P5 - B1

Posture, hand position, and recognition of strings and levers

  • Maintain appropriate posture and a relaxed stance whilst using the entire 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 considerably more technically demanding
  • Change levers during playing with fluency within technically demanding passages
  • For pedal harp, move pedals with control and fluency within technically demanding passages 

Encourage learners to evaluate their posture and hand/arm position, using video recordings and mirrors where appropriate.

Video from different angles in order to fully observe both sides.

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.

Plan and practise techniques that can specifically help with alleviating tension. Encourage them to make these a habit. Ask learners to plan regular breaks within practice sessions, walking around the room and staying hydrated.

Some learners with poor posture and/or tension problems may find relaxation methods useful, e.g. breathing techniques, yoga, Alexander Technique.

For pedal harp, encourage learners to wear concert shoes or specific harp practice shoes within every session, in order to feel completely at ease with pedal changing.

Keep checking that the heel remains on the floor during pedal changes.

Practise passages that have tricky/multiple lever changes at a slow tempo initially, building up the tempo gradually.

Continue to encourage positive body language when performing.

Encourage learners to attend a wide range of live performances where possible, and/or watch live performances online.

Encourage learners to use imagery in order to convey the character and mood of the music. Discuss how posture may contribute towards communication.

Provide opportunities for learners to observe how others communicate in performance, e.g. masterclasses, concerts.

Help learners to use their posture and arm/hand movements to communicate musical intention, e.g. beginning and/or changing tempo in an ensemble.

Discuss ways in which learners can develop the physical and mental stamina required to play longer, more demanding pieces.

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