How to build some stretches into your lessons

Building some simple exercises into your lessons is a great way to remind your students that taking breaks and doing some regular movement is really important – and a great habit to build. Share some compelling reasons WHY this is important:

  • Humans are made to move – yet, when we are playing our instruments, we can find ourselves sitting for long periods of time. We need to think about intentionally moving before and after we play to balance out those long stretches in a sedentary position;
  • Doing some stretches as part of a warm-up routine is a great way to prepare our muscles for playing music. You could never imagine an athlete just launching into a sprint or a game without warming up, could you? We need to think of ourselves as musical athletes – and make warming up a regular part of how we prepare to play music;
  • Getting up and away from our instruments is a great way to give the body AND brain a break during lessons and practice. These stretches make a great AFI (Away from Instrument) activity;
  • It’s fun!

Do these simple stretches

  • as a warm-up activity at the start of class;
  • at any time during the lesson, as a transition activity and/or as a brain break; or
  • as an AFI (away from instrument) activity.

Simply invite students to stand, away from their instruments. If you have space in the room you can have students form a circle; if you don’t have much room, standing beside their seats works just as well.

Choose any or all of the exercises here, following the repeats as suggested.


Remember to do these stretches REGULARLY in your lessons. And encourage your students to build this into their at-home practice routines as well, for optimum effect.

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  1. I like these stretches. I really liked watching some of the Safetrad videos. It put me in mind of my own journey towards safe trad as a student, and my previous attitudes about it. Actually I still have some ‘don’t be a wimp’ attitude about it. I need to teach this in more than the cursory fashion I’ve used in the past.