"Why is Warming Up Necessary?"
When it comes to practicing your instrument many of us dislike warm-ups. For some of us we just want to play the music, sound great doing it and not waste time warming up. I will label you as the “selfie” musician because you simply play for your own pleasure and no other reason. And that is perfectly fine! Then there are musicians like myself who get bored easily playing the same pattern for what seems like an eternity, but is actually only 5-10 minutes. We are the impatient musician who is ready to dive in and learn something new before we have fully learned previous material. Either way – we both would prefer to skip over the warm up. If this sounds like you, here are some reasons to consider why you should warm up.
1) Fitness trainers always advise that you warm up before you participate in a physical work out. Rehearsing and performing are no different. Your body is a series of muscles. Everything from your lips (embouchure), wrists and fingers (technique), upper body and legs (posture and air control) contribute to your quality of sound while playing. If you do not warm up your embouchure you will find that you won’t be able to project higher and lower pitches nor play for longer periods of time without struggle to produce a focused tone. You also want to minimize your risk of injury in your hands and wrist.
2) Warm-ups allow you to learn your instrument’s tuning tendencies. Playing long tones, scales, and arpeggios help train your ear to know where the pitch tends to sound for each note. This further causes you to know how to adjust your embouchure, air stream, and/or posture to account for intonation.
3) By warming up, you prepare your mind to efficiently tackle your musical activity. You are able to draw your senses together through the physical aspect of warming up as well as through the mental aspect of processing smaller concepts such as long tones and scales into increasingly more complex concept such as phrasing and development so that you may maintain a steady pace for retaining and executing information.
The next time you pick up your instrument and dive head first into the music, do yourself a favor, take a few steps back and commit 5-10 minutes to do stretches, long tones, and scale exercises.