7 Tips on Warming Up from Janet Horvath


[This the 4th of a 5-post series offering a chance to win one of 3 copies of Janet Horvath’s book, “Playing (Less) Hurt.” Scroll down for details on how to enter yourself to win.]

Just like any athlete, musicians need to warm up and stretch, before doing any strenuous practice. Warming up prepares your body for movement and gives your mind awareness of your body's capabilities for that day. Here are a few of Janet Horvath's must-haves for warming up.

Janet Horvath's Warm-Up Tips

Warming up is the single most important thing to do before playing, to avoid injury.

  1. Start by warming up away from the cello. Jumping jacks, a brisk walk or running up the stairs will do it.

  2. At the instrument start in the mid-range of the instrument – I start in forth position - and start playing not too high, not too low,not too fast and not too slow.

  3. Beginning with long slow shifts is good.

  4. Warm up slowly and carefully avoiding knuckle busting exercises or studies.

  5. Remember to release each finger after they have played. Use the least weight necessary topull the strings down.

  6. You may need more warm up time if you played a lot the previous day or if you are tired or if it is cold outside.

  7. Always listen to your body. If you are cold and tight it is a sign to go more slowly and carefully.

Janet Horvath is associate principal cello of the Minnesota Orchestra and the author of Playing (Less) Hurt - An Injury Prevention Guide For Musicians. An advocate for musicians, she is in demand for her trail- blazing seminars.

Do you have any favorite Warm-Up exercises?


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