Warm-Up Stretches to Practice With Your School Orchestra

Recent research into the physical health issues of musicians has shown the importance of proper stretching. That is why the authors of Expressive Techniques for Orchestra included these stretches in their book. String musicians can avoid or, at least, lessen carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive motion injuries, and upper/lower backaches by the use of proper posture, movement while playing, and preparing the body to play through appropriate stretching exercises.

The authors encourage the use of the orchestra stretches as a part of the daily warm-up routine. They believe you will find that the number of students complaining of tension, tiredness, or aching will be lessened.

These stretches may be repeated at any point in the class where students begin to show fatigue. It will increase blood flow and oxygen to the specific spots of the body addressed by each stretch. During rehearsal, you may want to target a specific area and do a single stretch. For example: if you are using a drill to rehearse a difficult left-hand fingering, you may choose to take a break and use one of the stretches targeted at the hands.

Stretch #1

Stretch #2

Stretch #3

Stretch #4

Stretch #5

Bow Thumb Flex

Teaching Tips


New Music Friday: The Picnic: Watch Out for the B’s

This piece tells the story of a picnic being interrupted by pesky bees. As time goes on, more and more bees can be heard, and every section gets a turn. Listen for the sounds of the bees as they travel around the orchestra. Most of the “buzzes” include the musical note B in the dissonant cluster of notes. This piece gives your students a chance to tell a story with their music. Invite the students to engage in the drama, looking nervously around or occasionally swatting an imaginary bee in front of their faces. The orchestra creates the narrative of happy picnic-goers having their beautiful day interrupted by pesky bees.

Read More »
New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Renegade Showdown

In Renegade Showdown, the violins battle the low strings in an epic clash. Hear the twists and turns each side takes as they vie for the win. This piece was composed to teach students to understand regular vs. low first finger. Bass students will benefit from identifying sections that will work well in half position.

Read More »
New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Aurora’s March

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s three masterpiece ballet scores, including Sleeping Beauty, are known for their timeless music. Only three years before the composer’s death, the ballet was first performed in 1890. The storyline for the Sleeping Beauty ballet was inspired by the Brothers Grimm adaptation of the folk tale first published in 1330. This arrangement for string orchestra captures the enduring melodies and great depth of Tchaikovsky’s geniu. Because much of Tchaikovsky’s style is not written with articulations, students will need assistance with the bow stroke in order to perform this incredible piece. This march, which follows the overture in the ballet, was renamed Aurora’s March for this arrangement.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join our mailing list

Be the first to know about new music, exciting news, deals and more!