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Dr. Z's Magic Warm Up

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Invest time in this daily routine for incredible results in your playing.

Long tones

1. Play major or minor scales with a metronome marking quarter beats at 100 and holding each note for four counts for one octave starting on a low e. Wait for eight beats at the top and then descend the same way. Do not breathe within each octave of the scale. Before the next scale (starting notes always can be one half step higher) lower the tempo to 96, then 92, 88, etc. on subsequent scales until the player can execute a scale in this manner in whole notes at quarter note equals 60 without breathing within the scale. Use a tuner. Pay close attention to posture, air, relaxed fingers, and legato connections. 

2. Start on low “a” and play fortissimo but with a good sound and high tongue position. Without stopping the air stream add the register key so that you are now playing “e” in the clarion at mp. With very legato fingers, lift the index finger on the left hand so that you are now playing a “c#” in the altissimo at pp. Breathe. Then play a low “a” to “a#” in the chalumeau register at ff, again add the register key (mp) and then lift the left index finger (pp) so you will have played a#-f-d. Continue this exercise exercising smooth control in all of the partials.


1. Speed-Start on throat e and tongue as quickly as possible between 2 throat “e”s starting the first one pianissimo and finishing fortissimo. Think of expelling a massive rush of air while keeping the tongue high. Repeat four times. Proceed to do this in every octave.

Then continue on to an “f” and repeat the exercise with 3 “f”s, continue in all octaves. Move on to 4 “f#”s and continue on in this manner until executing 9 fast and crescendoing note repeats using lots of air and minimal but efficient tongue motion.

2. Endurance-Put the metronome on the fastest quarter note speed that you can play repeated sixteenth notes for one measure in common time. Then increase the duration of the exercise by one measure at a time until you are playing four measures of repeated sixteenth notes at this speed. Pick a different note for each day in all the octaves.

3. Langenus Complete Method for the Clarinet, book three, etude number 11-start at eighth note equals 100 and then speed up as fast as possible. Use strong air support, relaxed but efficient fingers, and a high and light tongue. Other important etudes are the Kell 17 Staccato Studies and number 4 out of Rose 32 Etudes.


1. Play the Daily Practice of Diatonic Scales page of the Klosé Celebrated Method for the Clarinet (page 123 in some books) slurred using the metronome mark achieved in articulation exercise number 2 (see above) but use this as the eighth beat and play the scale exercise first all slurred and then all articulated. Eventually work this up to sixteenths having the same speed as articulation exercise number 2.

2. Play major and minor scales, thirds, and arpeggios at the same speed as articulation exercise number 2 slurred and then in mixed articulation patterns.

This exercise should be combined and varied with Klosé and Langenus exercises in thirds, chromatic scales, and arpeggios.

Suggested materials: metronome, tuner, Klosé-Celebrated Method for the Clarinet, Langenus-Complete Method for the Clarinet, Carl Baermann-Complete Method, 3rd Division, Rose 32 and 40 Etudes, Kell 17 Staccato Studies (all Carl Fischer)



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