Searching for a Better Way


Elizabeth Landis is currently pursuing her doctorate in harp performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her doctoral document is focused on creating a comprehensive text for complete musicianship and will be published online for free once it is completed.

The quest to become a better harpist doesn’t have to be plagued by injury

—by Elizabeth Landis

I have 34 tabs open in my web browser. They’re mostly medical journals, but I’m not a medical professional. I’m a harpist. Yet here I am, writing a paper on my passion-project which is part music, part medicine, part psychology, and part self-help advice.

This project started because I wanted to know what would most help harpists become better at what they do. One of the driving questions was: How do we play the harp without hurting ourselves? With my total of zero medical degrees, I started researching. Of the medical journals I found that focused on musician injuries, many of them highlighted the following things: First, injury determines how well musicians play. Second, musicians are usually injured, and their injuries result from their profession. Interesting, but this literature is about musicians in general.

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