While many books focusing on fundamentals are available for trombonists, they can often be intimidating for young players. Those like Arban’s, Marsteller and Remington are wonderful for intermediate and advanced players, but not quite suitable for those just starting out. I've created a free beginner trombone warm up that's available on my brass quintet's blog. Visit this link to download the warm up. I'll be creating early intermediate and advanced intermediate daily routines in the next week or so.
Here are some points to consider for a young trombonist or any brass player deciding how to warm up and work on fundamentals:
Why do I need to warm-up? Brass instruments are very physically demanding, even if it is only of very small muscles in our face. We need to get our bodies prepared to use large quantities of air to make the least amount of work for these muscles, and get the blood flowing in these muscles to prepare for more challenging music. Begin your playing day by being gentle on your muscles, and using lots of air flow. We must consider ourselves to be like athletes, where warming up is not only essential for peak performance, but for injury prevention.
How long should my “warm-up” or “daily routine” be? The time you spend working on “warm-ups,” “daily routines,” or “fundamentals” should last about one-third of your playing time each day. While you may be warmed up enough after 5-10 minutes of playing to work on your etudes and solos, the rest of this allotted time should be focused on fundamental exercises.
Why can’t I just move on to my music after I’m warmed up? The skills that you develop while working on fundamentals transfer to the rest of your playing. Additionally, it’s unlikely that all aspects of playing will be covered in your current repertoire. Your “fundamentals” session allows you to maintain skills that may not be addressed in your repertoire at any given time. If you can play exercises covering fundamental skills at a high musical level, these skills will transfer to other music you play that involves these skills.
What are the fundamental skills that make up a daily routine? For your whole range:
Quality of breath in and out
Sustained sound or “long tones”
Crossing partials smoothly (lip slurs)
Variety of articulation
For trombonists, “legato tongue” is basically its own category
Crossing into different registers while maintaining a consistent tone quality and color
Dynamic control (all dynamics)
Flexibility when crossing partials and registers (meaning parts of playing range)
Certain exercises can cover multiple fundamental aspects at once, and you can also alternate exercises you play every other day if you run out of time to cover your entire routine.
Focus on quality over quantity. The way you play these exercises is probably the way you play everything else. Play with beauty of sound, as musically as you can, with the least amount of effort.