It hurts when I practice.

Posted In: Young Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #168102

    Hi there!

    I’ve been playing the harp for 3 years, and the piano before that for
    8. I play on full-size pedal harps. Since I started playing, I’ve
    noticed that after practicing for a fairly short time (20-30 mins.),
    my entire back and shoulders begin to ache.

    I’m not sure exactly what the problem is. The harp certainly isn’t an
    easy instrument to play, and it’s pretty hard on the body. But I
    don’t think this is normal. I don’t want to ruin my back and not be
    able to play in a few years.

    I’m wondering if this is a problem with the way I’m sitting, or if
    it’s tension/frustration. I’ve noticed that I’m usually in less pain
    when I’m warming up with scales/arpeggios, or when I’m polishing a
    piece that I already know fairly well. My most painful practicing
    usually involves reading through new pieces.

    DOes anyone have any suggestions or advice? Thanks!

    Participant
    unknown-user on #168103

    Dear Tears,

    You might check out the question on “Shoulder Pain” in the discussion group for Amateur Harpists.

    Participant
    Tacye on #168104

    When sightreading you go tense and problems are exacerbated but I would assume they are there all the time, even if not making a nuisance of themselves.

    One thing I have noticed is harpists on average have slightly better posture than non-musicians- you *can’t* slouch or things will go wrong.

    Member
    Nicole Christopher on #168105

    Okay, I’ve been through alot physically with the harp.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #168106

    Hi, the only thing that I wish to add is, I have a back problem and shoulder problem not related to harp, My phyisotherapist and I spent a lot of time in finding ways to avoid pain finally we came up with using my knees to cushion the harp so it hardly comes in contact with my shoulder at all. It is the only thing that works, and under a long skirt, no one is the wiser and pedal changes are uneffected.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #168107

    Hi, I think you should deffinitly warm up every time before practicing! Than, more tens you are, more it will hurt you!
    Have you tried leaning your harp on your knees?
    I had backpains before too, so I started doing some workout!It really helps!
    Good luck!

    Participant
    unknown-user on #168108

    Dear Tears, Don’t know where you’re from, but in the Chicagoland area, there is a physician affiliated with the Rehab Institute (part of Northwestern University Hospital) named Dr. Alice Brandfronbrenner.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #168109

    hi! I had the same problem. I think the cause is that a lot of kids slouch and the harp is an instrument that requires a straight back. Try going through a day with a straight back, sort of to train it. If your back continues to hurt talk to your harp teacher about it or a doctor. THE HARP SHOULD NOT BE A PAINFUL INSTRUMENT! and it is not your fault you are having pain/

    Rachel~!**

    Participant
    unknown-user on #168110

    Maybe if when you are learning new pieces, you get tense in your back. The
    back (oh dear now i’m starting on a health lecture!) is often the cause for
    shoulder, arm, and neck pain. Actually, almost all pain starts in the back, even
    hip and thigh pain. It has to do with the ligaments that conect somewhere in
    there. So if your learning new pieces, it could be that you slouch and lean
    forward without realising it. I do that too without realising it, and when i do I
    quickly correct it, because otherwise I get a stiff neck. (though this is only if I’m
    sitting at my compu too long!) So always make sure you’re relaxed when
    you’re praticing!
    Hope this helped,
    Katrina

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