Relaxed Harp Posture

How to Relax Your Body When Playing the Harp

June 28, 20242 min read

Staying relaxed in your body while playing the harp is incredibly important.

Not only can it help you play with more beautiful tone and sound less stiff, but it can also help you avoid injury as a result of playing the harp.

But, it's easier said than done.

So often, we end up trying so hard that our body becomes stiff, and then our playing does too. There may be several things going on when it comes to stiff sounding playing, but a very good place to start is being more relaxed in your body!

This is because our bodies are in direct contact with the string, where the sound is made.

So whatever's going on in our body will be reflected in our sound: if the body is tight, tense and stiff, the harp will also sound tight, tense, and stiff.

But if your body is more relaxed and open, your harp will sound more relaxed, open, and flowing too.

So what are we supposed to do? There's already enough going on while we play, that trying to let go of muscles that are working can feel impossible.

But fear not! The key isn't so much in what you do, but how you think.

Simply becoming more aware of our body and how it feels can transform the way our muscles behave, how our body feels, and how our harp playing sounds.

(This is rooted in Alexander Technique, which has been a huge influence in my harp technique since I first started learning it in 2019, and it's been the biggest source of relief for my chronic pain.)

Watch this video for a few very simple and easy mind-body activities that you can apply to your harp playing:

If it seems difficult to pay attention to your body while you play, don't worry. That's very normal. There's plenty to think about when playing the harp, after all!

But even if you just take the time to set yourself up well before you begin playing, you're likely to continue playing in a more relaxed way than if you didn't pay attention to your body beforehand.

And remember: a little goes a long way.

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Harp Tips
Samantha Ballard is a professional harpist, arranger, teacher, and recording artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Samantha Ballard

Samantha Ballard is a professional harpist, arranger, teacher, and recording artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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