The multiple prize winner and Royal College of Music professor has found numerous ways to warm up for concert performances


The following extract from the February 2016 issue is linked to the Technique article in the April issue of The Strad on warming up the left hand when playing the cello.

I have learnt to vary my warm-up from day to day. My hands are normally extremely cold, which means that I’ve always walked on stage feeling as though I haven’t warmed up at all. I’ve tried all kinds of things: jumping up and down, practising for hours, working slowly and then building up my speed, doing all kinds of exercises with my arms to improve my blood flow.

For years this really took away my confidence at the beginnings of performances – I always felt that I wasn’t giving my best because I hadn’t warmed up enough. But one day I realised that it’s just who I am, and that’s how my body works. My blood flow is not fast enough and I can’t do anything about it.


Read Technique: Cello warm-ups - the left hand

ReadTechnique: Cello warm-ups - the bow arm

ReadHow to make the most of cello scales

Read How I warm up: Hilary Hahn


Rather than fighting it, I started to prepare for it in my practice. On some days I would start by working on scales and sections of pieces; but on other days I would wake up, pick up my violin and play the first movement of a concerto straight through. That really helped me to concentrate on the music, rather than being worried about my cold hands and the feeling that I needed more time.

Read our Technique article in the April issue of The Strad on warming up the left hand when playing the cello.