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Pre-practice warm-ups -- with dance music

Jim Hastings

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Published: October 31, 2015 at 8:38 PM [UTC]

Even though I can’t dance, I’ve loved dance music for as long as I remember. Whatever the genre -- classic rock, Big Bands, ballet -- as long as you don’t crank up the volume too loud, I can go with it. I find it great prep for violin practice.

I’m physically fit to dance. I just don’t know how. You’re probably wondering, “What was the problem?” Oh, I learned some basic steps as a kid in school. Who didn’t? But what little I learned, I’ve forgotten. One problem was that, in the learning process, I usually managed to get stuck with the girls I didn’t like -- or the ones who didn’t like me.

But at least …

I can walk. And I don’t take that for granted. Having broken a shinbone at age 11, and having spent a couple of months in a cast afterward, I know what a blessing, indeed, full mobility is.

My normal routine now is three walks a day, about 20 minutes at a stretch. In winter, the evening session is indoors. With two doors propped open, about 30 feet apart, ’round and ’round I go through four rooms at about 3.5 mph, listening to music tracks on YouTube or radio or CD. After 20 minutes, my feet and hands are warmed up -- and stay warm a long time afterward. Warm hands, I find, are a great aid in getting a quick grip and secure traction on the violin fingerboard. Thanks to the music I’ve already listened to, I’m mentally and emotionally pumped up as well for the practice session.

Check out these tracks -- three of the hundreds of selections I’ve played over the years during evening walks. All three start in the key of D, great for violin playing, and two of them end there. Runtimes are to nearest 5-second intervals.

Delibes, Leo.
Coppelia: Act I Mazurka.
Bolshoi Ballet. 4:20.

Meyerbeer, Giacomo -- arranged by Constant Lambert.
Les Patineurs (The Skaters).
From Act III of Le Prophète.
Radio-Philharmonie Hannover. Conductor: Michail Jurowski. 18:10.

Weber, Carl Maria von.
Aufforderung zum Tanze (Invitation to the Dance).**
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Perry So. 9:15.

**Transposed from original piano version, which is in D-Flat.

Abridged and adapted from original post, “I can’t dance, but …,” published October 14, 2015, on my own blog.

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