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This warm-up is designed to help players and conductors hear and improve section, group, and full band intonation, rhythmic precision, and balance in an efficient and musically satisfying way. 


The tune Nicaea was selected because of its easy-to-hear triads and intervals, and the harmonisation used throughout is purposely simple and consistent, so that the players can become very familiar with potential intonation trouble spots. Likewise, discrepancies in precision and balance will easily be heard. Keys have been carefully selected to expose specific intonation problems within the sections and groups, like the overlap between Eb and Bb instruments in the horns/baritones and later in euphoniums/basses, and 5th position tuning in the trombones. 


The format in sections 2 through 5 is consistent, beginning with a single section of the band playing in unison, then expanding into two-part and four-part harmony. After eight bars that section is joined by another section or sections to form a common multi-section group used in brass band scoring, such as the ‘mellow choir’, ‘low brass’, ‘tuba-euphonium choir’, and ‘bright choir’. Section 6 features the two largest groupings, the ‘all but cornets’ and ‘high brass’. Section 7 brings the whole band together for a majestic and powerful finish.


Duration: Approx. 5.10 minutes


Difficulty Level: 4th Section +


Sheet music available from



Soprano Cornet Eb

Solo Cornet Bb

Repiano Cornet Bb

2nd Cornet Bb

3rd Cornet Bb

Flugel Horn Bb

Solo Horn Eb

1st Horn Eb

2nd Horn Eb

1st Baritone Bb

2nd Baritone Bb

1st Trombone Bb

2nd Trombone Bb

Bass Trombone

Euphonium Bb

Bass Eb

Bass Bb

Percussion 1-2

Nicaea - Band Warm-up (Brass Band) John Bacchus Dykes arr. Steve Kellner

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