A lot of discussions are focused on the definition of warmups (or warm-ups?) for brass players. Some feels they need to warm up a certain amount of predetermined time and stick to it religiously every day, while some says they do not need to warmup…
So who is right?
First things first. What is actually meant by warmup?
A warmup generally is understood as getting the body prepared for a specific activity. In sport for example, a marathon runner would warmup differently than a 100 m dash runner, a swimmer would also do differently. But in general, it will mean getting the muscles and joints flexed and relaxed without any strenuous movement.
In brass playing, however we feel the warmup is some kind of activity that gets the lip muscle ready to play…Or is it?
In my opinion, the brass warmup should be focused on getting all the muscle involved in producing a sound synchronized as to work as efficiently as possible. This included breathing, general body relaxation and concentration (yes…the brain).
Hmm…Somehow, we did not specifically mention about the lips? How come?
Well, the lip is passive when playing a brass instrument, meaning, it is vibrating because there is air moving…It will not vibrate by itself even if we do it consciously…
The vibrations of the lips are a results of synchronizing the air speed, muscle tension, and so on…
With that in mind, how long does it take to warmup? Well the answer is quite simple. Every persons is different, then every persons will have different needs for warmups.
The important thing is to focus on the activity and the purpose of doing a warmup: be able to produce a sound with the least amount of effort.