I have a hunch that many of you will assume this to be about some sport, exercise or a very physical activity. But actually this topic came up during my violin class on the weekend! So maybe technique makes sense now, but warm up? For violin? Unlike what we might assume, these aspects are applicable to most forms of arts.
Have a look at the table below. Against each activity, I have listed a few points on Technique and a few on Warm up. Though it may not be so obvious and we may not be taught about these consciously, knowledge about these aspects and following them in our daily lives can go a really long way in strengthening our art forms.
|Running||Several factors affect both speed and stamina of a runner. Posture (head, shoulders, arms), Strike (mid-foot, forefoot vs. heel), Cadence (strikes per second), Lean (waist, ankle) and Pronation (natural roll of the foot) are some of the factors to consider.||Spot jogging, side squats, high knees, butt kicks, it band stretch, etc. are some of the exercises we do before a long run.|
|Basketball||My kids learn basketball, and as we know there are so many techniques on how to run across, how to turn, hold the ball, pass the ball, throw the ball, and so on.||A key aspect of my kids’ warm-up is to run back and forth on the court, touching the floor. And jumping across like a deer is another exercise.|
|Dancing||My kids also learn Bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance) and a very common pose is called ‘arai mandi’ (half seated pose). This has its proper technique.||Shoulder rotations, neck rotations, arms out wrist stretching, legs out calves stretching, butterfly squats, lunges across the floor|
|Singing||In a LecDem in the recent Chennai Music Season, I heard Aruna Sairam, Nisha Rajagopalan and Sid Sriram talk about using your diaphragm, your chest opened, and even the cavities in your face! I also heard the term “vocal athlete”, which is so true.||Before beginning a Carnatic music session we are taught to sing ‘Sa Pa Sa’. Technically, that is warm-up J In the Wholistic Vocalist Workshop by Ma.Ja, we did a tongue stretch exercise. Hydration is also a very important part of a singer’s warm-up.|
|Violin||When I was first taught violin, no one explained the importance of the thumb or to hold my fingers with 3 bends. Bowing techniques such as the position of your shoulder and elbow, the angle of movement, the location of the touch-point, angle of bow touching the string, all are so important.||Shoulder rotation, neck rotation, calf rotations, finger exercises like a spider on the floor, combinations of fingers moving up and down the fret-board, etc.|
|Photography||When we had the super blue blood moon recently, it took me at least 20 shots in manual mode with combinations of Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure, etc. to get the picture that I faintly liked.||Even after that, it took a good number of shots to hold my shoulder, elbow and wrist steady and holding my breath to get a somewhat steady pic.|
Each of the above points by itself can get into a whole blog by itself. But I think you get the drift now. Most art forms do require a good amount of physical activity … and hence, warm up and cool down are equally important. Warm up prepares both body and mind. It can improve performance as well as prevent injuries. Without a warm-up, you may be stiff and ineffective.