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#151: How Your Three-Finger Technique May Be Hurting You…Literally

It’s high time I got up on my soapbox. It’s not often I do a rant on the podcast, but there’s an issue that has me so fired up that I had to talk about it with you.

I believe it’s the result of how we are learning now. There are so many opportunities to learn online, everything from individual live lessons to Youtube videos to video courses to coaching to online masterclasses. And before you mention it, yes, I am obviously a contributor to those online learning opportunities, which makes me part of the problem. I’d rather be part of the solution. Hence, the reason for today’s rant.

You may have heard me talk about the leveling up involved in playing four-finger chords if you’ve been playing mostly three-finger chords. I’m not changing my opinion on that. 

But recently I’ve seen that the main stumbling block for many students isn’t just the addition of one more note to the chord. It’s actually more about the way their technique has developed. Their entire technical approach, particularly in the right hand, is based on playing three-finger chords. This means that when they begin to play four-finger chords, their entire technique must change. And with so much learning happening online, particularly without the personal attention of an experienced teacher, harp students don’t know they’re doing anything wrong.

I’ve also very recently come across some hand injuries that could be attributed to the development of a three-finger technique. This is the part that has finally pushed me to think about this topic in a more comprehensive way.

In short, a technique based on three-finger playing can: 

  • Impede your technical progress, especially if you are an intermediate level player.
  • Cause stress from incorrect technique which could lead to injury.
  • Prevent you from learning more advanced music.

That sounds to me like a good reason for a rant! 

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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