Winter woes

November 26, 2007 at 07:35 PM · The weather's getting colder - fingers get stiffer and less agile. Sometimes the bow slips around too. It is worst early in the morning. How do you combat it (other than blast the heater)?

Replies (26)

November 26, 2007 at 08:00 PM · Hey, LyeYen! Man, do I know what you're talking about! Here's a tip. Run your hands under hot water for 30 seconds. Then do about 30 minutes of scales and arpeggios :). Seriously, though, it works. Good luck!

November 26, 2007 at 09:45 PM · I use Brian's trick (hot water), but a girl in my orchestra who always has very cold hands brings hot tea every day and drinks it. I haven't asked her how well it works, but it must be doing something or she wouldn't keep doing it.

November 26, 2007 at 10:26 PM · I have wool gloves that the end of the fingers are open. They keep my fingers toasty! The ends stay warm, even though they are exposed. You should be able to find them at a local outfitters.

November 27, 2007 at 12:44 AM · Have you considered stretching?

November 27, 2007 at 01:34 AM · I like Brians suggestion. However, I live in Wyoming where we have four seasons...Fall, winter, winter and winter. Summer is our favorite day of the year. It comes after the 1st. day of Spring, Saturday and the last day of Spring which is the next day..Sunday!!! :).

What I like are the hand warmers I get at an Outdoors Sports store, or Cabela's. One kind is desposabal. just shake the bag and it really heats up! Eight hours of toasty warmth. Or the one I use if snowmobiling, it uses a solid fuel and warms your hands, pockests,shoes,whatever!

November 27, 2007 at 01:57 AM · hand warmers are a godsend. I also like fingerless gloves and hot chocolate. :)

November 27, 2007 at 02:05 PM · Doing the dishes by hand warms up and loosens my hands very well. Wear warm upper garments with long sleeves. Fleece or waffle-weave is good. Also consider wearing a cap or fleece headband. I have those fingerless gloves, too, but my LH tends to slip, and the spacing both of fingers and reaching around fingerboard is off due to extra bulk. Sports Wristbands help since the wrist is an area that sheds heat to keep inner temp correct. Fleece better than terry. Sue

November 27, 2007 at 05:04 PM · 1. Keep your wrists warm,

2. don't panic. If you've done your homework -- i. e. scales, finger exercises etc. --, your fingers will find their way, cold or not. Just let them, and after a while they will warm up to the task (so to speak).



November 27, 2007 at 05:11 PM · Thks for all your "warm" replies!

I've thought of fingerless gloves. But they are actually for my boys, they have little fingers. I am afraid, as Sue described, that the fabric will "block" and the finger spaces will be off.

Hand warmers are nice. Will look around for them.

November 27, 2007 at 05:30 PM · I picked up some mittens at Walgreen's I think it was, that you heat up in the microwave for a minute and they heat your hands up nicely. Some proferssional ball players told me that "Flexall" rubbed into your hands a few minutes before practicing would work. I tried it and it really works like a charm. DO NOT rub your eyes after putting this on, trust me.

November 27, 2007 at 11:52 PM · A good 15-minute yoga workout beforehand works for me. I live in Iowa. It's cooooooold.

November 28, 2007 at 12:06 AM · Royce, I feel your pain, I mean cold. we used to live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Between the two days of Summer and then two months until snow we had a month and a half of mud season.

However, there are quite a few world class string players either living or visiting there.

November 28, 2007 at 01:09 AM · Put a heater in front of yourself when you play.

November 28, 2007 at 01:25 AM · Greetings,

then there would be no room for the fan(s),



November 28, 2007 at 02:01 AM · BURI!!!! That was a stinker and a half;)) I love it, wish I thought of that one! lol!

November 28, 2007 at 02:02 AM · Ray- I've heard about upper echelon string players there! Now that I'm back in the game I'm going to keep my eyes out for them. Only an inch of snow so far, I'm itching for sledding and snow boarding.

I'm going to check for thoses Microwave Gloves you mentioned!

Yours truly,


November 28, 2007 at 07:33 AM · Have you considered moving to Hawaii?

November 28, 2007 at 09:09 AM · Good grief, she already lives in Texas! (blah blah blah cold, whatever.) ;)

I don't have a problem with cold fingers when I stay active. Keep your core warm with a turtleneck and sweater, and wear a hat and warm socks as well, if needed. Washing dishes by hand is excellent. (Beware of sharp objects hiding on the bottom of the sink!) Get your heart rate up without quite breaking a sweat by walking, doing a little yoga, or catching up on general housekeeping.

Or, turn up the thermostat. That works really nice in my house, but the heating bill really sucks. :)

November 28, 2007 at 09:36 AM · Ha, tell them Emily. Some people just don't have a true appreciation for the meaning of cold.

I warm up my fingers by getting them active before I play. I run through a couple of finger exercises I developed for myself over the years and run through them while I set-up. I then work on my scales and after about 15 minutes I am good to go.

As far as extra clothing goes, I don't bother. I am most comfortable when I play in a T-shirt and after I warm up, extra clothing makes me to hot.

I am not even gonna comment on you glove users. :P


November 28, 2007 at 05:22 PM · Thks for all your replies. I've got some hand warmers from Walgreen. I'll see if that works.

As I've said, they are for my 6 and 4 year old boys... breaks my heart to see their cold, pale hands...

Mike, I see you are from Alaska. So that explains..My son has a classmate from Canada and he is in a T- shirt almost all year round.

We are originally from the tropics where it is hot and humid all year round... so I guess the boys haven't adapted to temperate temperatures yet.


November 28, 2007 at 05:14 PM · My hands stay pretty warm even in colder weather. But when they do get cold, my fingers turn into sausages and playing the fiddle is a struggle (or, should I say, more of a struggle). Hand warmers don't help. Nothing helps but time and (believe it or not) Dounis exercises.

Legend has it that David Oistrakh could walk around in the bitter cold, not wear any gloves, and then walk into a hall for a concert and play in top form with no warm-up. There are a few documented cases of him doing just that, including an appearance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago (and you know what winters are like in Chicago).


November 28, 2007 at 05:46 PM · A quick fix for cold fingers and hands to warm them up is as follows: Rub the knuckles of both hands back and forth against each other starting with the knuckles closest to the nails and then proceed to the knuckles in the center of the fingers and finally to the base knuckles. Also, rubbing the the hands together vigorously will also generate heat. Usually, if these quick warm-ups are done the hands will feel sufficiently alive and agile to allow for normal practice and playing. With my students and myself, I also include shoulder rolls, knee bends, hip twists and swimming stroke type motions to keep the other parts of the body flexible and warmed up so that one feels limber and ready to play without stiffness.

November 30, 2007 at 01:31 AM · Sometimes for me, simply NOT thinking about the coldness of my hands works and suddenly, I've been playing for an hour with warm hands and haven't had a problem. Then when I start thinking "I'm cold," my hands start getting cold.

November 30, 2007 at 04:07 PM · I've lived in Wyoming for 12 years, and have been in 25-45 bellow zero and I'm sure that Emily and anyone else who live in Alaska would call that a heat wave. However, I grew up in Corpus Christi. And what people from Canada and Alaska, Minnisota would always mention is how the cold in Corpus was a wet cold and how it felt like fingers creeping all the way into the marrow of their bones! A cold the was acompanied by a horindous ache! They said it! Wyoming has lower temps, but only when I'm back vissiting family in Corpus do I get that type of cold ache.

November 30, 2007 at 07:02 PM · I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I grew up in Oklahoma, and I understand the damp cold you mention. Sometimes the weather is a damp cold in Alaska, and the 20 degree damp windy cold feels much worse than -10 degrees. Oklahoma is often windy and damp when it gets cold, too. But -35 speaks for itself when the heating bill arrives. :)

November 30, 2007 at 09:20 PM · Don't sweat it Emily, it's why I'm on medication and high colonics!!!

Prunes just don't cut it.

ps: Buri is my Hero!!!

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