Lately I’ve been experiencing elbow pain because I’m working on a piece that is in the top-most register of my harp. This caused me to have my elbow behind my head, and my arm squeezed closed as tight as I could get it, resulting in horrible hand position, and constantly missed strings. Yesterday I remembered a trick that Frank Voltz taught us at The Harp Gathering – so I tried it. I brought my knees together and leaned back my harp to rest upon them. I was then able to lean back at the waist (slightly), which brought the harp off of my shoulder. I was then able to play in the upper register with my elbow opened significantly, and allowing a proper hand position and greatly improved accuracy.
The ease of this trick and this simplicity of the solution brought an amused chuckle from me. I then tried the manuver playing from the middle of the piece, which had me sitting in the normal position. As I played into the upper register, I was shocked to find that the transition from position #1 to position #2 was fluid and flawless. No more chuckles – I started to laugh! That brought my husband peeking around the corner. I’d never laughed while playing the harp before.
It was one of those, “Duh!” moments in life. It might be a problem if I had to use the pedals in position #2 – but for this music it was perfection.
Am I the last person to learn this trick? If not – pass it on! Try it, if you haven’t, and let me know if it’s as good for you as it is for me…