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#2220856 - 01/26/14 03:23 AM Cold hands  
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RyanThePianist Offline
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Does anybody warm up a different way other than the traditional warm up scales and exercises? I've heard someone go as far as soaking their hands in hot water for several minutes.

Where I live, it's pretty cold right now, and my hands take a while to warm up. I was wondering if people had a unique way of getting over cold weather.


Music Major/Premed (Sophomore)

1990 Yamaha G3

Currently studying:

Rachmaninoff - Moment Musical No. 4
Saint-Saens - Piano Concerto No. 2
Bach - French Suite No. 5
Chopin - Waltz in E minor (for fun!)
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#2220868 - 01/26/14 04:06 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Derulux Offline
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Move south. grin


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2220870 - 01/26/14 04:15 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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I stick them in my arm pits.

My brother pretends to put his hands in his back pockets, but really sticks them in his pants against the flesh to warm up.


Poetry is rhythm
#2220872 - 01/26/14 04:32 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: phantomFive]  
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evamar Offline
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That's supposed to be the best thing to do (armpits). Me, I prefer to sit on them for a couple minutes and then rubbing them a bit before playing. (any of this is nice to look at, but at least I allow for clothing to remain between my hands and my bum!).

That info about your brother reminds me of Kevin Smith's Mallrats! laugh ha
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfVVjpVZP8I

I have tried fingerless gloves, but they were black and created a visual illusion of long moving black keys all over the keybed. I'm trying to get gloves more similar to my skin colour now.


Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

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#2220960 - 01/26/14 10:48 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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As bennevis mentioned in a recent thread, you can windmill your arms (large circles) to stimulate blood flow to the hands, and the little bit of exercise will warm you up too. It works great too when outside and your fingers get cold.

#2220963 - 01/26/14 10:53 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Take a hot shower and keep your house warm.

#2220968 - 01/26/14 11:02 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: JoelW]  
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
Wrist warmers.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2220969 - 01/26/14 11:07 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Piano Girl RMG Offline
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1. If you smoke, stop. Smoking screws up circulation big time. I used to have this problem and was even diagnosed with Reynaud's. I stopped smoking. I am fine.

2. Many medications also interfere with circulation. Check into that with your doctor.

3. Eat a solid meal before performing. Empty stomach=cold hands.

4. Arm pits, dress warmly, heating pad if necessary. Put it on the bench and sit on it. If your core is warm, your hands should be, too, unless you suffer from circulation problems (see above)

Good luck!


Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
#2220981 - 01/26/14 02:05 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Make sure your feet are warm. Wool sock can do wonders for cold hands. (Socks on feet of course)


Andrew Remillard
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Downers Grove, IL 60515
#2220984 - 01/26/14 02:47 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Louis Podesta Offline
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Originally Posted by RyanThePianist
Does anybody warm up a different way other than the traditional warm up scales and exercises? I've heard someone go as far as soaking their hands in hot water for several minutes.

Where I live, it's pretty cold right now, and my hands take a while to warm up. I was wondering if people had a unique way of getting over cold weather.


In that my coach is Thomas Mark, who teaches a variation of the Taubman technique, I do no need to warm up. I haven't played any scales, exercises, or arpeggios in six years, and I couldn't be happier.

As far as your hands are concerned, you have to remember they are only an extension of the rest of your body. You should be doing some form of cardiac exercise every morning, which should start off with gentle stretching. And, the stretching should utilize as much of your body's natural gravity, as possible.

That means lying on the floor, or letting your upper body hang over the end of your bed. Do not force anything.

In the winter, I set the thermostat at 74 degrees, and I always run my hands under very warm (not hot) water for about 20 seconds, making sure to include the upper forearms.

That is pretty much it other than you eventually need to get the bumper sticker that says: "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

#2220994 - 01/26/14 04:04 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Scales don't really warm me up so much. In fact, over time playing the piano, my fingers actually start to get cold.

I usually wash my hands under warm water which makes my hands nice and warm, clean, and dry for playing.

#2221038 - 01/26/14 07:29 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: phantomFive]  
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
I stick them in my arm pits.


Is your name Mary Katherine Gallagher?

Last edited by ChopinLives81; 01/26/14 07:29 PM.

"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81
#2221049 - 01/26/14 07:39 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted by ChopinLives81
Originally Posted by phantomFive
I stick them in my arm pits.


Is your name Mary Katherine Gallagher?



#2221051 - 01/26/14 07:43 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: Derulux]  
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Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted by Derulux
Move south. grin


Or to Australia. smile



[Linked Image]

Music is my best friend.


#2221063 - 01/26/14 08:02 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Louis Podesta Offline
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I take significant offense at those who would trivialize someone attempting to play the piano on a daily basis and not subject themselves to injury.

Injury is what happens when the muscles in your lower forearm, which is what you play the piano with, and the corresponding fingers, are not in a normal/natural state of relaxation.

Earl Wild spent his entire life of 93? years living, learning, practicing, teaching, performing, and recording in cold climates. And, he was 6'8" tall, with hands to match.

And, in his recent memoir, he stated that he thought it was ridiculous to warm-up with the standard scales and exercises. In that he never sustained any injury, I guess he knew what he was doing.

#2221155 - 01/26/14 10:34 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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I don't think anybody is trivializing the actual question so much as having a little fun while answering a serious question.

Originally Posted by LouisPodesta
And, in his recent memoir, he stated that he thought it was ridiculous to warm-up with the standard scales and exercises. In that he never sustained any injury, I guess he knew what he was doing.


Or he was simply lucky.

For me, while I do not find scales warm me up so much, they do serve a purpose in that when I play them, they seem to trigger for me "relax", almost like a switch, so that by the time I'm ready to play my pieces, I'm as relaxed as I can be. As I play my pieces, tension tends to creep back in, and I do my best to tamp it down, slow down, get back to my place, with varying success.

The scales are the only thing I can settle into and play endlessly with no tension. They're a great reset button for me.

I would be careful about making broad conclusions from the playing experience of one person, no matter how famous or accomplished that person might happen to be.

If anything, I think you might be unnecessarily trivializing scales and traditional warmups. For some they are a really essential touchstone when sitting down to practice.

Now, what they do not help me with is actual warming up in the sense that I do not get warm playing them, or anything else. I will break out in a sweat if I am nervous, but it's a cold sweat. I have cold hands almost no matter what I do. I can dance for an hour and a half in a stuffy ballet studio and when I shake hands with the teacher at the end of class, I have quite cold fingers.

Which is why I suggested to the OP to simply run his hands under warm water. It really helps me.

#2221198 - 01/27/14 12:37 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Minneapolis, MN


When I wake up tomorrow the predicted temps will be -25C (-14F). I usually run my hands under warm water, dry them and put on my insulated gloves to keep them warm.

Don't you wish you were in Minnesota too? wink



Carl

#2221203 - 01/27/14 01:02 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Valencia Offline
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I use a rice sock--which is just white rice in a sock with a knot tied at the top. Just throw the sock in the microwave and warm it up. (in my microwave it takes 45 seconds). This can be used to warm fingers and hands, and can also be applied to toes to warm them up for pedaling! smile


#2221318 - 01/27/14 09:31 AM Re: Cold hands [Re: Piano Girl RMG]  
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Originally Posted by Piano Girl RMG


3. Eat a solid meal before performing. Empty stomach=cold hands.


How this works is complicated and varies enormously for different people, but it is definitely a factor, and the food intake/cold hands connection is worthy of attention. What and when I last ate can make a pretty huge difference in how my hands feel.




#2221383 - 01/27/14 12:13 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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It seems some have missed perhaps the most important advice, keep your core warm. Wear long underwear, sweaters, dress in layers, whatever to keep your core sufficiently warm. If your core is warm your hands will get there with a modest amount of playing. If you're working especially hard you may even work up a bit of sweat.

Louis, you mentioned your thermostat being set to 74. In my part of the country that would be considered profligately wasteful. My thermostat is set to 68, the temperature outside is about 0. I have a sweater and longjohns on and fleece at the ready. But my heating bill is reasonable (so far).

Last edited by Steve Chandler; 01/27/14 12:21 PM.
#2221393 - 01/27/14 12:26 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: Steve Chandler]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
It seems some have missed perhaps the most important advice, keep your core warm. Wear long underwear, sweaters, dress in layers, whatever to keep your core sufficiently warm. If your core is warm your hands will get there with a modest amount of playing. If you're working especially hard you may even work up a bit of sweat.

thumb
Quite true! Have the sub zero temperatures reached Iowa today? wink



Carl

#2221395 - 01/27/14 12:33 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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The next time you finish drinking your expensive bottle of designer water, don't throw the plastic water bottle in the trash recycling! Save it, fill it with hot tap water before you are ready to play, and wrap your hands around it for as long as you need to to warm up your hands.

Moreover, it's portable and can be taken with you any where you have access to a hot water faucet.

If you have a metal one, that might work just as well or even better.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
#2221500 - 01/27/14 03:53 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: griffin2417]  
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Originally Posted by griffin2417
Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
It seems some have missed perhaps the most important advice, keep your core warm. Wear long underwear, sweaters, dress in layers, whatever to keep your core sufficiently warm. If your core is warm your hands will get there with a modest amount of playing. If you're working especially hard you may even work up a bit of sweat.

thumb
Quite true! Have the sub zero temperatures reached Iowa today? wink


Yup, we were below zero this morning and have mercifully warmed into the low single digits. shocked

All of which made warming up take a bit longer today than usual. Grrrr

Last edited by Steve Chandler; 01/27/14 03:54 PM.
#2221576 - 01/27/14 06:19 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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If you feel that your cold hands are preventing your fingers from having any agility, then you need to warm the actual muscles responsible for fingerwork: the interossei muscles of the hand, not your forearm flexors or extensors.

People seem to think that your forearm groups are the "primary" muscles that control your fingers during play, which is incorrect (unless you aren't using your interossei muscles, but that's a slim chance).

If you can propagate blood to your interossei muscles, your forearm flexors and extensors will also be filled with blood. However, if you only warmup your forearm group, the interossei muscles are not guaranteed to be ready.

Last edited by Atrys; 01/27/14 06:20 PM.

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#2221674 - 01/27/14 10:15 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Piano playing usually makes me warm to the extent that I have to shed layers!
It's when I'm not playing that I get cold...


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#2221836 - 01/28/14 12:00 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Im doing scales and exercise lessons, but when it's really cold that dont help so im putting my hands in warm water and rubbing then fast to get warm

#2221839 - 01/28/14 12:09 PM Re: Cold hands [Re: RyanThePianist]  
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Originally Posted by RyanThePianist
Does anybody warm up a different way other than the traditional warm up scales and exercises? I've heard someone go as far as soaking their hands in hot water for several minutes.

Where I live, it's pretty cold right now, and my hands take a while to warm up. I was wondering if people had a unique way of getting over cold weather.


Gloves, gloves, gloves, gloves. Warm gloves, good gloves. I have a thin pair I like to wear, because it still lets me grab things and use my hands/fingers like normal, but whenever it gets really cold, I have a thicker pair I slip over them to keep them really toasty, even when it's frigid outside.

I like soaking my hands in rather warm (not HOT, but still pretty warm) water for a while. And yes, play scales, arpeggios, thirds, trills, and other finger work slowly, and gradually speed up as comfortable.


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