Canonbury Brass – warmups – horsey flaps

Working through a warmup
Horsey flaps – an important start to our warmup

We start our warmup with horsey flaps because it is relaxed and easy and gets us going without needing much special effort or setup.

I've looked and looked for a really good video of a horse doing horsey flaps. Maximum fail. Why is this so difficult? I don't know. People seem to only put up videos of their horses when they do something funny or amazing, and horse owners don't seem to think that this is either. I will demonstrate it in the Class Dojo video for today, but I would still love to find a good horse video. Send me a great link and I will reward you with dojos.

Remember that horsey flaps are meant to be super-relaxed. No tension or stress - it is NOT supposed to be your proper playing set-up, just a floppy and slightly silly noise to get started.

I think that nearly everyone is OK doing this but let's talk it through just to make sure.

It might help you to put some warmup backing music on - I would! Please see the previous card, or go up to the page top, hit Warmups and go and choose one. Try and get a quiet moment, as much as you can, to try this on your own or at least with gentle support from who's nearby.

  • Teeth touching or pretty close together.
  • Keep everything relaxed.
  • Think of that impatient or happy horse we talked about in class.
  • Think about saying "PUUUUH" or "BUUUUUUH" but in a really relaxed, floppy, lazy way.
  • Don't try to say a serious, real word with a P like PAPA or POMEGRANATE or PENCIL because they will all make you focus the P too much and tense up the lips - you want it to be like you can't be bothered!
  • Try and feel like you have big lazy fat lips like a great big horse and you just make this PUUUH or BUUUH movement or something halfway between them. Just don't focus on the lips, don't say the syllable too clearly - remember you can't be bothered!
  • And just as you do say the sound, let your lips stick out a bit more and give them an extra little puff of air and, we hope, they start flapping then you just keep the air going just enough to keep them moving.
  • and that's your horsey flaps.
  • think relaxed.
  • think floppy lips.
  • think lazy, no effort.
And finally don't overdo it practising this. Think about how we do it in class. About three seconds each, maybe three or four goes with a pause and a breath between? That's enough - it is a gently floppy exercise, not the Olympics.

You can go to the main Warmups page by clicking this link.
Warmup navigation: Using backing music – Horsey flaps – Buzzy lips – Mouthpiece buzz
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