Grow Old with Me: Aging-Related Changes

Posted In: How To Play

  • Participant
    allison-mclean on #208361

    This is an old topic but I came across it this morning as I’m searching the forum and now dealing with injuries. I have played the harp for over 30 years, having started in my early twenties after growing up on the piano and organ bench. In other words, I’ve been playing music for about 50 years (that gets you pretty close to my age!), and I am now feeling the effects of it. I would love to hear from harpists who have been playing for many years.
    I have seen people post that carpel tunnel comes from improper technique. Perhaps that is so, but I am having surgery for it next Thursday and while my technique is probably not perfect and may have slipped as my shoulders and back have weakened, I don’t think poor technique has caused my problems. I think hours of practice and years of use has caused it. I would be glad to hear from others who have played for a long time to hear if they are starting to have wrist problems.
    I also feel as though my dexterity and speed have declined in the last couple of years. Is this common as we harpists age? I have wondered if I will find it necessary to move to a harp with lighter string tension in the coming years? While I love the sound of lever harps, I would miss my pedal harps terribly. Have other harpists who have played longer than I found this necessary? Have you had to alter your technique in any way. I believe the advice to limit practice sessions to twenty minutes an excellent idea. I will start setting a timer! It will be hard to limit it because I do love to practice. I still love nothing better than playing my harp!
    I still move my harp by myself but I did rupture a disk in January and had to lay off for a while, but with proper lifting technique, I am still able to load myself. My injury, dr believes, came not from improper lifting but from hours of sitting and becoming fatigued and letting my posture slip during the busy Christmas season. The day after my Christmas gigs ended, my precious grands came and I proceeded to lift children in and out of high chairs and car seats. That’s what blew the already stressed disks. So, yes! Take those breaks!
    I’m looking forward to hearing from others.

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