Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Warming up

Parallels are nifty. I'm always drawing on food analogies to explain concepts to my students.
"Soloing is like baking a blueberry pie" I'll often say, referring to the combinations of ingredients (a scale) to create a finished piece of artwork.

I also dig parallels of different disciplines. Today's special? Weight training.

Now, for those of you who know me, you know I'm obviously no expert, or the skinniest bodybuilder out there. (However, I assure you, it's the former.) But, hopefully that will change! Armed with Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" I'm well on my way to someday benching...fifty pounds.

All joking aside, The "Governator" stresses the importance of warming up in order to avoid injury and gain maximum benefit from a training session.

And that's the same with the guitar. While diminished arpeggios don't always present the same danger of injury as deadlifting an elephant, us musicians would do well to heed Arnold's advice on stretching. I find that warming up can be a limiting factor on my top speed and agility on stage.

My pre-practice routine involves stretching my arms, hands, and fingers. Hold the pose for thirty seconds or so, and add massages to really "turbocharge" your hands. Flapping my hands around a la Chicken Little and hollering "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The spice girls just announced a reunion tour! Arrgh!" is also helpful. It's suggested you do this before you even pick up a guitar for the day.

Some musicians then play very difficult material next, others warm up gradually. Experiment, and find what works for you.

Don't forget to stretch during your practice or performance, either. "Shaking out" tension in my hands during difficult practice sessions can be very helpful in the pursuit of excellence (and world shred domination!) Again, the "Chicken Little" technique of flapping your arms and hands around in a panicked, grandmotherly fashion is great for this. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Rock on!


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Anonymous said...

I have just started reading your lessons on Ultimate Guitar site.
They are VERY useful and not at all boring !
Please keep them coming.
Many thanks