In order for the muscles to work as efficiently as possible, musicians, like almost all athletes, need a warm-up.
But if in sports the rules of warm-up are strict enough, then in music everything is not so clear. After all, it is not for nothing that many experienced musicians periodically remind that music lessons should not be thoughtlessly turned into a sport.
Moreover, this applies both to the approach to classes and to creativity (in music, you don’t need “faster, higher, stronger”). Yes, it is definitely possible to draw some parallels, but this is true only in those aspects where guitar lessons are closely correlated with sports.
In general, regarding the warm-up when playing the guitar, there are 2 approaches, each of which has the right to life.
The first approach is to start playing out on technical exercises. In this case, the guitarist should have a set of diverse phrases (legato, pick, swipe, etc.) that will provide sufficient load on the muscles and allow you to work out the selected types of techniques in a concentrated manner.
With this approach, the most effective way to warm up is the following algorithm: determination of the initial tempo and movement to the current tempo (linear and / or additive method). Further movement from the current pace to the target is no longer considered a warm-up, but part of the lesson.
This method is well suited for beginners. Also a plus is the ability to flexibly and effectively select a set of exercises. With a competent approach, this will allow you to combine warm-up with work on relaxing your hands and adjusting mechanics. The disadvantages, in turn, include the fact that the exercises are played under the click. Thanks to this, even the slightest flaws that occur during the warm-up can be heard (especially if the initial tempo is incorrectly selected).
The second approach radically differs from the first in that not exercises are selected as a material for warming up on the guitar, but real works, the tempo and parts of which should be vigorous enough to stretch fingers and muscles. And often the original tempo of these tracks does not decrease.
Of course, performing works in this mode at the warm-up stage, the guitarist has some technical errors. However, his performing experience allows him to eliminate these shortcomings without strain right during the game. That is why this approach is relevant not for beginners, but already for pumped guitarists.
By the way, Nuno Bettencourt mentioned this way of warming up on the guitar in his interview. When asked exactly how he plays out before going on stage, he said that he plays a couple of his tracks and that’s enough for him.
The advantages of the second approach are a more exciting and diverse interaction with the instrument and the playing of the works you like. Also, performance flaws can be slightly masked by accompaniment, which allows you to keep your hands in a relaxed state and not get upset once again because of a drawdown in quality. The disadvantages include the fact that the concentration of some technical elements in the work may be insufficient. In this case, you either need to choose the appropriate track, or still add the necessary warm-up exercise.
In fairness, you can also meet many professional musicians playing out on technical exercises and various sketches. Each person chooses the approach that is closer to him, and often alternates them altogether: today is so, tomorrow is so, and the day after tomorrow is generally just a chaotic game.
Therefore, you should not overly formalize and algorithmize your guitar lessons. Soberly evaluate your capabilities, choose different approaches, and most importantly – play for fun!