Lise Enochsson: In my past three articles in this series on Instrumental Technique, we've covered breathing, posture, balance and symmetry. Starting with these three building blocks is essential before moving on to more instrument-specific exercises. And mind you, even if you choose to not do any other exercise (such as working on your back and shoulders - forthcoming), deepening your practise of free breathing and aligned posture together with being utterly familiar with your balance will benefit you greatly.
Lise Enochsson: Let's dive in. Find your comfortable, free breathing. Check your posture while standing. Now, it's time to explore the limits of your balance, what happens when our balance is challenged, and also try to stimulate symmetry. Being out of balance will otherwise steal valuable energy and create strain. Being out of symmetry - as we often are while playing certain instruments including the harp - doesn't necessarily create the same strain, if our foundation is stable. But we should know what asymmetry feels like compared to symmetry.
Lise Enochsson: Two weeks ago at the Nordic Harp Meeting a group gathered for a workshop on "physiotherapy for harpists", a pretty ambitious workshop title from the arrangers, but which was actually a condensed and hands-on (feet-on!) version of the plan for this article series.
In the previous article (Instrumental technique 1: breathe), we've become aware of our breathing and explored ways in which we can free it up. Next, we can become more aware of our habitual posture and try some small adjustments. If you really get into feeling how you normally carry yourself, you may find some surprising tendencies.
The questions following the posts New school year! and Instrumental technique have shown numerous and often similar physical issues that harp players have to face during their life. In the next few weeks, Lise Enochsson will publish a general synthesis portioned into a few posts, each one answering specific points. For those of you who will be present at the Nordic Harp Meeting, she will give a workshop on physiotherapy for harp players.