WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Long tones for warming up and hitting bulls eye


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    • #73104

      During all my “trumpet playing life” I have played with a focus on the “bulls eye”. To play in tune has almost become an obsession, which sometimes make me to hesitate and close down when I feel that I will not deliver the coming notes. When I hear other musicians don’t care about their finetuning, I almost get sores in the ears.
      However here is my point: In the search for good warm up technique, I found something that both strengthen my embouchure and combine with a procedure that fine tune my hearing and adjustment. I have started to practice long tones with accompaniment,as a warm up – or stretching down after practice.
      I found helpful MP3-files from Walter White (
      I play one set (there are many key/tones to choose between) during 20 minutes, breathing only through the nose, holding the tone in tune for 8 beets at 60 bpm and taking air during 2 beets. The background orchestral accompaniment makes it enjoyable, specially when I turn off the lights in the room. I prefer to hear my self via the microphone and loudspeakers. It’s like a yoga pass and a nice feeling to both the embouchure and the mind.
      – Are there any other of you, practicing long tones?? What do you think about pros & cons?

    • #73129

      Thanks for sharing this, Bo!

      I watched a master class given by Jens Lindemann on YouTube and he mentioned the Walter White drones. I keep meaning to try those but never think about it / keep forgetting.

      Lately, I have been thinking about doing long tones as I have found myself getting a bit stiff and I’ve been kind of pushing myself a bit on my range, doing lots of flexibility exercises, technical studies, etc.

      I’ve felt a desire / need to spend some quality time on long tones. Thank you for the reinforcement / reminder.

      I have heard that too much of one or the other (long tones, flexibility exercises / harmonic slurs, etc.), just like anything, can be a bad thing.

      I tried the Claude Gordon Systematic Approach Lesson One–you basically start with long tones descending from middle C on the staff down to pedal C (or as far as you can go, even below that) holding each out for as long as you can with one breath. Then you rest at least 15 minutes, then do the same thing but ascending from where you left off (pedal C or below) up as high as you can possibly go…

      It was not a good experience…as you could imagine, it was incredibly boring and painful–you are supposed to crescendo until the pitch cuts off and your lungs are empty and you start to shake…on every note…

      But I gave it a try as many great players have said it works. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me and it seemed to set me back a bit, actually.

      In my opinion, part of the problem with Gordon’s Lesson One is that the instructions are to crescendo and “blow stronger” as you ascend. While good air is crucial, this led to my overblowing above the staff. I have been thinking about giving it another go, although not exactly following all the instructions verbatim, but instead using good air / air support, but playing a comfortable dynamic, not trying to crescendo–at least not at first.

      I too have found / felt long tones help me zero in on a good tone, a good “Shape” and finding the optimum spot of the note where maximum resonance lies.

      I’m going to give the Walter White long tones a try this week and I’ll let you know how it goes–I think it will be good for me.

    • #73179

      Had trouble downloading the Walter White long tones last night, so did the Claude Gordon systematic approach last night…

      Yep…I hated how I felt today! Felt stiff and like I had to work for hours to undo what that did to my chops… At one point, while playing the CG exercise, I actually felt like it was doing something good for my chops–a “good burn” in the corners.

      I sounded pretty good today, played relatively well, but just felt stiff and a bit numb and hated how I felt. I did lips slurs and harmonic slurs, flexibility and played a lot of music and felt better by the end of the day.

      Just bought the Walter White background mp3’s–had some trouble with his website, but got it down.

      I’ll give it a go tonight or tomorrow and see what it does for me. My recollection is that I heard Walter White used long tones to get his chops into shape. I probably need to be careful and not overdo it–perhaps that’s what happened when I played the CG routine.

    • #73183

      I had some problems with the downloading as well. It seems that the website is not always functioning very well, so Walter sent me the files another way.
      Yes be careful and do not overdo it. I started the first week with 20 minutes long tones in the morning, plus som practising in the late afternoon, and ended up with another 20 minutes long tones before going to bed. It was too much for me – I lost 2-3 tones on top of my range. I guess my lips got swollen. Now I’m doing the 20 minutes only once a day and I feel much better. I think the routine with long tones can build embouchure if we take it slowly.

    • #73213

      Thanks Bo, that’s very helpful. I had a feeling I overdid it. That makes sense. I’ll make sure to drop back to 20 minutes or so and see how that goes.

    • #73315

      Two ideas here, not sure they hit the mark on this thread, but thought I’d share.
      1. I arranged 30 second segments of the drone MP3s Greg offers on the site into 3 groups, 1/2 steps rising from C-G, G-C, C-G, with a 60 second rest between each group. Makes for a nice 13 minute long tone exercise at the end of the day.
      2. Play one of Greg’s drones (they are a bit over 5 minutes long each) simultaneously with a beat generator to create an interesting environment for improvising. I use the SmartDrums feature in Garage Band for this. For variety on the long tone exercises, I set the tempo at 60 and play the SmartDrums behind the drone groupings in item 1. Eyes closed, darkened room…

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