4 Double Reed Warm Practices to add variation, enjoyment and control

Dear Ones,  Below are a few warm up routines perfect for double reed players which you can customize to fit your and/or your student's needs!

Warm Ups:
A) Building long tones with moderate dynamic control practice:

  1.  play a note for 1 second f, rest a second, then repeat the same note p for one second, and rest for a second. Do this with several random notes in the lower range
  2. repeat this pattern for 2 seconds, then 4 seconds, then 8 seconds, etc. - as long as you wish

PLEASE NOTE: aim for total control creating gorgeous beginning and end of note in perfect intonation. Go for all out precision. Pay attention to embouchure, diaphragmatic breathing, posture....directing air stream with maximum air speed regardless of dynamic. Remember to remind students that dynamics are controlled by embouchure, not air speed. Help student to practice precision precisely! Otherwise - it's like sharpening a knife incorrectly - waste of time and causes problems.

teachers: if you wish, play at the same time with student, creating random intervals - feel free to stop and ask (or tell) the student what interval was just created

B) Limited long tones, building dynamic range practice in limited register practice:

  • 12 second long tones ranging from lowest D to half holed D, practicing crescendo for 6 and decrescendo for 6 with 6 second rest in between notes.

teachers: if you wish, play a perfect interval simultaneously with advanced students
suggestions: practice this with chromatic ascension scale, or predetermined mode with a D tonic, such as D Dorian, or D harmonic minor, or D major etc...and/or have student create a synthetic scale or hexatonic scale....

C) Articulation control builder with dynamic control:

  1. metronome on 60: start with one pitch and one dynamic (first space F is a good suggestion and its a good practice to practice the various fingerings and hearing the different colors of this one particular note!) play for a second, rest for a second, repeat as many times as you can stand it. Trust me - 12 times isn't enough - make it at least 20. (50 X is enough).
  2. repeat above with same note only this time, alternate ff and pp
  3. repeat 1 and 2 with a different note: use your judgement with what note you pick and why keeping in mind how warm or cold your instrument is and age of the reed your student is using (this is a good exercise to help student's learn discernment of reed choice for certain practices and performance...)

It's very helpful to repeat this exercise later on, in your oboe practice when reed and player are in a different condition. : )


Repeat this exercise right away with a different reed.

Variation 1: play note f for one second, p for one second then rest for two seconds.
Variation 2: play note p for 2 seconds, f for 2 seconds then rest for 4

D) Register Builder with dynamic control:

  1. Play lowest note on instrument f for 2 seconds, then p for 2 then seconds rest for 2 seconds
  2. repeat but with the same pitch up one octave
  3. repeat # 1 a minor 2nd higher
    and so on until you go as high as you can or choose

    Variation: Start with a the note of your choice and ascend chromatically a 1/2 step at a time for as high as you can or choose to go. I do suggest the octave practice at least half the time to develop intonation, association and context.

    Alright - that's enough for now! Happy oboe (bassoon) playing.
    To whom it may concern - I'm available for SKYPE and/or in person coaching of my teaching methods and compositions.

    Best wishes for fulfilling musical experiences!
    Kathryn Potter