Increase Practice Productivity by Warming Up!

By Paul Perry, Voice & Piano, Instructor at The Lesson Studio

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Greetings!

Everyone who plays piano needs to take incredible and meticulous care of their hands. It is important to create a pre-warm-up routine with both stretches and scales before intense practice sessions.

Release the tendons and muscles of your hands, arms, and shoulders by doing some simple stretching before you actually start to practice playing the piano. There are many simple things you do with a tennis ball, including placing it against the forearm and gently massaging up and down the length of your arm (both topside and underside of your arm!) with as much intensity as feels good to you. Also, grip the ball in the palm of your hand, flexing and releasing the muscles, four or five times in each hand. Gently stretch your fingers, roll the shoulders front and back, and find a routine that serves you and your practice!

Play a variety of scales or simple melodic passages before moving on to repertoire.  Be mindful that your forearm is in alignment with your wrist and that your hand does not move as you strike the keys—only the fingers are moving. Avoid twisting your hand as you play, and notice if your palm is excessively lifting up, or is arched down. These habits can overstretch the tendons in your hands—No es bueno! Equalize the strength of your fingers with scales—in particular, the ring finger and pinky are traditionally weak. My right ring finger, for instance, is built just a bit differently than the rest of my fingers. I really need to stay focused on balancing the weight between my fingers in my right hand.  Hopefully after developing a quick pre-practice routine, you will notice that you can practice for longer, more productive periods of time, and without fatigue!

Joyful playing!

Paul

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