Incorporate a saxophone warm-up with every playing session, even if it's just a minute or two long. Your warm-up could include arm, hand, finger, or shoulder stretches, long tones, scales/finger technique warm-ups, breathing exercises, and more.
View, download, or print our saxophone warm-ups below. Try incorporating a different warm-up each time you practice depending on what you'll be working on. For example, if you working on developing a better tone, try one of the tone warm-ups.
Why Are Saxophone Warm-Ups Important?
Saxophone warm-ups are important because they help prepare your mind, body, and saxophone for the performance or practice session ahead. They also help build good habits and muscle memory.
Just like you stretch and warm up for a sport to improve performance and reduce injury, saxophone warm-ups help accomplish the same thing.
For example, if you are working on building your finger technique to play fast licks or solos, then spending a few minutes to isolate relaxed finger movement will help you build strong technique. Similarly, tone warm-ups help you isolate breath support, embouchure, and production of sound so that when you move on to practice and performance and have a lot of other factors on your mind, your tone will be nice and locked in.
Frequently Asked Questions About Warming Up
How long should you spend warming up?
We would advise spending at least two minutes warming up, but beyond that, the length of time is less important than the quality of the time. The two most important things about a warm-up are:
Making it a routine. It's like a morning routine. It helps you start your day (or practice session) with a certain sense of confidence and stability.
Doing or playing something that supports what you are about to work on or perform. For example, stretching your arms and shoulders, and working on slow, relaxed finger technique for a few minutes helps you get in the right mental and physical place to play at your best. You could even incorporate a bit of meditation in your warm-up as well, like our Meditative Saxophone Warm-Up (coming soon).
In summary, focus less on the amount of time and more on the content of your warm-up. We suggest incorporating the warm-up stretches at the top of this page, plus another warm-up of your choosing (based on what you're working on at the time).
How do you "warm up a saxophone"?
To warm up a saxophone, all you have to do is move air through the instrument. The warm air from your body will warm the instrument. A warm saxophone versus a cold saxophone will primarily help you play more in tune, but can also improve tone and response from the instrument. If your saxophone was left in very cold temperatures (below 50 degrees or so) ALWAYS let your saxophone come to room temperature before you play.