“Play on Words”

HarpYou have likely seen the book or heard the expression, “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” Well, recently on Facebook, I saw a post (and I don’t know who posted it – otherwise, I would give you credit), “All I Need to Know About Life, I Learned from a Harp.” (I am also not sure who the author of the sayings is – again, I’m happy to give credit once I learn who wrote it.)

Some of these are quite applicable to our times:

  • Take it one note at a time.
  • Never stop playing.
  • When in doubt, gliss. (For non-harpists “gliss” means glissando – what the harp is best known for!)
  • Hug your harp and you will vibrate.
  • Some days it’s OK to be out of tune.
  • Life is not a dress rehearsal … harp on it!
  • Heaven can wait – harpists are pre-registered.
  • Buzzing is a sound in nature.
  • Touch someone’s harp – go to jail. That’s the law!

We love the harp and hope you do, too. Enjoy … in joy!

Share

Leave or read comments


Harp and Sports!

NebraskaMaybe you are thinking these two words, harp/sports, don’t go together … and you likely wouldn’t be the only person to think that!!

I grew up with parents who were avid University of Nebraska fans … and the “apple didn’t fall far from that tree!!” Therefore, yes I do love sports! It is not the first thing I share about myself, so in a way, I’m sort of a “closet fan.”

During the fall and early 2019 winter, I enjoyed watching/listening to the Nebraska girls’ volleyball games. (The football team was a disaster this year, so that’s a different story!!) The girls’ coach, John Cook, shared an interesting motivational story with the girls and it seems worthy of passing along, regardless if you like sports (and prefer harp music!).

In 2018, the Nebraska girls played in the National Championship and lost to Stanford. The coach felt like the NE team didn’t finish, so he came up with this inspirational metaphor – 29,029, the height of Mt. Everest. In his speeches about this, he says, “Mt. Everest is 29,029 feet, but many people say the height is just 29,000. They forget the final 29 feet and these are the most difficult of the whole climb. In fact, many climbers don’t make those final feet – just like we fell in 2018 in the Championship game. Focus on finishing – even the LAST 29 feet.”

Definitely good “food for thought,” right?!

Share

Leave or read comments


The History of “Taps”

An American Prayer CoverDo you know why “Taps” is played at military funerals? (If you don’t know, I didn’t either and saw this on Facebook, found it interesting and decided to share it.)

During the Civil War in 1862, Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men in Virginia near Harrison’s Landing. The Confederate Army was just on the other side of a narrow strip of land.

In the night, Captain Elli heard a solider moaning who laid severely wounded in the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his camp.

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the soldier’s face; it was his own son. (The son had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy had enlisted in the Confederate Army.)

Even though the son was of enemy status, the next morning, the heartbroken father asked his superiors’ permission to give his son a full military burial, including a group of Army band members to play a funeral dirge. The request was rejected since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they agreed to give him only one musician – a buglar. The father asked the buglar to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in his dead son’s uniform pocket. This wish was granted.

The haunting melody of “Taps” was born. The words from the son’s pocket:

Verse 1 – Day is done. Gone the sun. From the lakes. From the hills. From the sky. All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

Verse 2 – Fading light. Dims the sight. And a star. Gems the sky. Gleaming bright. From afar. Drawing nigh. Falls the night.

Verse 3 – Thanks and praise. For our days. Neath the sun. Neath the stars. Neath the sky. As we go. This we know. God is nigh.

This song is the finale on the “An American Prayer” album. While it is not played with a bugle, the harp version is really unique! If this song touches something deep within you, you can download this beautiful, haunting song.

Share

Comments (1)


Announcing Therapeutic Harp Lessons

Licensing MusicAfter being asked repeatedly to share my “secrets” to playing the harp therapeutically, I have created a new eight-week offering! In these experiential lessons, we explore different practical tips and demonstrate musical techniques that are effective at the hospital and hospice bedside. The agenda is individually customized for each harpist’s needs and will include:

  • Week 1 – The energy of the harp (as it relates to harp therapy)
  • Week 2 – the energy of the harpist (physical/body mechanics)
  • Week 3 – the energy of the harpist (emotional)
  • Week 4 – the energy of the harpist (mental)
  • Week 5 – the energy of the harpist (spiritual)
  • Week 6 – the energy of harp therapy 1
  • Week 7 – the energy of harp therapy 2
  • Week 8 – the energy of the harp therapy mission

From these engaging lessons, you will expand your therapeutic musicality and be more prepared to study in a certified harp therapy program and/or offer harp therapy services.

These therapeutic harp lessons are offered in person (Minneapolis/St. Paul area) or via Skype or Zoom. Each lesson is one hour; practice time (on your own) is 3-4 hours per week (minimum) to re-wire your playing patterns. Fees for eight lessons is $400 (if paid weekly). There is a $50 discount if paid up-front (total is $350). For payment arrangements, contact Tami. I look forward to working with you at this special time in your journey!

Share

Leave or read comments


Additional Thoughts about Therapeutic Music in the Healthcare Environment

HealthcareThis will be our last blog post in this on-going series of discussing therapeutic music in the healthcare setting. I have a few thoughts or observations from doing this work since 1996 (yes, it’s really been that long!):

  • Sometimes I am not told much about the patient, the family and/or their situation. Even without information, I am amazed at the miracles that occur at the bedside with the harp. It is an intuitive process and unfolds as it is supposed to.
  • Not usually, but occasionally, patients refuse harp therapy. This is one thing patients are empowered to say yes or no. While patients can’t say “no” to a nurse, they are empowered to make a choice about music. If they say no, I never take it personally.
  • Patients, families and staff – all benefit from the musical bedside experience. Sometimes, the caregivers or staff need the music as much as anyone.

It has been our joy to share examples and stories over the past several weeks/months about this beautiful work that we are so passionate about. Please contact us if you’d like more information.

Share

Leave or read comments


Grief in the Hospital and Music’s Role

Music and griefGrief can be a common emotion in the hospital setting. What role does music play? Read on …

Before I entered the patient’s room with my harp, I was told the mother (patient) and daughter (caregiver in the room) were grieving. One of the first things they said to me was they lost a son/brother four months ago. I’m not sure what the mother’s physical illness was (the reason she was hospitalized) but I had the sense that whatever it was was completely predicated by grief and sadness. There was a heaviness, a deep sorrow prevalent in their room.

I used the musical principle of Inclusive Attention. (Inclusive Attention is the art of being attentive to the patient and modifying the music to accommodate for the mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual state. It is asking, “What is meeting me here? What am I observing? How do I need to respond?” The heaviness of grief, mourning, and intense sadness is appropriately met with music that is sad, melancholic, and minor. This is contrary to what many people think, but by meeting grief with sad, melancholic music, you acknowledge and honor the patient’s condition or situation and give him or her permission to feel and release the feelings.)

I played music that was quite somber for this mother and daughter. As tears flowed and the feelings of grief and mourning began to lift slightly, it was appropriate to transition the music very slowly from minor keys into major keys. The mood and the music shifted, ebbing and flowing between minor and major. (This is a sub-conscious way of demonstrating that it is vital to feel/express sorrow and dark feelings, as well as OK to feel hope and lightness, sometimes within seconds/minutes of each other … all a natural part of the grieving process.)

I ended our harp therapy session with Amazing Grace which felt like an important connection for them, as well as connecting with their transitioned loved one. While I was playing, I also had the feeling that this mother’s son was hovering above her shoulders and crown chakra. I mentioned this to the mother as I left and she hugged me saying, “This gives me so much comfort. Thank you…”

Share

Leave or read comments


Playing the Harp in the Hallway of the Hospital

Hospital corridorI play the harp in patients’ rooms, but also in the hospital corridors or hallways.

Staff who do such important work (housekeeping, unit secretaries, nurse managers, etc.) may not be thanked for their contributions and they need the music as much as anyone. When I play in the hallways or at a nursing station, these hard-working employees can pause for a moment to “fill their wells.”

Playing in these locations, I see very busy healthcare staff and stressed family members stopping for a moment to connect with their breath, lower their shoulders to release tension and just be. Many comment that they have never heard the harp or never seen it played up close and in person. Having it on the hospital floor offers a personal touch and a gentle reminder of self-care.

Share

Leave or read comments


Music for Caregivers, too

CaregivingThe following story highlights how music can benefit the caregiver, as much as the patient.

Right before I entered the hospital room with my harp, the patient and her spouse had just had a discussion of “no code” status.

The husband (caregiver) was sitting at his wife’s shoulder and I set up my harp right next to him so I could see both the patient and him.  At times, I felt like I was playing as much to him as I was for his wife … he “drank in” the music!

At one point, the patient turned to her husband and their eyes locked. Within these few moments of deep connection, they expressed a lifetime. It was beautiful to witness, as well as facilitate with this paradoxical instrument that is so gentle, yet so powerful.

As I was leaving, the husband said, “Thank you! I believe I enjoyed the music as much, and maybe more than my wife!”

Share

Leave or read comments


Music and Emotions

music and emotionsMusic connects us to our emotions, and can be a way to process and release feelings to help with our healing journey. This is an example.

Before I entered the next patient’s room, two nurses came up and said, “This patient wants to die … he feels hopeless.” I started by playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which is a song of hope. And then, as I played for him, I was very aware of using entrainment (playing slower and s-l-o-w-e-r) so he could rest, sleep (similar to how the CD “Calm as the Night” is created).

As I finished and was moving my harp out of the room, he gently rolled over and quietly said, “I now know I’m going to be just fine.”

Share

Leave or read comments


Therapeutic Music in the Healthcare Setting

healthcare environmentTherapeutic music in the healthcare setting can be helpful for both the patient and healthcare provider, as this example shows.

As I entered the patient’s room, her doctor was leaving. I asked the physician if she’d like to come in/observe while I provided harp therapy. She said “Yes!” As soon as I started playing, the doctor visibly relaxed and sunk deep into her chair.

The patient cupped her face during much of the time that I was playing the harp for her. At the end, I explained the term anchoring to her. This is holding the feeling of peace with the bodily memory (ie. cupping her face). For example, if she wants to feel the same peace that she felt after the musical experience, she can cup her face in the same way as when the music was playing and take a couple of breaths. She will bring back the peaceful feeling because her body is anchored to it.

As I was leaving, she said, “I will give that a try!”

Share

Leave or read comments


« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »