Sunday, August 23, 2015

From the Harp Side of Things

Timberline Update: 
Happy knitting included a week in the park with a public reading of C.S. Lewis's The Silver Chair.

This is not a trick of the camera. These sleeves are different lengths, by an inch or two. One was knit just recently, and the other was knit about a year ago. I ripped out the smaller/older sleeve and reknit it in all its spit-spliced glory. Because of this, it knit up fairly easily. Now I have two sleeves that might pass for similar gauge and size.

Having completed the first sleeve a second time, I spent Saturday working on the button band. It went quickly at first, but the added stitches in the shawl collar really slowed things down. I plugged away at it, though, and managed to finish the right half by dinner. (So for inquiring minds, half the button band / collar on this sweater = a full day of dedicated knitting.) It's pretty easy knitting, though, and still a quicker time than the body of the sweater. Now I just have the left half of the button band/collar to knit; after that it's finishing time!

Other Knitting:

Blender Socks

I have been working in a baby knit on the side for a bit of quick-fix cuteness. Oh, how rewardingly darling it is! I couldn't stop taking photos of this guy, even though it's only half completed.

A friend observed that this quirky bunny looks alternately coy and cheerful or thoughtful and melancholy depending on which way his head is lolling. To my thinking, that's a win.

From the Harp Side of Things:
A couple weeks back I was fortunate to attend the graduation ceremony for the Bedside Harp program. I hope to be walking next year, so this was a chance for me to soak up some mojo and redouble my efforts.

Roses of different colors were given to past graduates, employees, current graduates, harp students, and harp therapy interns. As a member of that last category, I got to be the only male walking up for a flower this time around, although I'm not the only man in the program currently or in the past.

There was something encouraging in being recognized in this ceremony. The journey toward certification can often feel pretty lonely, and this time gave me an opportunity to realize that I am part of a community. I generally do things better in community, even though I also need space to work through things on my own. I love being able to bounce thoughts off others and feeling the synergy of concerted efforts, even if it's simply to know that someone's listening. In light of that, I'm thinking I'll more frequently blog occasional thoughts about my harp journey than I have in the past.

Today as I drove to the hospital to play a few internship hours, I mulled over my intention that my playing would be transformational, even if only in the smallest sense. Hospitals can be fraught with so many negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Sometimes the healthcare provider ends up being the 'bad guy' and everyone ends up feeling alienated and tense. I get the unique privilege to stroll in with a harp and be present with people, offering something that I hope is uplifting and calming for whoever I encounter, be they patients, visitors, or staff. As much as I like to think my playing might make a difference for people every time I play, some days I just don't catch a lot of feedback, and it's more about showing up.  Today I was aware that my playing is as much for the staff as for the patients - they are all my clients, so to speak. So even though a patient doesn't typically have a dramatic response, I can trust that the music is going to good places.

Harp therapy is a very different type of work than a music therapist would typically do, and I plan on elaborating more in posts to come on some of the nuances that distinguish music therapy from the work of a therapeutic musician. Both are beautiful and incredibly valuable, and both fill different needs in a world of healthcare that treats the whole person with more than a mere litany of drug prescriptions. There is some overlap, but it is a common misconception to call a therapeutic musician a music therapist. I hope I can offer some clarity over time, since both fields are still fairly new to our modern healthcare, even though they are in some ways more ancient and traditional than what we call medicine today. And I hope in the process that I don't bore you too much. Then again, it's not like I've developed an amazing readership, haha! Just a few good and faithful friends. That's fine with me. Thank you for reading!


  1. My dear, you undoubtedly have more loyal readers/friends/followers than you realize. Your blog brings community to an otherwise lonely old woman. Many thanks for being you.

  2. I work at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Harp therapy makes a difference. It brings a moment of peace in a chaotic environment. Keep showing up. Your role is important.