P4 - B1

Posture, hand position, and recognition of strings and levers

  • Maintain appropriate posture and a relaxed stance whilst using a greater range of the instrument within more physically demanding passages
  • Maintain a relaxed hand and wrist position and gap between thumb and finger within passages that are more technically demanding 
  • Change levers during playing within moderately challenging passages.  Practise melodic minors (in right hand only)
    • For pedal harp, move pedals with fluency within more technically demanding passages

Demonstrate and reinforce the importance of remaining relaxed whilst playing and being aware of any unwanted tension in the body. Encourage small breaks where learners shake any tension from their hands and arms and stretch.

Reinforce how the arms should be free to move across the range of the instrument with ease:

  • left arm moving freely, without touching the harp
  • right arm lightly resting on the side of the harp with elbow free to move as required

Ask learners to identify any points of possible tension, e.g. arms, wrists, hands, shoulders.

For pedal harp, reinforce the requirement for heels to be on the floor while using the pedals.

For pedal harp, practise pedal movements ‘in time’ but without playing the notes.

Change pedals on the beat where possible. Ask learners to ‘pedal’ any new pieces before lessons to encourage independence and organisational skills.

Demonstrate to learners the difference between positive and negative body language when performing.

Encourage learners to attend live performances where possible, and/or watch live performances online.

Encourage learners to reflect on their body language and to observe others performing, noting the effects of posture on communication.

Making a video during their practice sessions can be a useful tool for reviewing their own body language. Remember that it is vital to check the policy of the school or other organisation you are working in with regards to any form of recording. Children must never be videoed without parental consent and all policies regarding use and storage of recordings must be adhered to.

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