For December’s monthly meeting we decided to gather and play harps together rather than have a formal meeting or presentation. Pam hosted at her lovely new home in Hideout, UT and there was room for 5 harps and harpists to all sit together and play Christmas Carols from Sylvia Woods book, 50 Christmas Carols for All Harps and some other holiday music.
Playing together and sight reading is not only fun but good practice, especially for those of us who typically play by ear, memory and improvise a lot. We intend to do this more often in 2020.
A few days after the harp Circle, Pam and Heidi took this show on the road to the Memory Care Unit at The Ridge where we played for the resident’s Christmas lunch. This is an annual event for us and we always try and dress festively for the occasion. The residents love it and one staff member commented afterwards they discovered harp music was so much more calming during a meal than some other types of musical performances. We agree, of course.
Tamara was busy elsewhere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jbsUl5v7F8 and we missed her and our other members who couldn’t be with us this month but hope you all can make it in January 2020. Merry Christmas and a harpy new year to all. God bless us everyone!
I.Tamara Oswald presented on Harp Care and Maintenance
Some background on Tamara.
Tamara has been playing harp for more years than she appears old enough
to have accomplished. She began studying harp at the age of 7 after a year of
piano studies. At the age of 13 Tamara soloed with the Utah symphony and again
at age 14 and 16-once on piano. She received her degree in harp
performance at the University of Southern California under the direction of Susann
McDonald. Most of us are aware that Tamara is the principal harpist for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and
tours all over the world with this group. She is also a member of the Oswald-Goeckeritz
duo with Jeannine Goeckeritz (see www.harpandflute.com). Together, they have played all over the US and in Europe
and have recorded a CD.called Chanson.
Tamara met her husband Dan in Zurich when her parents were called to
oversee the missionary work in
Switzerland for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her
husband Daniel is the honorary consul of Switzerland to Utah. They are the
proud parents of 6 children and 15 grandchildren. Tamara was certified by the Clinical Musician
Certification Program/Harp for Healing (CMCP) in 2017 and has been employed by
Brighton/Bristol Hospice since then.
Please visit her website www.harpandflute.com for more information.
In doing an online search for information on Tamara I also
found the following review of her work:
“The flowing style and graceful
virtuosity of Tamara
Oswald has been enjoyed by audiences across the world. She has
performed with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra under the direction of such
renowned musicians as Christoph Eschenbach and M. Rstropovich, and as a soloist
with the Tuttlingen Jugend Orchestra in Germany. Nationally, she has performed
with the Pasadena, Long Beach and the Honolulu Symphonies, and as a soloist
with the Santa Monica Symphony, the University of Southern California,
University of Utah, the Orchestra at Temple Square, Utah Chamber Artists and
the Utah Symphony. She has been the recipient of esteemed musical awards from
the American Harp Society and has competed as a semi-finalist at both the
Israeli and Rome International Harp competitions.
was principal harp for Ballet West for 20 years. She continues to perform
regularly with the Utah Chamber Artists, now in their 29th year, and has also
been affiliated with the Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, Utah Chamber Festival, Salt
Lake Choral Artists, and the Park City Music Festival. She has had the
opportunity to perform with such luminaries as Julius Baker, Roberta Peters,
Robert Shaw, Dale Warland, Jubilant Sykes, and Ida Haendel.”
Peggy was kind enough to send us the link to listen to Tamara
accompany Sissel recently with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFe84U__kt8
Tamara prepared a handout for us all which we referred to
during her discussion. I will not copy the handout but will include some things
mentioned that I found new information or a good reminder:
Harp History from ancient to modern times. While harps are an
ancient instrument probably developed based on the bow and arrow, the modern
use of the harp as a solo instrument did not develop until the 1600s. There was
no way to adjust for sharps or flats until the 16 century when hooks were added
to create C# and F#. In the earliest days, the harp was used to accompany
songs, in groups with other instruments and voice. There wasn’t solo music for
the harp until the 1600s. Pedals were not developed until the 18th
The modern Troubador Harp was invented by Samual Pratt of
Utah in 1960. From both marriages of Sam and resulting children the Pratt
family have been influential in the modern lever harp movement., Carl Pratt
(801) 377-7082, Sam’s son, is an
excellent local harp builder and technician if your harp needs some work.
Pedal harp strings should be reserved for pedal harps and not
put on a lever harp except for the Lyon and Healey lever harps. They require too much tension and may break
the harp. When ordering replacement strings, you must specify the Harp maker,
string composition (gut, nylon, wire, fluorocarbon), octave and note. 1st
octave starts at the top and works down. (On a Troubador Harp, that would be E
to F). Be consistent with whatever the
harp maker recommends. A source for
string sets is D. Kolacny in Colorado
(303) 722-6081. Replace broken strings
as quickly as possible as too much pressure resulting from the broken string will
cause the neighbor strings to also break.
Dust covers are not required except for moving harps. Keep it exposed,, dust as needed and play it
daily. If storage is required of the
harp, the strings may be lowered a tone or so but don’t relax them completely.
Avoid knocking over the harp.
Cleaning: A slightly
damp cloth with a little mild soap will do (no detergents). Clean a small area
at a time and dry it. Avoid using too much water as it could get into the glued
joints. Black scuff marks can be removed
with a little benzene. If desired, a
commercial polish designed specifically for harps may be used. Polish is not really necessary though.
Tuning: Tamara demonstrated how she tunes her pedal harp for
playing in an orchestra starting with A. checking it with the 4th
note below (E) then the 5th below (D) then the 4th string
above A (D) and then the Octave (A to A) repeating this for every note even
when an electronic tuner is used. When
playing with the orchestra, Tamara tunes to 441 a bit higher as the stringed
instruments tend to sharpen as they are played. Woodwinds tend to flatten.
Tamara recommends tuning in Natural (C maj) although many orchestral harpists
tune in the flat position of the harp.
Replacing Strings: Tamara provided a diagram for knotting
harp strings and discussed situations where harp strings had broken in the
middle of her performances and how she dealt with that. Also how to look for potential breaking
points and changing weak looking strings before they break. Good idea to date
string packets when they are used in case of breakage right away. Most string companies will replace the string
if it breaks within the first week of use.
Dealing with pain:
resting an 80 lb. harp on your shoulder in an unnatural position, moving
harps, loading harps into cars is likely
going to result in pain as we age.
Tamara recommends practicing harp in the right size chair for your body
and the harp and using a chair with a good back on it, not a bench, at least
for practice. Only play for 45 minutes
at a time and then take a break,, stretch before and after playing. Tamara uses a pain relief cream product
called Real Time Pain Relief. There is Physical Therapy specifically designed
for harpists as well as ergonomic training to preserve the body.
II. We each presented and played some of our favorite holiday
Kris Watts played for us and shared sheet music she has
orchestrated for Silent Night. Pam and
Heidi played a duet of Pachabel’s Canon mashup with The First Noel, Kristen
played a piece she had composed for the upcoming funeral of a dear friend that
was contemplative and beautiful. She was
looking for feedback from the group which was provided. Tristan improvised and sang Away In the Manger, Tamara played a version of In the Bleak
Midwinter from Sunita Stanislow’s Christmas Eve book, Kinsey played Infant Holy,
Peggy helped Heidi play Jingle Bells using only a bass pattern and singing the
song to help her work on harp accompaniment for song. Thankfully the group sang while Peggy pointed
to the chords.
We closed the meeting and shared a light lunch potluck (always great food!) and
We agreed to not meet in December but have a casual harp
circle at Pam Archbolds house on a Saturday morning for those who can make
it. Next meeting will be in January.
Today was Tristan’s and Chris’s birthday which we celebrated
with good food and a potluck lunch.
I: Heidi Reviewed the Generations 2019 conference Music Therapy Track held 4/16/19 at the Salt Palace Convention Center; Peggy, Tamara, Pam and Heidi attended and Peggy presented:
Conference Session I: A Continuum of Music in Healthcare: From Music Listening to Music therapy
Presenters: E. Christensen, SCMT, MT-BC; P Cann, CMP; S
Cheek-O’Donnell, PhD; M. Frani, PhD; M , Hearns, PhD
Massamiliano Frani, PhD is the CEO of Genote see www.genotelab.com, recorded music to achieve various outcomes working with specific populations. He graciously offered attendees a 2 month free trial if we email him and mention his offer at this conference. He discussed his research using his product with long distance runners and the effect it had on their Ck, Hb, Cortisol, and Testosterone levels. Statistically significant results include an decrease of Ck and increase of testosterone and better motivational and coping skills. See Youtube videos for more information https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm4tiXyX_axzIq1Ty9q7eYA
Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell, PhD, Assoc Dean for Research at UU
Discussed Time Slips, a storytelling method to work with
Dementia patients. TimeSlips opens storytelling
to everyone by replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine.
The open, poetic language of improvisational storytelling invites people with
dementia to express themselves and connect with others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yxxbw7YIys
The UU has an Arts In Health Innovation lab, free yoga at
the UMFA for the public and recently produced a play about a blind woman called
Maureen Hearns, PhD, Chair of the Music Therapy Dept. at
Utah State University, Logan
Music therapy In Dementia Care:
Music therapy provides opportunities for:
Memory Recall which contributes to reminiscence
and satisfaction with life
Positive Changes in Mood and emotional states
Sense of Control Over Life through successful
Awareness of self and environment which
accompanies increased attention to music
Anxiety and stress reduction for older adults
Nonpharmacological management of pain and
Stimulation which provokes interest even when no
other approach is effective
Structure which promotes rhythmic and continuous
movement or vocal fluency as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation
Emotional intimacy when spouses and families
share creative music experiences
Social interaction with caregivers and families
Peggy Cann, CMP gave a great presentation on what Therapeutic Musicians do and demonstrated by playing the harp for the group as she would for the NICU patients she plays for. She discussed the differences between Music Therapists and Therapeutic Musicians training and scope of practice.
II: Music therapy in Utah: Current
Trends, Reimbursement and More
Presenter: Emily Polichette, MM, SCMT,
MTs can bill for restorative care if their
work is in support of other outcomes.
They need an MD to sign off on this.
If insurance companies deny billing, ask to
see their exclusion policies.
Utah Association of Music Therapists has a group devoted to legislative lobbying and they are always trying to get more billable services approved by Medicare/Medicaid See Utah State HB 277 which created the designation of State Certified Music therapist (SCMT). Only MT-BC people can apply for SCMT certification.
The term “Music Therapist” is not owned exclusively by BC-MTs which is one reason why they pushed for HB 277. It is important for the public to understand the difference between music therapists and Board Certified Music Therapists. One difference is in the amount of training and internship hours BC-MTs receive versus other certification programs.
III: Music and Mental Health in the
Presenter: Heather Fellows, SCMT, MT-BC
An experiential session. We all took up instruments, drums, guitars, and played together. Heather and some of the other Music Therapists present sang. Heather provided stories of her 20 years of practice as BC-MT working with all kinds of patients and how she used music, usually guitar and voice, to hold space for patients.
Group Music Listening with Adolescents for Self-Expression
in Grief Recovery (McFerran, 2011)
Active music making, songwriting and analysis,
and music assisted grief rituals with hospice workers (Wiodarczk, 2010)
Singing and vocal improvisation with adults with
mental illness in complicated grief (IIliya, 2015)
Live Music Based experiences improved pain
control, physical comfort and relaxation in terminally ill hospice patients
Heather told a story about a family member of
a terminally ill patient who requested she play and sing Charley Puth’s song,
See You Again.
IV: the Power of Your Individual Voice: Songwriting and Voice in Music therapy
Presenter: Brandtley Henderson, MM, MT-BC
Why we sing: Everybody can do it!
Muisc can create and reinforce neural
Singing is a way to create a shortcut from
the prefrontal cortex (decision making) to the amygdala (emotional processing).
Singing permits the individual to
acknowledge and process emotion in a way that is engaging, accessible, and
Another experiential session. Everybody can
sing who can breath and make any sort of vibrational noise from their throat.
You don’t have to be a trained singer. Brandtley played guitar and sang songs and had us all
write a song in 15 minutes as a group which we then sang. It was pretty easy to do actually: pick a rhythm, create a phrase about a
preselected topic, attach the phrase to a melody. Sing. Brandtley works with the Utah State Hospital
II. We were all requested to watch the TED
talk You Are Contagious by Vanessa Van Edwards
End of Life University Dr Karen Wyatt Mortal Wisdom
183 How to let go of
what you thought should happen
167 Kathryn De Longi and
Music Thanatology (Kathryn is Kristen’s cousin and inspiration).
Using these sources as
inspiration we talked about our own experiences when we were not centered and
focused on our patients and the effect that had (or did not have) lending
support to the concept that our intention and mindfulness is critical to the
work we do.
We discussed the importance
of focusing on gratitude as a way of improving not only our own emotional and
physical health but that of others around us and how HeartMath measures and
encourages this practice of cardiac coherence.
Tristan shared an experience she had recently of an estranged family coming together at the bedside of their dying loved one and how the music helped them heal at this critical time before their loved one passed.
We also shared experiences of how times of brokenness can allow us to utilize other gifts we have to make a positive impact on the world in spite of our own disabilities and limitations. Laurel shared her experience from living with a chronic illness for the last 25 years and finding gratitude for all the blessings of her life.
We finished with lunch together and a healing ritual for one of our members using harp, intention and holding space for support.