V.com weekend vote: What do you play for your 10-minute warm-up?

September 13, 2019, 11:51 AM · Let's say you arrive to the performance -- or to your lesson -- with less than 10 minutes to warm up. What will you play?

playing with mirror

There are all kinds of options -- some people play open strings. Some play scales and arpeggios, and that can take a lot of different forms: you can play one octave or up to four. You can play major scales, minor scales. And then there are double-stop scales! Arpeggios have many permutations as well. I've noticed some of my colleagues warming up with Schradieck exercises that they have committed to memory, or another etude that works particularly well for them.

Another colleague mentioned open strings - there is a whole world to playing open strings.

And let's not forget incorporating various bowings into the warm-up.

BTW, if you need more ideas or want to enhance your current routine, a nice reference is Simon Fischer's 2011 book, called Warming Up.

If I had 10 minutes to warm up, I'd likely turn to the routine I've had for years: a Galamian three-octave acceleration scale, with a number of bowings (slurred, detache, spiccato, ricochet and sometimes up and down-bow staccato). I find this to be effective in getting my muscles firing, in connecting with the instrument, and also in making me feel calm and relaxed.

Do you have any interesting warm-up rituals? Please vote, and share your thoughts below.

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September 13, 2019 at 05:59 PM · I usually warm up with scales (in the key of the piece I’m working on), and arpeggios. I then make sure to go over any tricky or complex passages that I have stressed over ??!

September 13, 2019 at 08:07 PM · "Something else I'll describe below."

I'm not taking lessons anymore -- actually haven't had any since finishing school. But in this situation, or getting ready for a performance, I'd run through 10 minutes, about half, of my initial daily warm-up routine, which takes about 20 minutes:

- Bowing exercises on open strings.

- Left-hand finger exercises, Schradieck type, on each string without bow, 3rd position.

- Vibrato exercises on each string, 3rd position.

- Same two items above, 1st position, to open up left hand still more.

- Galamian scales.

- Shifts.

- Double-stops.

Once I've done initial daily warm-up, I don't have to re-do the whole thing till next day. Just a quick review, no more than 10 minutes will do. As long as the room has the right conditions -- enough heat and moisture for secure hand grip and reliable traction -- I'm good to go.

I've had the Fischer book several years and highly recommend it.

September 13, 2019 at 08:23 PM · I do various scales in various positions. Starting in fourth position (that is as high as my arthritic thumbs will permit) and work my way down the fingerboard through third, second, first and half. Basically from the shortest stretch between notes down to the longest. Interestingly, it does take about 10 minutes to complete. It also makes me work through all four "attitudes" (Doflein speak) so I have to manage all the intervals.

September 13, 2019 at 10:04 PM · Scales and arpeggios in G, D, A, C and F plus an intonaton exercise across the four strings followed by a pass thru Tricia Spencer's chord chart and yes, I am a fiddler and yes, it will fit in ten minutes.

September 13, 2019 at 11:07 PM · In winter I put my hands in a bowl of warm water to loosen them (no central heating but it’s rarely below 10 C.)

Them tuning, son file’ and scales/arpeggios.


September 14, 2019 at 01:21 AM · I like taking difficult passages from whatever I'm working on: playing them very slowly, then speeding them up, and then doing the same thing in 3 or 4 different keys. I feel it warms up my mind too. :)

In addition o that, I often just improvise some kind of lick that I try to take all the way up the fingerboard and then back down.

September 14, 2019 at 02:18 AM · My go-to quick warmup starts with the Allemande from Bach Cello Suite No. 1 (on viola). It's good for clearing the mind, and as such it's as much a mental warmup as a physical one.

Then, after that, some scales and arpeggios and/or Schradieck, depending on what I feel I need at that moment.

September 14, 2019 at 04:07 AM · I play the hard parts of what I’m working on. Often there’s a scale in there somewhere but it has a non-standard fingering and a regular scale would be a distraction.

September 14, 2019 at 04:16 AM · For classical events; a left-hand exercise I call Taps and Lifts. Octave shifts. One chromatic scale. Parallel octaves to set the distance 1-4. But, most of my playing and music money is from being a mariachi fiddler. We tune in the parking lot, leave the cases in the car, no warm-up. Vocal warm-up is a shot of tequila to clear the nose and head.

For practice sessions, when I was younger, I would start on Viola, for the physical stretching involved. For solo engagements, I have heard that you should warm up on the Next program's solo, not the one you are going to play in 10 minutes. It's too late; You are not going to improve anything at that point, and reviewing those really dangerous spots will only increase nervousness.

September 14, 2019 at 02:11 PM · I always start with the scales and arpeggios that are related to whatever I'm about to practice. It gets my ear tuned, heightens my sensitivity to expressive intonation, and gets my fingers limbered up. First set of scales and arpeggios with no vibrato to make sure I'm hitting tonal centers and not vibrato-ing my way into into-nation. If it's an expressive piece that requires variety in color, I'll do vibrato exercises that that with no vibrato, up to the point where that vibrato covers the range of a bit less than a quarter tone in breadth.

September 14, 2019 at 02:22 PM · g major scale very slowly for intonation, then octaves fingered octaves and tenths, time that I changed the scale but g major is still not perfect...

September 14, 2019 at 03:19 PM · I voted "something else" so here goes: I start by tuning the violin. I do that on open strings. Voila.

After that I play an etude (or two) by Mazas (the only set of classical etudes I can stomach long term) unless I have an urgent problem in which case I start right with that problem.

I don't seem to need a warm up to "fire up my muscles". My muscles work just fine right off the bat (at any rate as fine as they ever will).

September 14, 2019 at 05:13 PM · I start off with some Kievman, followed by some Schradiek, then slow scales (2 octaves, then 3), arpeggios and broken octaves in the key of the piece I am about to practise. I also do a lot of silent practice, ie reading the piece in order to familiarise myself with the notes and identify passages that are likely to require special attention.

September 14, 2019 at 05:33 PM · Anyone who has ever played a solo recital knows that what you play to warm up doesn’t matter because there is no such thing as a warm up. That noodling is music to accompany meditation

September 15, 2019 at 07:04 PM · Shradieck type exercises on all strings / all 7 basic positions with different bowings each time and incorporating octaves and thirds . Effective and condensed #TimeManagement

September 17, 2019 at 09:26 PM · I play a three-octave Galamian scale in C (I play viola), starting at four notes per bow, then working up through 6, 8, 12, 16, then 24 notes per bow. I follow this with three-octave scales in broken thirds (good intonation exercise). Gotta add some arpeggios one of these days.

If I'm doing a performance, I'll do an abbreviated scale exercise, then review some of the trickier passages in the performance material.

September 18, 2019 at 01:06 AM · At the other end of the spectrum (basic Suzuki skills), I like to practice half-scales, then scales for intonation and something like perpetual movement to try and untie the knots between eyes, left hand and right hand.

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