Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Musician, heal thyself

The healing effects of the harp in medical treatment are becoming more and more well known as harp therapeutics programs like the International Harp Therapy Program and Harp for Healing train harpists to work as therapeutic musicians in hospitals and hospices.
But did you know that harps can also be healing for the people who play them!
Dr. Ron Price is a harpist with a Parkinson's-like disorder which kept him from realizing his dream of becoming a professional performer. He continued playing for his own enjoyment and pursued a career in special education. The healing effects his harp playing had on his own condition led him to play for his students with autism and hyperactivity, and inspired by its calming and grounding effect on them, he started a beginner's harp class for people struggling with neurological disorders called "Healing Harps."

Some of his harp students have broken through paralysis, or used parts of their bodies they never thought they would use again.
"My signature is now legible," said Sue, a harpist in the class, "where six months ago it was not. You can actually read my name now."
(I warn you, the video may cause you to shed a few tears as it did me.)
"When I play, I get real close to the harp so I can feel the vibrations go through me and I will totally not feel my body at all," by Lisa, another harpist in Dr. Price's class. "I won't feel the pain in my legs, I won't feel my head ache, I won't feel tired, it's just me with the music... I forget about everything."
I truly believe that all music is healing. Many music therapists, therapeutic musicians and sound healers have miraculous stories to share of healing brought forth by music played on instruments of all kinds, as well as toning and singing.
In my experience, though, there is definitely something special about the harp. Among other things, there is the literal, physical sensation of a harp vibrating straight into your heart that some believe is the source of its tremendous healing potential.
Dr. Amy Haynes, a physician that Dr. Price has consulted about the healing power of music, says the effects of harp playing are "immediate and obvious."
She says it's important to play every day for lasting healing effects.
"The benefits tend to be temporary, so if you don't practice the harp for a few days, you will notice a decline in your function," she said.
"But we're temporary beings, we need to eat every day, breathe every day... so... play the harp every day!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Harp and flow yoga: Wednesday, June 23, 4:45 to 6 p.m. at Studio Bliss

This coming Wednesday, July 23, from 4:45 to 6 p.m., I’ll be playing harp in a flow yoga class taught by Rebecca Halls at Studio Bliss. Amis francophones, le cours est bilingue :-)
Most of us have the day off the next day for la St-Jean, and lots of folks will take Friday for a long weekend. Come and get it started off right with a dancelike sequence of yoga postures linked by the breath that will both invigorate and deeply relax you!
Studio Bliss is just above Roy on St. Laurent, about a 10-minute walk west along Pine Avenue from the Sherbrooke metro. Buses 144 and 55 will also get you there.