing damage. Far from it. As I said in the beginning of this article, a good warm up routine will also make you play and learn better during the rest of the day. Simply put, having a good warm up routine will make you a much better trumpet player and remember…

…we are programming our brain with everything we do, so as soon as you pick up the trumpet, make sure that your brain is switched on.

-Robert Slotte-

P.S.  Do you have the bad habit of sometimes skipping your preparation or warm up? How long is your daily trumpet warm up routine? Please, feel free to write something about that in the comment section below. It would be interesting to see what other trumpeters have to say about this topic.

P.P.S. Perhaps you also would be interested in reading my article
26 trumpet playing tips to become a better trumpet player