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Great Warm-Up Ideas For Classical Guitarists

Click here to get access to free Classical Guitar Lessons with Jason Vieaux!

classical guitar warming up

Warming up is critical to a productive classical guitar rehearsal. As tempting as it can be to just sit down and dive into your favorite piece of music, warming up prepares your fingers and mind for a focused rehearsal session.

It's worth noting that there's a difference between playing the guitar and actually practicing guitar.

Playing pieces that you already know at performance tempo puts your brain and hands on auto-pilot - and this should not be mistaken as practice. The goal of practicing should be to learn new exercises and pieces, as well as reinforce the things you already know.

A quality warm-up session will help put you in the proper mindset for a productive rehearsal or performance.

Click here to get access to free Classical Guitar Lessons with Jason Vieaux!

Let’s run through some general guidelines that anyone should follow before sitting down to play classical guitar.

1. Stretch - Always Worth It.

classical guitar stretches`

Like Jason Vieaux discusses in his lessons, you should always do some sort stretching before you start playing guitar. Be sure to breathe deeply through your stretching, this will help relax you as well which will also benefit your playing.

2. Use a Metronome - Timing is Everything. 

Being able to play on tempo is incredibly important, and so that's why any musician will recommend practicing with a metronome. 

Did you know there's a metronome on all the lesson pages at ArtistWorks? Just click under the lesson title where it says Additional Resources!

3. Practice Slow - No, Slower!

classical guitar warmups - arpeggios

Even if you think you’re practicing slow enough, knock the tempo on your metronome down another 10 bpm.

Too easy? Take it down another 10.

Click here to get access to free Classical Guitar Lessons with Jason Vieaux!

Nail Care - Treat Them Right.

classical guitar nail maintenance

Pro Tip: use a nail file and sandpaper to shape your nails until there’s no aural distinction!

Fingernails are essential to producing tone, and they are the very essence of your sound. Your warm-up sessions are an ideal time to pay attention to your tone and work out any kinks. 

Listen carefully as you warm up. If you’re playing with fingernails and you hear drastic differences in tone between fingers, then you have a problem.

But fear not! Our classical guitar teacher Jason Vieaux has recorded an excellent 3 part lesson on nails here at ArtistWorks. He'll even show you how to create your own ping pong thumbnail so you don't have to grow one - very effective! 

Scales - Segovia Summons You

The Segovia Scales (named for the great classical guitarist Andres Segovia) offer great opportunities for learning guitar. The scale’s fingerings are designed for you to travel up and down the fretboard. 

It’s also a great opportunity to get comfortable not only with chord shapes but with transitioning between different positions. Become familiar enough with these scales and you’ll soon find yourself anticipating position shifts a few notes before they occur.

Jason Vieaux has many lessons recorded on the Segovia Scales online at ArtistWorks... more on that below.

classical guitar lesson on segovia scales

As you practice these scales, focus on playing smoothly -- it’s far more important than playing them fast. Speed can come later, and it will as long as you learn to master playing everything slow first.

Arpeggios - Got Any Giuliani?

classical guitar giuliani right hand studies

The well-known collection of Guiliani’s 120 Right Hand exercises are incredibly important and wonderful exercises for right hand speed and agility. The things to focus on areconsistent dynamics and tone, as well as a relaxed right hand. As with the other exercises, be sure to practice them slowly with a metronome.

Ok, that's enough for now. Good luck out there, and remember - you'll master classical guitar a lot faster if you always take the time for a proper warm-up session. Simple, yet so effective. 

Also, having a good teacher will expedite your progress exponentially.

As it happens, Jason Vieaux has an extensive classical guitar curriculum at ArtistWorks that has everything you need to know from A to Z. 

Click here to get access to free Classical Guitar Lessons with Jason Vieaux!

classical guitar warmup execises

You can check out some sample lessons here if you're interested, it's good stuff! 

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