Written by special guest author Emma Dangers. Miss Dangers currently studies harp with Stephanie Claussen.
What do harp strings and board breaks have in common? On the surface, not much, until you look closer at the disciplines involved in the art of both. For example, attention to technique is essential. Without proper hand positioning, you can easily break a bone while doing a board break. Without closing your fingers flat against your palm in harp playing, you will stress your hand muscles and eventually lead to hand injury.
Commitment is very important in both arts. Without spending time going to classes, you won’t get any better or learn anything. My mom has driven me an hour and a half to harp lessons once a week for about three years, and twenty minutes to Taekwondo, which is sometimes twice a week, for about three and a half years. And there are definitely some days when I don’t feel like riding in the car all the way to classes.
In addition, practicing away from class is important, too. I usually practice for about a half hour every day for harp, and fifteen minutes for Taekwondo.
While practicing, concentrating on correct posture is important. Sitting up straight in harp is the only ‘stance’ so you don’t look sloppy. Taekwondo has multiple ‘stances’ which are each unique and used for different purposes. One example is Horse Riding Stance, which is used for such techniques as punches and blocks.
All these things are important when it’s time for a belt promotion test or harp recital. Both arts have ways to advance. Harp has harder music as you go on, and Taekwondo has achievement belts that go from white to black. Belt promotion tests and harp recitals help to get you to those points.
Although looking at the seemingly physical Taekwondo and the delicate harp playing, there do not seem to be similarities. However, looking closer at the time, commitment, and practice put into each, you may start to see the similarities.
by Emma Dangers, January 2016
Stephanie Claussen is a professional harpist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She performs on her harp throughout Minnesota in concerts, recitals, and collaborations with other musicians. Sign up for her e-mail newsletter to be notified directly of upcoming performances and important announcements.