Breaking the barrier

Posted In: How To Play

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    zgreyestjedi on #209520


    I am pretty new to learning how to play the harp. I absolutely love it, and while it is not my first instrument, it is still a pleasant challenge.

    One thing I am realizing while going through Sylvia Woods’ Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp, is that once I get to the exercise where your hands are basically going up and down the scale, hitting different notes at the same time, is I am constantly unable to play it correctly. The same finger (or thumbs) will pluck the string at the same time when they are not supposed to.

    Basically, I am wondering if any of you have exercises (etc.) for a beginner or something that helped you get over this road block of playing two completely different things at the same time with both hands.

    Thank you so much!

    wil-weten on #209527

    Recently, you started another thread at:
    There you got a lot of advice in order to tackle your first hurdles. Just follow that advice and, in due time, things will work out.
    Good luck.

    Tacye on #209528

    Slow down. There will be a speed at which you can do it.

    Biagio on #209532

    It’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy isn’t it?

    There are essentially three “issues” here:

    -Pre-placing: your fingers should be where they need to be, especially in the LH before you strike – so slow down, and master the LH separately from the RH.

    Counting: use a metronome

    Patterns: your LH for the most part is your accompaniment hand and there are definite patterns – mostly some kind of chord. So try just playing that as an unbroken chord until your fingers are comfortable with the placement pattern.

    Related: Your 19 is just too small to follow some of these patterns while also playing a melody. Your options are 1) buy a larger harp – minimum 26 strings 2) simplify the pattern (just play the root and a fifth or third) 3) master the pattern alone for practice (before getting a lager harp).
    Previously we mentioned some other “teach yourself” sources, one being Bruner’s “Play the Harp Beautifully” which addresses this and other early issues. Wood’s is a classic but it was written when there were no other lever harp instruction sources. Many people found that it just goes too fast, so you are not alone.


    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Biagio.
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #210054

    Take lessons. A good teacher will guide you through all difficulties, possibly with ease. Crossing over and under are the most complicated moves we make, so they need a lot more attention.

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