Wanted: Band Directors and Band Tutors

Fun Music Company Band Warmups crowd-sourcing project launched!

Do you teach band, or are you a band tutor or teacher of band instruments?


If so, I have a question for you.

Q. What could better than learning from the wisdom of a super-experienced band director, and learning their single best idea for warming-up and engaging their band?

A. Learning from hundreds of super-experienced band directors, and learning all the best tried and tested ideas for warming-up and engaging their band!



At the Fun Music Company we need your help.

We have a vision for a new product: A collection of Band Warmups which are drawn from the collective wisdom of hundreds of band directors.

We have already found a fantastic editor, so now we are ready to take submissions for the book.

All you need to do is write down your SINGLE BEST IDEA for warming up a band, and send it to us via email.

The submission doesn’t need to be fancy: You can simply describe it in text if you can, or else just jot it down using a music program and make it into an image and send it to us. Or else send it as a MIDI file, Sibelius or Finale – that is just fine.

The best part is this: every contributor (no matter how small the contribution is) will receive an absolutely FREE copy of the final publication.

Just imagine: If we can get hundreds of ideas then this resource will be the most amazing collection of warmups ever published!

We will be accepting submissions for the entire month of April, 2013. We’ll then go into an editing process, when our editor will collate the submissions into a publication. After that we’ll then go through a review process, where we’ll ask three or four of the most eminently qualified band directors we can find to review and improve the book.

With all of this process, the book will most likely be available around June or July, 2013. Those people who have contributed to it will be the first to get hold of it – before it is released for sale to the general public.

We are following a similar process to what we did for our Choir Warmups e-book. This has been tremendously successful: helping hundreds of choir trainers with ideas for warming up and engaging their choirs.

So please, if you’re a band director or tutor please send us your ideas. Feel free to share this page around with your colleagues and friends and invite them to contribute. Remember: the more people who contribute will result in a much more complete and valuable publication.

We’ve created a special form for your submission, or you can simply email it to [email protected]


  • By Cynthia Munn Reply

    1)Bflat concert scale in whole, half and quaterers, ascending and descending
    2)Various articulations ti ti tika tika on each degree of the scale going up and down.
    3)Sight reading various rhythms to be played in repertoire to be rehearsed that session
    4)Sight singing parts from repertoire to be played.

  • By Matthew R. Goetz Reply

    Whole, Half, Quarters, Eighths

    This can be used for a quick start to a warm up and has several good instructional aspects.

    1) Select a scale that is currently being used and studied. (Concert Bb will be my reference)
    2)have students play Concert Bb scale in unison ascending and descending using whole (1 per), then half (1 per), then quarter (2 per), then eighth notes (4 per)
    3) for whole notes have students concentrate on tone, each note as perfect as they can achieve…the remaining repetitions can focus on attacks/releases, articulation, etc.
    4) divide students into any number of groups in any number of ways
    5) have students go through the sequence of whole, half, quarter, eighth as a cannon….you can now work balance and blend concepts as well as the previous.

  • By Barbara Barkley Reply

    I teach my band all of the scales. A good warm-up, in my opinion, is to have them play a few scales which they have been taught and know how to play (I have always taught beginning bands). Then, for the scale being played, use the following pattern: 12131415161718; 87868584838281. Play slowly first, then have the students increase the tempo.

  • By Eric Wharton Reply

    I have compiled a warm up from several sources. 8 count long tones beginning on F and decending chromatically and returning to F in between each; F E F Eb F D F Db F C F Cb F Bb. Then the same ascending; F F# F G F G# F A F Bb. Then we use the same chromatic pattern alternating using various rhythms, 2 8ths, 3 8th triplets, 4 16ths; FF,EE,FF,F#F#,FF, EbEb,FF,GG, etc…(I use this pattern when I have a rhythm that needs to be reinforced). Then we play lip slurs in 8th notes and the ww’s duplicate the notes, up first and then down, FBb EA EbAb DG DbGb CF DbGb DG EbAb EA FBb (French Horns play the slurs inverted, they play down first and up second.) Next we play alphabetical major scales and their relative minor (we descend 2 notes at the conclusion of each major scale to get to the minor), Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, Gb. And, finally a chorale from the Symphonic Technique book (number 7).
    We do this daily and it takes about 5 minutes.

  • By Randi Simpson Reply

    I do several different warm-ups with my band that deal with reinforcing the major scales, long tones, intonation and tone production. The one I use most frequently is having them play through all 12 major scales. However, the major issue my group was having was too much talking during rehearsal, and my major issue was being brain dead and sluggish during the rehearsals as I was trying to trudge through the literature, trying to make it sound good, trying to teach the notes and rhythms, while they were working against me with talking every time I would cut them off to correct something. I met with the leadership team and asked them what we could do to help with morale and energy. (mine as well as theirs!) We have since begun to start off the class time with an energetic repeat-after-me-cheer that the student leaders are in charge of. I get involved too! By that time in the afternoon, I need to get my blood pumping and get more oxygen into my brain! I never realized how much this small routine change could improve their behavior and my energy levels! It forces us all to start class on time and in a positive manner. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  • By Jeri Nehring Reply

    I teach beginning band to 5th and 6th graders. The first scale they learn is the concert B flat scale so I use that as a warmup beginning midway through the year. Beginners also have difficulty with dynamics – they seem to play loud very well! So, I have them play the scale using soft for first note, forte for second, soft for third and so forth. We also begin the scale using whole notes but that is changed to different rhythms as they master the scale and the dynamics. I have found that the more dynamics I ask them to use, the better they can “control” their instrument.

  • By Denae Besel Reply

    One idea for warm up….

    I enjoy, for elementary band, to play the concert Bb note on trumpet and then have the kids repeat while listening to my note. This helps students listen and tune. Then you can change the notes as well. Like playing Bb concert and then move up one note or down a note for teaching listening.

  • By Willie J. Hollins Jr. Reply

    the best way I warm my band up is to:

    1. Buzz their lips for about 4-5minutes(since I majority brass players)
    2. After we play the scales, we go through a basic rhythm warm-up using those scales.(i.e. with wholes, half notes, etc.)
    3. Finally we use the 1-5-7-5-1 method where we play the first, the fifth, the seventh,or the arpeggios to their lips ready to play high notes and low notes.

  • By Ashley Brumberg Reply

    I teach fifth grade beginning band and the warm up I find most successful with my students is playing the first 5 notes of the concert b-flat scale using different rhythm patterns. At the beginning of the year, we mostly just use half notes and whole notes and move into quarter note patterns. About half-way through the year, we incorporate eighth notes into our patterns (I usually just write the rhythms on the board or use the rhythm exercises provided with their method book). During the last quarter of the year, I incorporate 3/4 time and dynamics into the warm ups.

  • By Kurt Risch Reply

    I take rhythms from pices we’re working on and repeat them up and down whatever scale(s)are included in that piece.

    Also, sluring from tonic down a half step; back to tonic down a whole step; back to tonic down a step and a half; back to tonic and so on………

  • By Andrea Heinl Reply

    When warming up the high school band I direct, I start with Lip Slurs, a series of notes the students slir up and then down, which helps brass work on lip and embouchure muscle strength while working the finger dexterity of the woodwind players. We take the exercise slow with the different columns of notes in whole notes, then move to half notes, and sometimes go to quarter or eighth notes. We then move on to major scales, and we start with familiar scales and then add unfamiliar or more difficult scales. We play scales slowly in whole or half note patterns and move to more complex patterns depending on difficult rhythms the students may be struggling with in their band literature. We also take the scales and turn them into harmony activities-I have the upper woodwinds start on the first pitch and when they get to pitch 3, the upper brass play starting on pitch 1, and when they get to pitch 3, low brass and woodwinds play starting on pitch 1. Then everyone plays through the scale at their designated time as one large group. It helps them to hear harmony and work on blending, while not playing difficult musoc passages. We also work on one chorale a week, if time permits. There’s a good Bach chorale book out there.

  • By Doug Treloar Reply

    I am now retired but for years I used a simple warm up based on the Eb Major (concert) arpeggio. ( If the band or ensemble did not produce a nice sound we stared again until they did.) This made the group focused on the sound. After that we went into a word singing exercise based on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I will try to send a copy through the Sibelius of the Flute part as it was all in unison.
    Doug Treloar

  • By Liz Cox Reply

    As a band director I have found it is imperative to teach students to learn to tune up by playing long notes and really listening to the pitch .Is it constant or does it go sharp and flat ? With each new group I spend time and tune each person separately and encourage long note practice and listening in between classes.

  • By Anne Geoghegan Reply

    I always begin with a scale in semibreves for tuning purposes. Then follow with a few chorales. Helps develop balance. Used to correct overblowing by certain members of the group. Listening to others in the ensemble is a must to achieve a great sound.

  • By Val Kings Reply

    I choose a rhythm that will be challenging in the piece we are working on and use that. Easy to relate it right back to their music. Also, when possible, I like to use a line from the method book which relates to the theory concept we are working on – accidentals for example. Not fancy, I know, but it gets the job done. Looking forward to checking out this resource. With thanks, Val Kings

  • By kevin Reply

    This is fantastic that so many people have already replied here! we’ve had over 100 entries already: 15 as blog posts, lots via email and over 80 sent to the form.

    Rather than commenting here, please use our official form here: http://funmusicco.com/submit-your-band-warmup-idea/

    It will also enable you to upload a file if you wish.

    However, all the entries made as blog comments will still be appreciated and will still qualify for a free copy of the product at the end.

  • By Johanna Reply

    Having had about 30 years experience with a high school band which rehearsed after school, I always started with a musical game -eg pass the rhythm down the team, or have a team member sing one line of a song and then others have to finish it, or even musical chairs. This way I have warmed up the brain and connected it to musical thought and then complete instrument exercises such as blowing warm air through the instrument, long notes based on scales and at varying volumes.

  • By Rosie Cullen Reply

    Give each section a different note of a chord, build up the chord from the lowest note, getting the players to listen and improve intonation. Sing a rhythm and get the band to repeat it on that chord. Use a sequence of chords, repeating the same rhythm e.g I IV V I.

  • By John Dunstan Reply

    Scales are a great way to warm up a band and there are many variations that can be used, the only limit is the directors imagination. I also do scales to warm up but I use a rock beat to keep it fun. I have also arranged some easy Bach chorales in 4 parts. I either allocate parts or allow students to choose which part they play. I find that by doing this type of warm up, it allows us to talk about the importance of each part, balance and intonation. For more advanced players we can also discuss the use of cadences and different harmonies. I usually ask a percussionist to play a rock beat which might be fast or slow.

  • By Juan Barrios Reply

    I teach 5th & 6th grade beginning band and I use to start by playing 4 X 4 warm Ups: 4 Quarter notes X 4 quarter rests Everything 4 times. Quarter notes would be the same pitch or the first 4 notes of a a scale (usually Bb or Eb). Also rhythm or tempo would change in order to develop performing skills. (When students have some advance I use to change 4 X 4 for another usual warm up, always increasing something) I should say that I have them just twice at week for a 40 minute class so I be shure to use that time efectively! Thanks!

  • By Travis Conrad Reply

    I love doing doing scales in a round. It makes it a little more interesting and sounds great too. Number your group off 1-2-3. Bring subsequent groups in as the first group gets to scale degree 3 and then scale degree 5.

  • By BethWay Reply

    I like to teach all scales as numbers, 1234567 and so on..
    This is a good one to start and to teach pitch-
    121314151617181 and then backwards 878685848382818 playing each for a minim note.
    you can then get the woodwine to start and to pitch the note for the brass players first.
    so woodwind start their first note only playing a crothet then minims on all other notes, while brass continue with the normal sequence of 2 counts per note…
    so you get the woodwinds playing 1(crotchet)2(minim),1(minum)3(minum) and so on and brass playing as normal.

    another one which i like is 1 121 12321 1234321 123454321 12345654321 1234567654321 123456787654321 then you can go backwards from 8 878 87678 8765678 and so on,.
    you can then omit the chosen number (choose a different number each time you do this exercise). if you omit the number 3 it then becomes a rest and those that play it are out… or if youre nice you can let them still play and have another go. 🙂
    then you can add actions into other numbers like a stomp on number 5 as well as a rest on number 3 and gradually build it up so they are thinking, doing, and playing at the same time

  • By Sarah Wicken Reply

    Hi, we arm up with the concert Bb scale doing the pattern 1, 121, 12321, 1234321, 123454321, 12345654321, 1234567654321, 123456787654321, 8878, 87678, 8765678, 876545678, 87654345678, 8765432345678, 876543212345678, , we have a mini competition of which section can play it correctly and the fastest etc.

  • By Sue Banham Reply

    I get each section of the band to play a rhythm based on a concert Bb chord.I call this rhythm, as well as a note, out to the section, beginning with the lower instruments and moving through to the top. Each time I do this the rhythms are different.
    Once the whole band is playing, I then change tempo and/or dynamic level, so the members of the band really have to watch and follow my directions.
    After a while I may begin to cut sections out one by one, so the texture changes until, finally, there is only one section left. I always finish with a long note, often including a crescendo and/or decrescendo.
    Sometimes I feel really creative and add a seventh note to create a major or dominant seventh chord, remove the third and replace it with the fourth to create a suspended chord, or lower the third to create a minor chord.

    Here is an example of a simple quadruple rhythm pattern for the band:

    Timpani(on Bb), bass guitar (on Bb), tuba(on Bb), trombone (on Bb), and French Horn (on F), – dotted crotchet quaver pattern.
    Tenor saxophones(on C) and baritone saxophone(on G) – crotchet rest, 4 quavers, crotchet.
    Trumpets (on E) – 4 quavers, minim
    Alto saxes (on B) – 4 semiquavers, crotchet, 4 semiquavers, crotchet.
    Clarinets(on C)- crotchet, 4 semiquavers, crotchet, 4 semiquavers
    Flutes(on Bb above the stave)- triplet quavers, rest, triplet quavers, crotchet.
    Drumkit and auxilliary percussion – add a rock/funk/march/reggae, etc, beat!

    This warm up is quite fun and different every time, depending on the rhythms that spontaneously come to mind.

  • By Peter Francis Reply

    I have taught all levels of band from Beginner to university and professional level. I find the best warm ups for any level are geared at having the players develop the principals of good tone. I use the pyramid of balance principles. one of the best warm-ups to try is having play scales as a round. For example divide the band into 4 groups Bass sounds Tenor sounds Alto sounds and Soprano sounds have each group start the scale when the preceding group starts the third note of the scale. The ideal duration for each note is Minims(Half Notes)do not repeat the top note of the scale if playing the exercise both ascending and descending. With elementary bands this exercise can be done when the players know the first 5 notes of a scale.
    I also use the Kirwin hand signs to teach aural perception having the players play the tones of the scale I show them using the hand signs. this can be developed into melodic patterns.

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