Archive for Harp

Well-Being and the Harp – Part IV

Well BeingThe harp is a very spiritual instrument and our work is very spiritual. Spirituality is the fourth area of well-being that we will cover in these blog posts.

We find again and again that a spiritual practice (meditation, prayer, quiet time, centering, etc.) helps to build our resilience, as well as survive/thrive in the world today.

The spiritual/metaphysical connection occurs as the harpist grounds (connecting to the Earth) and taps into the heavens, then the music can flow through our fingers and bodies, and through the instrument. This is the process of channeling – allowing Spirit to flow through us. Our body/mind/spirit pathway is:

  1. Align our physical body
  2. Channel love: universal quality
  3. Bring out the harp’s best harmonics
  4. Create a circle for healing (keep in mind the harpist’s body is round – our elbows up create a circle around the harp, our hand position is round, our fingers curve inward forming another circle, etc. – and all of this helps make the music is round).

This model of spirituality explains the spiritual process of making music:  We connect then flow, co-creating with Spirit and back to connection; it is a circle of spirituality and healing.

And finally, it is important to listen to the energetic, spiritual messages our bodies give us. For instance, do you feel energy in your fingers, heart, shoulders, hips? (It can be anywhere and the point is to be mindful of our own body.)

As we connect to our own spiritual well-being, it deepens our music and the healing that occurs.

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part III

Well BeingMental well-being for harpists is an important component of our overall health. To begin, a quick question to ponder … when you get a challenging passage in the music, what do you tell yourself:

  • Here comes the hard part? OR
  • I’ve got this!

What we’re talking about is our self-talk, which also links to setting intentions. To define intentions, they are similar to:

  • Goals
  • New year’s resolutions
  • Prayer
  • Dreams (heart, not sleep!) –> manifest

Our energy follows our thoughts so if we think it, this is where our energy goes. This is why it’s important to think good thoughts. It is almost like a brain re-program or paradigm shift. For example:

  • Is our language filled with hope and possibilities or is it of drudgery, negativity?
  • Does our life go smoothly and flow with ease and grace or are we tripped up with trauma/drama?
  • Have you noticed if we tell ourselves we’re tired, going to be a rotten day vs. I have good energy to accomplish what I need to today – it impacts our day!

These statements become our energetic blueprint and connect us to what we manifest. We are encouraging mindfulness which is positive mental health and well-being for you, as a harpist, and for those you serve. Our final blog post of the four areas of well-being will be next week, on spiritual well-being.

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part II

Well BeingOur emotions are the next area of well-being that we want to “discuss” as it relates to the harp.

We are emotional beings, not logical. And throughout the International Harp Therapy Program (and beyond!), we are challenged to do our own emotional/inner work. The point is if we are peaceful, we play from this peaceful place.

As we learn the harp (or any musical instrument) and learn new pieces of music, we recognize music is rigorous. What we mean by this is it’s an examination, looking at many “deep places” within ourselves:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I can’t learn this
  • I’ll never be able to do/play that, etc.

Besides, we tend to be:

  • Super sensitive – with a tendency to take everything personally
  • Empathetic – understanding or feeling what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference. This means we pick up the vibes from those who are around us.

While both of these make us good at what we do, we have to be mindful, using them to our advantage, not as a detriment.

Another emotional aspect is fear and anxiety. Fear, when it is a negative emotion, can stop us from being creative and it can definitely contribute to performance anxiety. It is helpful to play/perform from our heart and not the nerves.

This blog post gives you ideas of boosting your emotional well-being as a harpist. If you wish to discuss this topic further, contact us. Next up, mental well-being …

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part I

Well BeingLet us explain! The four areas of well-being are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In the next four blog posts, we are going to write about how one of each of these well-being areas relates to the harp. First, we’ll explore physical well-being.

An old mindset of yesteryear is it’s OK for musicians to “trash” their bodies. Where does this come from? While we aren’t sure of the origins of this old belief, we know this isn’t true today, especially with harpists. As a group, we spend a lot of time understanding the physical nature of both the instrument and the player’s body. Perhaps it is because the harp is a very physical instrument – both our posture and holding our arms up for extended periods of time, not to mention carrying it around!

A few other important points:

  • The main center of the body is the pelvis; important to ground and relax the pelvic/hip area.
  • The back “drives” the body.
  • Opening the chest helps us to relax and let the energy flow
  • Everything falls forward – our head, shoulders, hips, etc. and this “throws out” the back.
  • A gentle exercise is to move the shoulder blades in and down. This opens the heart and the heart meets the harp at the thymus, which is the organ of the immune system.

And a couple other things to remember about the harp:

Breathing is vital. Unlike a woodwinds or brass instrument, we don’t actually have to breathe while playing the harp. Breathing contributes to the overall health of the player/performer and it nurtures, sustains, cleans out our bodies and opens the chest. Breathing also helps with anxiety. We may have a habit of holding our breath or not breathing deeply. It can be helpful to breathe oxygen into our fingertips, even visualizing our fingers are breathing.

And finally, while the harp is all about helping people get rid of tension, the harpist must focus on this within themselves to help others.

  • If we hold our breath, we create tension in our bodies (another reason it’s important to breathe!!).
  • When the performers’ tension and the strings’ tension are released, we are one and heart-centered, giving to our audience/client/patient.

So, yes the harp is a very physical instrument and taking care of our physical health is vital to our long-term thriving with this magical instrument. Next blog post will be about emotional well-being.

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Freedom Quote

FreedomWe have come across a plethora of quotes and love sharing them because they make us think and definitely inspire. This time, we want to share what Marilyn Ferguson said, “Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.”

Is this timely right now or what?!! Is U.S. politics based on fear or freedom? Does it make a difference who is the “leader” at the helm?

We are also aware that if you feel fear, music (especially the harp!!) can help you go to that scary place to feel it and release it, moving into freedom. Here’s to your freedom…!

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Another Thought-Provoking Quote

QuotesFor the past few weeks (off and on), we have focused on quotes. It was Jerry Garcia who said, “What’s the music that only you can play?”

So … what do you think about yourself and your life as you reflect on this quote? Even if you aren’t a musician, do you have a creative outlet that only you can do? What is it?

Amidst all the craziness of these times, going inward to explore our creativity and bringing it out into the open can be incredibly nurturing and great for our souls! And when I ask a question of you, I must also reflect on it! My “music” is definitely connected to the harp, but also writing blogs and books and important social advocacy letters. My other “creative flow activity” is holding space for and sending energy to our planet during these very confusing times. In many ways, my “music” feels bigger than just music and songs and lyrics, but rather it is connected to love. I know only I can love the planet in my own special way … and that’s true for all of my readers, too. Be sure to “play your music” and love our planet with a perfect brand of you!

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A Special CD Review: The Christmas Story

Christmas Story CoverSeveral years ago, we were humbled to receive this review for “The Christmas Story” by the Daily OM. We share it here…

“Harpist Tami Briggs is a sound healer whose angelic, gentle playing bypasses all resistance to touch the root chord of the human soul. She honed her healing skill via personal appearances at hospitals and hospices, bringing her soothing sounds right up to the beds of those most in need. Bringing her knowledge of healing into the recording studio, Briggs makes harp music that’s simple, sweet, and deeply soothing. Embracing a less-is-more strategy, The Christmas Story interprets classic holiday standards into gentle solo-harp pieces, potent enough to hush a room of chatting relatives, relaxing enough to play in a child’s bedroom to help them fall asleep on Christmas Eve. And if you should find yourself alone for the holidays, Briggs becomes an angelic friend, her music a shimmering presence rooting you back to humanity.

Capturing the vibe of a live performance, The Christmas Story offers audio quality sharp enough to give the illusion that Briggs is playing right in the same room as you mull through your presents or nap on the couch in a sea of torn wrapping paper….The CD wraps up with the feeling of belonging to something larger than oneself, as Briggs’ gentle touch with the harp suffused even her frequent impassioned glissandos with warmth. More than just a bunch of carols played on the harp, Briggs skirts in and around the familiar melodies with the finesse of a jazz soloist, albeit one with no agenda of showing off chops, but rather of hitting all the right notes to warm the back of your neck and open your heart. Put on The Christmas Story when you need a gentle reminder of what the holidays are about: peace, love, and spiritual regeneration.”

You can order either CDs or download it.

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Tuning the Harp!

Harp StringsThere’s an expression amongst harpists that we spend one half of our lives tuning and the other half playing out of tune!! Is this really true? Well, I’d say on some levels it really is true. For instance, the folk harp that I play/take to the hospital has 34 strings and my pedal harp has 47 strings. This is a lot of opportunities to NOT be in tune. And the other big factors are temperature and humidity. Every time the temp or humidity changes, there is a possibility that some or all of the strings won’t be in tune. In Minnesota (where I live), we go through extreme temp and humidity changes throughout the year. My harps are expected to “weather” these changes and hold their tuning regardless of the environmental issues. Luckily, both of my harps “hold” fairly well so this definitely helps.

I share this so the next time I’m playing “out and about,” please don’t judge me if I’m not perfectly in tune … I do my best (and ask the angels to help, too)!

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Announcing a New Retreat!

imagesI am excited to announce a new retreat called “The Gift of Divine Anointing with Angelic Harp Vibrations.”

Co-facilitated with Catherine Mullaney, you will experience the gift of Divine Anointing – heartfelt prayer, meditation, healing and holy oil treatment with therapeutic harp vibrations – during this day-long retreat.

Each of the 12 oils of ancient Scripture unifies you with your Divine Creator and nature. Cathy and I will share information about each of the oils’ healing properties and practical applications. We will also discuss how these 12 oils can bring comfort and hope to you and your loved ones. The addition of my harp music orchestrates the vibrations and frequencies to intensify this healing experience, bringing peace and reverence to the day.

This retreat is a sacred time. Plan for profound blessings and insights, inner peace, beauty, love and soul nourishment. All love-based spiritual paths are invited to attend.

The price is $125/person with a limit of 30 people per retreat. We will be hosting retreats on May 7, July 16, September 17, October 22 and November 12. Come join us! Click here for more information.

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Does your Harp have a name? 

Style-23-Gold-cpWhen I’m out and about playing the harp, sometimes, people come up and ask me if I’ve named my harp!

I always say, “No!” but perhaps I should … what do you think?! Do you have any suggestions or ideas of what I should name it? I think it needs to be something angelic but at the moment, nothing comes to mind. Let me know your thoughts … I look forward to hearing from you!

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