Therapeutic Bedside Harp

This week I started playing harp at Highline Hospital in Burien. There, I play music at the bedside of patients on the surgery unit, either in pre- or  post- operation.

My official volunteer badge - I jumped through a lot of hoops to get this!

My official volunteer badge - I jumped through a lot of hoops to get this!

Therapeutic beside music is live acoustic music, played or sung, specifically tailored to the patient’s immediate need, based on the science of sound. It is not entertainment, like music found in the lobby of an institution. It’s purpose is to aid in the healing process for the ill, and help relax their visitors, doctors and hospital staff. First and foremost, therapeutic musicians focus on the patient’s responses to the music, and can change tempo, song, musical mode, style, etc. in the moment. Therapeutic musicians have also studied what style or mode of music is appropriate for the condition that the patient is in. All therapeutic music is played between 60-80 beats per minute, which is the same as the human heart rate.

I am a clinical music intern in the Harp for Healing program, just finishing my last internship requirement. Then I’ll be a Certified Clinical Musician, so I’ll get have some credibility and a title! Monica Schley, CCM.

Previously, I’ve interned at Northwest Kidney Center (a long-time client of mine for their memorial services) and a Seattle hospice care unit. I have found that with each visit I make a friend or two who wants me to return to them regularly.

Playing for my regular hospice friend

Playing for my regular hospice friend

What does therapeutic music sound like? This.

Me and my other little girl, ready to leave for my first hospital visit.

Me and my other little girl, ready to leave for my first hospital visit.

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08 2014

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  1. Shannon Mackay #
    1

    What type of harp are you using?

  2. Shannon Mackay #
    2

    What type of harp are you using for bedside music?

  3. admin #
    3

    I play on a 22-string Stoney End harp for therapeutic music. I play a Salvi Daphne with a Dusty Strings pick-up for public shows, weddings, etc.


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