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Warming Up for a Piano Recital

How to Prepare Hands for a Performance on the Keys


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 a warm-up routine – not because it’s beneficial to their playing, but because it has simply become habit. Not doing so would be a distraction.

But most pianists rely on the old standbys: arpeggios, scales, and other various warm-ups; and in addition to keeping fingers agile and ready for motion, there are a few more tricks you might want to keep up your sleeve 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 clenched together.

  • Do keep fingernails short and trimmed, and care for painful cuticles before recital day.

  • Do make sure bandages do not prevent hand, arm, or finger flexibility.

  • 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

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