Warming Up for a Piano Recital

Warming up hands before a piano concert.
Image © Brandy Kraemer

Preparing Your Hands for a Performance

There was an old Seinfeld episode, ‘The Pez Dispenser,’ where Jerry and company debated about how George’s pianist girlfriend warmed up before a concert. Jerry quipped, “What, do you think they just crack their knuckles and come out?”

Actually, for some pianists knuckle-cracking is part of their warm-up routine – not because it’s beneficial to their playing, but because it's simply become habit, and not doing so could be a distraction.

For other players, stretching the hands and wrists without cracking helps to get the blood flowing and limbers-up.

A lot of pianists simply rely on the old standbys: arpeggios, scales, and ; and in addition to keeping fingers agile and ready for motion, there are a few more tricks you might want to keep up your sleeves for recital day:

  • Do keep hands warm for a performance. If the venue is cold, stay by a heat source, or keep your hands warm in your pockets or by clenching them together, or swing your arms back and forth quickly for about 30 seconds.
  • Do keep fingernails short and trimmed, and care for painful cuticles before recital day.
  • Do mind your skin's moisture levels. If hands are too moisturized, you can slip on the keys; if they are too dry, you may be distracted by the discomfort.
  • Do make sure bandages do not prevent the hand, arm, or finger flexibility you will need for your song (unless you're accustomed to wearing a brace of some kind).
  • Do concentrate and practice on particularly fast or tricky passages in your song before you hit the stage.
  • Don’t let sweaty hands make you slip up. Keep some body powder handy if you’re prone to sweaty palms.
  • Don’t wear loose bracelets, large rings that may rotate between fingers, or jewelry that can reflect bright lights into your eyes during play.

     

    More on Hand Flexibility & Agility:

     ● Hand Positions for Efficient Piano Playing
     ● Printable Piano Warm-Up Drills
     ● Avoid Wrist Strain & Injury at the Keys

     

    More Pre-Recital Tips:

     ● Practicing Before Your Recital
     ● Choosing Your Piano Recital Song
     ● Dealing With Stage Anxiety

     

    Reading Piano Music
     ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
     ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
     ▪  Memorize the Staff Notes
     ▪  Illustrated Piano Chords
     ▪  Tempo Commands Organized By Speed

    Beginner Piano Lessons
     ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
     ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
     ▪  Intro to Piano Fingering
     ▪  How to Count Triplets
     ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

    Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
     ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
     ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
     ▪  Buying a Used Piano
     ▪  Tips for Finding the Right Piano Teacher
     ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide

    Forming Piano Chords
     ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
     ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
     ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
     ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
     ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords