Therapeutic Harp Music
The music practitioner observes, intuits, and listens to the client's needs and chooses musical styles, tempos, rhythms, modes, and melodies that are appropriate to meeting those needs.
The goal is to create a Sound Space or a Cradle of Sound to support the listener in his or her journey of healing (wholeness) and growth.
The effects of therapeutic harp music can:
- Promote relaxation
- Relieve anxiety and lower stress hormones
- Provide distraction
- Lower blood pressure
- Stimulate emotional release and expression of feelings
- Aid in mental focus or mental imaging
- Aid in the administration of medications
- Lower heart and respiration rates
- Increase endorphin levels
- Boost the immune system
- Aid in pain management
Note: This service is available in our Lebanon, NH, location. See our Events for Patients, Families, and the Community listing for dates and times.
What is a Harp Practitioner?
A Certified Harp Practitioner is a trained, therapeutic musician who uses the harp to aid the healing process of body, mind, and spirit.
The harp is the oldest known stringed instrument, the earliest example being around 15,000 years old. It has unique properties of vibration and harmonics that easily and comfortably resonate in our bodies and in the surrounding space.
The harp has been used as a healing instrument for thousands of years. It was used in ancient Egypt and Greece in the healing arts; it is referred to in the Bible when David played his harp to soothe King Saul; it was used in medieval hospices for end-of-life care; it was used in the early Celtic communities for entertainment and healing. The Irish harpers used their musical and healing skills to elicit happiness, laughter, and energy; stir deep emotions and release the sadness of the soul; and to cultivate rest, peace, and relaxation. Today there is ongoing research into the effects of sound and vibration on the human system.
Margaret Stephens received her training from the International Harp Therapy Program and is a Certified Harp Practitioner. She has a Bachelor of Music degree and has been involved with music for 40 years as a piano teacher, accompanist, bagpiper, and, most recently, harpist. She has also received training from the Sacred Art of Living Center in Bend, Oregon, and from the Palliative Care training program at DHMC. She has also volunteered for many years at the Extended Care Facility at Alice Peck Day Hospital. She has been playing her harp at Norris Cotton Cancer Center since 2005.
Comments from patients and families
- The music provided a feeling of serenity at a time when I was feeling most anxious.
- You were able to make a difficult day bearable.
- The soft music of the harp truly is special, it goes right to the heart, medicine you can't buy.
- I felt honored and supported. The music reached a part of me untouched by medication; in a way it freed my soul.
- Watching my mother pluck the harp strings is one of my greatest memories of her.
- Harp music is absolutely wonderful for relaxing and release of anxiety and tension. It takes your mind totally off your body and takes you to wonderful places.
- I was feeling depressed, sad, and very anxious. The harp uplifted my spirits and soothed my soul... My favorite part was when we played the harp together. It built up my self-esteem.