Thursday, June 6, 2013

Minnesota State School for the Blind

Student and her para adpating the harp position to play.

Composing her Name Song.

Christina with the Harp building class.

The week of January 28 I was fortunate to be the teaching artist in residence at the Minnesota State School for the Blind through the generous support of VSA Minnesota and the Minnesota State School for the Blind Foundation.  I provided three classes a day involving group and individual harp instruction and harp building.  The final day held a performance and presentation playing their Name Song on the harp, playing Ode to Joy ensemble and presentation on how they built a harp.  I also provided therapeutic music for students who were not in the study groups.  The school had purchased their own accessible harps and they have been included in their daily music program.

Many of the students had multiple challenges along with their visual impairment or blindness. Students in my groups ranged from Autism, ADHD, ADD, Learning Disabilities, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Ushers Syndrome, CHARGE Syndrome, Emotional/behaviors Disorder, Cognitive and Development disorders and Cerebral Palsy-just to name a few.

I had a wonderful time with the students, teachers and staff at MSAB and appreciate the opportunity to share Harp-Abilities with them.

Performance time!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Singing the Song Without Words

I play my therapy lap harp and double strung harp weekly at a regional rehabilitation center.  I always start with playing for the patients who typically are under the closest supervision and have the lowest mobility.  Then I move on to all the other patients on the floor, offering individually to them bedside harp music for relaxation and distraction.  I finish by playing harp in the common gathering area for those who missed me before, or want music in a setting that is not bedside and typically family will be there also.

There was a patient who was motionless, sitting in the wheelchair that was pulled up to a dining table and his adult son was with him, questioning, comforting, trying to communicate with his uncommunicative and still parent whose head was down and eyes closed.  I started playing just a light feathering of notes on the harp and settling into an improvisation of a not-familiar Celtic tune. Frankly, I don't think anyone knows the words to this tune and most Celtic ones, but the rocking motion of tune and resonance of the harp can soothe.   I hadn't played more than five minutes when the son rushed up to me with tears in his eyes and said "He's singing, Dad is singing!  He's in there somewhere and happy now". And so he was, singing to a song without words, but within him was a song and a story that only music could bring out of his depths.  Not only was the patient advancing in his healing, but so was his loved one.

Welcome back

Harp-Abilities is back from Facebook postings and calendar to Harp-Abilities Blog.  The format and accessibility is much better.  I will transition my Facebook postings to this Blog spot and will include an Event Calendar.  Thanks for following!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Remembering Emily

Emily was one of my students at the 2005 Summer Institute for College Bound Blind Musicians. She loved trying the small harps I brought and learned No-C-Notes audio music description to help her with music reading. She was full of life and her memory will live on.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grandma's Marathon 2011

Out there for for the Grandma's Marathon runners with rain suits and warm gloves - go runners!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


St. Luke's Foundation has a Variety Show fund raiser that I have participated in 2009 and 2010.  Oct. 2010 show had me surrounded by the "Thriller Men-At-Work".  Great fun, wonderful cause!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another visit to Japan

I just returned from a 2 week visit to west/south Japan and was in the country when its disasters occurred.  It brought into perspective that although I enjoyed trying different kotos to play and consider to buy, that I really didn't need anything else to achieve happiness or bring happiness to others.  A visit to Daisen-in Temple in Kyoto had delightful conversations with the monk and poet Soen Ozeki there....he was pure joy.  So instead of sharing anything about harp and challenges, I would like instead to share one of his writings with you.

Each day in life is training
Training for myself
Though failure is possible

Living for each moment
Equal to anything
Ready for anything
I am alive
I am this moment
My future is here and now
For if I cannot endure today
When and where will I?