Environmental music in hospice for a lever harp

Posted In: Repertoire

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    athena16 on #189420

    I’m new and I’ve had a look through the site but I don’t think this has been asked. I did find the post a few pages back about playing in nursing homes which is very helpful and i will look into finding the fake books.
    Under the guidance of a music therapist I am looking to volunteer playing some environmental music in the palliative care unit associated with my work.

    It won’t be a clinical intervention; I will not be having direct contact with the patients or their families. Music therapy is a specialized field and I just want to do what I can as a volunteer.

    The gist is I need some neutral music – not too happy and most definitely not mournful. I was thinking some of the Celtic music like Down by the Salley Garden, doing some scale related music like the Grossi exercises … but thought I would throw it out to the experts as to what you would recommend. I would need 20 minutes worth so I’m open to ideas!

    Many thanks,

    balfour-knight on #189427

    Hello, Athena,

    I think your idea of the Celtic selections for that setting would be very nice. Sylvia Woods has several books of her own arrangements that would be very useful, I think. I use them as “Fake Books,” adding my own improvisations to help make them interesting, but many of them are nice just the way they are in her books. Her Disney collection has proven to be one of my most-used resources, too!

    Best thoughts,

    susan-ash on #189447

    Here are a few suggestions on music:
    Healing Music for Harp by Christina Tourin. She has some chapters on the effect of music on the patient, including using the patient’s breathing and heart rate to determine meter & tempo.
    That book also has many, many pieces of music.

    The Healer’s Way Companion by Stella Benson. There are 2 books in this series, one for those in pain and the other is calming music for anxiety. Simple but beautiful songs. And she too includes information about how to play for patients.

    You also may find it helpful to visit this website:
    Lots of information on therapy harp and links to different programs.

    Hope that is helpful, good luck.

    balfour-knight on #189454

    Thanks, Susan. I do not have very much training in Music Therapy, but I have played harp for many people in the hospital, including ICU, in nursing homes, and for persons under Hospice care. One needs to be very attentive and watchful of the person/persons being played for. If they are able to respond, they may ask you for a certain piece, song, hymn, or style of music they like. I learned long ago that if you are playing for a certain person and other people are in attendance, it is probably not a good idea to let the others make requests–you are playing for the one who is ill or under Hospice care. The exception of course would be if someone told you the favorite piece of the person you are playing for–I have had that happen, and have had good response from the patient when they recognized their favorite piece.

    Others more knowledgeable than I may respond, and I look forward to reading their posts.

    My best to you all,

    Alison on #190359

    Re Therapy: There is an article in the current edition of New Scientist (no 3038, pp 36-39) dated 12th September 2015 entitled “Healing Rhythms – is music therapy due a reprise ?” It starts to examine the role and effect of song and music in the brain, levels of dopamines and cortisol etc so worth reading – what it doesn’t mention however is that the ‘wrong kind of music’ for any individual can be intensely irritating – even I find that everything has a time and a place.

    SEB on #190467

    As a Board Certified Music Therapist, I just wanted to mention to people to take care about using the words “music therapy” and “music therapist” as these apply to a very specific type of training which includes conservatory type music training with a cycle of music therapy courses, clinical experiences and extensive internship. I get a little suspicious when I hear things like “healing rhythms” and hear people talking about healing modes/scales, tuning forks, chakras, etc. While these things may or may not have value, music therapy is a process that involves assessment, setting goals, treatment plans and evaluation. It is also not completely about music/sound/rhythm acting on a client, but about how music is used in context of a therapeutic relationship that includes client, music and therapist. A great resource to really understand the difference is a book by Lisa Summer called “Music: The New Age Elixir” in which she debunks many of the things that purport to be “music therapy” but ultimately are scams, and if you really think about them pretty foolish.

    athena16 on #190485

    Thank you all for the responses! I have Christina’s book and am getting into some of the songs.

    Seb- I absolutely agree which is why my first point made reference to music therapy being a specialized discipline and also why I am working under the guidance of an MT. There are many vulnerable people in this demographic and of course whilst people want to do something to help and with good intentions but there are unscrupulous individuals that can risk doing more harm than good.

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