Warm Up Those Fingers!
I have several sets of exercises that I show my students for strength, flexibility and control. The arm, wrist and fingers all need to be loose and flexible to sound your best playing piano. As any athlete can tell you, tight muscles and joints inhibit motion. Particularly for those who are neurodiverse, warm ups help focus attention and gain control over arms and fingers. I like to keep warm ups quick and simple, with easy to remember names and movements. Create your own warm ups for your students. Varying warm ups keeps it interesting and fun!
Spitting Cobra: I heard about a cobra that spits venom. Kind of an icky idea, but it is a great visual image for the motion of thrusting fingers forwards from the knuckles nearest the palm. It helps gain control of the fingers and encourages the movement of the pinky and ring finger.
Knock on the door:: pretend you are knocking at a door, having the whole hand move forward from the wrist to knock. Keep the elbow still. You can also do this by knocking on top of the closed keyboard cover. This stretches the top of the wrist.
Oh, my!: hold your hands up, elbows bent, and throw your hands back, keeping elbows still. I laugh with my students making comments such as: “Oh, my!” “Oh, goodness!” and “Heavens to murgatroyd!” This stretches the bottom of the wrist.
Fireworks: stand with arms at your side, and throw up your hands to the sky. Stretching fingers as far as possible so that they look like fireworks exploding. This stretches the arms and loosens shoulders.
Each lesson’s warm up goal is to address flexibility in the fingers, wrists and arms before playing piano, along with the added benefit of focusing attention. I do each warm up 4 to 6 times with my student and then have them do the warm ups every day at home. It makes a difference!
You can download the full sheet of these Warmups here!
We also have more warmups available in the resources tab of our website!