Is the Harp OK with Shoulder Arthritis?

Home Forums Teaching the Harp Is the Harp OK with Shoulder Arthritis?

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #88741

    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


    I think you’re going to have difficulty playing the harp with shoulder problems,

    unless you can find some way of controlling the pain.


    If you don’t already have a harp, you may find it easier to play a relatively low headed floor

    harp like a Dusty Strings or a Thormahlen than a pedal harp, because you don’t have to raise

    your arms so high to play in the middle of the strings.


    To some extent, playing the harp should be therapeutic, but it would be advisable to consult frequently with physical therapists and other professionals. Liniments are great, and also massages.


    Hi 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.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.