A pain in the neck

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #161366

    Hi people.

    I am finding myself beset with neck pain when I play for more than about ten minutes. It is still bugging me now at the computer. At the harp (Troubadour)

    Audrey Nickel on #161367

    Could you be hunching that shoulder?

    I had such a shoulder-hunching problem that I wore a figure-8 brace for a while (the kind of brace they give you when you break your collarbone) to help me remember to keep my shoulders down.

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #161368

    I have a Troubadour and had the same problem. I am very tall. I could NOT get comfortable at the Troub. I still can’t really. I went almost immediately to pedal harp and find it much more comfortable (not to mention more to my taste musically), but I still play the Troub. I find now if I sit a little lower and get the harp more on my shoulder like a pedal harp it’s not quite so bad. I had to get in an odd angle to play that thing sitting in my normal harp chair. Also, if you are new at the harp, it seemed to me that I had to develop “harp muscles” — that is my body had to adjust to having the harp on my body with my arms working in the position they need to in order to play. I had some odd aches and pains for the first 6 months or so……they are, for the most part gone.


    jennifer-buehler on #161369

    The weight of the harp shouldn’t be resting on your shoulders!

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #161370

    Jennifer, you are so right. I didn’t actually mean weighing it on your shoulder, I just meant to put more of the knee block up higher than to have it at your collarbone. Yes, it should be balanced so that when it tips back, it is balanced correctly and not weighing your shoulder down.


    andy-b on #161371

    I had a terrible time with my neck quite a few years ago, and it turned out to be caused by sitting on a stool that was the incorrect height for my harp. I had to have chiropractic treatment for several months. My teacher at the time was unaware of the problem, because at lessons, I played her harp and sat on her chair, so she didn’t see how I was practicing at home. If you haven’t already, you might want to have your teacher evaluate how you sit at your harp on the stool or chair you normally use. Hope this helps!


    sherry-lenox on #161372

    The relationship of the height of my harp to the height of my chair was a huge problem for me. When the Thormahlens added “tall feet” to the Serenade, my problem was immediately solved. You really can’t decide about the proportions in terms of your height. I’m “short” (5’4″) but still need a taller harp.

    This does take a little experimentation, but I think it’s definitely the first thing to consider.

    unknown-user on #161373

    Thanks and warm regards to everybody for the info. I will check into it, probably my height may be an issue, where the Troub is tall, and, although I am 5’4, (high-medium) my torso is short for my legs.

    Again, many thanks


    Katrina Saroyan on #161374

    Sorry to post a year later, but I just joined and noticed your post. I hope you are not still having this problem, but for you or anyone else, I’d like to share my experience.

    I started with alot of pain at first, too. I think in my case it was a tightness from having to use certain muscles and trying to play precisely. Since I have worked steadily and played ALOT over the years (sometimes as much as 40-50 hours a week) I can say that the larger the instrument, the bigger the problems. You are certainly on the right track doing exercise. I’ve completely overcome this issue, and I find that the only trace I notice is when I tighten up – so keep as loose as you can! I also notice that some music I play tends to make me tighten up more than other less demanding music. It might not be a bad idea to stick to music that is a little less demanding

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