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I am a pianist. I have played since I’ve been a little girl. Somehow the piano resonated with me; I loved moving my fingers across the keys, practicing my songs so that I got them to sound better and better, and just relaxing through the music.
I tried some other instruments over the years – guitar, recorder – but none of them stuck. As a music therapist, we had to become “proficient” at guitar – but it never happened with me.
Then came my harp. It was love at first sight and sound. I don’t recall what made me try that instrument, but it might have had to do with the fact that I was friendly with a friend of a harp teacher. One thing led to another, and I was taking lessons on this huge, humongous harp that I rented. It sat in my family room.
I loved the lessons, but couldn’t bring myself to sit down to that huge, imposing instrument. (not that the piano is smaller – but somehow the height of the harp overwhelmed me). I barely practiced in between lessons.
Then I heard about the “therapy harp,” and I investigated. I called a factory up in Northern California which manufactures harps, and before long I was purchasing my very own 30 string therapy harp. I loved it then. I love it now. And I play it every single day.
I play folk songs on my little harp. I carry it around with me to patients in nursing homes (where I work as a music therapist), and I play the residents’ favorite music.
I still play my piano and keyboard. However, my harp has become my new friend to go to – when I’m tired or frustrated, I take it out and play it. When I’m happy, I play it. It just seems to be there for me. I bring it along to friends in the community and cheer them up sometimes with my harp.
Nobody seems to mind that I’m not a star harpist (yet). All they know is the gentle sounds of the strings, and the strong melodies and harmonies that come from that instrument.
It makes me feel good to know that at this stage in my life, I can start a new hobby, pursue it and master it somewhat. Knowing that I have done that with the harp, helps me with other things in my life.
It’s never too late to start something new. Now that’s a value to harp on.
Tags: elderly, guitar, harp, hobbies, instrument, music, nursing homes, piano, therapy