Harp Exercise to strengthen finger independence

Of all the finger dexterity exercises I have done over the past forty plus years of playing the harp, the exercise on this you tube video (provided) has helped me the most. It requires a great deal of coordination, and you may find yourself sticking your tongue out and making funny faces in an effort to make your fingers stay or play. These exercises also work the brain. You are attempting to command one or more fingers to “stay” on a string while playing the others, and that finger just doesn’t want to. So after you master this ability to isolate each finger, you have developed strength, dexterity, and coordination and you have linked your fingers to your brain in a way for which most other professions would not have a use. This helps you to achieve different timbers when playing – your softs are softer, your louds are rounder, you have more control of how your instrument speaks. It also helps with your sight reading, because the object of that is just getting from the beginning to the end and not stopping. With increased dexterity, you can concentrate more on what you’re reading. It’s almost like a pianist who knows scales backwards and forwards – once you identify the key, your hands just let go and know what to do. Try this exercise with one hand, then the other, and then both. Happy Harping!

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