The Practice Notebook

flutist Zara Lawler shares tips on learning music

Physical Warm-ups: Arms (Promoting the Flow of Ch'i)


Promoting the flow of what?

Ch’i is the life force, as interpreted by Chinese medicine.  It’s often Romanized in different ways, so you might have seen is written as Qi, or Ki.

I learned the exercise in the video below from an acupuncturist, when I was living in Hong Kong (and playing in the Hong Kong Philharmonic ).  It’s one of my favorite warm-ups because it is so gentle and easy, and feels really good.

While that acupuncturist might be surprised I use this exercise as a warm-up for playing the flute, I find it quite logical that if you’re going play music, it’s a good idea to have ch’i flowing through you as freely as possible…

Give it a try:

You can also do this exercise on your legs if you like.

4 Comments to

“Physical Warm-ups: Arms (Promoting the Flow of Ch'i)”

  1. On May 12th, 2009 at 5:07 pm Helen Says:

    Thanks, I like this exercise a lot!

    Some time ago I learned Tai Chi exercises for the fingers. I wish I could share them with you but they are difficult to describe with words, and I’m not set up for vids. Someday…..

    Anyhow, I mention this to attest to the benefit of such exercises. Thanks again!

  2. On May 13th, 2009 at 8:47 am Stephen Says:

    Zadie – this just made my day. Perfect timing in the middle of a stressful work week. Many thanks and keep the posts coming. So proud of you.

  3. On August 3rd, 2009 at 3:07 am MArtha Claudia Says:

    I really enjoy your advices they’re really good!!, i’m a young teacher so i ‘m going to work with my students!!!! ( and me of course), i worked with my hands and feels really good.
    Sorry my English!!!

  4. On August 3rd, 2009 at 10:10 am admin Says:

    I’m glad it’s helpful. Good luck with your students!

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