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  • Writer's pictureLilly Yang

How to Warm up on Flute | My Favourite Warm-Up Exercises

Hello fluters! Today I'll be talking through some of my favourite exercises to do when warming up for a practice session.

These exercises are just what have worked well for me, so if you have a flute teacher, make sure you consult with them to come up with a warm up routine that best suits your goals.

Most of the resources I'm about to go through are available for download on IMSLP, but for those of you who like to play on paper copies, I will list all the purchase links at the very bottom of the blog post.

Let's get started!

I personally believe that it is very important to take your time warming up at the start of your practice. Much like exercising, if you get into playing technical music too soon without warming up properly, you could end up over-exerting your muscles and injuring yourself. Taking the proper amount of time you need to warm up will allow you to get into an optimal state of playing, both physically and mentally, much more smoothly.

The first thing I play when I pick up my flute is an exercise that allows me to blow through my instrument and change through a few different notes to encourage movement in my hands. Some of my favourite warm up exercises are:

1. Slow major or minor scales all slurred, spanning 1-2 octaves, played very slowly focusing on the legato and clean fingering changes

2. Tone exercises that aren't just really long notes ie. the first four exercises in Moyse's Art of Sonority and the sonority exercises in Paul Edmund-Davies' The 28 Day Warm Up Book.

3. Slow melodies with lots of legato articulations. Some books that have a good collection of these are Moyse's 24 Melodic Studies, Moyse's Tone Development Through Interpretation and Section 1 of Trevor Wye's Complete Daily Exercises for the Flute.

Things I try to listen out for when I'm going through these exercises are whether my sound is clear, resonant, full and focused. Because these exercises are quite simple, it is a great opportunity to be critical of your tone and intervals to make sure that they really are as smooth as you can get them.

Personally it takes about twenty minutes before my lips and fingers feel fully warmed up and ready to play through some highly technical repertoire, but for a beginner/intermediate flute student who isn't playing incredibly difficult music, they may only need ten to fifteen minutes to warm up fully.

The slow scales and melodies make up the first half of my warm up routine and the second half is made up of technical work and etudes/studies. Once I move into the second half of my warm up routine, my scales will become full range and I will begin to work through technical exercises from books such as Moyse's Exercises Journaliers, Moyse's 480 Scales & Arpeggios, Taffanel and Gaubert's 17 Daily Exercises, Trevor Wye's Advanced Practice - Book 6 and Reichert's 7 Daily Exercises Op. 5. There are a lot of flute technique books around, but these ones are the most well-known and widely-used amongst tertiary flute students and professional flutists. If I have enough time, I will also try to squeeze in an etude/study to incorporate all that technical work into a piece of music.

And that is how I warm up at the start of my practice sessions. For some more flute tips and information, feel free to check out 5 Practice Tips for Beginner Flute Players and 5 Ways for Intermediate-Advanced Flute Players to Improve Their Practice.

Flute Technique Books:

🎼Moyse: The Art of Sonority -

🎼Moyse: 24 Little Melodic Studies for Flute -

🎼Moyse: Tone Development Through Interpretation -

🎼Moyse: Daily Exercises -

🎼Moyse: 480 Scales and Arpeggios -

🎼Taffanel and Gaubert: 17 Daily Exercises -

🎼Trevor Wye: Complete Daily Exercises -

🎼Trevor Wye: Advanced Practice Book 6 -

🎼Paul Edmund-Davies: The 28 Day Warm Up -

Happy fluting and see you in the next post!


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