Moving the inmost pedals without losing balance?

Posted In: How To Play

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    goldenbough on #199157

    Hi everyone,

    I played lever harp for a long time before I switched to pedal. This meant not being able to afford a lot of lessons for a while, which unfortunately coincided with learning basic pedalling technique. I’ve made a lot of progress, but something that was never properly addressed in the lessons I did take was posture. I can’t do lessons at the moment either, but practice every day, and I worry about getting so used to sitting/moving badly it will be very hard to correct.

    I practice mostly wearing socks with the harp fairly close to my body, which causes me have trouble keeping my balance every time I have to move the two inmost pedals at once. I lift my feet off the ground. From what I understand, I’m not supposed to do this. But I can’t seem to find a position that doesn’t throw me off balance at least a little when I move B&E. I can try to push back with my knees and do get through pieces when this happens, but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. I have tried placing the harp further away and wearing heels. But unless I move the harp ridiculously far away (to a point that it messes with playing), keeping my heels on the ground B&E means twisting my ankles into a really weird, hard to do position. That doesn’t exactly help smooth playing either.

    So yeah, I just kind of lift my knees and cling around my harp like a little gremlin and sure I can play these pieces but it looks weird and doesn’t feel very dependable or help my playing. I can’t really find a good guide to sitting the right way, none of it is detailed enough. It will be a while before I’ll be able to see a teacher again and meanwhile I’m probably doing something very wrong.

    How do you sit? Is it normal to feel slightly off balance when you have to move B&E at once? Do professional harpists just manage not to let it show?

    thank you.

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by goldenbough.
    Gretchen Cover on #199161

    Watch some tutorials on youtube. Josh Layne and Hannah White have some excellent videos.  Using pedals is something that needs to be shown, not described.  It would be worthwhile to have one or two lessons, though. Otherwise your practicing will  simply  reinforce bad habits rather than move you forward.

    billooms on #199187

    In addition to sitting closer/further from the harp, remember you also can sit higher/lower and move the bench closer/further. When I first started playing a pedal harp, I was sitting too low and only the very back part of me was on the bench. So I bought an adjustable height bench. Raising the height of the bench gave me more support from my upper thighs when both feet are on pedals.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #200189

    You need to wear shoes when practicing, and the heels should be high enough to assist you in pedaling, at least one inch, up to two or three. Something is definitely off if you are losing your balance, so you need to have lessons.

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