On a pianists’ discussion site, someone recently asked how s/he should warm up.
The details of the question included 2 choices:
- Hanon exercises.
- Soaking the hands in hot water à la Glenn Gould.
Does that make you feel curious? Why would someone ask that question? Why would anyone need to?
Several thoughts came to mind:
- Does this person know when s/he feels warmed up?
- Does s/he want someone else to offer the perfect solution?
- How would it work for someone else to tell you? Every pianist is different.
- Finding several different ways to warm up would be a good idea. By polling other pianists, someone might find what works best for them. However, the question was not asked in that way.
- Reality check: I would be reluctant to rely on the hot water idea as my only warm up. There are so many churches, schools, and other venues where only cold water is available. You would have to travel with a device to heat your own water! Another option would be to ask your concert presenter, audition checkin person, stage manager, etc. to heat water for you. Does anyone think that would be a good idea?
Having a variety of ways to warm up is something we can count on when Plan A doesn’t work out.
- Sometimes gigs are early in the day. Warming up before leaving would wake up the neighbors.
- Sometimes transportation arrives late. Warming up in the car or on the train is sometimes the only option.
- Sometimes the stage hands will be making repairs, setting up on stage, etc., making a warmup on the concert instrument impossible. We won’t know until we arrive at the venue.
- Sometimes the keyboard setup crew is inexperienced. Adjusting the height of the keyboard and bench could take much longer than expected, encroaching upon warmup time.
- Sometimes other musicians need to talk to you, warm up themselves, run over their solos, etc. No keyboard warmup time is available when that happens.
There are many other possible scenarios. You get the idea.
Each person is unique! Each of us needs to know what we require. If someone else warms up differently, that doesn’t need to affect our confidence in what we do.