The Power of the Harp

My internship at Hospice, playing bedside for patients in need, is going very well and proving to be such meaningful service.  I want to share a particular event that happened on a recent visit there.  I was playing harp in the small hall directly outside the rooms of three different patients all of whom had their doors wide open to hear the harp.  About 25 minutes into my playing I noticed a woman walking towards me in tears who then stopped and looked directly at me. I stopped playing to visit with her. She looked me directly in the eye and said very emphatically:  ” I can’t possibly express to you what your harp playing has meant to me and my husband. He is in the final stages of dying and for the last 20 minutes he has felt calmed and soothed and greatly comforted. We were able to share some last goodbyes because of your music which has made all the difference in the world.  Thank you, thank you, for all you do.  You are a gift.”

I know the harp angels were definitely in full force that day as I received several more comments of thanks from patients families and staff.   Including a man who came over and said that his mother had been in constant pain all morning long until she heard my harp music.  She then became calm and was able to finally fall asleep for which he was very grateful.

When I got home that afternoon, I received a call from Hospice Administration saying that the woman (I wrote about in the first paragraph) had expressed great thanks to the Hospice staff for my harp playing and told how much of a difference it made.  Her husband apparently died right after I left, and she was very thankful for those last peaceful moments with him.

I am sharing this because THIS is the power of the harp.   I am very grateful I have achieved a level of playing to be able to successfully provide meaningful healing music.  But I consider my job to now get out of the way and let the HARP do it’s magic.  Which it does….so astoundingly well.

First and foremost….Thank you Christina Tourin.   And thank you to those of you who helped make this all possible.  It is a gift that you all give…. every time I play.

Below is a letter that Hospice Administration wrote in documentation:

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Hospice of Asheville/ Solace Center

Virginia Oman is a volunteer of CarePartners Hospice Solace. She is sharing her gift of music with our patients and families as she plays the harp. Today of Sept 2, 2015 Ginny was with us to provide comfort and support. Shortly after Ginny left, a patient that has benefited from her playing died. In conversation with our staff, the wife of the patient expressed how grateful she was that during her husband’s final hours he had been comforted and calmed by the lovely harp music that Ginny offered.

Ginny assisted us in our goal of helping our patients and families with peaceful dignity.

Carol Morain

Hospice Volunteer Services.

P.S….Photo: My harp mentors, teachers and EXTRAORDINARY human beings.

Definitely want to include this wonderful photo. The woman on the left, Carolyn Deal is my very first private teacher who lives way way up on top of a mountain in western North Carolina.  After I had my week introductory course at John C Campbell  Folk School (thank you Claire!) the wonderful teacher of that course, Lorinda Jones, recommended Carolyn as someone I could possibly have a few lessons with. My car worked it’s very hardest to get up to her remote mountain home….and oh so worth the drive. Truly amazing woman Carolyn Deal, and also the organizer and director of THE best annual harp gathering….the Sountheastern Harp Weekend ….in Asheville.  Which is where I met……Christina Tourin (woman on the right) who is the founder and director of the International Harp Therapy Program of which I have been and continue to be a student.  I have raved on about Christina’s magic in the previous post. (So easy to do).     I am forever thoroughly grateful to have both of  them  in my life. Here’s the photo.

Carolyn and Christina

The Circle is Now Complete!

For all my friends and especially those who donated to my healing harp campaign,,,,,my harp therapy is now IN PRACTICE!   Had to wait a few weeks until the person who’s in charge of volunteer services at Hospice got back from vacation….and prior to that I was having to heal from a staph infection (they take FOREVER).    Finally… today was my first official day at Hospice playing bedside for patients. I was there for over 4 hours.  Had to really work on pacing myself so I had enough energy to complete the mission. Packing up everything at home…..putting my harp in its padded case, folding up the stand and packing all essentials for playing. Then LOADING it all in the car.  Then UNLOADING it at Hospice. Then getting it out of its case and setting it all up in a patients room.  (Then doing it again  and again to go to different locations.)  Time to play.  This is my first time playing out so it was a tad nerve wracking at the beginning as the first room I played in had LOTS of family members and they all just stood around the room and stared at me playing. But good experience for me and they were very thankful that I played for their Mom. It relaxed them as well.   Later I played for an “imminent” patient (very close to death) . Also played  for a woman dying of pancreatic cancer. She was very responsive and loved it. She was grateful as the music brought back childhood memories to her that she had never remembered before. We talked at length about the power of music and she shared some of her life growing up in the Bronx and working on 5th Ave in Manhattan.. She’s in her mid 90’s.

I’ve gotta say I am very proud of all the hundreds and hundreds  of hours this body has put in to learn the harp well enough to play at this  level and now have a 32 songs memorized in my head to play. (no music needed!)    With my hands affected by M.S.  the process has NOT been easy. I’m SO grateful the International Harp Therapy Program…all the amazing teachers and most especially..the founder and director, Christina Tourin. The most amazingly gifted  woman I have met in my lifetime, not only musically as a harp therapist ,  but in spirit.  She is definitely from another realm and I am so very lucky to have her grace my life. The one year anniversary of meeting her is coming up this October…..That’s when it all began.

I’m exhausted and Zen and I are going to go to bed to purr and  read for a bit before turning in.  But wanted to get this post up as soon as possible to let you know that this journey that began a while back, has now come full circle and none of it would have happened without those of you that contributed to the cause. I am so very very grateful.

I will go back again to Hospice next week and continue on.  Meantime I will record some of the repertoire and try my best to put a short sound clip on this blog if I can figure out how.

Zen and I send our love to all of you.

mandala

LOOK what just arrived!!

therapy harp on its standtherapy harp beautiful cherry woodAs promised here are the pictures of the beautiful brand new therapy harp….(6 weeks in the making) that arrived just last night.  First and foremost my zillion thanks go out to all those wonderful souls who’s contribution made this little wonder a reality.  I think you’ll agree…she’s very sweet looking.

I chose her to be made out of solid cherry. I told the builder how much I love wood grains and he did not disappoint.  It is very light in color now as it’s a  newborn. But with the accumulation of light, she will turn a beautiful golden color of red.  I’m letting her sit overnight and then will start tuning tomorrow.  And tuning and tuning and tuning…….until she’s settled enough to play for 20 min before needing to be tuned again.

I tried to take a “selfie” shot and did my best (not easy to do!).  Zen said she’d love to help but her paw is too big to tap the button.

Please note…you can click on any of these individual photos to enlarge then if you’d like.

GREAT DAY.  I leave in 30 min to drive an hour further into the mtns for a harp lesson…my second one. Hope to start playing this new arrival tomorrow after I return from work.   🙂zen on harp case therapy harp in caseGin with therapy harp

Completed Proposal for my Internship! (If you’re new to this blog please scroll down and read from bottom up)

I’m about 2.5 weeks away from having my therapy harp ( being built for me) arrive at my front door.  Meantime,  besides continuing to study and practice, I have been working on my proposal for Independent Study, or Internship for the International Harp Therapy Program. I’ve been working as fast as I can as I know I have limited time left with my hands.

I’ve known since starting this program that my end goal was to be able to play bedside for people in Hospice.  So when I brainstormed how I wanted my internship to look, that was the biggest piece of it.  Normally, each student (who has successfully completed Level 1 of this program and ready to begin their level 2 requirements,)  has to go into whichever facility, group, organization where they are wanting to do their internship hours, and formally present  information and details about harp therapy, what it is, it’s rich history, and why it is so effective.  Many people and organizations have  not heard of it before and  are clueless about the healing powers of sound.  SO I had everything prepared to do my formal presentations.

First stop….made an appointment to meet with director of Hospice in Asheville.  I sat down with her, told her about me, my credentials, my background, and my experience with Hospice,  I had just started to talk about harp therapy.  I didn’t get very far past that as she seemed to need no more information and was very enthusiastic about what I had shared.  Her only question to me was …”when can you start? ”    It speak volumes to me about the stellar reputation of harp therapy. It also is very fortunate that I am in Asheville NC, which is the MECCA of alternative healing and service in the South.

Second stop, the Nursing facility I had chosen to also offer some internship hours to. This is a facility where I had volunteered time playing my Mountain Dulcimer bedside for patients as I had completed prior training certification in Caregiving and Comfort with the Mountain Dulcimer.  I contacted the same director of therapy services there and fortunately she remembered me and my work from 1.5 yrs ago. I told her I was a second yr student in the IHTP program and  starting Internship hours playing for patients who are in severe decline of health. Again, she stopped me mid sentence and said…..”please….we’d love to have you, when can you start?”  I chose them because I wanted something a bit LESS intense than to do all my bedside playing for  Hospice patients in their last stage of transition.  As meaningful as this work is, it can also be quite draining spiritually and emotionally for obvious reasons.

So 2 parts of my Internship proposal have been cleared as far as the locations themselves. Now I wait for my full proposal to be accepted by the IHTP (International Harp Therapy) board…..and for my harp to arrive.  I have a boat load more repertoire learning to memorize as I’ve only been playing 9 months. But my core work of knowledge regarding  resonance, knowledge and skill in all the Greek modes, and ability to improvise effectively with them  in  specific patterns…..has been assimilated in my mind,spirit and hands.

More at another time.  Do want to share these photos I took of the beautiful stained glass windows in the Asheville Hospice facility’s chapel. See Below.      Thanks for your interest!

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Again…please read these posts in order (from bottom of page ..up). GREAT EXCITING NEWS!!!!

Yay oh very Yay!!!!  Yesterday I was able to put in my order for my therapy harp which I will use to play bedside for patients in Hospice and hospitals.   It also means I can start my internship of 80 hours which  is the third part of the harp therapy program’s (4 part) requirement to obtain full certification as a harp therapist.    Thanks again to those who helped me complete the full amount (these harps Are NOT inexpensive!)  especially my dear friend D who is a true visionary of the overall picture in terms of what’s important in life.

I chose it to be made out of cherry.  Very sweet sound. Full set of levers so it is totally chromatic.

Will take photo and post as soon as it arrives in 4-6 weeks. It is as of right now waiting to  be liberated out of lovely slabs of cherry wood and hand crafted into a beautiful instrument.

Meantime getting all my paperwork in order to apply for my internship.

Life is grand.!

NOTE: PLEASE READ THESE IN ORDER.

Hi All.  Welcome to my blog. Please understand that none of this makes much sense unless you read these in order.  Word Press doesn’t seem to make that easy to do, So be sure to pay attention to date of entry or the title of each. The easiest thing to do is SCROLL DOWN to get to the beginning  Sorry for confusion.