Have you been looking for violin warmups that will get you ready for your daily practice sessions, and help you improve your skills in the long run? Want to make sure you enter your violin lessons all ready to go, with your violin in tune and your body limber?
It is important to get a good warmup in before diving into a productive practice session or performance. Feeling good and comfortable on your instrument on any given day will depend on this. Your violin is affected differently each day by conditions such as weather, humidity, the acoustics of the room in which you are playing, and how you physically feel. I feel this daily when I pick up my violin.
A slow and comfortable warmup can maximize your playing, and will mean that the time you put in to practicing ultimately pays off. Warming up will also give you a chance to focus on your technique and posture. This makes it even more important, as it will help you protect against injuries that can be incurred from repetitive movement.
Let’s take a look at some violin warmups that will help keep your playing in tip top shape:
Violin Warmups to Kick Off Your Daily Practice Routine:
I like to start off by playing long tones. I use a very slow-moving bow from frog to tip and tip to frog on the open strings. I play four long bow strokes on each open string starting on G, moving to D, then A, then E, and then back again to A, to D, and finally to G. I try to make my bow changes at the frog and tip as smooth as I can, sometimes repeating the bow change until it is smoother, before continuing to the next bow stroke. I play in front of a mirror with my violin parallel to the mirror so I can watch for my bow to stay straight and parallel to the bridge.
Long Tones on a Three-Octave Scale
For the second warmup exercise, I do these same long tones on the G three-octave scale. I play long slow-moving bows from frog to tip and tip to frog with smooth bow changes. If you have not yet played the G three-octave scale, you can do this exercise on a G one-octave or two-octave scale. You can play any scale in any key really. You can play the scale of the key of the piece or etude you are about to practice after your warmup.
Third, I play short bow strokes at the frog. I play 4-8 short bow strokes from the frog to just below the middle of the bow on the open strings. I start on G, go to D, to A, to E, back to A, to D, to G. I am working on making these short bow strokes as smooth as possible on the bow changes, slowing down the speed of the bow, increasing the pressure and anticipating the change of direction of the motion of my bow.
Bow Strokes at the Tip of the Bow
Now, we’re on to violin warmup number four. While it’s a little further down on the list, this is still just as important as the first three. For the fourth warmup I use in daily practice, I do the same as the third exercise above all at the tip of the bow. I use the tip to just above the middle of the bow with smooth bow changes.
Scale & Arpeggio Exercises
Finally, for the fifth warmup I use in daily practice, I use page 5 of Ivan Galamian’s scale bow exercises in his book Contemporary Violin Technique Volume 1: Scale and Arpeggio exercises. This exercise starts with the G three-octave scale. I play long bows, one half note per pitch first. Next, I continue playing the G three-octave scale four eighth notes in a slur. Next comes two triplets (6 notes) in a slur. Then I play eight sixteenth notes in a slur. Then I play two sextuplets (12 notes) in a slur. Finally, I end with twenty-four thirty-second notes in a slur up the G three-octave scale and then down.
After completing these five violin warmups for daily practice, I feel comfortable on my violin for a great practice session or performance. My left-hand fingers feel relaxed and nimble. It is very important not to rush your warmup. Take your time and reacquaint yourself with your instrument. I hope these exercises will help you to have a great warmup session. Have fun playing violin!