Not Another Post About Warm Ups!

Oh yes! Because you can never have enough ways to warm up, and to challenge yourself to understand why the Warm Up is essential.

Why warm up? Why not just rock up to class, or rehearsal, or the performance and just do the thing? Can you, indeed, switch from your everyday ways of moving, sounding, thinking and being in your normal life to ways of moving, sounding, thinking and being AS IF you lived a different life, for the purpose of inviting an audience to share in aspects of that different life.

In my book, the answer is always No. You can’t. Nobody can. You can get better at making the switch as time goes by, make it in less time, but only when you really, really know what you are doing. Not just know in your mind, but in every cell of your body – and that takes practice.

So what is a Warm Up, but practice? Practising. Training yourself to be more efficient, more flexible, more specific, more creative, more responsive – and let’s not forget the unspoken one, more responsible.

Here’s a little taste of a couple of exercises we did in yesterday’s voice class. But it’s important to note that we only did this after we had a great sit down discussion about what, exactly, we are warming up and why and how.

Your Whole Self:
a) Your whole body, including muscles, joints, heart and lungs, limbs (including feet and fingers), and of course, larynx
b) Your vocal sound, including phonation, pitch, articulation and enunciation, resonance
c) Your intellect, including powers of observation, concentration, focus, attention, AND
d) Imagination and
e) Emotions
By doing everything at once?

That sounds daft, but actually YES (in a way). Because if you are not being imaginative, creative, playful as you are doing your physical warm up, you are not training yourself to be imaginative, creative and playful as you move in performance. If you are not making some form of gentle sound as you warm up your arms and legs, when do you learn how to move and speak at the same time?

As for emotions… We have them, cooking away inside us, all the time, sometimes so light and subtle they are hard to realise, sometimes so powerful they are hard to control. So use your warm up to notice how you feel, notice how that feeling is fleeting, and how it morphs into something different. All the time.