Daily Drills - Warmups for Young Bands
This warmup was written for the second-year, or non-varsity band student. It is designed to be used in the fall semester after which the director can transition to a more complex warm up, like the one used with the varsity band, perhaps. This could also be used in the second semester with a beginning group that is preparing for spring events.
These daily drills are very easy at the beginning by design. At the start of the second year the students will begin to learn more advanced ensemble skills. Easier material will help them focus on listening. The following are some ideas on how to best use this warmup.
- In the beginning there are a lot of whole note rests at the end of each exercise. This is to encourage the students to be still at the end of the last note. Have the students be still through the last measure.
- In some lines, especially those that ascend with no rests, the last note may be repeated. This is to allow the students to play the final note again with a better breath so that they can make pitch and tone corrections.
- Some exercises have dotted slur marks so that the patterns can be played tongued or slurred. This is a bit unusual, but it allows for some flexibility. With training, the students should be able to handle this just fine.
- Any slur marks can be omitted to focus on starts of notes.
- The snare drum part often plays on the downbeat of the winds’ rests to encourage playing notes full value.
- The mallet part was written without rolls except in the chorales. This was done to give the director the option to have long note values to be played with or without rolls.
- Use call and response strategies for groups that have very immature sounds. Teacher led drills can be used or if there is a specific section that makes good characteristic sounds, that also can be effective. The rests allow for this although it is best to put additional rests between the leaders and the group so that starts and stops can clearly be heard.
- Longer tone exercises are important for young bands. They give the students more time to focus only on air, embouchure and listening.
- All exercises show concert pitches in the titles, so students will need some coaching on how that relates to their instruments.
- Most exercises are written in Bb concert since that is the key they are most familiar with in their beginning year.
This warm up comes with detailed instructions to give to the students on each exercise. Here is an example:
F-Bb Descending 2 Note Slurs
- Be calm and still before the first note and after the last.
- Form the embouchure before the breath.
- Breathe for at least 2 counts, starting on count three of the whole note rests.
- Move the fingers quickly on count three. Let both notes in the measure have the same tone quality and energy. The air should stay the same when the fingers move.
- Listen and match the tone quality and volume of your section.
- Listen for each section in the band, especially the lower voices.
- Be still through all ten measures.
- Listen and center the pitch on the last note.
Have any special edits or additions that you would like to have, Just email Marty Nelson at email@example.com