Can I play harp with arthritis? I have arthritis in my left hand (left index finger knuckle) and arthritis, bone spurs and perhaps some tendon problems in both shoulders (I’m getting more testing).I had played double bass but pretty much gave it up because it was killing my left hand and the bowing motion was exacerbating the problem in my right shoulder (you need a lot of bow pressure to make those low strings speak). Plucking harps strings cause no distress on my hand; it’s the pressing motion on double bass strings that caused discomfort. My doctor said the preliminary general rule is that my arms should not extend any higher than being parallel to the ground. If any of you are instructors, I’m wondering if you experienced or were able to help students with arthritic problems. Thanks, Brian
Just one word of encouragement. I too have a right shoulder problem. Four years ago, a fall severed two of the tendons in my right shoulder. Subsequent surgery was not successful. I had played the harp since age 7 and was afraid my harp playing days were over. I am unable to raise my right elbow to shoulder height, or extend my arm forward. However, I have adapted by resting my forearm on the soundboard and sliding it up and down as I play. It may not look the best esthetically, but it allowed me to continue my harp career of many, many years.