Exercise for feet

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    aglaia-t on #160665

    Hi Gurus,

    I recently switched from lever to pedal (L&H Style 85 Concert Grand) 🙂 I realize that my right foot does not have enough strength when I try to play G#, meaning my pedal does not go down enough such that I can slide it into place. Either that, or I keep kicking the A natural next to it. Can anyone tell me what exercises (like stretching) I can do to strengthen my leg muscles and balls of the foot?

    Thanks so much in advance 🙂

    tony-morosco on #160666

    Can you put the F and A pedals down without problem? If so then I doubt the problem is strength. If it were you would have difficulty with more than that one pedal.

    It is possible that you simply are not comfortably positioned at the harp. If you often hit the A when you mean to hit the G pedal you probably have the harp too close.

    I like to have my leg almost fully extended when reaching for the A pedal. Not quite, but almost. It puts the harp in an overall good position for me so that I can reach the full range of strings without straining and the harp is in a good position so that I can balance it easily when I pull it back. It also makes it easy to determine where my feet are and where the pedals are.

    I would suggest playing around with the distance you have the harp to your bench until you find a better distance for you.

    It is possible that you have a strength issue, but I can’t fathom why it would show with that one pedal. The closer in the more strength you should have and the farther out the less, so if the issue is strength then the pedal you should have the most difficulty with should be the A pedal.

    aglaia-t on #160667

    Thanks so much for the advice. I’ll pay more attention to the distance.

    I can put the A pedal down with no problem. It’s only when I try to play G#, I just cannot put it down all the way. On top of that, the outer edge of my toes will knock A natural into Ab. I guess because the harp is new, the pedals are still really stiff?

    Regardless, does anyone have any physical exercises they do that can help strengthen calf and feet muscles?

    Thanks again!

    tonie-ogimachi on #160668

    This post has got me thinking….

    Last week I learned that I have developed bursitis in my hip. The symptoms began about 3 months ago. I’ve been playing the harp for 37 years, with no other physical problems, so it hasn’t occurred to me that the way I am sitting at the harp may have something to do with my bursitis.

    richard-hagan on #160669

    Aglaia —

    While I am not a pedal harpist, I will share the stretching exercise that I do. I do it to keep my ankles limber (I have bone spurs in both), a tendency to some back pain, and shoulder problems that I

    luanne-oreilly on #160670

    When I had my L&H23, I initially had trouble getting the F pedal down to sharp position. It required more effort that I thought was proper.

    aglaia-t on #160671

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. Take care Tonie!

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #160672

    It might be the pedal spring. Otherwise, try tap or ballet classes. That’ll give you the strength.

    carl-swanson on #160673

    The most likely reason for having difficulty getting any pedal into the sharp position is that the rod is too short, and so the action is at the end of its movement and has to be forced into sharp position. I would try unscrewing the pedal coupler one full turn and then trying it again. This may leave you with a whisper of overmotion, but you may not have any choice. Lyon & Healy harps in particular really have this problem if you try to remove absolutely all of the overmotion. The problem is that the sharp slot in the pedestal is about 1/16th inch too far from natural. So you have to have a very slight amount of overmotion in order to get all of the pedals into sharp position without feeling any resistance.

    barbara-low on #160674

    Here’s an article that goes through replacing a pedal rod, with adjusting the length for overmotion at the very end. It’s more info than you need, but it has diagrams and pictures if you are more visually oriented. I’d read through the whole thing so you understand how everything is connected.

    Good luck. Best thing is to have your technician take care of it.

    barbara-low on #160675

    Here’s the link to the above reply:


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