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Two Common Mistakes of Self-Taught Harpists

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

Beginning the harp by yourself can be difficult - especially when there is no one to tell you how to play with the correct technique. Here’s two incredibly common mistakes that I see in self-taught students all the time. It takes a while to correct these technique problems so be patient!

1. The Claw

The Claw: this is how your hands should NOT look!

When playing the harp, your thumbs should be high and your fingers placed low on the strings. There should be a large gap between the thumb and fingers which makes turning under much easier. When you pluck a string you fingers should go into a fist, with your thumb closing over the top. Self-taught harpists often don’t pull their fingers into a fist after playing and so their hand looks a bit like a claw.

Beautiful Hand Position: Denwar Harps

Playing with ‘claw’ hands really affects the tone that you produce so get this one sorted out soon and your harping will be heavenly!

2. Not Placing

Unlike playing the piano, harpists think in SHAPES. In each tune you play, the notes are prepared by placing the correct fingers in a pattern on the strings. Often this is shown using brackets in harp music to show what is placed together. When playing, only the finger that has plucked is allowed to move - all the other fingers remain on their own string until it is their turn to play. Self-taught beginners will often play whole tunes just with their pointing finger but mastering the art of playing the harp will come much quicker once you place all the required fingers on the strings and play them one at a time. Always place before you play!

Want more tips on playing the harp? Look out for my blog later this year on the top youtube videos for learning the harp.


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