Tom Brechtlein: Wicked Warm-Ups
Here I am again! Thought you could get rid of me, didn’t ya?
A lot of people have asked me how I warm up before a gig. Well, prior to 1987 I didn’t warm up at all. I used to stand by the side of the stage and shake my body loose to get relaxed. When I joined The Blue Line, I found the need to warm up before the gig. The music was a little more hard-hitting and I found that I needed to actually warm up to stay strong and loose.
Before we get into these warm-ups, I’d like to make you aware of a very important thing. When you warm up, make sure you don’t overdo it. “Warm up” means exactly that – you do this action with your hands and limbs until you feel some good blood circulation throughout your hands and arms. If you warm up too much, the elasticity and the looseness of your muscles and limbs can become played out before you even get to the bandstand. As I said, it’s called warming up, not sweating your butt off.
I learned the basics of these warm-ups from a percussionist who taught me in college. His name is Ronnie Gould and he’s played with the New York City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. As well as being an incredible percussionist, he’s also an incredible teacher. In this issue I’d like to show you some of the basic warm-ups he taught me, and then next time we’ll look at some exercises that I made up from these basic ones.