Playing the harp at the hospital and hospice bedside

music jokeOne of my passions is to play the harp at the hospital and hospice bedside. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing a variety of experiences I’ve had. This will give you an idea of the power and potency of this work!

Before I walked in to this female patient’s room, I was told she was very agitated the day before. By the time I played for her, she was heavily medicated and very sedated.

While I played, she was very peaceful and sleepy. I had a sense that she was very sad and perhaps had some dementia. I played Amazing Grace and other familiar songs (which is helpful to demented patients because it brings them into the present moment and while they may not remember anything else, they may still hold music memory – melodies and/or words). The word that came to me as I was playing for her was “protection.” I had the feeling that she was very protected by many angels.

Sometimes, sleep is more difficult in the hospital environment, yet can be the most restorative/healing. That’s where the harp can work its magic … in fact, I always say I’ve done my best work if I put the patient to sleep!! I left her in a peaceful state and helped her drift off to sleep.

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More on Being a Certified Harp Practitioner

harp therapy1In this blog post, we will share the “Scope of Practice” for being a Certified Harp Practitioner.

A Certified Harp Practitioner’s practice is to use the intrinsic healing elements of live harp music to provide an environment conducive to the human healing process. (Healing is defined as movement toward mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wholeness.)

Requirements in the following categories are required to be a Certified Harp Practitioner:

  1. Musicianship
  • Demonstrates/applies knowledge of basic music theory and techniques.
  • Improvises and plays music in a fluid, musical fashion.
  • Plays appropriate repertoire.
  • Is sensitive to the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient.
  1. Professionalism
  • Uses appropriate interpersonal skills, etiquette, and legal, ethical and moral judgment, when interacting with patients, families and hospital/hospice staff; adheres to a strict Code of Ethics. (Stay tuned for our next blog post.)
  • Presents a positive, mature and professional image in manners, communication and dress.
  • Respects diversity of cultural traditions, values and musical preferences.
  • Demonstrates a responsible attitude about personal identification, documentation, scheduling, infection control, hospital equipment and privacy.
  • Focuses on the welfare of the patient above all else in a compassionate and non-judgmental manner.
  • Works within the determined scope of practice of therapeutic musicians; seeks appropriate assistance when needed.
  • Engages in appropriate self-care and continuing education.

If you are interested in learning more or wish to have me play at the hospital or hospice bedside for you or your loved one, please contact me.

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Defining a Certified Harp Practitioner (CHP)

Many people have asked what is a Certified Harp Practitioner (CHP). Being a CHP is obviously something I’m very passionate about!

To receive this certification, I completed an approved therapeutic musician curricula with a focus on the harp from the International Harp Therapy Program (IHTP). I have also continued to keep my harp therapy practice current by attending the necessary courses to obtain Continuing Education Units (CEUs). hospital[1]This includes participation in conferences, workshops, lectures and webinars on a variety of approved topics relevant to the field of therapeutic music and musicianship. The approved Continuing Education activities have been the equivalent of 20 hours every two years, and directly relates to and enhances my work as a therapeutic harpist.

The combination of past educational study and current-day CEUs allow me to provide therapeutic music at the hospital and hospice bedside with great care and passion. I am available to play the harp for you or your loved one; if you wish to discuss my services, please contact me.

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The Paradoxes of the Harp!

ParadoxI love the sounds that come from the harp and so many people share this same thought! Isn’t it interesting that an instrument of such beauty has three things “attached” to it that aren’t so glamorous:  1) packing it around – it’s heavy and awkward!, 2) tuning so many strings – time consuming and always a moving target with weather and humidity changes, and 3) re-stringing it. Oh well, carry on because even with the “not so fun” things about the harp, it sounds simply heavenly and amazing!

And that leads us to another paradox about this instrument … it is such a gentle, comforting, soothing, nurturing sound and it is also such a powerful healing tool. It is really a mystery how that works, but it happens time and time again at both the hospital and hospice bedsides.

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A Beautiful Destination

What is Harp TherapyA couple months ago, I spoke to the new International Harp Therapy students. In preparation for our call, the host asked me to speak about how I came to the harp, how I got interested in harp therapy and how I currently “structure” my harp therapy business. It was an honor to be present with this group!

During my presentation, I talked about how I had been going through a challenging time at age 30, when I gave myself harp lessons to soothe my soul. (This is how I came to the harp.) And then when I took the harp therapy classes, I hated hospitals to the extent that I passed out every time I entered a hospital building! After I talked about both of these situations on the conference call, the host said to me, “You have really overcome a lot to be able to do harp therapy work!”

This was very affirming and validating, and it reminded me of this quote from an unknown source, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” I feel blessed to have worked through lots of issues and situations to get to do the beautiful work that I am called to. Indeed, it has been an interesting journey to get to this beautiful destination!

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Check out this positive review on one of our CDs: “The Christmas Story” 

Christmas Story CoverWe have posted this before … and it warms our heart that Daily OM loves this CD, so we decided to post again! Here’s the review they wrote about The Christmas Story CD:

“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.”

We are honored and humbled by the Daily OM’s lovely words. And if you want to experience it for yourself, The Christmas Story is available as a CD or download. Enjoy!

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Presentation to the International Harp Therapy Community 

Nov 2014Since 2006, I have played the harp at the hospital bedside in tandem with a Healing Touch instructor/practitioner. We have experienced some amazing results working together! And now we have research to prove it…

For a couple of years, we have been talking about presenting our work together. And now we have that opportunity! In mid-March, we will be at the International Harp Therapy conference in San Diego, CA. As a graduate in the first class of this program, it is an honor to speak to my colleagues. And San Diego in mid-March will be a welcome break from the cold Minnesota winter! Can’t wait…

 

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A Wonderful Review!

Christmas Story CoverOver the years, Daily OM has supported my harp music a lot. A couple years ago, they wrote a lovely review of “The Christmas Story,” one of my Christmas CDs:

“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.”

I am humbled by these beautiful words that they shared with more than 1 million of their customers. The Daily OM “gets” the special grace of this CD and I am deeply grateful for their continued support.

To order the CD, click here. It is also available as a download. Happy Holidays!

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The Breath of Life…

BreatheAs I continue to reflect on the recent Mayo Clinic holistic wellness conference, I found it interesting that almost every speaker talked about breathing. (And yes, Barb Schommer and I talked about it in our Self-Care Salon that we presented!) She and I had a recent experience with a hospital patient … here’s the story:

We worked with a man who had had a procedure to rid his knee of infection. He had just finished physical therapy so was in some pain (7 out of 10) and was extremely anxious (9). He was worried whether or not the surgery had eliminated the infection and if not, what this meant for next steps. His wife and adult daughter were also in the room.

Barb immediately began doing Healing Touch, specifically energy clearing while I played the harp. About 15 minutes later, he looked like he was crying. I motioned for his wife and daughter to come over to the bed to comfort him – the wife stood opposite Barb and his daughter held his feet.

I whispered to the daughter, “Would he like the song ‘Amazing Grace?’” and she said, “Yes and also ‘O Danny Boy’ – this was the song that he and I danced to at my wedding.” These songs brought tears to everyone present.

Barb also taught him about his breath and how breathing could help him release any fear or pain. As we finished our work together, he was peaceful and very grateful. His pain score was reduced to 4 and his anxiety was also 4.

To discuss breathing with patients and families in the hospital environment always feels like we are giving them a life skill. What an honor to get to do this work!

 

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The Circle of Life

I played the harp yesterday in the hospital where I volunteer. My friend, who does Healing Touch, and I were working together. As we were on the elevator, we spoke with a young man who commented he was going to the second floor where the new babies are. We asked him if he was a new father and he said, “Yes, we had a little girl and this is our third child. I think we are done now!”

My friend and I worked with one woman and then, we were asked to work with a man who was being transferred to a nursing home, going into hospice care. The harp therapy and Healing Touch treatment calmed both the patient and his lovely wife. A sacred time, the whole experience felt very holy.

As my friend finished charting, I put my harp in its case. The young man (who we’d met on the elevator) and his wife with their new baby were strolling past the dying man’s room…the circle of life.

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