Friday, 30 March 2012

X marks the spot

Hidden treasure??

No - just a handy guide for teaching good articulation and finger position.

I ask my students to touch the two crosses when they play, so that they get a full finger articulation. One cross on the index finger for a full thumb articulation, and the cross on the palm is just a general reminder to pull their fingers right into their palm.

The lines on the fingers are an extra guide to act as a reminder for correct placement of finger on the string.... i.e. line up the harp string with the lines on the fingertips.

I also use an orange as a teaching aid.... I'll leave that as a teaser for another post!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Shrek Finger

Apologies if you have just eaten, in which case it's probably not a good idea to look at this photo...... which is how my left hand 4th finger looked 6 weeks ago!

As well as swelling to twice it's usual size, the heavy bruising eventually went down after about 4 weeks, but it still hurt like hell and my knuckle now is definitely not the shape it used to be. (I'll never be able to get a ring over my knuckle again!)

Although I had movement in it, there was no strength in it - I could just about pluck a string on my little clarsach but it couldn't cope with the tension of my Salvi.

Needless to say, I've had a pretty stressful time ever since it got busted going through all sorts of emotions whilst waiting to see if my finger would ever get better.

I've spent the last 6 weeks not playing on it all, despite having gigs in the diary which I couldn't cancel. This past week though I have finally started tentatively playing on it again, although it's still not yet back to full strength. But at least I know now that it works.

Luckily, it happened just after a big run of work whilst I had 5 days off, during which time my finger went through all the colours of the rainbow. It was a lovely vivid green when I had some children's concerts which I had to explain away to the kids as my Shrek finger. I managed to somehow get through 2 flute and harp recitals, and have just finished doing 4 performances of Berlioz Symphony Fantastique with the RLPO.

The big solo scale down in the Berlioz was the first time I've used my fourth finger since it happened, but I still had to do all the left hand octaves using my third finger and thumb. Not ideal.. But I have some time off now from playing, so a chance to rest it properly for a couple of days and then build up the strength doing some slow technical exercises.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Extreme harping

That's got to be one hell of a harp trolley she's got there to get the harp over those rocks.....

Great music from Quadro Nuevo, and brilliant harp playing from Evelyn Huber in this European tango quartet, which has (quite rightly), a seriously busy concert schedule.

But enquiring minds want to know, how did they get the harp there? Even off-loading it from a boat it makes the mind boggle. This has to be a record for the most extreme place to get a harp.

Any takers for a more whacky place to play a harp?