January 11, 2012


Winter is a time of colder temperatures with brisk, dry winds, and rain, ice, snow and combinations of all of them. I’m sure you don’t need a weather report from me. We all have to get through the winter season where we live. The winter does bring some challenges for us as harp players. We have to take self-care seriously to assure we don’t get hurt. Here are two areas that will help you get through the winter successfully.

Start with the skin. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It protects you from a lot  including your harp – and other, bad stuff. It is your first line of defense. It protects you from disease. It is sturdy but delicate. You need to give it appropriate care. Being sure to wash your hands frequently is good for your health. But putting moisturizer on frequently is really good for your skin. Just like we get thirsty in winter because cold air and heating systems dry the air, our skin is also thirsty. Moisturizer will help keep your skin supple.  A shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera or other moisturizer you know works for you is good to have on hand all the time.

Moving on to your hands – keep them warm – physically. Wear your gloves or wristies* There are lots of free patterns online if you want to knit your own or you can buy inexpensive versions in knits or fleece. They are very helpful, even in warm weather, for keeping warm before performances.

While I always tell you the importance of warming up, in the winter it is essential to warm up before you play. Just like the rest of you feels the cold, your hands and forearms and their muscles will feel the cold. And if you are a more experienced human (read: older) you may feel the cold even more keenly. So that warm up to start your practice is even more important than at other, warmer parts of the year. In addition, consider adding a warm up to your office work in winter. Typing, writing, and other small motor activities (think texting) can also take a toll on your hands so think about warming up for those as well.

I’m also partial to holding a good cup of hot tea!

*"Wristies” is a patented and trademarked item, developed, according to the website, by a smart and enterprising 10 year old Girl Scout! Not an endorsement – I’ve never worn Wristies (tm) but I like the idea and the story. Here I am suggesting any sort of fingerless warmer that helps you preserve your muscle warmth).

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