Your first reaction to harplessness might be to throw up your arms and give up. But being a harpist goes far beyond sitting behind the instrument. There are plenty of ways to better your harp life sans harp.

There are many reasons why you may find yourself taking a forced break from the harp. Injury and illness are both obvious culprits. Playing the harp is such a physically demanding activity that any injury, not just to your hands or arms, could potentially prevent you from playing. Travel can be another cause of temporary harplessness—the harp is not only famously unwieldy to transport, but also uncommon enough that there’s probably not one sitting around in your hotel lobby. Or maybe your harp is the one with the injury, out of commission until you can make it to a technician. Perhaps you don’t own a harp yourself and have limited practice time on a school harp. These are circumstances you usually can’t control; life simply throws them your way. What you can control is how you deal with the situation. Do you use your harplessness as an excuse to drop what you were working on? Or do you see it as a creative challenge to find an alternate route toward your goal?

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About Author

Elizabeth Jaxon has been writing for the Harp Column since 2010. As a freelance professional harpist based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, she not only performs and teaches, but is involved in a variety of projects including managing the competition of the Dutch Harp Festival. She holds music performance degrees from the University of Illinois and the École Normale de Musique de Paris.

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