Ever notice the members of your band staring off into space or talking to friends when they’re supposed to be warming-up? As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes our warm-up routines can be a bit boring. Warm-ups are meant to build your energy levels – not suck the life out of you. Band members not only need this time to prepare for rehearsal, but they also need to be actively doing something!
Luckily, there a quite a few things you can do to help keep your members engaged in one of the most important parts of rehearsal! Although it may be tempting to skip the warm-up and jump straight into marching, your body needs this time to warm up your muscles and help prevent injury. Check out these tips on how to help your members stay actively engaged during warm-ups!
1. Change up your music choices
Do you notice yourself using the same playlist at the beginning of every rehearsal? Try changing up your music choices to help prevent your warm-up from being the same thing every time. Consider having a themed day such as Disney or ‘90s music, or ask the members to recommend songs! This helps incorporate music that everyone likes, and the difference in music genres can make the pace of your warm-up interesting.
2. Use dynamic movements, not static ones
There’s no easier time for a member to fall asleep during those early-morning weekend rehearsals than when they’re laying on the ground holding a stretch for a long time. Not only are these static stretches bad for your body (check out our post on why static stretching actually impedes your performance here), they also make it easy for members to disengage and just go through the motions of hitting each stretch!
Instead, use dynamic stretching to incorporate constant movement throughout your warm-up. Your members will get a better stretch and have less time to fall asleep!
3. Create small routines to mix in
A great way to maintain the focus of your members is to make up small routines to add into your warm-up! Have a fun routine for a couple different focus areas to keep members engaged. These can simply be 20 seconds of movement that incorporate a stretch, or a couple minutes of a mini-cardio workout to get that heart rate up. Feel free to choose a funny song that you wouldn’t normally use-write a plié exercise to the Guacamole song, or a quick workout to the Power Rangers theme song. This way you can target those pesky areas that need some work (we all have them) while making it fun for the members.
4. Incorporate Breathing
It may come as a surprise that there is a correct and incorrect way to breathe while exercising. That’s right-those quick, shallow breaths you naturally want to take when exerting energy are actually causing you to fatigue faster! A great way to combat this for your band is to incorporate inhaling and exhaling as a specific part of their warm-up, rather than just reminding them to breathe every now and then. When teaching a small routine or combination instruct the members to exhale at certain parts when a lot of energy is being exerted, and inhale when releasing this energy (sound effects are welcome). Although this sounds opposite of what you naturally want to do, exhaling on the difficult parts of a warm-up is the correct form and can help prevent your muscles from undergoing stress.
Corbin, M. (n.d.). Balance, Breathing and Flexibility. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from https://extension.psu.edu/balance-breathing-and-flexibility