Do you stress about practicing flute warmups because you never have new ones? Instead of looking for new books, create your own exercises.
Then, you can make sure the exercises will meet your needs. And you can make up stuff for each new piece you learn.
Before we get into the steps, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
One of the best things you can do to create flute warmups is to improvise. I know, it’s hard for those of us with classical music training. We all learned to read music from the page.
However, improvising can be really fun once you get the hang of it. You get to explore new melodies and sounds that you wouldn’t otherwise.
And you might just find some of your improvisations make great flute warmups. I first learned to improvise in high school, but it’s never too late to flex those muscles as a flutist.
Play Pop Melodies
Another one of my favorite ways to warm up is to play pop melodies. I especially love finding more lyrical passages and playing along with the recording. Or you can play on your own.
Either way, lyrical melodies are great for working on your tone and intonation. I have used MuseScore to find original scores of pop and move songs. But you can also buy the sheet music of specific songs you like.
Of course, if you have a good ear, you can use your aural skills. I’ve started to do that, and I find it’s much easier to do with songs I’ve heard thousands of times.
Consider Your Current Repertoire
You can also use your current repertoire to come up with flute warmups. For example, I created a few exercises based on the J.S. Bach Partita. Then, I included those exercises in the Partita Practice Guide for you to use.
Look at the more lyrical or technical passages in your music. Figure out what sections are the most difficult for you as well. Start messing around with those (using your improv skills) to come up with new exercises.
You can also try transposing tricky parts to different keys. That helps me get to know the intervals, which can help me play better in the original key.
Find the Main Notes
If you’re working on music with a lot of notes, focus on the main pitches. There may be some notes that are more “important” than the others. For example, you might focus on the notes on the beat when there are continuous 16ths.
The specifics can vary from piece to piece and between movements. Once you figure out the main notes, you can play just those pitches. Follow the same rhythms as the overall piece.
You can focus more on your tone that way to help get started play. Another option is to emphasize those notes but play all of the pitches. That way, you can practice playing fast but have a place to “rest” every so often.
Transpose What You Have
I briefly mentioned this, but you can transpose your music and current flute warmups to new keys. That forces you to focus on the intervals and the overall sound, and you can practice your transposition skills.
Of course, the flute is in concert pitch, and the piccolo and bass flute are also in C. But the alto flute is in G, so you may want to practice transposing up or down a fourth.
If you play the piccolo a lot, you can also practice transposing up a half step. That way, you can play music for the Db piccolo but on your modern C piccolo.
Make Scales Fun
Scales play a huge role in many flute warmups, but they can be boring. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make them interesting.
First, you can play with the tempo and rhythm. Try playing scales as fast as you can without sacrificing accuracy. On the other hand, you may use scales to also practice long tones.
When I was at the NFA Convention, I went to a workshop on scales. The presenters, Erika Boysen and Katherine Emeneth, put the scales to pop songs. You can figure out the key of songs and play the coordinating scale with a backing track.
Adapt Existing Warmups
Another fantastic option is to edit flute warmups you already have. You can change a lot of warmups to meet your needs. For example, the exercises in the Taffanel and Gaubert book let you use different articulations.
You can also adapt other exercises that you play each day. Maybe you make a schedule and assign each day some new version of a scale. That way, you don’t have to create a warmup from scratch.
However, you can revitalize your practice routine. No two days will be the same, and that can keep you from getting bored with playing the flute. You can do a lot with some of the standards.
Notate the Exercises
If you create some flute warmups that you want to use again, write them down. I use Symphony Pro for most of my music notation needs. It’s an affordable iPad app that you only have to pay for once.
The app offers plenty of features for your personal use. But you can also use notation paper or a free app like MuseScore. What I like about Symphony Pro, though, is that it’s easy to use your iPad on a music stand.
That makes it even easier to notate exercises while I’m practicing. I don’t have to quickly pull out my computer to write down the warmups I want to keep.
What’s Wrong With the Current Flute Warmups?
Nothing is inherently wrong with the flute warmups we have. However, playing the same ones day after day can get repetitive and boring.
If you want to continue to enjoy your practice sessions, you should make up your own exercises. That helps you keep things fresh for the next day or week.
What If I Want New Flute Warmups but Don’t Want to Create Them?
If you want some new flute warmups but don’t have time to make them, you can commission me. Let me know what you’re looking for regarding the exercises.
Then, I can create some samples for you to use yourself or with your students.
Use Flute Warmups to Enjoy Practicing
Do you want to improve your practice routine? You may want to ditch your old, worn out flute warmups.
That way, you can look forward to getting your flute out of the case.
Are you looking for warmups for the C.P.E. Bach Sonata in A Minor? Download the Bach Sonata Practice Guide!