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  • Holding the harp

  • jennifer born

    21 April, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Hi ๐Ÿ˜Š Iโ€™m new to the harp and been trying to play now for about 3 weeks after getting my Ogden harp ๐Ÿค

    I was finally able to get the harp in a position that it felt comfortable to play – thanks to people on this site ๐Ÿ˜Š – but Iโ€™m still having a lot of trouble playing the right hand without placing my forearm on the harpโ€™s side to get it stable to play the strings. What am I doing wrong? Should I be holding it with my legs? Am I leaning it back too much? Help ๐Ÿ™ƒ

    Thank you in advance ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ

  • Sarah Bruce

    22 April, 2021 at 2:24 am

    Hi Jennifer, @jennifer.born As far as I’m aware it is quite ok to rest your right forearm on the soundboard. (Though perhaps not for the purpose of steadying the harp itself.) I gather you’ve probably seen Laurie Riley’s Play Pain Free for a Lifetime – Laurie Riley CME – YouTube which someone else mentioned on this platform and I found to be very helpful. (Thanks to whoever shared – but can’t find that feed just now.) I hope you can settle into a good playing position. I seem to be getting tension in my left shoulder when I play but not sure what I am doing wrong.

    Anyway, welcome to the joy and beauty of the harp. I’m loving the experience.

  • jennifer born

    22 April, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Thank you Sarah ๐Ÿ˜Š I appreciate your response! I have watched that video and I thought I had it, but then I have found that I donโ€™t have enough leverage to keep playing. I wish I had a harp teacher close by.

    Thanks again! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Titia Stultitia

      25 April, 2021 at 11:28 am

      Hi @jennifer.born , @sylvia.lim gives great advice below.

      As to not having a teacher in your neighborhood, you could find an online teacher for private online lessons. I think at least a few lessons to help you grasp the elementary aspects of playing the harp would help you enormously in being able to progress in a nice tempo on the harp. Even only one private lesson could be an eye opener.

      I think I read somewhere at this forum that Christy-Lyn doesn’t have open slots for teaching harp at the moment, but, of course, you could take your chance and ask her.

      I believe that Josh Layne is one of those great teachers you could hire for even just one private lesson and he has with very many free and helpful video clips on technique on youtube. Here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1EDB4543B36842E1 you find a playlist with all the basics. Of course, there are many more great teachers. Other members may give you some advice on this.

  • Sylvia Lim

    23 April, 2021 at 12:40 am

    Hi Jennifer, Harps have a “balance point.” If you tip the harp back toward you, there should be a place where it can stand fairly easily without tipping forward or backward. That’s where it should be. You then adjust yourself so that you can move to the harp and meet it there at that spot (in other words, you are thinking of yourself going forward to the harp, not leaning your upper body back to become a shelf for the harp to sit on). The harp should be gently resting somewhere between your right clavicle and right shoulder. Once there, you should have a fair amount of freedom of movement for your arms. You can test this by moving your hands to different positions on the strings.

    While you can rest your right forearm on the soundboard at times, it shouldn’t really be for the purposes of stabilizing the harp.

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