Engaging Warm Up Activities
August 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm #10807
What strategies and routines do you use in your high school orchestra classroom that effectively “warm up” the ensemble, reinforce skills, and are ENGAGING to the students? My warm-up routines need a shot of adrenaline!August 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm #11649
You might have a look at my website: http://www.stringskills.com
There are scales, arpeggios, rhythmic worksheets, shifting studies, and more. It’s all FREE!
The first portion of your daily rehearsal can do more than to warm them up, but you can elevate their technique. I’m sure not every student in your group takes private lessons, so you are responsible on an ongoing basis to raise their command of their instruments.
Good luck. Feedback invited.
Ann Arbor MISeptember 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm #11926
To Mr. Villasurda –
LOVE your site, have used the finger patterns extensively with my Middle Schoolers, and this year I plan on using the UNA CORDA exercises and MULTIPLE KEY exercises for my students that finish Books 1-2-3 before leaving me.
I shared your site with students last year, and wanted to pass on something that might amuse you.
Apparently this one student didn’t exactly appreciate your exercises. 🙂
He was mentioning your site and said, “You know…that strings kill place!”September 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm #11948
Thanks for the nice remarks.
I’m going to be at the Eastern NAfME conference in Hartford CT April 5 & 6 and giving two clinics. I’m also doing clinics at state conferences in AZ, CO, and CA in January and February. Perhaps we’ll meet.
http://www.stringskills.comOctober 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm #13411
Are there any other suggestions for engaging warm-ups? The middle school that I am working with (6-8th grade) currently does most of the things addressed on your website: scales, finger patterns, transpositions, work with rhythms, playing tunes out of a method book, scales in positions, etc. I use this warm up time to evaluate students’ technique, posture, playing position, sound production, intonation, etc. I’m a big proponent of sound before sight, so we rarely use notated music when doing warm-ups. Still, the students often find this time to be less than exciting. Are there any other ways that I can make my warm-up segment more engaging? Do you think that improvisation can be used as a part of warm-ups? Any ideas for how to incorporate something like that?
Kent State University, OHOctober 11, 2012 at 9:54 am #13479
Regarding skills building in the rehearsal: my next project is essentially “All the Bowings they need”. I haven’t worked it up to presentation level yet, but I do have a worksheet with about 20 bowings kids need to master by high school age. I can e-mail you this if you want.
I would suggest you do 2 or 3 different examples using first an open string, then a one octave scale. Be very particular about what you expect–amount of bow, speed of stroke, beginning and ending spots, etc. Monitor visually to make sure everyone is doing it.
If you don’t have my e-mail address, you can get it off my website; go to CONTACT
http://www.stringskills.comOctober 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm #14066
Scales and arpeggios are a great way to warm up the class. I would suggest incorporating not only major and minor scales, but also other modes such as Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, etc. Not only will your students have a better concept of different tonalities and be better prepared for music theory, but it will make warm ups much more interesting. Once scales are learned, incorporating different rhythms can also make warm ups more fun. Switch it up by having one student pick a scale and another pick a rhythm- immediately the class is more involved and warm ups have become more interesting.
Another idea is to have students warm up using their ears. Play a simple melody and have students echo back. This makes students listen to what note “do” is, has them analyze the major/minor steps or leaps between notes, and has them learning to play melodies by ear. Later, you could move on to playing a more difficult melody (perhaps of a popular tune, such as “Pink Panther” or the main melody of a Disney song), and have them echo back. If you are enjoying warm ups, chances are your students will start to as well.October 25, 2012 at 5:19 am #14371
A lot of good ideas so far. I would suggest maybe making a song out of scales by improvising harmony on the piano to each scale degree up and down, depending on your piano skills. I saw this done once and the students seemed to really enjoy this. Also, it adds energy to the beginning of your rehearsal and adds musicality to scales. I liked the String Skills website and you can implement some of those exercises by dedicating each day to a different skill set (rhythm reading, shifting, etc.) so your warm-up routine does not get too “routine”. Learning simple melodies by ear is always a fun exercise. If you are successful with learning a simple melody, you can try and transpose it to different keys by ear as well. Hope this helps.
Undergraduate in Music Education
Kent State UniversityNovember 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm #15970
Gabe – Great website! Wonderful, creative, supportive, and useful information. I especially like the scales and (level appropriate) unison solos. I’ve visited the site numerous times since learning about you and your work. A class act!
Bravo for making them available to NAƒME members! (Terrific responses too!)
Thanks a million!
NAƒME MentorOctober 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm #30615
Wow! What an amazing website Gabe has created! I am a flutist studying music education at Kent Sate University. The only experience I have with string instruments is playing in the orchestra for the past two years, so this website was full of valuable knowledge–I will definitely reference this when I take string methods next semester.
I was, however, hoping someone could guide me on what you feel is the most important aspect of a good string warm up. If you only had 5 minutes a day to use for warm up time, would you suggest focusing on one specific “subject” every day? Or would you recommend having a new focus for the warm up every day. Also, how can you incorporate more than one focus into a warm up without it being overwhelming?
As a wind player, if I only have 5 minutes to warm up, I will spend a majority of that time playing long tones and harmonics. If I had time, I would then try to incorporate either double tonguing or some technical scale exercise. Am I right to assume long tones are not necessary for string warm ups? What are some vital components to a string warm up that can make all the difference both in the physical and mental aspect of string playing?
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