Comparison of Harp Therapy Programs

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    HBrock25 on #155787

    I am in my late 50s and want to learn to play therapeutic harp. I am interested in either the IHTP program of Harp for Healing. They both look great, but Harp for Healing would be much better for me as there is no traveling and it is much less expensive. I just wondered if anyone can explain the difference between the two programs.


    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #155788

    Just do it. I don’t think you need a program.

    Folk Harpie on #155789

    Well I do think that you need to follow a proper program, Susan, especially if you’re planning to put your knowledge into practice. The fact is that playing for a therapeutic purpose is way different than playing in a public performance or just for your own amusement: you need to achieve a completely new state of mind, so to speak, so that you can relate in a positive way with people in a negative situation.
    Since I’m interested in the same subject, I’ve had a look at both the programs you suggested (while I already knew the IHTP, I had never heard of the Harp for Healing program before). The first impression is that the IHTP is more structured and you get perhaps more assistance during your course; Harp for Healing seems a bit more about reading books & trying to get the best out of yourself. But on the other side, this latter program focuses on subjects that, in my opinion, are essential if you aim to be a true music therapist, such as matching music to each patient’s needs and developing compassion.
    They both sound interesting and it looks that they both give you a proper certificate, at the end of the course (Harp for healing seems more flexible, other than less expensive). It would be interesting to hear some real experience about them.

    tony-morosco on #155790

    ” if you aim to be a true music therapist”

    Please don’t confuse harp therapy programs and music therapy. They are NOT the same thing.

    Music therapy is a minimum of a BA degree that you get by attending an accredited college that offers the course of study. You then get board certified as a music therapist after completing the coursework, the internship, and taking board exams. There are advanced degrees at both the Masters and PHD level.

    Harp Therapy programs are not taught through accredited colleges and do not teach the same things as a music therapy program. They are independent certifications and not degrees.

    alice-freeman on #155791

    I am certified in both of the programs you are interested in, Susan, so I think I’m qualified to compare the two.

    Tony is absolutely right. As he said, there is a major difference between a “music therapist” (College degree, etc.) and a “therapeutic musician” (certification by a training program), which is where I think you are interested.

    Tina Tourin’s International Harp Therapy Program is available as an online training program (no traveling) or in modules taught in various geographic locations. As the name implies, her graduates are closer to behaving like music therapists because the training encourages you to hand your harp

    Susan B. on #155792

    Thank you all for your feedback. Alice, so would you say that either program would give me all I need to do the work?


    Folk Harpie on #155793

    Thank you both, Tony and Alice, for your clear explanation. Once again, in my opinion, this is the proof of the difference between US and Europe when it comes to harp studying and applications fields. It’s not just a matter of language barriers (I was evidently confusing the concepts of “music therapist” and “therapeutic musician”), it’s a very different cultural approach to the instrument itself. It seems to me that in the US those professional figures are not only recognised but also defined, and consequently trustworthy, while here they’re in a sort of limbo where they have no pro boards nor legal validity – yeah it’s like you’re just doing it as a hobby!
    So thank you again for explaining clearly the differences. Now I’d be curious to know if and how those programs above, and so their certifications, were valid abroad and would allow me to be at least the counterpart of a CMI. I’m really tempted to follow the Harp for Healing program.

    alice-freeman on #155794

    Yes, Susan, either program will give you good training and a recognized certification to work as a therapeutic musician. You just need to carefully read the information on the IHTP

    Susan B. on #155795

    Thank you, Alice. That really helps me with my decision.

    I really appreciate your taking the time to give this detailed feedback.


    shannon-schumann on #155796

    I am almost finished with my work in the IHTP (I am doing my internship hours now), so I can add a few details about how the IHTP is currently offered.

    We had monthly teleconferences in addition to access to our mentor, and there is a one week required residency. This residency is offered in various locations around the world each year. There are at least two locations in the U.S, one in Japah, one in Australia, one in Europe, and probably many more than that. So you do have to do a little travel for IHTP, but it is minimal, and at least you don’t have to travel across the globe if you don’t want to.

    I have gained quite a bit in my studies. As Alice said, it is a different way of playing the harp. In my internship, I spend about 80% of my time playing and improvising things that most people would call music (familiar songs and improvisations that sound like songs and tunes), and about 20% playing in strict reaction to what I observe in the room. Many people would not call this “music” at all, but in the situations where this is called, for, it evokes very clear reactions from the people you are playing for.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #155797

    Playing music to make someone feel better only requires sensitivity to their needs. Being a trained healer might add a little something to it, but music does its own thing. It seems inappropriate to presume to do anything more than that. But even the self-pleasure of playing music can make someone feel much better. I think its really rather simple.

    Pat Eisenberger on #155798

    Alice & Shanon –

    I’ve only become interested in this subject, and I have one question. I’ve written and arranged music, and studied music in college so I’m well versed in theory. However, when I began playing the harp about 12 years ago, I found I couldn’t improvise. I was stuck playing the notes on a page. (Mental block, I guess!)

    alice-freeman on #155799


    shannon-schumann on #155800

    Yes, IHTP absolutely does. They give you some very simple patterns to follow to get started. The improvisations you’ll do by following the instruction are very simple — you are not playing jazz, by any means, but I was very happy with the skills I gained.

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