Teaching a lesson recently and watching the student’s hands, I realized the importance of where your hands are at the harp in relation to the rest of your body, and being observant of the stretch you may feel in your arms and shoulders. Having studied with many teachers, I remember Laurie Riley instructing me to make sure my hands were not above heart level which may compromise your circulation. This makes total sense to me, to have your hands just slightly below heart level.
When playing LH notes that are in the lowest octave of your harp, be observant of your arm. Where is it? Is it way lower than heart level? If so, you may feel strain on your shoulder or forearm as it may cause you to stretch further than necessary. You may think an inch is not much, but after hours of practice it really may be too much.
I once played a wedding where the harp was provided. The chair was too high, resulting in my left arm being physically compromised. Playing for only an hour resulted in a month’s worth of pain! The hand placement in the top picture may be a little too high, in the picture on the R it is too low. The bottom picture may be just right.
Article by Mary Radspinner