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#2881026 08/18/19 04:11 PM
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I'm wondering if you use any pieces as a warm up on a regular basis. Not simple exercises such as Czerny or Hanon, but real music.

As an intermediate, I frequently play the Prelude in C, WTC Book 1, as a warm up. I feel as it helps me get my wrists and fingers active and fluid. I can use it to soften my touch at times, and crescendo dynamically at others. It's simple enough that I can play it quickly and nice enough that it doesn't bore me. I'd like to incorporate some more Bach pieces in there, possibly, and maybe others in the future. Maybe some Chopin Etudes one day, but I'm not ready for them yet.

So please share your warm-up repertoire, if you have any such pieces. Suggestions for warm up pieces at varying levels are welcome as well.


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I have been playing Wolfie's K545 (1st mvt) as my warm-up piece ever since I learnt it - sometime in my 4th year of lessons. It does everything I need to warm up: it's technically easy, all fingers are used in both hands, requires coordination, has trills, scales & arpeggios. And it sounds nice at a wide variety of tempi, so I can adapt the speed to suit my degree of 'finger stiffness', often playing faster on the repeats.

For decades, it was one of the very few pieces I could play complete from memory, which meant I could play it anytime, anywhere where I found a piano or keyboard. (And even people who hate classical music don't seem to mind it grin).

Of course, since then, I've memorized many more pieces for my monthly recitals, so I don't always use it to warm up now. Bach's Goldberg Aria followed by the first variation is also a favorite; also my own cadenza for Mozart's K467 concerto. If I feel the need to 'stretch out' my fingers (to prepare for practicing something stretchy), I might follow the initial piece with Chopin's Etude Op.25/1 as a second warm-up piece.


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I never use exercises for warm-up but always repertoire: something that has or is being polished; the selection is not consistent but whatever comes to mind,


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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I usually play something I can already play (fairly) well, regardless of difficulty. But then I also often sit down and jump right into practising, so I guess I don’t really do a warm-up.

Not particularly helpful - sorry! 😉


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I used to work on "fingery" music - like Bach or Mozart - first, as I felt that warmed me up, but also reserved "fresh" fingers for more exactingly fingery pieces. (Then I'd do the "chunky" chordal stuff).

But now I don't always adhere to that. Chords really need warming up, too.


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I never warm up when practicing and see no reason to do so. When I used to play for high school musicals as part of the orchestra(25 times), before the performance I usually played the Chopin Etude in 6ths very slowly or just practiced passages from whatever musical was being done. When I played at senior centers I couldn't warm up but just played a slower, easier selection to start.

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My teacher has me doing a short practise of scales/arpeggios that are in the same key of the piece I will practise next. That becomes my warmup now.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
I never use exercises for warm-up but always repertoire...
Me too. I dive right in, starting at the places that need work. Since this usually involves slow work, it serves as a good warmup. I don’t play through the learned parts until my concentration falters. At that point, I’ll run through what I have learned, critiquing myself on expression or I play through fully learned pieces to keep them fresh.

I always avoided exercises because I couldn’t resist working on the music. Other than a little torturous Hanon during my first year or two, I learned all my technique within the repertoire. This has served me very well and I have no regrets.


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Chopin Etudes. It's changed over the years. I did Godowsky's left hand black key in my late teens. Op. 10 No. 1 was one I used for a long time. Now, Op. 12 No. 12, Op. 25 No. 1 and Op. 10 No. 4 in that order.

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I used to play scales, arpeggios and Hanon as warm up. Now I dispense with all that and go to Bach. Gets me concentrated on fingering and gets the fingers independently moving right away. Any arpeggios or scales that occur in the pieces that follow get primary treatment, I don't waste time on scales or arpeggios in different keys.
So it's two or three Preludes and Fugues from WTC from both books, or a handful of variations from the Goldbergs (with repeats). That makes a satisfying warm up. If I want to continue with practicing those pieces to a more finished state, I try to memorize them or play Bach with my eyes closed.


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Originally Posted by MikeN
Chopin Etudes. It's changed over the years. I did Godowsky's left hand black key in my late teens.

Because of a wrist injury, I tried the left hand Chopin-Godowsky etude 25/12. It was a beast. Took me weeks to get just one page up to half speed. Eeeek.


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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by MikeN
Chopin Etudes. It's changed over the years. I did Godowsky's left hand black key in my late teens.

Because of a wrist injury, I tried the left hand Chopin-Godowsky etude 25/12. It was a beast. Took me weeks to get just one page up to half speed. Eeeek.


The first transcription of the black key is waaaaay more manageable (the one for two hands with the hand' s roles reversed) and is the one I played. Sorry for any confusion.

I recall you talking about the Op. 25 No. 12 Godowsky, and me having said I find it impossible at speed. I wonder if a great live performance of the thing is possible. Would've liked to see how Hamelin faired live if he programed it.

Last edited by MikeN; 08/18/19 10:35 PM.
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Originally Posted by MikeN
Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by MikeN
Chopin Etudes. It's changed over the years. I did Godowsky's left hand black key in my late teens.

Because of a wrist injury, I tried the left hand Chopin-Godowsky etude 25/12. It was a beast. Took me weeks to get just one page up to half speed. Eeeek.


The first transcription of the black key is waaaaay more manageable (the one for two hands with the hand' s roles reversed) and is the one I played. Sorry for any confusion.

I recall you talking about the Op. 25 No. 12 Godowsky, and me having said I find it impossible at speed. I wonder if a great live performance of the thing is possible. Would've liked to see how Hamelin faired live if he programed it.


I don’t know this pianist but, considering the difficulty, I can forgive the wrong notes.



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I usually play some light etudes and one or two baroque pieces, at medium tempo like Bach preludes, Kunhau suites, sometimes also some keyboard pieces from other baroque composers; Froberger, the english virginalists and so on. I like to start and end my sessions with baroque music. It is a good warm up for the fingers and for chords and hand extension some easy etudes does the complement.

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Schumann's Toccata is an excellent warm-up.

I would like to warm up with my current Chopin etudes (10-2, 25-6) once I learn them to a degree where I can play them almost casually. At this point they both are part of the main course and not the appetizer.

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I don't generally feel need to (physically) warm up either. However if I feel my fingers are lazy because I have not practiced for a while I play the a minor prelude from wtc 2. Took ages to memorize, but from all the pieces I have played it's the most balanced in the demands for all the fingers in both hands. Finger exercises were never my thing...

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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by MikeN
Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by MikeN
Chopin Etudes. It's changed over the years. I did Godowsky's left hand black key in my late teens.

Because of a wrist injury, I tried the left hand Chopin-Godowsky etude 25/12. It was a beast. Took me weeks to get just one page up to half speed. Eeeek.


The first transcription of the black key is waaaaay more manageable (the one for two hands with the hand' s roles reversed) and is the one I played. Sorry for any confusion.

I recall you talking about the Op. 25 No. 12 Godowsky, and me having said I find it impossible at speed. I wonder if a great live performance of the thing is possible. Would've liked to see how Hamelin faired live if he programed it.


I don’t know this pianist but, considering the difficulty, I can forgive the wrong notes.



Glad to see this recording show up. This guy's channel could use a bit more spotlighting. Still though, I find this recording to be very good yet not quite great. It's just a little too rough around the edges. Still, I'm not sure if one can better it without editing.

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Originally Posted by MikeN
I recall you talking about the Op. 25 No. 12 Godowsky, and me having said I find it impossible at speed. I wonder if a great live performance of the thing is possible. Would've liked to see how Hamelin faired live if he programed it.


I don’t know this pianist but, considering the difficulty, I can forgive the wrong notes.

[/quote]

Originally Posted by MikeN
Glad to see this recording show up. This guy's channel could use a bit more spotlighting. Still though, I find this recording to be very good yet not quite great. It's just a little too rough around the edges. Still, I'm not sure if one can better it without editing.


I agree. There are lots of wrong or smashed notes. Nevertheless, I certainly could never get it up to this tempo so I'm really quite envious.


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Some great replies and suggestions here. I already do the scales and arpeggios daily. Seems like many who do use repertoire for warmup favor Bach. That Prelude in A min might be worth a shot. K545 isn't a bad idea either....I learned that last year. The Toccata is going to have to wait.


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Actually, any toccata is a warm-up piece (the Italian word toccare means to play). Usually it contains repetitive chords, arpeggios and sometime scales. When I listen to Bachs famous d-minor organ toccata I always imagine, that's the way a genius warms up in a cold church or to get familiar with the instrument.

I personally don't play toccatas to warm up. For the right hand I play the arpeggios in Beethovens op. 2 No. 3 (Trio, 3rd movement) in a moderate tempo, for the left hand the beginning of Chopin's Andante spianato.

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