How long does it take you to properly warm up?

June 16, 2005 at 04:58 AM · How long does it takes you to properly warm up?

I have seen people who hardly have to warm up they are at their best as soon as they take their violin. For some others like me it takes a lot of time, and the progression curve starts at a very frustrating level and never gets flat: the more I play the better I become. Some technical difficulties are never achieved under a certain time of practise. How many time when asked by friends to play something for them I had to explain that I hadn’t play during the day and they would have to excuse me for some messing up. It is sometimes frustrating

Replies (25)

June 16, 2005 at 06:58 AM · well it depends for me. sometimes i dont need any warmup and sometimes 30 minutes. in summer i dont need so much but in winter my fingers are like ice so that takes a little longer... but in some situations you just dont have the time to warmup (before a concert for exemple) so i practice "not-warming-up" to see how it goes :)

June 16, 2005 at 08:04 AM · you should always make time to warm up before a concert - This is where most injuries happen. My local Symphony Orchestra (WASO) has just completed a season of a ballet - Dangerous Liasons. Most of the first violins and a fair few of the seconds are currently on the injured list and have been replaced by casuals, because they didn't warm up.

You can always find time to warm up - if it takes you a while to warm up - get there earlier. Find out what time the green room would be open (usually a couple of hours so that the stage managers can set up), get there for then, and practice. I recently used to think that 15 minutes before a concert was respectable, but recently a teacher told me to aim for the hour before the concert - that way if things go wrong you have time to set them right before people notice, you don't usually get stuck in traffic, and if you do you've got time, and if you do get there early you can warm up fully. It's much better to get there an hour early to warm up, than to injure yourself during the performance, and then spend 2-3 weeks recovering.

I usually spend 20-30 minutes to warm up fully, but of course, it depends on the weather. Sometimes, after an hours playing, my fingers still feel cold. Usually - a warm bath, or a basin of warm water to warm your hands in helps in that respect, and a bit of a run round the house helps the rest of the body.

June 16, 2005 at 01:30 PM · For me warming up it’s not too much about getting your muscles warm like a sportsman, it’s more about waking up my good feelings, those that I need to play well: mainly all my bow feelings, the resistance of the string in the bow ultimately. Sometime I would get that back very quickly sometime it can take a lot of time.

June 16, 2005 at 01:28 PM · Depends on the weather. Usually, 2-5 minutes is enough. To really get your body temperature up in a hurry, try jumping jacks :-) It's much more efficient to warm your body and let that extend to the fingers than vice versa!

June 16, 2005 at 05:46 PM · Before every practice session that is more than 2 hours apart I warm up with every scale (major and minor) and then in thirds, and octaves and sometimes fingered octaves. Then I usually run through a Gavinies etude. It takes about 45 minutes.

Though I don't always feel the need to do such an extensive warm up (ie: my fingers feel completely capable of tackling the rep. right from the beginning) I still do it for safety reasons. Thus, I have NEVER had a playing/practicing related injury. Plus the scales and etude really give the hand and ear a good intonation warm up.


June 16, 2005 at 06:40 PM · What do you all do to warm up? I'm one of those people who really doesn't like to warm up, so ideas would be nice.


June 17, 2005 at 01:54 AM · Technical work is the main idea i think for warming up. Running a scale through enough times in as many different ways warms you up - especially if you're doing technical work that's related to your pieces - eg if you've got a piece that has lots of thirds in it, spend some times with your thirds. If it's got some shifting - do shifting. If it's got string crossings - do a string crossings excercise (eg Kreutzer 13)

June 17, 2005 at 03:24 AM · I no experience with the violin(but more with guitar). I think some yoga techniques could help a performer warm up. Instead of doing anything too vigorously and stressing yourself out, I think yoga is a gentler approach.

June 17, 2005 at 03:04 PM · It seems that every one is more concerned about his left hand. What about your right hand and especially your pinkie: this one could be quite stiff when not warmed.

I always start first by warming up my right hand (index, pinkie wrist…) so I can get a proper sound before thinking of my left hand. You know all those exercises done without the violin (lifting the bow with the pinkie, rotating the bow with index and pinkie….) they are quite good to get very quickly a good grip of your bow.

June 17, 2005 at 03:10 PM · i dont need that much to warm up, so i try to take a nice piece, not a etude,so that its more interesting and musical. i take 2 things usualy: or the Last Rose from Ernst or the Erlkönig from Shubert. i usually play these pieces as an Encore after a concert, and i just looove them. personally i prefer the Erlkönig,its not long and after it youre definitely warmed up.

June 17, 2005 at 09:13 PM · Do you happen to be the same Alexandra Soumm that won Eurovision with Paganini 1?

June 17, 2005 at 09:27 PM · Yannick, for how many years have you been studying violin? Have you had any technical problems or switching of technics?

I ask you because I was personally obsessed about how to warm up properly, thinking that all my day performance will depend on that. So I couldn't play any music before 1 hour and a half of technical stupid exercises. I got to the conclusion that warming up has to effects: physioligical, that is the real need of the muscles, and psycological, when you think that, if you haven't dedicated a number of minutes to your warm up, you can.t play.

If you have studyied violin for less than 10 years, it is essential to keep a technical rutine as long as you do not become dependent of it.

When I realized that, I could play Ciaccona or Paganini caprices when I took the violin in my hands for the first time in my hands in that day.

If you don't use an arm vibrato based on finger joints oscilation, you can warm up on a slow piece, that would help you modelate your sound and in the same time relax your left hand(if you use the arm vibrato, take care not to force tour finger joints, it could cause you pain for many days). And note that you should be allways ready to play in public, whatever the circumstances!

June 18, 2005 at 02:00 AM · I think it's essential to keep a daily technical routine ESPECIALLY if you have played longer than 10 years. That's the point where one is likely to become lazy with their technical hygene.

Yannick, playing scales is a great way to warm up the right hand as well and work on tone production.


June 18, 2005 at 02:35 PM · yes Cornelia its me :) why did you whatched it? thats cool to see that some people still remember me :)

June 19, 2005 at 07:34 PM · A warm-up routine is very usefull, as long as you don't become dependent to it. Violin is an instrument which, more than any other, "asks" you to not abandon your technique, or the technique will abandon you...

Alexandra, how did you get along with the norvegian(I believe) that played Sibelius? I was surprised to see as this contest's level became higher: there were many competitors that were at least equal to the winner of the precedent edition-the guy that played Waxman Carmen fantaisie. Where are you studying now?

June 19, 2005 at 11:02 PM · I had to play some solo bach yesterday, and due to circumstances beyond my control I couldnt do any practice during the day or before the concert at all. So before the performance I flexed my left hand finger muscles about in a comedic style and drew some disturbing glances, but it seemed to do the trick. Good job it was only the E major gigue...

June 20, 2005 at 09:20 AM · Cornelia i'm studing in Vienna with Professor Kuschnir also the teacher of Julian Rachlin.

the competition was really a great time. i've met great people. The Norvigian girl was nice but she didnt play well on the concert. stange because on the rehearsal it was really great... pitty.

now i have concert and i'm thankful to this competition for have given me the chance to play there and to play lods of concerts now.

June 20, 2005 at 09:23 AM · P.S. : trhe guy who played Camen is Dalibor Karvay, who's alos in my class,with Kuschnir.

June 20, 2005 at 03:47 PM · Cornelia,

You are absolutely right. Warming up for me is more about building up confidence than anything else. This is probably due to my status of being an amateur musician. I have been playing for more than 20 years now. I started to play at the very late age of 24. I have acquired now a very good technique for an amateur that I am very proud of but something that I have never been able to manage is my fear of playing for others and the frustration that I am not going to be able to play to my normal standard. So the possible obsession of warming up…. Very, very interesting!

June 20, 2005 at 02:05 PM · It sounds like some of you equate warming up with building technique. I consider them very different parts of practicing, both indispensable. I think of warming up as just that - getting the blood flowing, getting the body temperature up, and getting mentally focused.

My technical work is generally the most demanding stuff I play each day, and I am ready for it after a minute of jumping jacks (seriously) and 1-4 minutes of long bows, slow scales in octaves, and maybe a line of Shradieck.

June 20, 2005 at 07:39 PM · I admit there is a substantial difference between warm-up process and technical practice, but many times they tend to be identified one to the other.

I've read somewhere(I am not aware of the value of truth of this, I believe it is a rumor, but very possible) that, after some years of succeses, Paganini renonced at practicing and he often played in concert without touching the violin for days. After all the years of work in his childhood, the poor man sould have been probably sick of practicing.

ps to Alexandra:I was impressed by the norvegian's personality and I am sorry she could not play at her real level, because it was obvious she could do more than that. Anyway, I wish you to be succesfull and continue with the good work, Alexandra. Beautifull sound, by the way!

June 22, 2005 at 11:38 PM · Sheeshkibob as if Paganini never practiced after a certain age. Dont believe the boasts...

June 23, 2005 at 07:23 PM · The idea is not so absurd. He didn't and couldn't study constantly from a certain age because of his health problems. Anyway, the successes insainity is just a rumor.

June 24, 2005 at 07:02 PM · Well, for me the best way to warm up is to play one key from the Flesch scale system (complete, from #1 - 12), the first two movements of a Bach Solo Sonata (or Cicaconne instead), one or two Paganini Caprices. Very good is also a third scale in C major with the following fingering: 2/1 - 3/1 - 4/2 - 4/3 - 2/1 - 3/1 etc. more or less a third scale without position change.

June 24, 2005 at 08:40 PM · I have gotten everything down to 10 minutes. That's only if I have a rehearsal or something, and have no time to really sit down and warm up.

I do a scale with bowing variations and rhythms, arpeggios, finger work on my bow, hand stretching, thirds, martele, colle at the frog, and slow vibrato getting faster. That takes me 10 minutes and is my emergency warmup!

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