Having a hard time learning trills

Hi there, it’s my first posting on this forum.

So, I’m having a hard time learning trills and I realized that there is very little advice on the subject online.
I have a lot of trouble controlling my speed, and balancing the two notes of the trill.
Do you have any tips on this ? How exactly should I practice ?


My only tip is lubricant. I use Dermeze so i can easily move the harp backwards and forwards with no gripping or friction.


Hello @mauraulucien welcome!

So I can give a couple tips that might help too.

@toogdog - the advice on lubricant is solid! For me, a lot of the time I wet my lips and make sure to “warm up” the harp I’m playing.

Progressiong Training - starting super slow and practicing sliding between the two notes is a good place to start. You want to make sure you are hitting both cleanly. Then of course raise that speed slowly.

Technique - I prefer the head trill. It lets me hit the notes cleaner, control speed, and is more stable all around. The musician Jason Ricci has a great video on youtube reviewing the technique and showing a good example of different styles of trilling, especially the head trill.

I hope some of that is helpful!



Thank you both for the tips ! I’m not sure that the lubricant is going to do the trick for me because my real problem is balancing the two notes but I’m going to try it anyway. I’m also going to check the video thank you !


@mauraulucien - the fact that you’re noticing the imbalance is GOOD - your ears are OPEN. Bravo!

@HappyHarpist’s advice to SLOOOWWWW IT WAAAYYYYY DOWN is spot on. Anytime you’re wanting to improve at anything SLOW IT DOWN!!!

Can you play it balanced really slow? Play it at THAT speed for a couple minutes. Then try a little bit faster. Still balanced? Great! Not balanced? Slow it back down to where it sounds balanced and practice it at that speed for a couple minutes again.

Do this every day, and in a few weeks you’ll be shocked at what it does for ya.

Other things to play with:

@HappyHarpist mentioned he and Jason Ricci like the head shake. I don’t. (It gives me a headache, lol.) But TRY it all:

  • Head
  • Right hand
  • Left hand
  • Both hands
  • Some combination of head and hands?

ALSO, While you’re slowly trilling, play with your tongue position. Try slowly moving the back of your tongue up toward the “Kk” zone, try lowering it like when you yawn, try different vowel shapes.

Keep relaxed, patient, and have fun playing and exploring this.

You’re on the path my friend. Keep up the good work! Rock on! :sunglasses: