Below are listed a few exercises that I like to use to warm up my hands.  You don't need to do these exactly, they are just suggestions.  You may 'invent' some of your own that you feel are more helpful to you.  That is probably better, because that means you are really attacking your instrument.  Either way, I hope these are a help to you.
This first one will be recorded for you.  I'll only give you an idea in the recording to save time and space.  Instead of just playing each section 4 or 5 times, play them straight for 30-60 sec each.  This is a great warm-up exercise.  Best done on the lower strings so you have more resistance.  You'll see over time how your playing ability will improve from it.
You do it starting with the open string, hitting with your index finger (1), then hold your index finger down as you hit with your middle finger (2), hold your middle finger down and hit with your ring finger (3), etc...


This second exercise section is pretty self-explanatory.  Basically, just mix and match fingering patterns up and down each string, across all the strings, etc.  On the oud you can go up to the fifth on each string, where the neck meets the body.  Just another warm up exercise that helps loosen your fingers.  REMEMBER ALWAYS TAKE LOTS OF SHORT BREAKS TO REST.

     1234   1243   1324   1342   1423   1432

     2134   2143   2314   2341   2413   2431

     3124   3142   3214   3241   3412   3421

     4123   4132   4213   4231   4312   4321


Remember that you're not trying to hurt your hands, and there is no competition with anyone but yourself.  Take your playing as far as you want to, but don't turn this into an unpleasant experience.

These exercises can help you, but the real essence of the music is not in 'muscle,' it's in your ability to express emotion.  You can't learn that here, you have to listen to the masters, on any instrument, and also just be able to feel comfortable while you are playing.  In that respect, these exercises may help you a little.

Copyright Mavrothi T. Kontanis. All rights reserved 2008