Warm up Exercises for Pianists Before Hanon

After sitting at the laptop for 2 hours, I am rubbing my back and groaning. The last 2 years of indoor sitting is catching up to my back. When I complain about back pain, Jay shares exercises and stretches to try to help. Jay is a personal trainer so he never runs out of exercise advice.

Jay says, “Try the exercise I showed you first, then we can talk about it if you’re still in pain.” He demonstrates again.

“Fine.” I say.

The exercises take 10 minutes and help me stay limber, especially before playing piano. I’ve asked Jay to share an exercise routine with you all so that we can learn together.

We filmed the video below along with my before and after piano playing. This pianist exercise routine are designed to be done before Hanon, but it doesn’t replace Hanon exercises. Feel free to follow along with the exercises below.

The exercises include chest openers, neck rolls, forearm stretch, and a cameo from our friend Steve. We start from the neck area, down to the chest, arms, then hands. My favorite exercise is the chest opener which engages your entire upper body, and I find it especially relaxing after a long day.

A few of these exercises use exercise balls or resistance bands which are handy, but there are alternative options for different preferences.

Please let us know if you’ve tried any exercises or have any other questions. And if there are other exercise videos you’d like to see, feel free to share your thoughts!

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Naomi Neufeld
Naomi Neufeld
1 month ago

What a great set of exercises. They work to alleviate some pain that I’ve had, as I am prepping for my end of term recital. I will certainly use these> Thank you!!

Rosie
Rosie
1 month ago

You two make a great team and I’d love to see more. I may fall into the “consult your physician first” group. Bah! Was kind of alarmed at the creaking and feeling like loose parts rolling around! Some pain too. But I do feel more relaxed in a sense afterwards. I’ll try some visualizations of the exercises for awhile. Wish I had known of such warm-ups many years ago, and am feeling fresh anger that even my consults with a doctor specializing in musicians’ injuries weren’t any help. His only advice was ice! Good job, Jay! I’m amazed at your… Read more »

Jay
Jay
30 days ago
Reply to  Rosie

Hi Rosie,

Thank you for the kind words. I can understand the frustration of only being told to use ice for problems. It took me some time to understand how we could use our own bodies effectively to help mitigate some of the pain we experience.

Really glad you enjoyed the video! Your words definitely gives us a confidence boost so we will keep the videos coming!

Jay

Rosie
Rosie
27 days ago
Reply to  Jay

“…understand how we could use our own bodies effectively…”
I’m interested to know the process you went through to gain this understanding. Did you eventually just put together concepts learned in your coursework, or study certain treatment methods? While I’ve never had a personal trainer, I didn’t expect one to be so well versed in what seems more in the realm of physical therapy to me. Perhaps that’s a misconception.

Oh, I’m so glad you’re feeling a confidence boost! Your confidence will also grow as you go. You have a lot to share.

Jay
Jay
12 days ago
Reply to  Rosie

I think the knowledge came with being observant over the years and identifying nuances and little adjustments people can make. These little adjustments, whether it is the angle or positioning during the exercise can often make the biggest difference. I enjoy my work as a personal trainer and it’s very rewarding. I’m passionate about empowering others with the knowledge on how to get in better shape. Whether that is through weight loss or increasing muscle tone but I also love the aspect of physical therapy and rehabilitation. The next step in my journey is to attend graduate school for physical… Read more »

Rosie
Rosie
7 days ago
Reply to  Jay

I wish you well in your plans, Jay, and have every reason to believe you will be a success and create a niche for yourself that will help many people.

Rosie
Rosie
27 days ago
Reply to  Grace Lam

After seeing your video of how Jay watched you play and immediately spotted problem areas, it seems to me that such observation should have been essential to any medical evaluation of musician injuries I had. It’s appalling that this musicians’ expert couldn’t do any better!

I’m convinced that knowledge like you two presented should be included in any lessons. I also took violin lessons for a few years and developed shoulder problems that no one has been able to remedy. I think it was due to an ill-fitted shoulder rest and tension in playing.

Rosie
Rosie
19 days ago
Reply to  Grace Lam

About having to continue the exercises:
My guess would be that the body and brain need to retrain out of old habitual patterns. It’s so impressive how Jay is able to help you!