June 23, 2010

In the good ol' summer time

Its Summertime!  As I mentioned last week, its also time for summer camps - especially harp camps!

I hope you're going to join me in PA in August.  But if not, I hope you're going to get to one of the other learning opportunities available for adult learners at all levels of harp performance.  Or that you'll be able to get to one of the conferences such as Somerset Folk Harp Festival or HarpCon.  And I hope I'll get to meet you at some of these events!

But one of the downsides to all this is also an upside.  Its summer, our schedules seem to be more free and there are plenty of opportunities to play.  And this is where the downside comes in - if you have a sudden ramp up in the amount of time you're playing you are exposing yourself to the potential for injury.  Not good - it totally cramps your practicing and playing!

It is also when we're learning so many things that we start tweaking our own play and that too can sometimes lead to injury.  If you get a great tip - how you sit at the harp, the type of seat you use, the shoes you wear (and not just if you play pedal!), the geometry of your hands, arms or shoulders - all of these great ideas and tips will be NEW TO YOU!  Therefore you must incorporate these changes slowly into your practice.  Don't modify your sitting position and then practice for 2 hours in this new position - you'll greatly increase your probability of injury. 

And it doesn't have to be so noticeable - simply changing the type of music you play (going from all traditional tunes to reading classical off a page for instance) can also open you to potential injury.
Athletic trainers suggest you implement changes like these about 10% weekly. 

Being a musician, regardless of your level of performance requires physical conditioning - you're asking a lot of your body.  So, just like runners or boxers, you must, as a musician, remember to warm up, cool down, stretch and stay strong and fit for the long haul.

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