Got Stocking Stuffers?

Christmas stockingIf you need just a little-something-extra gift, may we suggest a Musical Reflections’ CD or book?! Every year, we get such positive feedback – I loved my little CD gift or receiving your special book just made my day!!

It is time to order if you want to receive products by December 23 … in fact, please order by December 16th to ensure delivery in time for Santa to present it under the Christmas tree!!

From Musical Reflections, we wish you a wonderful holiday season …

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The Gift of Christmas Peace

Christmas PeaceIt is now a tradition to post our “The Gift of Christmas Peace” video the day after Thanksgiving. (Isn’t this when the Christmas season officially begins?!) So, we are continuing with this yearly event of making the video available now.

Please be sure to share it with your family and friends. Our goal is to give as many people as possible a peaceful interlude, especially with all the busy-ness that’s about to ensue during the month of December. May it touch you … and here’s to your Christmas Peace.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy ThanksgivingAll month long we celebrate the holiday of gratitude – Thanksgiving! (The actual date is Nov. 23 this year.) We hope you have time to reflect on all your many blessings that connect you to feeling grateful. We are aware we have so much to be thankful for:

  • Our gigs where we’ve had an opportunity to share our harp music, passion and message.
  • Our customers who continue to purchase books and CDs, and use our products to support their journey.
  • Our addendum BioMat business and all the wonderful people we’ve had an opportunity to connect with and help in their healing journeys.
  • Our learning from the first two Virtual Harp Summits.
  • Our re-connection this past summer with the harp therapy community (International Harp Therapy Program’s regional conference).
  • Our flexible schedule so that I can be present to my aging parents.
  • On and on the list goes …

So, you can see, we have much to be in gratitude. How about you?

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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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Research on the Harp

Research ReportWe recently received a new up-dated list of many harp research studies that have been completed. As we reviewed the list, we are excited to report, there’s a whole lot more work that’s been done in this field of healing harp. If you would like a copy of this up-dated list, please contact us.

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Speaking again for your group/organization?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the past blog posts, I mentioned the Virtual Harp Summit that I “attended,” including utilizing some of this information for the harp therapy community. It has been fun to create new presentations, trainings and retreats based on the 50+ hours of Summit learnings.

Even if I have already spoken to your group/organization, it might be time for a re-visit!! If you are interested, let’s connect!

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Regional International Harp Therapy Conference

ConferenceLast month, we mentioned Virtual Harp Summits (VHS) 1 and 2. In a few days, I have the honor to present to the International Harp Therapy Program’s regional conference in Cedar Falls, IA. While it is a bit daunting to present to my peer group, I know it will be a special time together.

At this conference, I will be sharing some of the key learnings from VHS 1 and 2 … all of this information will be very useful to the harp therapy community, I believe. The goal is to deepen our understanding of this very special instrument that we all love to play in a therapeutic manner.

Can’t wait to be present with my colleagues and friends!

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