AdministratorNovember 22, 2016 at 11:12 am
Really important question. It’s tough to recommend a specific warmup routine, as it depends on the instrument, the person, and so on, but I do have a couple suggestions.
1. Practice your warm-up routine ahead of time. Experiment with different warm-up routines, of different length, so you know what works, and what doesn’t. One of the main things I think you’re trying to do in a warm-up is to get connected with your instrument, to turn your ears on, and your kinesthetic senses on so you are really able to get into that mode where you are really sensing things and hearing, and conceiving what you want in your mind’s ear, rather than worrying, thinking, analyzing, and micromanaging technique. So perhaps really really slow scales, or single notes, or long tones, or really basic things where you can really practice loosening up and playing with ease, may be the most effective in getting you “warmed up.”
2. The most effective warm-up routines also tend to be rather odd-sounding, or at least not very impressive to listen to. We tend to feel self-conscious in public, and often don’t utilize the actual warm-up routine or exercises that would be most helpful, but instead run through some scales really quickly or play some tunes on autopilot without really settling into things, and connecting with our instrument. If it helps you to play the same note over and over, just to hear your sound, then go for it. I have a colleague who just plays the same note, while systematically manipulating bow pressure. Sounds weird in theory, and in practice, but it helps him feel more comfortable and get warmed up.