Tag Archives: harp posture

Fabulous Stretches for Harpists

After years of stretching and yoga, I thought I knew the best ways to stretch to support my harping, but I was wrong. Every harpist needs to see these Yoga for Musicians videos…

We’ve all heard it:  “Your body is your instrument.”  As an enthusiastic new (or seasoned) harper, no doubt you have felt the aches and pains that come from over-practicing. Or perhaps you play in a hospital or performed longer than you realized without a break and now you can feel that you went too far.  In spite of our best intentions, this happens too frequently. That’s where these stretches for harpists come in.

I’ve written  before on several aspects of keeping your body happy while enjoying your harp playing.  In fact, there are  pages here on My Harp’s Delight devoted to taking care of your body through  stretches for harpists, posture, and hand exercises.   I mention yoga as a wonderful practice for self-care.  Recently, however, I came across a video series by Kate Potter of yoga poses specifically geared to musicians and our unique issues.  Hands?  Arms?  Shoulders? Asymmetry?  She addresses all of this and more.  Best of all, her sequences can be done on your harp bench or a chair, require no special equipment–not even a yoga mat!–and feel really wonderful. Her use of a t-shirt or scarf to open the shoulders is genius. I suggest you try practicing that way if you have a tendency to roll your shoulders forward, as many of us do.

Of course these yoga videos are designed for musicians, not just harpists, but I think you’ll be amazed at how specific to harp they feel.

Here’s the first video, focusing on hands, wrists and elbows:

The second video allows you to stretch your neck and shoulders. I especially love the neck stretches and elbow “swings”.

The third video balances it out with leg, spine and core work:

I hope you will find some wonderful stretches in these videos to add to your harp toolkit. Your body will thank you!

Sitting at the Harp

Poor harp position can lead to slumping, aching arms, aching neck, aching shoulders–too many issues to mention.  It’s very critical that you find a way to sit and play your harp that avoids injury and allows for ease and musicality. There’s a whole page here at My Harp’s Delight about posture, including sitting at the harp and how the harp should fit to your body (never the other way around).

Sometimes, though, it really helps to see these principles demonstrated in action.  Luckily, harpist Marta Cook has a video on YouTube that shows you exactly how to sit at your full-sized Celtic harp to make playing easy.

Thanks to Marta for posting this great resource!

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