Every single day in band, we warm up as a group. Warm up is not the most significant part of class as far as the amount of time spent (probably only 10-15% of the period), but it is perhaps the most important time of the whole class period, because it will determine whether students:
- will be physically prepared to play their instrument most e!ectively for the entire class period,
- and will be mentally aware of the elements of music that they will need to execute as we prepare our concert music during the rest of the class period.
Warm up is di!erent for each of my classes as stated earlier, based on each class’ developmental readiness, but regardless of level there are several elements of music that I feel are important in a warm up:
- Tone – Playing with a characteristic tone is of utmost importance, even (especially!) at the beginning stages of learning to play an instrument.
- Pitch – Notes are either “right” or “wrong.” Pitch has to be correct, and I begin teaching students what this means as soon as we begin playing.
- Intonation – Once students have enough physical capability to play in tune, it is necessary to work on this each day.
- Articulation – Essential to playing music with stylistic appropriateness and aplomb. Articulation will determine whether the style is played correctly, and may also alter other fundamental aspects of musical playing, such as tone or pitch.
- Rhythm – A rhythm is either “right” or “wrong,” and students need to know the di!erence between the two, with confidence.
- Range – Students must be able to play the notes as high or as low as the music demands.
- Flexibility – Students must be able to change from one note to another at the speed the music demands.
Based on developmental level, some areas are more important than others at times. For example, in my Beginning Band, I am not going to be very concerned with intonation during the first couple of weeks when they can barely hold the instruments properly! However, as soon as students are ready we begin working on what it means to play with good intonation.
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