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The Best Cello Warm Up Tips

In today’s cello lesson, we are going to discuss the best cello warm up tips to get you sounding great and prepare you for your next performance. Feel free to use these techniques no matter what style you are playing, whether it is classical, jazz, or rock and pop!

Cello Lessons with Daniel Stewart, The Lesson Studio, Boulder, CO

It is never a good idea to practice or go into your cello lesson cold, without warming up.  Warming up before playing is very important because it not only gets the blood flowing, and it gets the brain going too.  You will also experience that warming up before a lesson is the best way to get the most out of your practice session or lesson.

Open String Warm Ups

One of the best and easiest warm up tips is to simply play open strings with a relaxed, long and heavy bow stroke. I learned this from one of my cello teachers in college. You start with the bow on the string (any open string) with a firm right hand. Take a large breath into your nose, and as you exhale out of your mouth, draw the down bow slowly. As you draw the down bow, feel your shoulders and every other part of you become relaxed. When you get to the tip of the bow begin your up bow with another very large breath into your nose, then exhale again on the down bow.  The point of this is to become very relaxed and balanced while playing long bows with a good sound.

Play Something Familiar

Another great warm up tip is to warm up with a piece that you thoroughly enjoy and can play well.  Now, I don’t mean jump right up and start to play cold, without some other warmups first, but throw this in at the end of your warmups.  The reason to do this is to play something you really like first before you get into the nitty gritty parts of practicing, which can sometimes become frustrating. I always find that playing some of the Bach Cello Suites before practicing helps me not only relax but reminds me why I am about to work on the same four measures of Haydn for the next hour.  To warm up with a piece you enjoy helps remind you of the love you have for music, your instrument, and your dedication to growing as a musician.

Scale Practice

The last of my best cello warmup tips is a classic. You can use the playing of scales to become relaxed, work on bow control, learn notes, train your ear, and develop muscle memory. It is the simplest form of written music, so it allows us to play something easy while we work on technique. Play through the C Major scale while solely focusing on having round and smooth bow changes. The next time through focus only on intonation, making sure every note is perfectly in tune. Then play it with four slurred or with a bouncing bow – the options are endless.

After doing all of these warmups, or even one, you will most definitely feel warmed up and ready to have a great cello lesson or practice.