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How long does it take you to warm up?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by lermgalieu, Apr 30, 2003.


  1. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    The first couple of minutes I play, I am kinda out of tune and off rhythm. I felt bad about this until I realized that I could notice a similar thing with my teacher. Is this true of you?

    How can you short circuit this so you're immediately 'on'?

    On the other hand, this is one of the joys of live music (IMO) - seeing guys go from cold to hot, or feeling the same thing in yourself.

    Any ideas on this? Does this feed the dynamic of improvisation in some weird way?
     
  2. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    It takes somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes for me and my bass to warm up so my intonation and timing are OK. The group I perform with always go through our sets before we go on stage. The vocalists are the same way - they have to warm up too.
     
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    For me, this one is full of mysteries. Sometimes it takes ZERO time to warm up -- a first take really kicks, or I pick up the axe on my own and really tear one off...

    On the other hand, there are nights and times when it feels like hiking in sand. It's happening, but it's not easy.

    Some gig nights I feel great, the rest of the guys seem to be properly psyched, you'd think conditions would be good for a fantastic night but somehow it doesn't get there. Turns out to be a sand hiking night.

    Then there are nights when the opposite occurs. Anger, stress, fatigue, hangovers -- whatever should be inhibiting someone's ability to make music that night seems not to. You get magic, not sand.

    Like I say, it's a mystery. Good thing, too.
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    And in the same neighborhood, bear in mind the wise words of the noted improviser Jerry Garcia: 'What you hear when you're playing, what the audience hears when you're playing and what you hear when you listen back to the tape are three different worlds.' You can feel like you're tramping through mud, and someone else can be moved for life, and you're both right!
     
  5. I'm with Damon; it's a crapshoot, especially from the psychological standpoint. Hm--maybe I should take up meditation....

    As far as the chops go, I try to work through some slow scales and argeggios to get the fingers limber and the ear working. I also try to do some finger stretching before I pick the bass up.

    I switched from a plywood bass to one with a carved top about a year ago, and I notice that depending on conditions, it can take a good hour for the sound to bloom and the bass to start feeling right. Time and gig environment permitting, I'm starting to get in the habit of getting there early to get the wood molecules moving.
     
  6. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Especially when you were on completely different drugs when you played it versus when you listened back, and the audience was on its own trip...
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I do arm, wrist, and upper body stretches before I play, which helps a lot. I could be wrong, but in my case I think the whole idea of "warming up" is 99% mental. If I'm ready to hear music, I'll hear it, and if I'm not I'm not. As far as the purely physical component, I'd say 5-10 minutes max, but that's being nitpicky.
     
  8. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Exactly what I find intriguing about this subject. My hunch is that when the people watching you are in the same 'mode' as you mentally, you warm up together or you're hot from the start together. I have seen many shows where the band on the surface seems to be cooking right out of the gate, but the vibe just isn't there. Or vice versa...sometimes the band wants to slowly heat up, but the audience is too impatient and they lose interest. So many mental variables...I agree that it is pretty unpredictable. All you can do IME is be prepared and be physically warmed up.
     
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I think a lot of this issue also has to do with the acoustic environment. I warm up quickest when I can hear clearly - in the studio, it takes almost no time at all if the mix is good. In a crappy sounding room - especially reverb heavy halls with no soft or dense materials to absorb sound, sometimes it seems to take forever.
     
  10. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    I like getting to the consert hall at least one hour ahead of the down beat. To let me warm up, let the bass get used to the room and to let me calm down from the drive and start to get into the zone.

    Then time stands still.

    Joe
     
  11. I also try to get to a gig as early as possible to let
    my bass settle down and adapt to the environment,
    but that´s only part of the warming up. I have noticed that it´s ME who needs that settling down.
    First, you drive to the location, carry your own amp and bass and stool and notestand and whatever, then you set the gear up, set the tone, tune up, wash your hands, wipe the sweat off your forehead a hundred times, go to bathroom again.....if I only have about ten minutes to make all of this happen, my first couple of tunes are definitely not cool and relaxed.
    I can set myself up in five minutes, but taking at least a half an hour´s time for all this, and in the same time mentally getting ready for the music we´re gonna play is what I need. Then everything is OK, and I sound good from the very first note.

    Rehearsals are worse, since I normally don´t have time to hang there an hour before anybody else shows up....sometimes I envy those blowers who just walk in with their mouthpieces already between their teeth, take out their horns and start playing, no matter if it´s a gig or a rehearsal.
    And they don´t have to drive...!

    R2
     
  12. I'm "immediately on" probably about 80% of the time.

    I really think it's almost ALL a matter of getting "in the mood". Start that as soon as you get in your car at home.

    You can say lots of things about warming up muscles & joints, etc., but the major reason you will be off rhythm, or off pitch, or just indefinably "not quite as good", rests with your frame of mind.

    To short-circuit the process, I try to listen to music of the type I'm about to play, and visualize (or even sing) basslines to it, while I'm on the way to the venue.

    I have to admit that it is NOT the most advisable thing to be doing WHILE you're driving, but lots of times I'll be going to play play with someone who has an album out, and I almost always have a copy of it, which I've been working with at home. It'll be in my car CD player on the way to the gig, and I'll be singing bass parts, tapping rhythms out against the steering wheel or dashboard, or playing them in my head, all the way to the venue.

    Or, if I'm going to a Bluegrass deal, I'll do the same thing with a cd that I've burned, containing representative material.

    There may not actually be a single song on the CD that I'll wind up playing during the night, but when I arrive, I'm already in a "Bluegrass State Of Mind", or Country, or Whatever.

    If I plan to sing, I make it a point to drink hot coffee on the way to a gig, to physically raise the temperature in my throat.

    Vocal cords DO need warming (hot liquids alone won't do it). So if it's one of my own gigs, I sing, full-volume, just like I was already on-stage, as I'm driving. This does "warmup" and "Mood" for me at the same time.

    If I don't do that, I find that everything to do with singing improves noticeably about mid-way through the first song, about half a song later than I'd like. ;)
     
  13. Hey, BEARFOOD, that´s a good advise IF you like driving in general.
    My problem is that I hate driving in general, and driving to gigs especially. I find it stressing, nauseating and dull, all things opposite to playing music I love. So, it helps a little to listen music while driving, but it won´t take away my profound attitude problem towards operating an automobile...
    whenever I can, I try to get to the gig without the car, and leave the driving business to someone who has more natural ability to do it.
    Quess it´s the same thing as my thinking, I´ve been advised to leave it to horses, they have been born with bigger heads.
    Also I like to have a beer or two during the gig, and some after. With the car = forgetaboutit....
    What do you guys think about alcohol & performing?

    R2
     
  14. All the better!

    Listening to music, to the degree that I do when on the way to a gig, introduces a level of distraction that I freely admit isn't a good thing.

    It gets the job done, but if I had some way to be driven, instead of driving myself, there's no telling WHAT all I could accomplish on the way to a gig!
    ____________________________________
    Alcohol? I don't do it. Sometimes I PRETEND to do it.

    If I'm fronting, in a bar, I will buy a beer, drink it, then re-fill the bottle with water throughout the night.

    I always try to help the venu move a little product, commenting on the the food, beer, etc. from the stage.

    I don't get anything from it directly, but the more food/drink they sell while we're playing, the more likely we are to get re-booked.

    It's more credible to be pushing beer if you're seen nipping from a beer bottle, than it is when you've been up there swilling a pitcher of ice water.

    Alcohol dehydrates you. When you start getting dehydrated, you begin to feel weary, and that affects your timing.

    And it makes you begin to feel drunk, which affects your timing... also intonation, chord changes, etc. etc. etc.

    Singing can be quite an effort, and I sing while pulling bass strings, so I generally sweat like a horse on-stage, especially if the music is Bluegrass or Americana.

    For the most part, I personally save the alcohol for after the gig.

    At an outdoor thing, (I'm headed to the Kerrville Folk Festival in a couple of weeks, for instance) I make SURE I don't drink beer at all, pretty much until well after dark. Too much playing at the various campfires, and too much walking around.

    The South Texas Heat doesn't need any help doing me in during the daylight hours.
     
  15. Well, at least your feet can sweat freely I quess...

    for me it´s one beer before the gig, and if it´s not more than 3 sets, I´ll have one between each. The rest will be after the gig. That IF someone else is driving. Otherwise it´s only the one before the first set. The funny thing is, that I´m almost addicted to that one. Although I´ve never suffered from performance anxiety, I fear that if I don´t drink my pre-gig beer, I will.

    R2