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polling station
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Did you warm up today?

Strings Daily, a newsletter, recently published “Warm Up Before the Concert Like a Professional.”

Another good article on the subject appears on Gerald Klickstein’s* blog.

For me, warming up is important.  How about you?

Some musicians feel like they’re warmed up already if they’ve been playing often.  Others feel like warming up is not necessary.  Waste of time.

There are many ways to warm up

Some possibilities:

  • finger exercises
  • Hanon
  • Czerny
  • Chopin etudes
  • scales/arpeggios
  • stretching away from instrument

How long does it take?

That is an individual thing.  How long does it take you?

You may have one type of warmup for daily use.  This might be plenty for practice and rehearsal days.

Sometimes it’s fun to mix it up!

Perhaps you would want to warm up with specific passages before concerts.

Has your warmup changed over time?

Is your warmup different for various situations?

  • a piano with easier or stiffer action than your own instrument
  • does the size of the hall affect what you do?
  • do acoustics affect your warmup?

Can you warm up in the car?

That may sound silly.  But sometime you might need to try it!

Do you know when you are warmed up?

I’m asking because I couldn’t always tell.  Sight-reading for hours would not result in my being ready to practice.

Why do you warm up?

  • to avoid injury?
  • because your teacher told you to?

Just checking.  It can be such a mindless activity.  Have you ever thought about it?

Warming up is an important element in maintaining your playing for a long time to come.

A useful book

After years of not warming up effectively, I purchasedRational Principles of Pianoforte Technique” by Alfred Cortot.  It is quite expensive, but well worth the price.  It’s available in French and English versions.

This volume is packed with a variety of finger exercises.  Although the first few exercises are easy, you are then asked to move up 1/2 step at a time and repeat.  It’s amazing how a slightly different hand position can change everything!

I completed about 1/2 the book over a 6-month period, and can’t recommend it highly enough.

These days, I begin with Cortot, then add two Liszt finger exercises, for a total of about 10 minutes.  After that, if I’m becoming accustomed to a piano before a concert, I add passages from the program in order to check out the register breaks (so melodies sound even), pedals, dynamic changes, soft endings, the way trills feel, and anything else I need to know about.  My choices are not random, but are used to calibrate dynamics, listen to how the pedals engage, and other variables that change from instrument to instrument.

What do you do?  Please participate in the short survey below.  Only 3 questions!

Click here to complete the survey!

Thank you! Results posted next week!

*Gerald Klickstein is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and author of “The Musician’s Way.”

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