Musical Reflections wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy ThanksgivingThe U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving is coming soon! It is one of our favorite holidays. How about you? It is less stressful (and frankly, less work) than Christmas/New Years. And more importantly, it is a time of gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation. We love to reflect what we are most grateful for from the previous year:

  • Our customers – that’s YOU!
  • CoVid gave us the opportunity to discern about what’s the “next generation” of our work/business. Stay tuned for exciting new launches coming soon!
  • We also love our “sister businesses” – the BioMat and Young Living essential oils. We love these products personally and enjoy sharing the benefits with those we serve. It’s a win-win!
  • We have loved working with our therapeutic harp lesson students. These students already know how to play the harp, but want to learn more about playing at the hospital and hospice bedside. What a joy and honor to work with them!
  • Every time someone signs up for our new on-line course called “Sounds of Healing for Wellness Professionals,” it brings us joy! We love sharing our content in this unique, cutting-edge format.

Since Musical Reflections’ inception on May 21, 1999, we have been passionate about offering various products and services to contribute to your healing journey. What an honor! We are so grateful … Happy Thanksgiving!

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More Thoughts on Zoom…

Zoom LogoIn the last blog post, I discussed using Zoom for presentations/performances. And frankly, my somewhat negative experiences using it for those purposes.

On a more positive note, where I have seen Zoom work very well:

  • My therapeutic harp lessons – I have been working with students who already play the harp, but are interested in learning more about playing at the hospital and hospice bedside.
  • Virtual harp therapy – I wrote about this in an earlier blog. I am excited to offer this as a virtual healing modality and the opportunities are endless … around the globe!

So, CoVid-19 has blessed us with many changes and using technology, specifically Zoom, in some beautiful, unique ways. I am grateful to be here at this amazing time in our human evolution! If you are interested in additional information for either of these, I look forward to connecting.

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Virtual Harp Therapy

Music NoteIn the International Harp Therapy Program (IHTP) Facebook group, we have been discussing if harp therapy is effective virtually. I had a personal experience to say “YES, it is!”

I have been teaching therapeutic harp lessons for harpists who want to improve their musicality and learn more about playing the harp at the hospital and hospice bedside. One of my students is from the Netherlands and in one of her lessons, she played a Schubert lullaby for me. As she played, I became aware of a painful area in my lower back and I “sent” the harp vibrations to the sore spot. I could literally feel it dissolve.

It was an incredible first-hand experience of how virtual harp therapy (on Zoom) is powerful and healing…almost as good as in person! I believe this opens up many opportunities and possibilities for therapeutically trained musicians. If you would like to explore virtual harp therapy sessions, please reach out and let’s connect!

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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!

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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…”

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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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