Warming up your body BEFORE PLAYING

Posted In: How To Play

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    reyesarpa on #219276

    Does anybody do any warm up before playing a single note? Reading articles here and there, I learnt that it would be good for our muscles to do a warm up with movements and exercises that bring blood to our arms, hands, fingers, to get them ready for stretching. The idea is to have your body ready for when you start the real warm up with scales, arpeggios, or whatever exercises you do.
    I´ve been following a routine that I found in youtube but it is for musicians in general and I wonder if anybody does anything specific for the harp.

    Thanks for your anwers!

    evolene_t on #219378

    Hey Reyesarpa,

    Interesting topic.What video do you use? How much emphasis does it put on fingers as opposed to the rest of the body?

    I personally do not warm up although I will flex my fingers and wrists a few times. However, I typically do not do hour-long practice sessions but will sit at the harp for 5 to 20mn depending on my practice (but I will practice multiple times a day so that adds ups, without me getting bored). Adding time for warmup would take time away from playing.
    Then again, I am being mindful of posture, and tension in fingers, arms and back, while playing ; I think most people would, and it helps detect problems and injuries before they occur.

    Would you warm up differently in playing on pedal harp or on celtic? Since the string tension is different, one might need more stretching beforehand.
    And professionals would develop natural tensions the same way I get natural neck tensions by being on the computer all day! Always good to do some sports.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by evolene_t.
    Tacye on #219384

    A physical warm up is really useful if you can’t warm up at the harp as you would like to, for instance when playing towards the end of a concert.

    For long sessions at the harp, my shoulders are the most likely to complain. I have become fond of indian club swinging and find it really helps to use them as a warm up if I am faced with a long rehearsal, especially in a cold environment, and afterwards too depending on how my shoulders feel.

    emma-graham on #219390

    I always warm up away from the harp. Yoga stretches mainly. I have a book and picked the ones that seem most suitable for me. Back, neck, shoulders, arms, fingers etc.They became even more important after I broke my wrist. I still do the exercises I was given for that by my occupational therapist. I then do a minimum of 10 minutes warm up at the harp too before even starting on pieces.

    balfour-knight on #219391

    Yolanda Kondanassis has some great harp warmups in her books on playing the harp! Most method books also have them. I usually sit down to the harp and play some arpeggios, some rolled chords along with inverting them, some more chords rolled from the top down, a few trills, and some harmonics with both hands before I begin to play some simple piece I play by ear just for enjoyment. Then I get down to “brass tacks” with something like Hasselmans’ La Source or his Follets, or any other tough pieces I need to practice. In general, I think it is a good idea to start out simple, then build. Also, I often begin on my Dusty FH36S, for thirty to forty minutes, then move to the concert pedal harp which has more tension on the strings, for another hour or more of practice. I rarely practice for more than two hours before taking a break.

    Warming up before a concert is usually possible, but playing at selected spots during a church service is tricky to have space or the opportunity for a warmup! That is when I do “pretend warmups” away from the harp, like some of you have suggested, with finger stretches, arm and shoulder stretches, etc., if I am not out there sitting in front of everyone while I do it, ha, ha!

    Thanks, dear friends, for all these posts. Keep them coming!

    Harp Hugs,

    Alison on #219416

    Well there’s a thought as my mother’s Indian club is under my bed !

    balfour-knight on #219568

    Alison, if you take that Indian club out to a concert, I want to know what happens, ha, ha!

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