Tips: Maintaining Calluses

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    unknown-user on #167770

    I have an audition for a youth orchestra in a couple months. Im
    preparing the Debussy Danse Sacree and the Handel concerto in Bb
    (1st mvmnt.) lately, ive been noticing that my fingers are getting
    very sore when practicing, and i found it was becuase my calluses
    had melted away. I tried to figure out what caused it… maybe my
    showers were too hot? maybe i should wash my hands in cooler water?
    Does any one have some good advice as to how to maintain good, hard

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #167771

    When I am practising very hard for a concerto, my calluses get so big and
    hard that they peel right off. I don’t know if the skin on your fingers is dry like
    mine, but, if it is, and you notice that your callouses are getting really hard and
    rock-like, maybe try filing them down a bit with an emery board, or putting
    hand cream on them at night.
    How long are your practice sessions? You should not be doing more than
    one hour at a time. The last thing you want is to get tendinitis before your big
    event. Take good breaks between sessions, and don’t use your hands during
    your breaks. Who know? This might alleviate the callous problem, too.

    donna-benier on #167772

    Steven, A little practice every day is better than big chunks of time once or twice a week; it will keep the friction consistent on your fingertips to maintain the calluses.

    unknown-user on #167773

    It’s best to practice in 2 or more “sessions”, I find, and that way I keep my calluses up.
    I like to practice 1 1/2 – 2 hours at once, do something else, and then practice for
    another 1 1/2 – 2 hours. That way my fingers get a fair bit of playing but they don’t
    get too sore at once. Did the calluses peel off or were they just…”not there”? It could
    be because you’re using too much hand creme. (If you use hand creme) I know that
    calusses on my feet just..vanish if I use too much creme on them. Pointe class the
    next day isn’t fun! :-) :-) :-) And yikes no don’t wash your hands in cold water you’ll
    get stiff hands/knuckles.

    unknown-user on #167774

    Ammonia toughens the skin. Avoid washing dishes by hand, swimming, and soaking your hand in the bath. If you practice when your skin is wet the callouses can tear off. Keep them dry, apply lanolin to keep them from cracking, play a lot of glissandos (not loud) to help build them up, and brush them with ammonia once a day maybe. If you are practicing every day, this should work.

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