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 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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The Power Center…

ChakrasI was recently practicing my harp for the upcoming holiday season. When my phone rang, I noticed I was playing the “E” note – it was the same sound of my phone! The “E” note in the energy world is connected to the third chakra or the solar plexus area of the body. The solar plexus is about our power, our will, our purpose and moving forward in life.

When my phone rings now, I think of “E” and move into the mode of “How will I help this caller connect to moving their life forward and how will it connect with my purpose?” Since I’ve had this awareness, the richness of conversations and connections has been amazing!

When your phone rings, what musical note is it? Knowing this may give you insights into your connection with your body, as well as communicating/connecting with the caller. Have fun exploring this!

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