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Class Reviews

Class Reviews

and Subjects Covered in the Int’l Harp Therapy Program

Comments from the Class of 2013-2014

Here are a few reviews of the on-line program from this year’s graduating class!

It has opened a new door of opportunity for me of personal growth and led me to meet some really lovely like-minded people. Learning to play from memory with confidence is a huge benefit. The coursework is manageable within a year for a musically experienced person providing that continuous effort is made to keep on top of the assignments. The regular call-in discussions have been interesting and it has been good to know that other people are aspiring to take on this very special work, for the continued well-being of mankind.

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This program is highly organized and structured so as to finish in a suitable time frame if already at a certain level of play. Every month the lesson was extremely interesting and easily understood and therefore easy to stay on track.  This program is not just about playing and instrument or music, its also about “who am I?” This program is very much compatible with any music program at the university level!! Highly recommendable.

Very organized and complete program.  It would be best to have an understanding of the small lever harp.  For me that will be the next step learning the tunings of the small harp, my large harp uses pedals.  I really liked the Tuesday phone meetings as it brought everyone together.  The DVD’s are great to have to reflect back on.  The IHTP manual is very complete and nicely written packed with so much information.

ESM AU

Wonderful class and enjoyed all who attended made some wonderful friends I will always cherish!

ESM class opens the eye to many intricate things, especially the NLP of the patient, finding how to do resonate tone, designing a program and also self-care techniques. Judith was so wonderful to learn from.  I will always remember her special smile, something she gives to the class as a gift during the learning process.

Lessons during the day covered so many areas which made one focus on the patient in many different ways.  Relying on NLP and watching their eyes and if they want to touch the harp, also how to focus on the room dynamics and where to position oneself.  Most important is the resonate tone, I found it very helpful to watch Christina in this process.  I observed her asking their names and matching their voice tones to notes on the harp. Then she would play a song designed especially for each, she would also use singing adding their name into it.  Oh my how the smiles came about, so many people were touched by the singing and harp music.   The last lady in the line was not so present during all of the playing.  But when Christina played for her and touched her, she had an energy boost and a special smile came upon her face that was so precious.

Watching the teaching for the afternoon class and its process and how to interact with the residents was most helpful.  When you can make the patient feel a part of a group they sing or play with joy and a smile within their heart and facial expressions.  Being in constant awareness of what works for the patient is paramount.  The goal is to walk away with everyone feeling their best, happy, and fulfilled.  I really enjoyed making a new friend with Ruth!

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We all had fun with the blues chords and everyone seemed to resonate with that part of the class and with rhythm!

Everyone had a wonderful visit with Rodney for the aromatherapy.  We actually witnessed him doing his service for one of the IHTP students.  WOW!!! Love the aromatherapy, his scents are wonderful as I have worked with many aroma therapies in my past job.  His are different scent combinations and they are very desirable, as the ones I worked with before were not so lovely.

The Chord progressions were very eye opening to me.  They sound so wonderful, as I overheard other students practicing the progressions.  Now I want to incorporate them to things I am working on, “very helpful”.

The facilitating music portion really helped me with rhythm and playing with others.  I do not have the opportunity to practice with or play with others so I really enjoyed this portion.

Sound and spirit was fascinating to discover my own resonate tone and energies associated with that.  It is amazing that one’s resonate tone can shift and change.  That is why I especially enjoyed watching Christina finding the resonate tone for the patients.

 Nazareth

I really got a lot from the ESM with the lessons learned, the host speakers, and friendships enjoyed!

I liked the idea of online instruction with the ability to proceed at my own pace.  The program definitely did provide me with the skills (which I am still working on) and information that I had hoped it would, and more.  The IHTP program also opened up new windows of knowledge to pursue for me.  I liked having a mentor in Iowa (which I know not everyone is so fortunate.)  The program allows those few of us with our harp playing and harp healing to connect with others with  interests in harp music and healing.

This month’s assignment encompassed a lot of nuts and bolts of what we do.  I felt like we went back to basics by answering such important questions as, “what is music” and what is vibration”.  These are important to understand as well as what makes a harp make the special sounds that it does.  My definition of music is the choreography of sound and silence done with intention.

    These questions lead into the information about what makes people react to music and what is a reaction.  Not everyone can answer verbally to what we are doing so it’s important to read the non-verbal communications.  I think what really spoke to me was learning why live music is such a different experience then recorded music.  No matter how high tech we get and how fancy machinery is the simple act of playing a harp live is very powerful.

    I was inspired by how music can affect children with autism.  I know at this time Jonah is not engaging with the harp however in the videos of his earlier experiences were very touching.  We were able to see him transform from a kid that was barely aware of the harps presence to fully engaging with the harp.  He not only would pluck the strings but his whole body became animated.

     The video of the blind baby responding to music was so beautiful to watch.  I love how the narrator said she went from being passive and receptive to interactive because she loved the tactile experience of making sounds with various instruments.

   What I loved about harpist who plays for premature babies is how she talked about how some babies are too fragile for much tactile contact and music can soothe them.  It’s a beautiful way to nurture the babies.

 We covered hospital procedures, learning about reading machines and medications.  This is something that I feel extremely comfortable with because I’m an RN and a DOM.    

2013TampaESM

The IHTP program is a wondrous journey of discovering so many aspects of others, of themselves, of life and of music. It covers such a wide spectrum of crucial topics and inspires me to want to keep learning more. The program has made me realize even more how essential music is to a person’s well-being and how it can be a comforting presence in someone’s life. It has also helped developed my confidence for playing for others, although I need to continue to practice a lot and to become better at music theory. The things I liked best about the program is that it is so comprehensive, the lectures are all so rich, the music exquisite and powerful, and I very much enjoyed learning about the history of the harp and how it has been used to heal others in the past (as well as other historical aspects such as the hospice movement) as well as how the harp can be used today in different settings. And, of course, perhaps the most favorite of all was learning the different modes of music and I especially love the Celtic Circle of putting everything together in a nice flow (I would love to keep working on the Celtic Circle more). I hope that I can keep improving my skills so that I can serve through music and eventually learn how to sing and play the harp at the same time. Thank you so much, Christina, for creating this beautiful program! And to you, Jocelyn, for all of your help and support! J

ESM and Internship 2013

Personal Growth and Understanding of Harp Therapy In Practice

“The music is the way… an outpouring of sounds, having the quality of WATER and of WIND…so strange that it is simply

impossible to describe it.” -The Tao of Music by John M. Ortiz (Shared by an ESM classmate, following the ESM and internship. The themes for our presentations were Wind and Water). Both certainly influence the environment of San Diego, and resulted in many positive musical and non-musical experiences for our ESM group.

The ESM refreshed and revitalized me professionally and personally. As a therapeutic harp practitioner my knowledge base was broadened to include the Celtic Circle, practice of inclusive attention, the use of right hand chords to enhance a melody harmonically, and practical information related to tuning the harp, posture at the harp, and self-care. Receiving a resonant tone sound massage from Christina the first day of the ESM set into motion a transformation, (or re-organization) of my whole being, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It felt, and still feels, as if aspects of my life (past, present, and future) were/are being harmonized because of my participation in receiving resonant tone. This powerful experience resulted in the ESM being a transformative life event for me on a personal and spiritual level.

Gaining a practical understanding of the Celtic Circle by observing Christina, and embodying its application through practice, is a tool I have begun using on a regular basis since my return home from the ESM. The ability to use the Celtic Circle has also increased my confidence at the harp.

Upon my return from San Diego I was asked if I would come to the NICU at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to play for a friend’s newborn daughter who was recovering from major heart surgery. During my third session playing for the baby I found her resonant tone to be A. Though she had responded positively (lowered heart rate, higher O2 saturation, lower blood pressure, and slower respiration) to the harp music the previous three sessions, during this session she relaxed into her mother’s arms and as her mother reported, “…she’s smiling.” My harp was unusually resonant in A when in the presence of this baby so I am quite certain I selected the correct resonant tone.

During the ESM the subject areas covered with Judith Hitt; daily Qi Gong warm-ups, Reiki introduction and atonement, Ki self-massage, anatomy, discussion of the dying process and dissolving of the elements, as well as the experience partnering all supported the practice of inclusive attention and enhanced the ability of the ESM participants to discover resonant tone in one another.

I found Rodney Schwann’s presentation of the Wellness Garden at Nazareth House enlightening, further piquing my interest in the study of vibration and frequency and its subtle yet profound inter-related effect in/on all interactions in the universe. As a team, he and Christina comforted over 10,000 patients using the Celtic Circle and Celtic Massage at San Diego Hospice over a period of 15 years. It was interesting to hear their first-hand accounts of decreased pain and increased physical and spiritual comfort in the patients they saw. I was fortunate to have a private healing session with Mr. Schwann. I believe the “healing session” with him supported, enhanced, and helped anchor the resonant tone experience I had with Christina.

Following the ESM six interns remained for 30 hours of IHTP internship. We visited several assisted living facilities over the 10-day period and continued to hone skills learned during the ESM, particularly inclusive attention and the Celtic Circle (for hospice patients). In addition we learned how to run small and large groups for individuals with varying degrees of physical and intellectual functioning. We also spent an afternoon at Sharp Hospital Mary Birch Women and Newborn Center where we played in the lobby, for staff, and in the NICU.

During the final week of the IHTP internship Christina observed and assessed, in a group setting, the ability of myself and the other interns as we took turns playing the Celtic Circle for each other. This was a positive experience as it allowed for group discussion, questions, and feedback. It also supported the group connection and bonding between the interns that will carry into our future as IHTP’s.

My personal and spiritual experiences during the three weeks in San Diego were unusual, as well as unanticipated, and I believe a gift from the Divine. I believe the events could only have happened in the open, compassionate, and loving environment created and held by Christina for the IHTP ESM.

As I drove to Michigan in the early morning hours of August 22, I was looking forward to what lay ahead while at the same time feeling more than a bit nervous. What would the people be like? Would I feel comfortable among them? Would my fledgling harp skills be good enough? Should I have waited longer, read more, known more about playing the harp and/or music and/or hospital settings before I actually attended either of the Modules? What was I really getting myself into???? It’s a wonder I didn’t just turn around and go back home!! Quite honestly, I was tempted, but I took a deep breath, forged ahead, and will be forever grateful that I did.

Our first gathering on Sunday afternoon was a mixture of those of us currently enrolled in the program and those who were there to learn more about it. After an introduction to the program, Christina turned our attention to the seven modes, playing a bit of each and asking us to write down how each made us feel. This was very helpful to me, not just as a review of material I had already read, but to have the opportunity to really experience the emotional qualities of each mode and develop a better understanding of how each can be used in the work of the harp practitioner. We spent some time working on transitioning from major to minor modes and how the different chord intervals evoke feelings of openness, hope, dissonance, resolution. Each of us created a painting depicting light and dark. Out of that came the assignment to create an original composition interpreting the painting into major and minor modes which would be played before the group on the final day of the module. We also touched briefly on resonance, resonant tone and the importance of playing music to match the breathing and the resonant tone of the patient. My impressions at the close of the session were how very important it is for the practitioner to be sensitive to the individual they are working with, to be highly skilled in their ability to play music, and to understand and respect the power of the music they play.

Monday’s focus was on Resonant Kinesiology and Inclusive Attention. Inclusive Attention is defined as a meditative state in which a person is aware of his/her own somatic, emotional and cognitive experience and expands his/her awareness to include another person. This does not mean to lose your sense of self or obliterate your boundaries, it means that you become fully present to what you hear, see, or sense without agenda or judgment and maintain the ability to be spontaneous and creative in order to work with whatever is willing to meet you. The Resonance Model of Healing begins with the skill of inclusive attention – we need to identify the resonant tone of a patient – and their surroundings — in order to reflect back what’s already there and follow it. Resonance (two things vibrating at the same rate) can cause disintegration of something’s integrity (ie: sound breaking glass) and can also be used to facilitate a healing response by increasing energy and allowing the body’s own healing mechanism to kick in.

One of the exercises was extremely powerful for me. It was the one where Judith and two students left and re-entered the room three different times, and we were to write down how they made us feel, just by looking at us. It was amazing to me. The first time they all were thinking “Something is wrong with these people and it’s my job to fix them.” The second: “These people are hurting and it’s my job to help them.” Finally: “”I’m curious about these people – what’s going on?” The difference between the feelings I personally felt between the first thought and the third was phenomenal. I picked up on the judgment of the first, making me feel inferior and extremely uncomfortable, whereas in the last, I felt much more comfortable, because they were more open and accepting. It struck me that in working with hospital patients especially who may be feeling out of balance and out of control, it is extremely important to suspend any habit I may have of making judgments and put forth the thoughts of compassion, openness, acceptance. The very clear demonstration in this exercise is that everything, including thought, is vibration. In the work of the harp practitioner, the key is to attend with sound – to develop the awareness of what is already there and working with it – not projecting sound into the patient or having any sort of agenda.

That evening, we gathered together informally as a group to go through the book of rounds and to select pieces we wanted to prepare for our Thursday performance for the Sisters and at the hospice. It was a really wonderful time for us because it allowed us to get to know each other better and learn how to work together, and it was really fun just to play music with a whole group of people. I loved every minute of it!!

Tuesday’s activities picked up on resonance and inclusive attention as Christina presented some very important and very practical information on actually working with patients. She demonstrated how to identify both the resonant tone of the individual AND the resonant tone of the room and talked about how important it is for the practitioner to be aware of and trust his/her own intuition with each patient, and to know why the patient is there. For example, for a coma patient, it is important to play music that is familiar to them to bring them out – they don’t need to be calmed down. Major modes work best for this as they are outreaching, whereas minor modes are inreaching. For heart attack patients, the music should be in major modes as well, particularly Ionian, calming, but not familiar to avoid the emotional charge a familiar piece may have on them. She also showed us how to identify the patient’s receptive side and where to place the harp for optimal effectiveness and how to watch eye movement, breathing tempo for the continued exploration of “what is willing to meet me here.” Following that, we spent a good deal of time in small group activities designed to help us practice that exploration and identify resonant tones. These exercises were extremely practical and helpful, because they demonstrated very clearly how much is involved in the work of the harp practitioner and how much knowledge and skill it takes to do it well. We also did some work with mapping as a valuable tool for composition, a really fun exercise in story telling with the harp, and on toning and visualization. In all, the day was somewhat overwhelming and at times frustrating because during some of the exercises (particularly with the one involving mapping and the one where we had to communicate non-verbally from heart to heart) I felt that I just wasn’t getting it. A great deal of information to take in, so much to pay attention to, a tremendous responsibility to know what you’re doing before you even walk into a patient’s room. I was feeling exhausted, disquieted and my confidence level was pretty low. But I know I learned a lot and had a great deal to think about.

On Tuesday evening, we met with Christina to finalize our program for the Sisters and to practice for our performances. We also worked on music development and transitioning between modes. Again, I absolutely loved playing with the group and doing so helped me to get back some of the confidence I had lost during the day. I really felt that we were well prepared to “go public.”

Wednesday for me, thankfully, was a much gentler day than Tuesday. We didn’t really do any small group work which was a much needed respite. The focus of the morning was on living anatomy. Judith started us out by having us “move” through and feel all the bones in our own bodies. We then sat together and read aloud the handout about the skeleton and the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems of the body. The next subject was Energy Anatomy — the Meridians and the Chakras. I have done some reading on the Chakras, but knew almost nothing about the Meridian system so I found this presentation especially interesting and it whetted my appetite to learn more. The body is a truly amazing thing! Moving back into the practical, we spent a great deal of time on Hospital Etiquette, from personal hygiene and immunizations, to how to create a healing space (your own presence, positioning, ambience, voice, and gracefulness), protocols, and charting. We reviewed equipment commonly found in a patient’s room and categories of medications and their effects on the patient. We also went over hospice etiquette in preparation for our Thursday visit. All of this was extremely helpful to me because I currently have no hospital experience and it is important to understand both how to behave within that setting and the self-care necessary to protect you as the practitioner and the patients. The afternoon included a discussion on marketing IHTP and ourselves, a review of the practicum that is required for certification, and then a wonderful presentation by Christina on the Five Elements.

Thursday was performance day. We performed as a group for the Sisters in the Nursing Home on the site of the Sisters of Mercy Retreat Center. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and our audience was most appreciative that we were there. This was a great learning experience for me because, even though our playing was far from perfect, the Sisters seemed to just delight in the fact that we were there and that we wanted to play for them. Very positive indeed. In the afternoon, we went to the local hospice. This was the part of the week that I was extremely nervous about, but, honestly, it was amazing. We played as a group in a waiting room as Christina took us one by one into individual patient’s rooms. When it was my turn, we found the room of a lovely, gracious woman who, despite being, in her words, “out of it”, was very hospitable and open to our being there. Christina, thankfully, stayed with me while we broke the ice with her, and once she left, I had a chance to play some soothing improvisational music for her as she closed her eyes and relaxed. After a few minutes, she opened her eyes and said she wanted to hear something she knew. She tried to name the piece, but wasn’t able to, so I asked her if she knew “Scarborough Fair”. She said she wasn’t sure, so I began playing it for her and she again relaxed for a few minutes, although her eyes were open and she was quite alert. I finished playing and we talked for a little while and then I felt moved to offer to let her play my harp. She really wanted to, so I very carefully placed it over her so that she could reach the strings and she managed to pluck a few of them just before a nurse walked in and her phone started ringing. At that point, it seemed like a good idea to end our visit, so I thanked her for letting me visit with her before I left the room. She was so sweet and really seemed happy that I had been there. I think about her often and wonder how she is doing. She gave me a real gift that day – the courage and the confidence to continue on this journey to become a certified therapeutic harp practitioner.

Friday was all about Reiki. Judith did a wonderful job of defining what Reiki is, the lineage, how it works, and the healing effects of the practice. Most importantly, that Reiki can never harm and that is a very effective means of self-care – a particularly important part of being able to function as a harp practitioner. She explained that the person performing Reiki acts as a conduit, a channel, for energy to flow in through the crown and out through the hands. It is very much about being and allowing – not doing – again, what is willing to meet me? The person on whom Reiki is being performed draws through the practitioner what they need. The healing effects of Reiki increases the person’s overall energy (Chi), balances depleted or congested areas of the body and results in a relaxation response. She talked about the steps involved in training to be a Reiki Master, on how to perform Reiki on oneself and on a patient/client. We spent about an hour in meditation as a group while Judith took each one of us out of the room and performed the process of attunement on each of us. We spent the remainder of the day practicing Reiki on each other. This was an amazing experience, both as the one giving and as the one receiving. The energy flowing through my hands was incredible!

Our last morning together was Saturday. Christina gave us the results of the questionnaire we had completed earlier in the week relating to the Five Elements and made suggestions to each of us as to what music would be appropriate to us in trying to balance those elements. We then reviewed all the tools that we had been given during the week as well as the steps required to earn certification as a Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner. Then it was time for each of us to perform our original compositions based on the paintings we had done during the first session. This was nerve-wracking for all of us, but an important experience, nonetheless. I think what happened is that our paintings represented experiences in our lives that were very personal and very painful and that our compositions were an expression of that. I know it was hard for me to keep my own emotions under control and was quite grateful to get through it. Our final act as a group was to form a circle of tone surrounding three of our fellow students. What a lovely and gentle way to end this wonderful week and go back out into the world.


I left the group and retreat center feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having been a part of this very special week. It was both an honor and a privilege to meet and work with Christina, Judith and Betty, who so generously gave of their knowledge, skill and talents. My fellow students were a very impressive and talented group of people and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know each of them. Everything that I learned during this time shed tremendous light on how much more I really still have to learn and to do on this journey toward certification. I look forward to continuing to work toward that goal and to experiencing and learning all that is still ahead of me. By the grace of God and my own hard work I will get there.

A session with a patient

Harp therapy session

While working at one of the Alzheimer’s units, I was asked to see a lady who was described as Really Upset – the staff didn’t know what was wrong but asked me to make sure I see her.

I entered the room with the harp to find her extremely agitated, breathing very fast and hysterical about a perceived loss of money.  She was very distraught, talking about someone cleaning out her bank accounts, taking all of her money and what was she going to do now.

She acknowledged the harp and when I asked if I could just play a couple of songs for her she welcomed me to sit down.  She went back and forth with her hysterical behavior while I played but would always comment, “Oh that music is just beautiful!”.

I started improvising, working with her resonant tone and played mostly Ionian mode.  A couple of times I would segue into a familiar folk song like Sally Gardens, and then back to improvising while concentrating on my intention and her response.  She and I would talk but I found if I encouraged the talking too much she just became agitated again.

After I’d been there for about 10 minutes, a care aide came in to see if she wanted a cup of tea.  She vehemently refused and said “How can I think about tea when this disaster has just happened!” but when I casually said, “Hey Agnes, how about a nice warm cup of tea to go with this beautiful music?”  She immediately agreed and the care aide got her the tea and left the room.  The nurse came in to check on our progress and I said we needed a bit more time. (Already 10 minutes)

I then started to sing very softly – Home on the Range, and the woman started singing along almost without her being aware of what she was doing.  I  then sang My Bonnie and she sang again.

We continued like that until finally she was relaxed, drinking her tea without shaking and actually had a smile on her face when I left the room. Approx. 20-25 minutes duration.  I found it very fascinating that while the harp was my entrance into her space and initially provided a level of calmness, it was the singing that really centered her and brought about a deep calm.

The nurses and care aides were VERY grateful.

Another Review

Module 2 IHTP Program in de “Poort” from our European Class

First of all to begin with; I have to mention that I felt a deep change within me after this Module week in “the Poort”. It was like some door has opened more (een Poort) inside of me celebrating a new realm of my life. I am positive that there was a lot of Divine help present during this week, and for everybody in their own way this guidance will continue. More was happening then we could see or hear and I am so grateful for this. I think and feel that this guidance is crucial in this work and to remember and activate a deep trust in the Self/ the Spirit.

Below some evaluation-points of the course week. Off course I can not get into everything to I picked some important highlights/ experiences to go through.

Inclusive awareness

This was an inspiring day with Judith guiding us through inclusive awareness.

That energies flow were thoughts goes, was an experience which she let us feel through the exercise of thinking to be a tree or very light as a feather.. We were amazed how quick and directly the thoughts are translated through the body. It gave me a feeling of freedom on one hand and a feeling of responsibility.

We went through an intention/ telepathy exercise. We used 3 different thoughts. Without telling, the group had to feel what it felt like, when we were walking through the room with only a sentence in our mind. Only walking, not speaking nor show body language. The reaction of the group was amazing pure and correct. When we used the line “there is something wrong with these peoples and it is my job to fix it”, everybody had a negative experience. The peoples who were walking with this thought (including me) got very tense. I really could touch and hear the tension in the room. It was filling, not leaving any space. But when we walked with a sense of openness and curiosity willing to meet the other, we got very positive reactions. I felt a big relieve walking with that intention through the room. This was an extra eye opener. How important it is to be very aware, with what intention you go to others. Because one way or the other, peoples feel it.

To make contact from the heart, I really enjoyed. The whole atmosphere changed after we all did this with each other. It was so nice to see everybody so open. I definitely want to practice this more and use in my work and in everything I do. But when I do my practicum I will try to remember that before I enter a room I embrace the room and person from the heart. I think although there is not so much time then etc., that to remember it in a flash already can help.

In my life, I discovered that I am very high sensitive being. That hasn’t always been easy in my life. When I was a child I felt to come from another planetxWhen you feel a lot, you can feel positive energies as well as negative energies. I had a big process on that one. For a short while it was like I almost could not live here in this realm on earth. But all the processes were for the best and it made me stronger. Now I become more and more aware and happy (on a deeper level) with who I am, and to see that it is also a beautiful gift (the high sensitiveness) and not only “difficult”. In this work of therapeutic harp practitioner, sensitiveness can be very helpful. More and more I can relax and embody myself and feel save to do so. Because in the past I’ve been attacked many times cause of jealousy. As result I didn’t dare to shine, because I was afraid to get negative reactions of people. But now things start too fall in place. Step by stepx.peace by peacexlike all our puzzles of life. A healing process.

The exercise to work with your partner to feel what was willing to meet me and work with the voice felt in this way very natural. It was a natural movement for me to feel the energy with my hands and then use a sound after my hand went to a place on the body. It is a challenge to listen and look and use the harp skills in the future. I am not comfortable yet in this.

The Introduction in the Resonant Tone

The first time I tried to play for someone in her resonant tone. I noticed there were so many things you should be aware of when you playx I went like ”O help, were to begin”? Kind of little chaos, panic thing.

First I was acting to quick, hoping that what I heard was her resonant tone. And then I tried to play nice (too nice), making it myself too difficult. And then I wanted to get out of the mood, but didn’t know howx One thing I kept following and aware of, was her breath and to follow this in the music. But I had to feel more confident with the harp and practice the skills to feel more free in it and to anticipate in the best I could on the situation. It was frustrating to hear/feel the music I wanted to play for her, but didn’t know how.

The lady uttered that she felt a little and that she felt a little bored. Which I could totally understand. But here I could see a great learning point. Because when my partner of this exercise played for me, she played very simple and a few notes. But it was very relaxing and I started to hear the silence in between. I thanked her for that. Here I really experienced during this first try out a very important key “Less Is More”. I think this I have to remind myself of this truth in the future also, because I am tended to make things beautiful. This is also a cultural habit, that it have to sound good and nice and so on. You have to be very strong not too fall for that and to just stand in the Simplicity.

After this we talked about some skills like “the Celtic circle” which seems very helpful and clear to use as a tool! Another tool was looking at the breath and helping each other by making breathing sound. Then you could follow the sound with the harp. Now we had a starting point.

Feedback: This second time it went very well, and was very pleasant and inspiring. I definitely needed the tools. We were amazed how playing two notes with the breath and following the breath give such a relaxation on both parts! (the do-er and receiver) After this second time I improvised on the resonant tone of somebody I got very positive feedback which I didn’t expect. (because of my minimum harp lessons). She loved listening to it from a to z, and it felt for her as if I played a long time. She said it was so sensitive that it reminded her of Christina. She was one lady of the second group who played longer, but it felt very equal in the positive sense I mean. We were both searching and a little insecure, and very open in this. It made me very happy that her experience was so positive, that this gave me more a feeling of rest and confidence. “A lot is already there but needs to be remembered! It is not new for you”, Judith said to the group. And I felt she was right”

At Joachim and Anna

There the bullet hit the bone, so too speak. On the moment I witnessed Christina playing for these elderly peoples, I felt a deep recognition of that this is one of the reasons why I came to earth this life. Especially when we were in the room of a man who was revalidating and making jokes when we came inxChristina heard his tone, started playing and we saw 180 degrees a turning point, that was happening. It was totally in the Rose, he was so touched and cried immediately. He was so grateful. At the background we heard Donna Nobis Pacem; it was a angel moment, I can’t describe it in another way. Me and the other women who went in, had shivering all over our body. I heard my angel saying; this is what is so important in the world, and so needed. And I answered from my heart yes this is also what I saw myself doing in a flash moment when I was younger (about 12 years old)

I can write a little booklet only about this day and the impressions. It became more clear that every moment is different, so there are no outlines, what you should do and play. It is important to know what is the situation at the moment of the person and the health situation. But to look and feel and use all the senses, will help a lot, to know what to play when, I think. How is the breath, the voice, the mood, the temperature, what kind of pictures do we see, how is the room etc. There are many things you can become aware ofx And then we need to develop our intuition too, more and more in tune with the “Divine, all known”. I think, besides the knowledge and skills we learn in this education we need to just step in the unknown” and do, play and experience, the good and bad moments to grow. That asks courage.

But I am willing to go through all what is willing to meet me and what is necessary, because my soul is calling me more and more to do this work (besides other healing). It was a kind of falling in Love, feeling a yes in every cell of my being. I have great respect for Christina who went through so much, but Divine Love made it happen.

It was very obvious that this work is very intensive and ask your full presence. First I want to built it up and take it slow. After a day of playing in Joachim and Anna facility, most of the peoples got some body aches. I have to be careful with my health issues when I will work in this field. Enough time in between, and not to many patience on one day is important. It will be a challenge to take good care of myself, because I am always intended to give 180%. A strong point and weakness at the same time.

Alexander Technique

Looking at the “HEART MATH”

Very interesting to see the reactions of the heart and the music. But off course it is not totally representative, because of the stress-factor that a group is looking at one person. That makes it all different. But still we could see the change when Christina played in a resonant tone, and when she didn’t. But also when she played in the rhythm of the breath. It also became more clear that it is important you can not force anything! The person for whom you play needs some open heart for it. And that sometimes someone can not become more relaxed, or sometimes you only need to focus on the breath. For me a good exercise in this job will be not to take things personal, when things don’t work out.

HOMEWORK DURING THE WEEK: making our own composition in nature

Because I had brought a bigger harp, I missed the ease of transporting it outside. That you just go for a walk and sit somewhere was too heavy for me to do so. So I went outside listening, and inside playing. That was not so easy in the beginning. To make the right choice was also a big job. Because it was revealing to me how I heard so many different things, like everything becomes to speak more clearlyx First I was tended to make a composition on butterflies and flowers. Because I love them so much. But I was too tired in the beginning of the weekxso I had too let it go. But during the week I walked a lot to the trees and founded some help there, also physically. Then suddenly in the midst of the week when I was walking and biking near “de Poort” I heard very clear some tones. That was a start and from there I went on. It was not what I would have composed out of my own, but it was something that was coming because of some trees. When I wanted to draw a tree somewhere else (during my break on Thursday), I noticed that most trees had very different tones. So the day later I went back to the tree near the Poort. I had no time to finish it, and it is not a composition that I say “wow”. In fact for me it sounds a little boring. But is was important for me too experience openness in this exercise and really to listen, without my likes and dislikes. This was really in a sense of “what is willing to meet me?” I felt the healing effect from the tree for my inner, it helped me with balance, and was talking to me. For some peoples the composition had some relaxed effect I heard them say at the end of the module.

ALL WITH ALL:

I have been grown in trust and confidence, in accepting, in listening with an open heart, in some harp-skills, with inspiration, in consciousness and in using my sensitiveness and so much more. (and this while I missed two days! But the inner work kept on going I think) It was very nice to have the exchange of contacts with the other students. Please keep this module alive! Thanks!!!

Another Review

Module 2 IHTP Program in de “Poort” from our European Class

Inclusive Attention:

The main aspect of this day was the realization that our therapeutic harp playing is essentially carried out while in a meditative state. Reflecting on this idea made me realize that a part of my preparation can be aided by cultivating this ability in other areas, such as yoga and other forms of meditation. I have also found it very useful to go through the process of getting grounded every time I play, hopefully balancing my own breathing with my playing. I hope this will eventually make it second nature. The pace of the presentation allowed for a gentle assimilation of the ideas, the concepts were simple in theory but not so easy in application; being able to apply them was a chance to internalize and reflect on how it ‘felt’. I was pleased to find that I was able to get into a deep state of relaxation, the challenge for me will be trying to keep that grounded feeling once faced with ‘another’ in need of that energy. Our hospice visit was an excellent opportunity to practice that and watch Tina apply it as well. The exercise where we walked in a circle and greeted others was really eye opening for me. It has changed the way I think about encounters because I noticed that a lot of me goes ‘out’ to people and I struggle to ‘reel’ it back in again, which is probably why it is so hard for me to say goodbye to people I care about and often leave feeling drained and empty. The emphasis on learning to say a proper ‘goodbye’, emphasized also in the Reiki sessions, is something I am going to try to cultivate. It seems crucial in self-protection and may be the key to enable me to take on situations that I previously feared might be too difficult to manage. If it is possible to overcome this, I hope that this will allow me to help people without ‘losing’ bits of myself. I was pleased to find that saying goodbye to a very dear friend this morning in Brussels was difficult, but by remembering our session it was certainly easier than expected. (or could it have been that I was thinking of those Belgian Waffles????:)….

Resonant Tone:

This day was really the crowning moment for me, a true culmination of a journey. I was truly amazed by how the process worked and simply could not believe that I was getting exactly the right tones for my partners, I was particularly pleased when the tone that I had found for Daniela was confirmed by Tina! It has given me confidence and I cannot stop myself from trying to figure it out for everyone I meet now…even the lady on the train beside me! To have the whole process clear in my head is like finally finding that closure in a novel, but now it feels like being handed the road map for a great adventure! The toning exercise was very interesting as well and has encouraged me to develop my singing voice again. Finding out my own resonance tone has made a lot of my compositions make a lot more sense to me now, I hope this will make me more self-aware and allow me to expand my repertoire by using the whole process of matching to create pieces that are closely associated with certain situations.

Anna and Joachim:

This was the day that I was most apprehensive about. I was concerned that it would conjure difficult memories for me and put a damper on the incredibly excited mood we were all in, but of course I felt very guilty about this. I was very relieved to find, that once the overall impact of the place wore off (the smells, the evidence of illness) I was able to focus more on how to reach out. I think the language played a double role; in a way it shielded us from being overwhelmed by information, but it also disconnected us from the overall feel of the place. Ironically, this was a very good first exposure; a good balance of protection and exposure. Our individual sessions with patients brought home to me the importance of what we had discussed about inclusive attention. I found myself tending towards ‘dissolving’ in the situation, becoming so focused on the person that I lost a sense of self. I had to consciously remind myself to become grounded again. Ultimately what was the most eye opening was observing first hand the very subtle, as well as not so subtle, shifts in the patients. The only way I can describe them is a shift in consciousness, from being ‘in another place’, to being here, with the music and the harpist. It seemed that there was more focus and vitality in the room, as well as a calm at the conclusion of each session. Playing in the lounge emphasized the importance of repertoire as well as the need to be able to shift from the kind of playing needed in a patient room and the kind of ‘entertainment’ playing. Playing with a group made this very reassuring, but I realized that it would pay to treat this lounge playing as one would treat any public presentation; know your audience and come prepared. Interaction also seems to be an excellent way to keep the audience engaged, as well as playing songs the audience can sing along to. I also could see that the presence of a staff member helped us relax, as well as the patients. I was very touched to see that one of the patients had followed us from lounge to lounge in her wheelchair, and when we were saying goodbye, she held my hand and kissed it. I cannot know what the music meant to her, but I imagine that it must have made her very happy that day.

Being surrounded by my colleagues helped to alleviate some of the anxiety, and I imagine that playing alone would be a challenge at the beginning, but one which I think will quickly become less so.

Reiki:

This was a terrific day to follow after the hospice, it allowed me to recharge and relax as well as providing a chance to bond further with the members of our group. I was truly amazed by the physical effects of the practice, mainly the heat in the hands. What I did notice though was that it seemed to be accentuated with the people I had had the chance to develop rapport with. I have been practising it before bed and am very pleased with the results. I also appreciated being taught a meditative tool that can be applied in my playing.

Hospital Etiquette and Death and Dying:

This day was to the point and informative. The session on the elements and overtones was very interesting and I was very intrigued by the correlation between the Western and Chinese music. I have been reflecting on my own balance, and can definitely remember times when I had far too much earth (too much introspection)! I have learnt to temper my fire, perhaps by becoming more of a water person. I also hope to be able to understand the fourth octave overtones on a higher level and try to incorporate it into my compositions.

Concert:

The experience of the concert was very special. The setting was magical and observing the audience, how calm and happy they seemed was a major part of the experience for me. I was touched by the patients who came in their hospital beds, and it made me realize once again that the people we play for used to go to concerts, out to dinner, parks and the beach and generally enjoy themselves; pleasure, relaxation and leisure are not easy to come by in a hospice setting yet that is what these people have been doing their whole lives. It inspired me to consider performing similar benefits as it seems to serve multiple purposes at once; bringing the music to people who cannot necessarily access it, allowing their families to engage in an enjoyable activity with them, promote the cause of harp therapy and raise funds. I was inspired by Tina’s idea to set up a fund to support therapy sessions for the patients themselves. Overall, it was a real watershed for me; the ability to perform in public without the anxiety I often feel. I know that had a lot to do with the support of everyone and everyone’s confidence and non-judgemental environment.

Composition:

It was a revelation for me to realize that by internalizing an idea about a composition, allowing it to mature in my mind, it could then be realized musically more rapidly than I had thought possible. I was also very surprised to see that my piece “came together” much more rapidly than I expected. For my own compositions there is rarely a deadline, so having to compose on demand was slightly intimidating and with less time than I am accustomed to, I felt a bit out of my depth. What I realized is that once the process had been set in motion, the music came with great ease and confidence. I also learnt that by using outdated ‘ideas’ about myself, how well, or fast I play and pick up things, I was holding myself back. This was definitely a case of benefiting from feeling out of my league. It was also useful for me to make a recording; it helps me gain a picture of the self on the harp, and that is incredibly gratifying, motivating and moving for me. It felt very much like a soul mirror for me.

Conference:

Jan’s discussion of copyright was eye opening in many ways, but most importantly it highlighted to me the importance of improvisation, the ability to incorporate a familiar ‘snippet’ into an improvisation as well as composition. I was very intrigued by the heart math presentation, especially the demonstration on how the ability to breathe properly truly affects our heart. Seeing this after spending days learning new skills to help us become more self-aware was particularly appropriate. It also highlighted to me the importance of encouraging the breath in our patients, as it not only allows the effect of working with resonance tone to be enhanced. It is easy to underestimate the effect of simple counting and two tone playing, but seeing it in practice has helped me realize that in practice, that is what may help the most.

Closing Day:

The final day of the module gave me the opportunity to assimilate a lot of the thoughts and the feelings I had been having all week about my harp playing. The presentation on the practicum was an excellent opportunity to ask questions and listen to ones I had not even thought of! It allowed me to assimilate some ideas about my study proposal while my experiences of this week were still fresh. It also allowed me to see the portfolio as a series of manageable tasks instead of one monolithic entity, which helped me put together a tentative timeline and schedule of the order of how things should be done. Finally, the sense of a harp community was palpable, and I look forward so much to continuing to grow together as a group.

Another Review

I came home from Module 2 with a number of things I learned, was exposed to, and want to explore more of. Besides making friends that I hope to keep in touch with the rest of my life; I felt like my learning was divided into 3 main categories: music and theory, energy work, and my own personal growth. Like different strains of a melody, they weave together to create a beautiful and unique song.

It was amazing to see and understand how the different modes can fit together, transition with a note to another mode, or a minor mode, then transition back. This is something I’ll be using in my work, especially in transitioning patients. Since I haven’t had a lot of music theory, this is an area I will continue to work on, with the tapes, and through experimenting as I work. I look forward to Tape 10 going over the mode transitions, so I can review it whenever I need to.

The part I was really impressed and excited about, and see infinite possibilities in is Resonant Tone. This is an area I would like to work in more, and think I’ll be using this on many of my patients, especially those who are very restless. I see great possibilities with resonant tone being used in areas where there are dissonant tones: for example in traffic, an office, or in a hospital or nursing home. Resonant tones could be found for individuals, common dissonant tones in certain machines, a car, or a piece of office equipment. Music or songs in that person’s tone and modulating the dissonant tones, could then be made in to a song, then put on a CD or tape for the person to play when they are in that situation and becoming stressed or agitated, for example while driving home after work. While it would be a static song, and not changing, it would be a beginning of assisting a person in seeing how the noise in their environment affects them, and how they have power to change those sounds to enhance their energy and how they feel in a stressful or less than optimal environment.

I also wonder how the same familiar song in different keys to match the person’s resonant tone would affect them. Do they like a song because of its memories, words or because of it’s tone, or is it a combination of both? I am thinking about two patients I have at this time; one’s favorite song is in the key of F, the other in the key of C. Would the songs work in different keys? I found a version of the one in C in another key, I think it was in D, and the patient didn’t like it as well. This is definitely an area I will work on using with my patients. One of my friends stopped by on Sunday, so I practiced resonant tone on her. She was a very willing patient, and we were both excited about the possibilities!

The next area was the energy work, which also crossed over with my own personal observations of how to use this. I really like the questioning way of looking at “what’s coming to meet me?” This is an excellent tool, not only in this work, but throughout my life. I feel this also expands to include inclusive attention by asking “what’s coming to meet me?” no only of the patient, but first within myself.

I realized that even though I’ve been working on taking care of myself, years of not taking care of myself have left me really depleted. I especially noticed this during the exercise sending energy from the heart charka. It was very easy for me to give, but hard for me to open up and receive. When I did, it was physically painful, and brought up almost an overwhelming sadness at the beauty of unconditional and infinite love available if I was open to it.

I also realized that areas for me to work on for myself are self-care, compassion for and less judgment about myself when it comes to playing my songs. This is where I want to use the breath, ground, move and sound; and to practice it so it becomes natural, and not something I forget under stress. I think what you said about accessing from source, is absolutely correct. The Reiki and Qi Gong exercises, along with the energy work I already do should help me on this path.

The Chinese 5 elements were very interesting also, although I think I’d have a harder time integrating it into practice. This is another area for me to look at more in depth, especially with the corresponding familiar songs. I found it interesting that I am low on fire, and that’s what I play a lot of and feel drawn to when I’m driving or cleaning house, as the other music lulls me into feeling lethargic.

All in all, this was a full week of ideas and learning, with more ideas that seem to appear each time I look through my notes.

Our IHTP Tool Bag!

Subject headings included in the
International Harp Therapy Program

Modes

Improvisation

Building a repertoire

Vibrational Medicine

Palliative care/ and the dying

Alexander Technique

Inclusive attention

Resonant tone

Anatomy/Physiology

Injury prevention

Etiquette

Professional development

Music as a language

How music heals

Philosophy of healing

Self-care/stress reduction

Ethics

Music development

Arranging Music

Reiki / Therapeutic Touch

Pharmacology, diseases, symptoms

History of therapeutic music

Terminology

Clinical Attire

Infection control/bio hazards

Security/safety and codes

Complimentary Health modalities

Entrainment (Iso-principle, automatic response)

Composing therapeutic music

Cymatics

Clinical Practice and legalities

Monitoring equipment, data charting

Research

How to start a therapeutic program in your local hospital or hospice

Acoustics: Harmonics, overtones/ Physics of sound

Corporate compliance required in hospitals

Musical strains

Human responses to music

Music analysis

Modulating

Different patient populations

Curative care

Assessment techniques (patient observation)

Reporting methods

Auditory anatomy/physiology

Serving newborns and babies, delivery

Prescribing recorded music

Serving pain and anxiety

Therapeutically empowered voice.

Independent study/internship (hours)

Patient log

Personal journal

Case studies

Mentoring

Final essay/report

Performance exam

Reading requirements

Graduate Title

Continuing education

Training location and specialties

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