On November 26, I gave a zoom presentation on my trip to Scotland and Ireland with the International Harp Therapy Program. The link below and the password (at the bottom of the link which you will need to access the link) will take you to the recording of that presentation.
We did not hold our regular zoom meeting this month. One of our members, Catharine DeLong, Music Thanatologist, presented a four hour zoom training on Music As Medicine. This was a thorough presentation on utilizing harp and voice to facilitate end of life transitions for patients from a Music Thanatologist perspective and based on Catharine’s extensive years of playing harp at the bedside. I know those of us who were able to participate learned a great deal from Catharine’s presentation that we will be able to incorporate into our own practices as Therapeutic Musicians. I would recommend Catharine’s program to anyone interested in improving their skill set in the area of Therapeutic Music. For more information or if interested in discussing Catharine’s work with her she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Utah Theapeutic harp Network Meeting of 8-18-2020 via Zoom
Attendees: (from L to R, Top to Bottom)Kate Dougherty, Heidi Jaeger, Angela Scothern, Laurel Wright-Fiehry, Cris Watts, Pam Archbold, Peggy Cann, Catharine DeLong, Cyndi Bowen, Kristen Rogers-Iverson (not pictured).
We did not meet in July due to everybody being busy or out of town.
Introductions of Members and welcome to Catharine, our newest member. Some highlights: Kate and Peggy took a zoom seminar from Dr. Alice Cash who is promoting her Healing Music Enterprises program. It is all recorded music she sells to hospitals. Chris is still playing for home bound hospice patients 2 days a week. Heidi is playing for a hospice patient 2 times a month, Peggy played for two weddings of family members which she will talk about later, and sang with a mask on for a hospice patient. Kristen is spending her time playing the viola these days, Cindy is getting ready for school to start tomorrow where she teaches music, among all her other jobs and activities and will graduate tonight from two programs she has been working on.
Catherine told us about her journey as a harpist starting at age 11, and graduate of the Chalice of Repose (2013) as well as MTAI program (2019). After graduation she moved to New York and worked for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York as well as a couple of hospitals including Bellevue. She promised to tell us more about her Bellevue experience at our next gathering. She also attended One Spirit Interfaith Alliance https://www.1spirit.org/ where she became an ordained minister. Catharine has moved back to Salt Lake City due to the Corona Virus preventing her from seeing patients for now in New York. We are so happy to welcome her to our Therapeutic Harp group.
Peggy shared her technique for memorizing music fast which she had to do recently for two different weddings. Her son married July 11 and she drove down to Arizona to play for his wedding. The happy couple wanted “Memories” played. Peggy was able to listen to it on Youtube and figure out the melody on the harp which she played for us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4xhbiJ605o
To demonstrate how to break a song down into it’s parts for easier memorization, Peggy shared a song with us called “Prospect” that has been used for several traditional hymns. She encouraged us all to pick up our harps and play along with her while she broke down the song into the A part, the B part and talked about how to remember the chord progression.
Peggy listened to it and learned it in 3 days. (Peggy has a phenomenal ear for music). Peggy was able to break it down to the A part and the B part which pleased the bride who approved Peggy’s arrangement.
Pam took two zoom courses over the last two months: One from Christine Tourin on how to record videos and use of Garage Band. The second one was Harp Mastery Four Weeks to Finger Freedom by Anne Sullivan. More information on this course can be found at Harpmastery.com
Final Notes : Catharine had mentioned that the MTIA group was preparing to begin offering bedside Music Thanatology for patients remotely using Zoom. Catharine walked us through how to improve the sound quality on Zoom when playing harps for patients:
To start, on the Zoom screen bottom left hand corner click on the up arrow^ Then click on Audio Setting then Advanced. This should bring you to the following screen where you click on Audio and check the box to the left to “Enable Original Sound”. The next two boxes should be disabled and the last box should be marked Auto. If this is not clear even with the screen shot below, there are Youtube videos to help clarify the directions.
No date was picked for our next gathering but Peggy recommended we all listen to Rachael Naomi Remen poems on Youtube and she may read one. Catharine will tell us more about playing for patients at Bellvue Hospital in New York. If any of you have something you would like to present please let me know and I’ll add it to the agenda.
It was so good to gather with you all virtually today and I know we all look forward to when we can gather together in person once again.
Attending: Pam, Keri, Heidi, Kate, Laurel, Angela, Cyndi, Peggy, Kristen
CHECKIN: WHAT IS EVERYBODY DOING?
Peggy played on the harp for us one of her son’s favorite pieces: Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone. Both Peggy’s son and husband are not well right now.
2. Heid reported she had been accepted into the St. Mark’s Clinical Pastoral Education program as a Chaplain Intern starting in September.
3. Keri is now playing with an orchestra and they are working on Les Mis. She also completed a hymn arranging class and is creating an arrangement of For the Beauty of the Earth and God is Love medley for harp and choir.
4. Laurel is taking wire harp lessons and workshops.
5. Angela is teaching violin, planning on going to the MHTP conference this week, working on her harp technique and taking lessons. She took a recording course through Coursera
6. Pam is taking a sabbatical from the harp for now.
7. Cyndi is working on her therapeutic harp certification and several other programs as well as working full time.
8. Kristen is focused on playing her violin and viola
II. INFORMATION ON AUDACITY. KATE DOUGHERTY’S NOTES FOLLOW
Useful Audacity Feature: Noise Reduction
Some therapeutic musicians want to record their music. A powerful free program like Audacity can improve the quality of an imported waveform. Removing noise is a quick and easy enhancement.
Check out YouTube for popular videos demonstrating Audacity in all its maddening, complex glory. Also Google Recording the Harp for how to position microphones and ways to improve the sound environment.
Choose Audacity for Windows
Audacity for macOS
Once installed, Chose Language.
An easy useful feature of Audacity is removing ambient noise.
RECORDING AND NOISE REDUCTION
Press record on the Player Controls. Wait three seconds for the mic to record the room’s ambient noise. Record your piece. Now select those first three seconds before instrument or voice begins.
Select Effect > Noise Reduction. Click on Get Noise Profile. Depending on the length of the piece, this may take a few seconds or be done in the blink of an eye. Then select the entire recording. (Ctrl A for Windows). Or use the I Bar to select the whole clip. You may need to Zoom out.
Return to Effect > Noise Reduction > Preview. Like the change? If more reduction is needed, increase the db level. Repeat the process till the sound is what you want. Click OK to apply. The waveform in the first three seconds has less background noise, as will the whole recording.
When satisfied, select and cut those first three seconds.
For more fun with Audacity and easy recording improvements, check out YouTube tutorials on normalization and equalization.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS TO RELATED TO RECORDINGS
The Quicktime app can be downloaded for free and is an easy way to record and then import to itunes where a CD cna be burned.
Using a good microphone will improve the sound of the recording no matter what recording system you choose to use. We had a discussion about microphones.
All recordings should be backed up before being imported/exported.
Attending: Laurel Wright-Feighery, Pam Archbold, Kate Dougherty, Peggy Cann, Angela Scothern, Chris Watts, Kristen Rogers-Iverson, Cyndi Bowen, Heidi Jaeger
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we chose to meet via Zoom so everyone could stay home and participate who was able. Pam hosted and led the meeting on Home Self Recording.
General Discussion while we waited for everyone to login and throughout Pam’s presentation (see her notes which are cut and pasted into section II).
Angela reported she had taken a course on recording through Coursera, a free online educational platform. She learned how to layon tracks for other instruments or singing. Mainly Angela uses it for instruments. Angela promised to send us information about her Coarsara course . and show us how she uses
Kate reported she had used Garageband and Fourscore for recording purposes.
Heidi reported she had used Audible (for Windows based systems)
The iPhone has a good sound recording system. Recordings can be uploaded to free Youtube channels and security settings can be applied to limit viewers from the public to specific individuals which Cyndi is doing with her music students. Heidi shared her recording on Youtube created with her iphone10x of the Salt Lake Valley Threshold choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hElg72h9b1c
Peggy learned how to use Garageband through a tutorial by the Apple store staff.
Audible is a free download for Windows Operating systems. There are special features that can be applied to your recording with this program. Garageband has similar features but is designed for Apple devices.
Voice Record 7 is an easy to use voice record system and can be downloaded for free from the app store.
Everyone agreed, no matter what software program you use, it requires a lot of trial and error to find the one that works best for your purposes and situation while some are more user friendly than others. There are many reasons to record yourself from just listening to yourself to help with identifying problems you don’t hear when playing, to creating something to share with the world. It doesn’t require a lot of expensive technical equipment but takes time to perfect the sound you want. Microphones can help with sound quality but make sure you get one with a USB port connection or adapter. Of course, if you want the highest professional quality without the DIY hassle of learning new technology and skills and you have lots of $$$$$, you can always book a recording studio and sound engineer.
Pam shared her screen so that we could see her Garageband program on her laptop. Unfortunately, the ipad version is very different than the laptop version. See the Garageband User’s Guide for iPad. The following are Pam’s notes which she wrote and I cut and pasted below with her permission.
Simple Options and Tips for Self-Recording by Pam Archbold
Why Self Record?
For current clients and as marketing tool for new clients
Sharing, including a CD of your music, with patients, friends and family
As a practice tool
Space that will sound good with your instrument: work in the largest room possible, avoiding low ceilings and close walls.
Avoid background noise such as traffic, dishwasher and HVAC running, computer fans etc.
Microphone placement: goal is full, clear sound without production noise such as finger placement, pedals shifting.
Depends on many factors including size of room
Use trial and error, selecting spot where you hear the clearest, most even sound in all ranges.
Often 20-45 degrees off the front of the harp, 5-6 feet away, 3-5 feet high depending on size of harp. Adjust height to optimize clarity in all ranges.
Basic recording equipment
Voice memo recorder on your iPhone/iPad/Macbook, using builtin mic, per Kristina Finch, is “surprisingly clear.”
Can convert voice memo files to MP3 files
Can upload voice memo files to your laptop or to Dropbox
Can use free app GarageBand, which comes included with all Apple products.
Logic is updgraded pro version of Garageband, for $199.
Hall, Rachel Lee. Recording in Progress: a practical harpist’s guide for self recording. HarpColumn, March/April 2020.
Sutich, Brian. Understanding GarageBand’s 4 Most Essential Effects. The App Factor, Fabruary 2017.
3. Virtual Gatherings: These are great ways to virtually attend a conference with internationally renowned teachers without the expense and hassle of travel. If you need to get your CEUs this is a great way to do it and relatively inexpensive.
Joanna Mell is leading a zoom harp circle Thursday mornings at 11 am. Laurel has more information about that.
Edie Elkins is leading a meditation complete with her playing the therapy harp at 4:50 pm MDT. Send her an email if you would like to be invited to that. Edie@bedsideharp.com. There is no charge for this gift.
Summerset Online 2020 is available in July. Prices range from $200 to view in July; $400 to view for the rest of the year. July 16-19. http://www.somersetharpfest.com/
Attending: Laurel Wright-Feighery, Kinsey Mitton, Pam Archbold, Kate Dougherty, Peggy Cann, Angela Scothern, Chris Watts, Kristen Rogers-Iverson, Tamara Oswald, Meg Smith Dawson, Cyndi Bowen
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we chose to meet via Zoom so everyone could stay home and participate who was able. Kate was our technical person who hosted the zoom conference on her account and Peggy led the meeting.
We went around the group and each of us talked about what we had been doing with regard to playing harp for patients as well as self care. It sounded like Kinsey and Cyndi were still working but with reduced hours. Some of us found playing our harps were providing us much needed comfort and others found that they couldn’t play harp right now. Other activities included: zoom meetings with friends and family, sewing masks and quilting, taking long walks outdoors and staying indoors, video game playing, learning new music and foreign languages, reading, napping, baking. Nobody seemed to be bored.
Some suggestions during this stay at home time included many resources for online harp instruction.
Somerset will be holding their annual conference online instead of in New Jersey this summer. http://www.somersetharpfest.com/ $100 discount for earlybird registration.
Harp Column is offering many freebies due to the virus and if you are a subscriber, Harp Column Academy always has a myriad of harp tutorial videos available and regularly changing. It’s not just for pedal harps. www.Harpcolumnacademy.com
If you are a Facebook User you can follow a number of sites where harpists video themselves and upload to the site. These are not usually tutorials but more relaxing interludes. Anyone is welcome to post so maybe some of you might want to do this. Music Heals the World is one and I know there are many others. So many musicians are not able to work now they are just posting videos. Check out Youtube also.
Edie Elkan of Bedside Harp hosts an online therapeutic harp meditation every evening at 4:50 pm MDT. This is free and accessible via Zoom However, Edie would appreciate it if you want to join send her an email introducing yourself and requesting to be invited. email@example.com Both Peggy and I find this very therapeutic and relaxing. Edie plays harp to begin and then leads in a guided meditation that changes daily. We’re usually done by 5:30 and feeling rested and energized.
We took turns playing harp for each other.
Peggy began by playing Reflections by Barbara Semmann in the Angie Bemiss book, The Music of Friends
Tamara said she had been focusing on upbeat music and was playing from Sylvia Woods music from the musicals, Up and LaLa Land.
Heidi played William’s Lullaby from the Angie Bemiss Friends book.
Chris said she had been working on some pieces to accompany one of her home patients who liked to sing but did not play for us.
Pam played Somewhere Over the Rainbow with her own bass pattern arrangement.
Kate has been working on Irish jigs and played Spring Fever by Nadia Birkenstock, Morrisey Jig and Butterfly jig for us. She also provided urls for free music in a follow up email (see below).
Angela played a song called Alta Cri on her wire harp
Laurel played a song called Alan is Dear To Me from the Angus Frasier Collection and also Nora Likes Cake from the Edward Bunting Collection, both happy tunes to prove to us that wire harps don’t only play sad songs.
Cyndi was at work and not able to play for us but asked about harp repertoire recommendations. Several recommendations were made including any of Sylvia Woods harp books, Kate provided the following online sources for free music:
Attending: Keri Kammerman, ,
Laurel Wright-Feighery, Kinsey Mitton, Pam Archbold, Kate Dougherty, Peggy
Cann, Angela Scothern, Chris Watts, Kristen Rogers-Iverson, Tamara Oswald
Guests: Kimber Martinson, Aileen
Aileen Kelley was our guest speaker
at this meeting. Aileen graduated from BYU with a degree in Music and
later earned a Masters degree in Music from California State University,
Sacramento. She was always drawn to Music Therapy but there was no program she
could attend at the time. In 2004 she certified as a Music Practitioner through
the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP), and now teaches nationwide
for that organization. Aileen coordinated the Healing Music Program at
the Kaiser Hospital in Roseville, CA, from 2010 to 2017 where she also played
the harp at bedsides of critically ill patients. Retired from American River College after
teaching there for 18 years, she maintained a private teaching studio, directed
the Capital Valley Harp Circle, and performed in the community as a freelance
harpist until 2017 when she moved to Sweden with her husband, serving a 2 year
church mission with him. Aileen was Peggy’s advisor when she went
through the MHTP training.
Aileen’s therapeutic music journey
began In 2001 when her granddaughter, Myra, was born four months early in
Vernal, UT. Aileen came to her
granddaughters NICU in Provo and was granted permission to play harp for her in
a limited capacity. As the nurses and staff experienced the response of the
babies, parents and staff to the harp music, they encouraged her to bring the
harp every day and play as long as she could. The babies responded with
increased oxygen saturation, fewer alarms, and steadier respiration rates.
Mainly Aileen played simple and soft lullabies and found that keeping the music
flowing through improvisation was important.
NICU babies need to sustain their blood pressure within an ideal range:
not too low and not too high. Since they entrained to the tempo of the music
she played she had to watch the monitors for optimal results.
Myra was about 26 weeks gestational
age before her heart began to entrain to the tempo of the harp.
Aileen learned from this experience that Therapeutic Music was her calling and
at the end of the year of playing for the babies, Aileen found the MHTP program.
According to Aileen, the MHTP course took what she had learned playing in the
NICU and gave it structure. Aileen
reported that Myra is now 19 years old and getting married this April. She does
not suffer from any problems associated with her difficult start in life.
Techniques for Improving
Aileen instructed us all to set our
harps in C major, use a G chord for the bass and 4/4 time and improvise the
melody using only the white strings (pentatonic). We all played together and
then slowly harpists dropped out. This was a lovely exercise that
everybody could participate in. Aileen
used this technique once with an Asian woman who had intractable pain. Nothing
else she had tried seemed to connect or soothe this patient until she used this
technique and the patient responded quickly and positively.
Aileen talked about using the sounds
of the room including beeps and alarms to minimize their annoying sound and
blend then into the background. Find the tone and then work with
In lessons with students, Aileen uses
harp technique exercises as a foundation to improvise which she demonstrated
using a 3 finger pattern etude.
Aileen recommended Joyce Rice’s
book: Petty Larcenies. The point of this reference is that Joyce uses the
opening phrases of familiar songs and then spins off in improvisational directions.
This illustrates how one can also start with a familiar phrase but then take off and make it something new
by changing the patterns. E.g. changing ascending patterns to descending
patterns and vice versa.
Aileen demonstrated using a form of
musical question and answer phrases and said there are no wrong notes, just
interesting ones. She emphasized listening to the end of a phrase and
imagining where it might go…and then play what you imagined.
Peggy told a story about playing for
an opera singer who moaned as she was dying and how Therapeutic Musicians can
use a patient’s voice pitch and breathing to accompany them. Aileen
called it “companioning the patient”.
Sometimes humming or moaning is a way to vibrate ourselves from the
inside out and a way to comfort ourselves.
Kinsey shared an experience of
playing for a patient who did not respond to much of anything she was doing but
she felt that a particular technique was the right thing to do and after a
while it did help that patient to relax. Aileen added that 20 minutes of
playing seems to be the magic amount of time needed to really benefit a patient
and patience is often critical to success. “Put aside expectations and let the
patient drive the session.” She emphasized the importance of working within the
moment at the bedside, meeting the patient wherever they are at. She also noted
these improvisations should be kept simple and spacious to not overstimulate
The left hand should be kept simple
unless it is the main improvisation source. Single notes, simple
arpeggios and drones work well. A drone can be a powerful stabilizer for
Final comments on improvisation from
Aileen: Music exists in time. The mind will engage with a melody and go on a
journey. Rhythm = bodily functions.
Aileen encouraged us all to imagine a
patient and a condition or situation and then create improvisations to practice
the techniques before it’s needed by a real life patient.
In addition to the other hats she
wears, Aileen is the founder of Music Partners in Healthcare (MPIH.org). This
is a non-profit organization that educates healthcare facilities and provides
Therapeutic Musicians to those facilities to provide music to patients at the
bedside. As the first Therapeutic Musician in the Sacramento Valley, Aileen had
to create a demand for her services. Now, through the non-profit
organization, MPIH provides paid positions for Therapeutic Harpists throughout
the Sacramento Valley at memory care centers, hospitals, and skilled nursing
facilities. There is now more demand than harpists supply and it is a model
worthy of emulation that the Utah Therapeutic Harp Network might want to
consider in the future.
We had talked about having a harp circle at Pam’s house next month
but after the Corona virus events of the last week, we will postpone that until
a later date. Peggy has suggested we have a virtual UTHN meeting via Zoom April
14, Tuesday at 10 am. She has agreed to be the Zoom host and we can focus on
repertoire and self care. Peggy attended
Joanna Mell’s Zoom harp gathering which meets 11 am on Thursdays. Last week the
group simply played for each other providing the name of the piece and the
composer, although sometimes they just improvised. A calendar invitation will
be sent out as well. Hope you all can make it!
I am including a link to a live, unattended performance put on by
Utopia Early Music Saturday night at St. Marks Cathedral. Teresa Honey is the
harpist on a gothic harp. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esq0YeXIEw8
Guests attending: Gwen Soper, Laura Wall, Kelly Cann
Gwen talked about her musical background and experience and how she and Heidi ended up at the same patient’s bedside at the same time twice and other times she has felt called to sing for a friend who is ill or dying. She also sings with Peggy with the Baroque Ensemble. She is interested in continuing her work using voice at the bedside.
Laura works for the Utah Alzheimer Association as the Foundation Director and is a new harpist.
Kelly is Peggy’s niece through marriage and has just been accepted to the MHTP program. We used the Orff methodology to introduce ourselves clapping out rhythms which was good practice for us all.
Peggy, Keri, Laurel, Chris and Heidi briefly introduced ourselves and experience
II. The Business of Therapeutic Music
Kinsey mentioned that CMS pays hospices more during the last two weeks of a patients life who is covered by Medicare/Medicaid. This is a good selling point for utilizing Therapeutic Harpists at the bedside as patients are transitioning.
Kinsey told us about her experience getting hired at Elevation Hospice after she earned her certification from MHTP, her negotiation for salary and how she accepted something less than what had been agreed upon and why. We also included the online discussion on the MHTP Facebook group regarding one person’s idea to get Patreon or other crowd funding methods to pay for Therapeutic Music in Assisted Living facilities. Another contributor wrote that if nursing homes/ALFs don’t pay for this service and it is either offered as a volunteer service or paid for through another means, they will never appreciate what is being provided to them or the value of it.
Pam Archbold sent an email differentiating offering a performance as a gift or sample of Therapeutic music versus providing Therapeutic Music to residents/patients for free. Naturally, when we Therapeutic Harpists are completing internships the exchange for the learning experience is to provide the service for free. Therapeutic musicians are specifically trained. Once credentialed, they should be paid for providing therapeutic music services. Providing therapeutic music services at no cost undermines the perceived value of the service and the training.
Heidi shared her experience getting her first, second and third jobs at different hospices and how much and how she is paid both as an employee and as an independent contractor. Several members work for more than one hospice and as a contractor this is perfectly acceptable.
Keri uses the harp in her work as a chaplain providing spiritual comfort where words sometimes fail us. She has left Inspiration Hospice and now works for Solstice Hospice. She also shared her musical background with us. She came to this group through Tamara Oswald’s invitation. Keri also shared that she has worked for facilities owned by Kisco Corporation and they pay $60/hour for Therapeutic Harpists at their special events.
Tristan was unable to attend but sent an email that was shared with the group reminding everyone that we all need to support each other in this work and communicate with each other to enable that support.
Laura Wall discussed her reasons for taking up the harp this year and offered a number of marketing suggestions as that is her strength and role with the Alzheimer Association. She recommended we all subscribe to the Professional for Seniors network. To receive notifications of networking opportunities, contact Lorraine@seniorsbluebook.com and request to be on the notification list of events. Then go to those events and talk about our work. As Laura left for one of these events, she said she would be talking about us where she goes and the benefits of Therapeutic Music. The differences between Therapeutic Musicians, Music Thanatologists and Music Therapists was explained for our guests benefit.
Takeaways from the discussion: If you’re not sure what the going rate is for Therapeutic music, ask one of us, we will share what we know and have experienced with you.
If you need help marketing yourself ask another member of the network for some pointers and practice. This is not easy for many of us but it’s a necessary skill for this field of work. Organizations don’t know what we can do for them until we educate them.
If you are certified and looking for work (or more opportunities) share that with the UTHN members. Many of us have contacts at facilities that may facilitate your search. Most of us got our first jobs in this field because we knew somebody who introduced us or recommended us to the hiring agency.
Just a reminder, some of what is shared at our gatherings is confidential and should not be repeated outside our meetings, or in our notes.
Music we have recently learned or are in the process of learning:
III. Presentations of music we are currently learning or working on
Heidi played See You Again by Charlie Puth,
Laurel played Begone From My Window, Song of Flattery and Truth, and Beloved Maiden on her wire harp,
Keri brought the sheet music for Debussy’s Premiere Arabesque which she intends to learn.
Peggy demonstrated the use of style and its effect on a piece of music by making us guess what lovely piece she was playing. (The Flintstones Theme song).
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.