Balance Points

Jaymee Haefner: Achieving Balance

This article is part of a year-long series by Jaymee Haefner that examines the fundamentals of playing the harp and provides strategies and tools to improve your playing. Is there a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know. Email us at

Achieving balance in your body to make better music.

Open a web-search for the word “balance,” and you will be greeted with cheerful tips for balancing your meals, your finances, your work and personal life, and your exercise routine. Almost all of our daily activities require some sort of balance, including our harp practicing. Not surprisingly, balance is a key component of almost every motion we make as harpists; having an awareness of this balance can correct many issues before they become bad habits.

Before discussing balance, we need to define what this word means for us. Go on—I’ll wait while you ponder the meaning of this word (insert Jeopardy theme song here). Probably, you are picturing something that is in a natural state of equilibrium, stable, and supported—something that stays that way naturally, without effort. Achieving balance in our playing starts from the moment we sit down on the bench and is part of every note we play.

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About Author

Jaymee Haefner’s performances have been described by Daniel Buckley as possessing “an air of dreamy lyricism… interlocking melody lines with the deftness of a dancer’s footwork.” Jaymee joined the University of North Texas (UNT) faculty in 2006 and was appointed as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Music in 2010. Recently featured at the 50th Anniversary American Harp Society (AHS) National Conference in New York City, and the 2014 AHS National Conference in New Orleans, she has also performed throughout the Dallas‐Fort Worth area, in Mexico, the Czech Republic and Russia. Her recordings include features with the Bloomington Pops Orchestra, baritone Daniel Narducci and Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. She published a biography entitled The Legend of Henriette Renié and presented lectures at the 2014 World Harp Congress (WHC) in Sydney, the 2008 WHC in Amsterdam and the 2009 AHS Institute in Salt Lake City. Jaymee was Chairman of the 2011 AHS Institute and was recently appointed as the Treasurer for the World Harp Congress, she also and serves as the National Harp Associations Liaison for the WHC Review publication. Jaymee’s current projects include a “Better than One” duo with harpist Emily Mitchell and her “Crimson” duo with violinist Matt Milewski. Both ensembles are currently preparing CD recordings. When she isn’t practicing the harp, Jaymee trains in karate and is a first-degree black belt. She obtained her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Arizona and her Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University.

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