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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Posture
Posture
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Tonyblues
70 posts
Feb 01, 2021
9:56 AM
Has anyone thought about posture? When I started taking lessons in 1998 my instructor mentioned that posture was very important. Since then for all this time I have noticed that almost every harp player has bad posture. A great example of good posture is Mark Hummel. I got a lesson from Magic Dick in the 90's and he also mentioned that posture was extremely important and that it takes a lot of effort & work to get good posture while playing. Seems like it would be easy to just bring the harp up to your mouth but instead we lower our head to the harp, hmmm.
dougharps
2234 posts
Feb 01, 2021
12:57 PM
At a HCH workshop I attended Deak addressed this issue. Why compress your chest and airway by scrunching over? Richard Sleigh also taught this at SPAH sessions. I think Conway mentioned it, too. At another SPAH session a vocal teacher addressed this.

Yep, posture can help or hinder your playing and singing.
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Doug S.
jbone
3312 posts
Feb 01, 2021
8:25 PM
While I sit to play, I sit straight. Neuropathy in my feet prevents me standing for long at all. I think I do pretty well judging by comments from patrons, passers-by, etc.
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Tonyblues
71 posts
Feb 01, 2021
8:28 PM
Jbone, I have seen you on YouTube and yes you do have great playing posture. & nice playing too. I am constantly struggling LOL
jbone
3313 posts
Feb 02, 2021
7:05 AM
Thank you Tony! For me it was a struggle of decades that began paying off in the late 90's. Having a great partner who is tuned in with me has been such a blessing. Jo and I are near our 17th anniversary. She's currently recuperating from a serious medical crisis that has put her musical future in question. Any prayers and good thoughts anyone can spare will help without a doubt.

At the end of the day, the people we connect with musically will challenge us and help us to grow. There have been so many who have given me a hand up when I didn't even know I needed one!
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Grey Owl
1090 posts
Feb 02, 2021
8:25 AM
That's a good subject Tony. I note that you have a super relaxed posture in your videos. I know when I'm playing something tricky my shoulders elevate and get tense. Same thing when cupping a Mic for a decent seal. I end up strangling harp and mic as if that's going to help!

I remember hearing about something called The Alexander Technique years ago which asks you to identify any unnecessary tension in your body when doing tasks. Even something as mundane as brushing your teeth. You may find that you grip the toothbrush way too hard tensing your shoulder elbow wrist and hand as well as your neck and face. It then suggests recognising each overstressed area and ease off until you find a comfortable relaxed state.

This could be usefully applied to playing musical instruments.

Jbone sorry to hear of your partner's health problems. She is in my thoughts and prayers for a recovery to full health.


Grey Owl
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jbone
3314 posts
Feb 02, 2021
9:12 AM
Thanks very much Grey Owl. Cancer sucks and optimism rules.
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nacoran
10339 posts
Feb 02, 2021
11:36 AM
You should have similar posture to good singing posture.

I have better posture when I'm standing than sitting, and sometimes my left shoulder gives me problems and I have to adjust to accommodate it. Holding a harmonica two handed does compromise your singing posture a little bit just by sort of pulling your shoulders in unless you have freakishly long arms though. It think that's why, when I'm out walking, I tend to play one handed... less restricted lungs and I'm not cupping a mic.

Maybe someone needs to invent a Rackit system for one handed players to get wah? I only tend to play one handed on some stuff though. When there are fast precise jumps I find I have better control two handed.

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Nate
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First Post- May 8, 2009
Fil
482 posts
Feb 04, 2021
7:00 PM
Nate, what do you play when you’re walking?
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Phil Pennington
Raven
197 posts
Feb 08, 2021
2:05 PM
Rapid playing also calls for use of the diaphragm which is harder to do in a sitting position. I also find that playing on an empty stomach is better. A full stomach will interfere with diaphragmatic breathing and sometimes leave you gasping for air. Two other tips: keep the moustache trimmed and the teeth brushed...I hate taking apart a harp just to extricate moustache hairs, sesame seeds or other unidentifiable bits of food stuff.


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