In my brass band, we usually start rehearsals with a hymn tune to warm up. Hymn tunes make a good warm-up exercise, but not for the drummer: I usually have either tacet or long rests punctuated by pianissimo rolls which are a pig to play from cold.

What can I usefully be doing to warm up while the band is playing? It can't just be quiet: it must be completely silent to avoid interrupting the rest of the band. Even spinning my sticks around my fingers presents too much risk of noisily dropping one.

  • Hymns such as Onward Christian Soldiers may still suit the horns, whilst providing you with the opportunity to play a decent drum line.
    – Tim
    May 13, 2013 at 9:03
  • 1
    If you have the chance tighten up your ride cymbal/put a cloth over it then use drum mallets on them. At least you would get a chance to practice some singles/doubles but it's not completely silent. Do you have to be on stage while they are warming up? Geting a knee pad and staying somewhere you can warm-up is a better option.
    – user1306
    May 13, 2013 at 21:36
  • Ah yes, hymns. I don't know what our kit player does, setup I would imagine. Since it's summer now maybe its time to suggest that you run comfortable march instead of that second or third hymn, because you'll be needing them soon. May 24, 2014 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


Ideally when warming up with a large ensemble, it shouldn't be your first warmup of the day - regardless of what instrument you play.

Take a half-hour or so a few hours before your rehearsal and do a nice, solid warmup. When you meet the group for rehearsal, you'll just need a minute or so to get things moving again. For that, you could pat rudiments on your knees while sitting (since you really just need the wrist motion.) By the time the band gets to their goofy tune, you're good to go.

Having a separate warmup session from my rehearsal / practice sessions really helped improve my playing.

Hope that helps!

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