Therapeutic Harp Music has a wide variety of applications and proven benefits. A Harp Therapist is trained to tune into individual, group, and environmental circumstances in a multitude of settings such as:
*Since a Harp Therapist is trained in the stages of dying and which modes and songs will be most effective for each stage, Harp Therapy is a strong asset to end-of-life care*
In my experience playing therapeutic harp music for the dying, I have witnessed the tranquil benefits that not only assist the individual in their transition process, but also their family members and the facility staff. The transition of someone we love is often a bittersweet time when we recall a lifetime of memories and mourn our separation. Upon request, I have learned songs that evoke recollection of tender memories and have improvised melodies that permeate the room with calm and peacefulness. Every life is sacred and I find it to be a great honor to serve each individual in such a transformative time. It is my hope that through playing the therapeutic harp, the music will serve as a soothing, peaceful, and loving presence that can ease one's spirit and comfort family and friends.
*Harp Therapists can act as musical midwives, creating a pleasantly tranquil atmosphere for the newborn*
The birth of a child is a time of great celebration, excitement, and love. However, it is very common for women to become nervous, stressful, or anxious when it comes time to give birth. One's body is preparing for a courageous act of brining a person into the world. It requires immense strength, endurance, and surrender. Therapeutic harp music has been shown to decrease stress hormones and increase pain-relieving endorphins. It can also provide serene musical distraction from pain and intensity. The ethereal sounds of beautiful harp music can be incredibly soothing and sedating for a mother who is seeking a tranquil natural/home birth and for those who would like their child born into a peaceful environment. Also, it is a tender experience for the newborn baby's first moments to be serenaded with harp music in celebration of his or her existence and surrounded by loved ones.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
*Therapeutic Harp Practitioners are trained to create a "Cradle of Sound" for those we play for*
One of my greatest joys is playing therapeutic music for NICU infants. Studies have shown that music can decrease levels on anxiety, increase oxygen saturation, normalize heart rate, calm breathing, aid sleep, and reduce the stress levels of NICU infants. Even family members who visit their babies find benefits from therapeutic music. I offer a collection of lullabies that I sing to the infants while accompanying myself with a small therapy harp. For centuries, mothers have lulled their babies to sleep with lullabies. It seems that they intuitively knew the power of gentle music to nurture their newborn children. NICU infants do not always receive the benefits of a mother's gentle touch or the comforting sound of their mother's voice. NICU babies are often born premature or have other health challenges. Therefore, my intention is to provide nurturance, comfort, and a lovingly protective influence for the newborn by singing gentle lullabies and playing soothing therapeutic harp music.
Nursing Homes, Memory Care Facilities, & Retirement Communities
Another joy of mine is having the opportunity to play music for seniors at retirement communities or to serve those with dementia or Alzheimer's disease through familiar and non-familiar music. Music has been shown to support our cognitive functioning by increasing alertness, memory, and attention span. It is well-known that songs can conjure up long-forgotten childhood memories or remembrance of past events. I have witnessed virtually unresponsive dementia patients come to life when I play harp and sing familiar songs. All of a sudden they start to sing along and move around! With small groups of seniors, I may extend the harp for them to play or offer specialized, interactive programs where they play "paper-plate instruments" and view visually engaging power-point presentations. These programs offer exciting, engaging, and entertaining songs, poems, and pictures that stimulate minds, activate bodies, and promote joyful relaxation. For more information on the programs I offer, click here.
Adult & Children's Hospitals
Hospitals can be places of stress where children and adults experience the intensity of these commonly chaotic environments. On top of the busy hospital setting, these individuals are often suffering through terminal illnesses, recovering from surgery, chemotherapy, cancer, and an array of other distressing health conditions. Substantial evidence has surfaced in recent years in regards to the therapeutic effects of music in hospital settings. Music has been shown to reduce agitation and stress, improve mood and optimism, manage pain, decrease the need for medication, stabilize heart rate, improve respiration, and even decrease the length of stay. The therapeutic harp and voice can provide a joyful relief for children and adults. During times of health challenges and potential loneliness, caring interactive musical activity and empathetic communication can be of great benefit to hospital patients.
In places where individuals are recovering from psychological trauma, emotional imbalances, and cognitive disruptions, music is of great aid. Music has always been strongly associated with emotional expression and the cathartic release of processing intense emotional experiences. Troubled emotional states have often been soothed by the self-medicating properties of music. The act of playing an instrument, engaging in interactive music therapy, song-writing, or even just listening to music can provide an immensely cathartic experience. Music can access emotional states and help to process them because music can communicate subconsciously with our buried or repressed emotions. Music can alter our biochemistry and increase levels of dopamine and endorphins. Individuals who battle addictions, anxiety, depression, bipolar, or other emotional challenges can find abundant relief in music. Research confirms that music is a natural, safe, joyfully expressive, and intensely creative activity. It is my opinion that people who suffer from emotional challenges would greatly benefit from healthy outlets for their immense creative energy. When not sufficiently expressed, these individuals may express the negative side of creativity--destruction (to self and others). It is my wish that therapeutic music can make its way into these facilities in order to provide healthy ways of communicating, socializing, and expressing themselves. For more information on programs for psychiatric patients, click here.
Preschools & Elementary Schools
The harp and voice can be especially soothing to children because they have such a great receptivity to therapeutic music. In a preschool setting, I can play therapeutic harp music for naptime. I love to play lullabies for children. My voice is trained to convey gentleness, clarity, love, care, and relaxation. In conjunction with therapeutic harp music, the children can find a quiet space within themselves to relax into. During naptime, I would play and sing traditional lullabies from around the world. Each song is uniquely suited to lull children to a state of slumber, and the harp is the perfect tool to encourage relaxation, tranquility, and rest. I may also play improvised melodies in the Mixolydian mode to influence a dreamy state of peace, in the Dorian mode to initially ground chaotic energy, the Ionian mode to soothe and uplift the spirits, and/or in the light Aeolian mode to deepen the sleep process. Also, for both preschool and elementary school students, I offer interactive benefits of allowing the children to run their fingers down my harp while in the Angel mode (a heavenly, etheric, and beautiful melodic influence) so that they may experience the joy of playing the harp.
For both pre-school and elementary school settings, I will offer the Rainbow of Harps Series which features several rainbow-colored harps. Each student will get the opportunity to play the harp and learn the basics of the instrument in an easy and fun harp class. More information about this program is coming soon!
Yoga Classes & Meditation Events
Yoga and meditation are practices that stabilize the emotions, strengthen the body, and calm the spirit. I have worked with yoga teachers and have developed a new method of musical collaboration based on musical matching and intuition. Depending on the style of yoga, each class utilizes various yogic postures and breathing techniques. Using only therapeutic harp music, I improvise in one of the 9 modes of music (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian, Middle Eastern, and Angel) depending on what is occurring for the class. I will modulate between modes, change the key of music and the tempo depending on the technique being used. I follow the logical and intuitive movements and energy of the class in order to match those aspects musically to enhance the overall effect of the practice. Each mode has specific emotional effects that can assist in deepening and supporting one's practice. Yoga's dynamic process is matched by a live therapeutic harpist so that all changes are supported and reflected. The harp is truly a unique instrument that is has a reputation for encouraging peace and relaxation--a true aid to any yogic practice and meditation.