Warm Up And Play

websitemusicfermataI’ve been at this for so long that some of the basics are such a part of my natural rhythm I don’t even think about them any more.  For instance, there’s one small point I was sharing with someone the other day.  We were about to start playing and I suggested that before we begin we first wander through something easy as a warm up.  They said it sounded like a good idea and so off we went.  Turned out to be a great session.

It’s a pretty basic concept, isn’t it?  Warm up.  Get the body and brain in gear first.  Begin the hard work once you’re truly present.  Not a difficult thought to grasp.

So you’d think it would be a no-brainer.  But time after time I’ve been part of some unit directed to jump immediately into the hardest material.  Which usually sets the tone for an absolute grind of a rehearsal.  After watching folks flounder around for a few sessions, as a fellow player I’ll make the suggestion that maybe we could begin with something straightforward, mostly so I can remind myself what playing with these people is like.  But I can’t count the number of times that the leader has growled at me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and that playing a warmup would just be a waste of our very limited time.  And so we return to their idea of saving time–hours and hours and hours of grind that could easily be avoided by simply remembering that musicians are people, and should be treated as such.

Come to think of it, there’s maybe the problem, eh?  Mind you it also looks to me like they’ve simply forgotten that when it comes to music the verb we use is very specific.


Let me say it again so we’re clear.

We play music.

What’s so hard about that?

Now excuse me, I’m gonna go warm up.