You know the importance of running through your piano warm-ups, but what about stretching? Think about all of the ways your body is engaged when you’re playing the piano. Your hands and fingers are constantly in motion. Your back should be straight, not hunched over. There are a lot of muscles involved!
Beginning your practice session loose and relaxed will help you play at your best, and adding physical stretches to your routine can definitely help with that. We came across a great article over at The Cross-Eyed Pianist blog that we especially loved, featuring some Pilates-style stretches to add to your practicing routine.
Here are some of our favorites from the list:
1. The Swing. Swing the arms up and down, allowing the arms to fall back through their own momentum/gravity. You can be as energetic or gentle as you like. After a few minutes, your hands should start to feel warmer.
2. Empty Sleeves. Imagine you are wearing a coat but without your arms in the sleeves. With your arms hanging freely by your sides, turn your body slightly from side to side. As you start to move, the arms will flap back and forth like coat sleeves flapping in the wind. Increase the movement to increase the swing and start to engage your feet and knees in the movement.
3. The Monkey. Bend forward slightly and let your arms hang loosely in front of you. Swing your arms across your body at hip, chest and shoulder height. Gradually increase the movement, turning your body to follow your arms, and notice how the opposite foot starts to engage in the move as well. Again, you can make this move as energetic or as gentle as you like.
4. Shoulders to Ears. Inhale deeply (“Pilates breathing”/thoracic breathing) and as you do, raise your shoulders towards your ears without tensing the neck. Hold the pose for a moment and then exhale, as if you are trying to push all the air from your lungs, while allowing your shoulders to drop down. Repeat five times.
Readers, do you incorporate stretches like these into your practice sessions? Head on over to our Facebook page and share your own tips!
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Photo by Llima.
Tags: Piano warm-ups