Clarinet Warm-Up Tips

11th May 2020

We’re joined by Ben Mellefont (Principal Clarinet, London Philharmonic Orchestra + Yamaha Performing Artist) to discuss the importance of warming up correctly, and some top tips of how to do it…


Whatever time you do or don’t have for practice, think about your warm-up as always being worthy of a percentage of it. So, instead of setting a specific warm-up timescale, just think of it as perhaps 15-20% of your overall practice time.

As Ben mentions, you will feel much happier playing when your body and mind are set correctly and relaxed. This time is important for you to physically and mentally engage in the physical demands of playing a wind instrument.

Lets check out some of the tips below:

  • Begin without your instrument: Think about your posture, breathing and relaxing your body
  • Be attentive to the tension caused by holding your instrument. Don’t let this become a negative tension as it will affect you physically and mentally.
  • Start playing with some interval exercises, try moving up in 4ths or 5ths across the range of the instrument. Concentrate on a steady air flow and a supported, fluid sound.
  • Introduce some exercises to warm-up your fingers and increase your dexterity. Think about scale exercises, chromatic runs and other technique based passages.

Don’t forget, warming-up IS part of your practice routine and can greatly improve the efficiency of your practice time!

About Ben Mellefont

Benjamin Mellefont was born in Sydney, Australia. He was appointed Principal Clarinet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019, having previously held the same position with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he also appeared as a soloist. He has also played as Guest Principal with many of the orchestras in the UK and Australia, and at festivals such as Salzburg, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh. 

Benjamin graduated in 2015 from the Royal College of Music with First Class Honours as the Tegner Scholar, having studied with Barnaby Robson, Richard Hosford, Timothy Lines and Michael Collins. Whilst there he won the Clarinet Prize and Concerto Competition. He has examined and given classes at several of the UK’s conservatoires, and since 2019 has been a Professor of Clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music. Benjamin plays Yamaha YCL-CSGH Bb and YCL_CSGH A Clarinets.

Check out Ben’s recent videos with us about Clarinet Tone Exercises and ‘Practicing Difficult Passages of Music’.