How To Play

Index

THE RIGHT THUMB.

1. Seat yourself at the instrument with your right fore-arm lifted to the height of your shoulder, the palm of your hand open and facing the floor. 
2. Take a good look at it. Ensure that the  shoulder, upper arm, elbow, fore-arm, wrist and the top of the hand, are all perfectly level with one another, so that, like a juggler, you could roll a ball along the entire length of the arm and hand.
3. Rotate the wrist so that the palm is facing inwards.
4. Take a good look at it in this position. The hand should be open as though you are about to shake hands.
5. Let your elbow drop slightly lower than shoulder height, without changing the line with the forearm and hand.
6. Bring the tips of your fingers into the palm of your hand. Avoid unnecessary grip and tension, just let them rest in there with the thumb cocked upwards.
7. Bring the hand into the instrument and, using the thumb in a firm forward movement, pluck any diatonic row string you like in the middle register of the harp. The top third of the thumb and not just the very tip, is where you should be making contact with the string. For the moment, play on the string at a point just below the middle of the length of the string (from the top to the point of crossover).
8. Continue the forward-downward movement of the thumb after the string is plucked so that it comes to rest on the base joint of the index finger.
9. Repeat this action, carefully watching that you do not drop the elbow lower than the wrist, and that the thumb follows through, just like a tennis racquet does when you’re serving.
10. Play, gradually, up the register, ensuring that as the  hand goes higher up the harp, it remains in alignment with the elbow, which should be effectively drawing the forearm up and back. Play only on the diatonic row.
11. Very slowly and carefully, play down the entire treble register, watching the levels of your elbow. Then play slowly right up to the very top string, feeling how high the elbow has to draw up and  then drop back. Play each note evenly and strongly. Make sure you like the tone you are hearing before you pass on to the next string.
12. Do your neural patterning as described in Chapter Two. This is crucial, even with these non-complex movements.


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