Interpreting Renie esp. right wrist and arm

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

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    unknown-user on #89546

    I started playing the harp about a year ago at age 60 (having wanted

    to play since I was 5 years old having met Sylvia Meyer, who played

    with the National Symphony in Washington, DC).

    I have a couple of physical problems, including the fact that my right

    arm was nearly torn off at the shoulder about 25 years ago (accident

    with a horse) and healed all wrong and the tendons have been

    shortening some in recent years. I also have three compressed cervical

    vertibrae. However, I’m physically strong and active (fish, play

    tennis) and have big hands. I do yoga.

    We have NO teacher in Juneau, Alaska. We are trying to figure out a

    way to get a grant so that we can get someone here at least once a

    month, but the nearest possible teacher is either in Fairbanks or

    Seattle, and since we have only one airline up here, that gets

    expensive. I would go to either place for a week twice a year if I

    could find a teacher who might be willing to try to help and if I

    could find a place to stay that isn’t too expensive.

    There’s someone who plays pedal harp in Haines, but she has not

    responded to approaches. A folk harp teacher in Sitka is too busy to

    come over.

    I take a lesson any time a harpist comes to town. I bought Renie’s

    book but find it difficult to interpret, especially as to the movement

    of the thumb/wrist/forearm as a unit. I suspect my elbow is not held

    high enough (difficult because of my old injury), but I am unclear as

    to the movement of the arm when the thumb plays. I am going to try

    raising the bench a bit. In the meantime, I’ve played somewhat too

    enthusiastically this week and have some tendon pain, both in the

    shoulder and through the wrist into the fingers.

    Any advice to an old wreck would be appeciated, as my Camac arrives

    from France in two weeks (I currently have a Dusty 36 with a stave

    back)and I would like to be able to play it when it comes!

    Many thanks for any advice.

    Maggie Ross

    unknown-user on #89547

    It’s very difficult to teach yourself technique and troubleshoot problems that come up. My advice would be to find an adult harp camp to attend this summer, where you could really focus on your technique and work out some solutions to the problems you’ve experienced. The idea is to have many lessons in a short amount of time. Then you will have a good foundation to work with until you can get lessons on a more regular basis. Why don’t you contact Dusty Strings in Seattle and see if they can help you out? I wish you the best of luck.

    karlinda-caldicott on #89548

    Hi Maggie,

    You might also want to check out another question several lines down from yours in this category – the heading of the question is called “Granjany/Renie Technique” and there’s a response with some other good advice re. getting hold of a video.

    patricia-jaeger on #89549

    Maggie, If you decide to come to Seattle twice a year for lessons, I could teach you, and you could stay here for one overnight on the new hide-a-bed! I am also an active senior citizen. You can find a short bio of my credentials on the non-profit website:

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