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Performing without warming up (Read 5354 times)

Offline kghayesh

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Performing without warming up
« on: June 03, 2008, 02:00:56 PM »
I had a problem that's getting me mad these days. If I can play a piece very well with total ease when I am practicing and when I have warmed up before playing, I have so much problems getting it right when my fingers aren't warmed up! My fingers get very stiff and I can't move them with ease as I used to. As I get to the next piece, my fingers are already warmed up so I go on with no problems.

So how can one go into a recital with playing a fast piece in the begining, when he's not warmed up?? It's really intriguing me coz last week I was performing and i was playing Schubert's 2nd Impromptu op.90 in the begining. It's pretty easy for me to play all those scales very comfortably, but at the day of the concert my fingers were so stiff because I didn't warm up right before I perform. All I need is a piano backstage to make sure I come up with my fingers perfectly warmed up !!

I just don't know how to play a fast piece smoothly with cold hands that are not warmed up!

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 03:04:58 PM »
take a midi controller to warm up on or work out a method of warming up without a piano.

Offline kghayesh

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 10:40:19 AM »
Thanks, it helped a little...

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 11:18:00 AM »
Also wear a warm jumper or coat or something before the performance, it took me a while to realise that putting your hands in your pockets to keep them warm doesn't work.. if the body is cold, warm blood is taken from the limbs to the central organs.

Offline jlh

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 11:22:23 AM »
Get a couple of hand warmers and keep them with you backstage.  Those chemical handwarmers are pretty easy to come by (at least in the US) and last many hours. 
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Offline Bob

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 03:01:39 PM »
I've never had much change with warming up.  Very slight changes maybe.

It might be practicing you did the day before.  Muscles healing up over night a bit.

Just practice that situation, playing cold like that.  You can relax your hands and arms in the seats.  You can move your fingers around a bit.  Maybe it's being able to shake off any tension that got trapped overnight.
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Offline general disarray

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #6 on: June 04, 2008, 07:36:17 PM »
This is a common dilemma.  Use your head.  Practice finger-resistance exercises on a table or against a wall, or shove your hands in your pockets and practice those same exercises against your thighs, or shove your hands under your armpits and do the same.  You need warmth and movement to get the blood flowing, so the latter trick works for me.
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Offline gjetley

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #7 on: June 05, 2008, 06:47:51 AM »
Glenn Gould used to soak his hands (and arms all the way up to his elbows) in a basin of hot water before a recital.  It sounds a bit weird, but having tried it (ok, I admit, only up to my wrists) I found it does actually work.  Not only does it warm up your hands and loosen finger joints, it's also quite calming mentally to just stand there with your hands in hot water!  Best of all, while not all concert venues have a back room with a piano, they do all have a toilet!!

Offline jlh

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #8 on: June 05, 2008, 11:26:07 AM »
Glenn Gould used to soak his hands (and arms all the way up to his elbows) in a basin of hot water before a recital.  It sounds a bit weird, but having tried it (ok, I admit, only up to my wrists) I found it does actually work.  Not only does it warm up your hands and loosen finger joints, it's also quite calming mentally to just stand there with your hands in hot water!  Best of all, while not all concert venues have a back room with a piano, they do all have a toilet!!

I didn't know that... but what I used to do (and still do when given the opportunity and when hand warmers are not available) is make my way to the backstage washroom and run my hands under hot water for a few minutes.  Same principle applies, though a hot water basin does sound good!
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Offline storyseller

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #9 on: June 20, 2008, 08:26:38 AM »
Then again, if all these dont work play something not too fast as a first piece, it will give both you and your audience time to warm up.

Offline syncope

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 06:30:00 PM »
What helps is do some exercise before the concert, jump and down, move your arms, like athletics do (not too hyperactively, but relaxed). That will warm up your whole body (and will also mentally relax you) and thus your fingers. It also helps against nerves and for concentration.

Offline tengstrand

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #11 on: June 20, 2008, 08:05:12 PM »
I have a quite dramatic solution to this: warm up onstage until some 15 minutes before the concert. Don't play scales, but a a little from pieces that you will not play during the recital. I have done this, and the presenter gets quasi-mad, yes. But I told them if you don't have a piano backstage this is what I will have to do, basta.

And then, to my huge surprise, it had two side effects: one, the audience likes it, and they actually get "warmed up" too, much more ready to listen from the very first note of the recital. Two, it really cut down nervousness considerably.

I listened to some CDs of live performances by Ignaz Friedman at Carnegie Hall. Before every piece he does some arpeggios in the key of the piece. Interesting.

Offline mephisto

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #12 on: June 20, 2008, 09:39:03 PM »

I listened to some CDs of live performances by Ignaz Friedman at Carnegie Hall. Before every piece he does some arpeggios in the key of the piece. Interesting.

I was not aware of this. Or do you mean Josef Hoffmann?

Offline Bob

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #13 on: June 20, 2008, 11:47:53 PM »
I was thinking more about this.  I would be most concerned about temperature.  I think I'd scope out the performance setting as much as possible.  Find out what the climate is and practice or just live in that type of environment for awhile.  I'm thinking of air conditioning.  If it's a hall with icy cold dry air, I might practice performing in that for awhile.  Dress for it.  Make sure the body is warm and relaxed.  Or if it's the opposite, hot and humid, practice like that too.  I'm not a big fan of having the temperature go cold and having my hands tense up from that though. 

As far as just playing without a warmup, I'd still practe doing that.  Or find something like shaking the hands or rubbing them together that will loosen them up.  But practice it so you know what will happen.  That rush of adrenaline can always change things too.
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Offline tengstrand

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #14 on: June 21, 2008, 01:27:23 AM »
I was not aware of this. Or do you mean Josef Hoffmann?
Hmmm...I thought it was Friedmann...but I could be wrong. Have to check.

Offline qkim

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #15 on: June 21, 2008, 04:34:48 AM »
I Heard recordings of both Busoni and Hoffman do some warmup improves before playing.  Hoffman even played some introductory measures to the Beethoven 4th concerto!

Offline richard black

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #16 on: June 22, 2008, 10:34:05 AM »
The Percy Grainger warmup: sit down in any regular, straight-back chair. Smack your knees with your hands, repeatedly, hard and fast, for 5 minutes. If it doesn't hurt you're not doing it hard enough. It's actually quite hard to keep going for 5 minutes but it certainly gets the blood flowing.
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Offline mikey6

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Re: Performing without warming up
«Reply #17 on: June 24, 2008, 01:12:46 AM »
Howzabout actually warming up?
Surely the venue would give you sometime before the concert if you get the early enough?
If you've practiced at home before hand, your fingers can stay flexible for at least an hour (based on my experience).  Or just keep your fingers moving, play on your arm or on the chair - I was practicing my double thirds for 20 hours like this on my plane trip.  Or, If there's one near by, go to a music store and sit down and play for 5 minutes.
Otherwise make wise program choices, play something you can stretch your fingers into.
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