Adult WON’T trim her fingernails

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    Carlos Salzedo famously inspected his students’ nails and would not let them take a lesson if he did not like what he saw. A bit extreme perhaps, but it seems to me that if the student is not wiling to follow directions to at least some degree they have a big problem.

    Consistently using the nails on gut will fray them very quickly – synthetics are much harder. Those of us who play both wire and nylon/gut use both nails and pads which requires some minor changes in technique; any longer than 2mm though and it is very difficult to control the tone. Very long nails would also be difficult on wire strings (they catch and the nail often breaks).

    Harsh as it may sound, I would tell the student, “Look, I cannot teach you good technique for the nylon or pedal harp that way. So you might consider wire strung or even better South American. Those harps also cost a lot less.”


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