I’ve Always Wanted to Play the Harp with Peacocks!

Have you always wanted to play a harp? Have you ever wanted to play a harp? Now that you are thinking about it, wouldn’t it be fun to play a harp?


On Sunday, I’m leading an “I always wanted to play the harp” workshop at the Glendale Folk Festival. I will have harps for you to try out. There is plenty to keep you occupied the rest of the day, too.

  • At 10 am with the Strand: we’re leading a Celtic Jam. Play with us or just come to listen and meet some really cool musicians.
  • The harp workshop is at 11 am
  • The Strand plays at 2:30 in the Fruit Packing Shed
  • All day long, there is plenty to see and do. Performers on every stage, nook, cranny and porch. You can hear blues, bluegrass, old timey, contemporary folk, Celtic, you name it, it’s there.

So what’s with the peacocks? The Sahuaro Ranch Park is a 17 acre historic place, with original buildings, showcasing the agricultural origins of the Valley. The land has 13 historic buildings, some farming, and peacocks that roam freely. You never know when one will join in a session – last year one hopped down from the roof while we warmed up for our set – maybe for a better seat in the audience? 🙂

So join us on March 22 for a day of “colorful” fun!

peacock from deviantart.net

News from the Harp Foundation: Celebrating New Beginnings in 2015!

Thank you, BHHS Legacy Foundation!

BHHS Legacy Foundation


The Harp Foundation

Through Experience Matters with a

Resource Development Encore Fellow!

The Harp Foundation welcomes Gary Yazwa (Yaz) as our Experience Matters Resource Development Encore Fellow. Gary is a seasoned executive having created and grown the Tempe Boys and Girls Clubs and those in the East Valley before moving to Seattle, WA to achieve his considerable success growing their Boys and Girls Clubs. He already has The Harp Foundation Board and staff moving quickly into a new strategy and action plan for fund development and sustainability. We are grateful to BHHS Legacy Foundation and its leadership for their generous funding of Yaz’ position and development, and for recognizing the impact our live therapeutic harp music contributes to reducing pain and anxiety for patients all over the Valley.

Thank you BHHS Legacy!


Jocelyn and Len create partnerships with

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Scottsdale Memory Care

We are happy to announce new partnerships with new locations for our harpists to provide the power of live therapeutic harp music.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Scottsdale Memory Care inaugurated live therapeutic harp programs in January, 2015 and will continue these programs open-ended. We are thrilled to work directly with CTCA as our missions are similar in providing integrated medical modalities to patients, their families and medical staff, and we look forward to growing our programs with them over the coming years. We are also pleased to provide a means to decrease anxiety in a memory care facility at Scottsdale Memory Care and hope to increase our collaboration with them over time. Harpists Jocelyn Obermeyer and Shannon Schumann were instrumental in making these opportunities come to reality. Thank you, too, to our Board member, Cheryl Hintzen-Gaines, for introducing The Harp Foundation to CTCA! It’s a great partnership.

The Dennis Mitchems Fund a Program honoring their close friend, Kenneth Husband and his life’s work, at the Beatitudes Campus of Care through a lifetime friendship with our Founding Director, Joyce Buekers!

The Harp Foundation is pleased to begin a live therapeutic harp program at The Beatitudes Campus of Care both in their care facilities and generally. Dennis Mitchem and Ken Husband were lifelong business partners and the Mitchems, long time family friends of the Buekers, started the fund for this program to begin in the Spring at The Beatitudes Campus of Care.

Thank you, Joyce and the Mitchems!

Dignity Health offering Human Kindness

And always, Dignity Health partners with us to try new areas as harpist Jocelyn Obermeyer rotates through both Barrow Rehabilitation and the new Hospice of the Valley unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital with live therapeutic harp music. Thank you, Sister Margaret and Arnold Bohn, for our new “leave behind” postcards. We are making a difference for patients, their families and the medical staff!

Thank you Dignity Health!

Victoria Lund Foundation Continues our work at Cardon Children’s Medical Center

Our strong program at Cardon Children Medical Center continues with another generous grant from Victoria Lund Foundation. Three of our harpists play for all floors at Cardon Children’s and work side-by-side with the music therapists on their staff. There are priceless stories of families requesting the harp be played for their child.

Thank you, Victoria Lund Foundation, for your visionary gift to sustain our program for many years!

Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center loves our harpists as do the many people we serve at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center.

You can actually find a small group of women talking happily when the harp is playing while they are getting treatments. Our work reduces pain and anxiety!

Mark your calendars to participate in Arizona Gives Day on April 7, 2015 with a gift to

The Harp Foundation!

Alla Plays to a Young Listener!

Our Therapeutic Harpist, Alla Yashneva, plays her harp to many listeners at the newly established live therapeutic harp program at Chandler Regional Medical Center. Thank you, Marty Breeden!

A young boy is mesmerized by her playing. Alla usually plays for the medical staff in the Trauma One Unit at CRMC to reduce stress levels in this highly charged emergency room.

Our harpist, Laura Goldstein, joins MIM!

Laura Goldstein, one of our therapeutic harpists, has joined the Musical Instrument Museum as an Assistant Curator. Stop by to see her or invite her to speak to you with your guests. She has many stories to share!

Congratulations, Laura!!

Stephen Hartman, American Virtuoso Harpist,

in Concert

The American Harp Society and Harps Arizona will sponsor Stephen Hartman, American Virtuoso Harpist, in concert, free to the public:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

3:00 PM

Desert Foothills United Methodist Church

2156 East Liberty Lane

Phoenix, Arizona 85048

Join The Harp Foundation as a member!

Become an angel and support our overall programs across the Valley. Call our office to become a member or donate on our website at http://www.TheHarpFoundation.org! Help reduce anxiety for patients in hospitals!

The Harp Foundation

(602) 265 4014

400 W. Camelback Rd. Suite 304

Phoenix, AZ 85013



Copyright © December, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

The Harp Foundation | 400 West Camelback Road • Suite 304 | Phoenix | AZ | 85013


One of the things about being a therapeutic harpist is that you don’t often get to see people more than once. In my hospital visits, people are (hopefully) better and gone by my next visit. One exception to that is when I play at residential facilities. I have a regular memory care facility that I visit twice monthly, and I am starting to get to know the residents there. Most of the residents are Alzheimer’s patients. It is so nice to see them again, and even if they don’t remember who I am, they are always happy when I play and they love to sing along. When playing for memory care patients, it is important to play very familiar music, preferably from the patient’s childhood. So we play a lot of folk songs, like “Oh Susannah.”

It’s easy to connect with this population, and I have grown to love a few of them. One woman in particular, has been very attached to the music. Younger than most of the other residents, she sits in a wheelchair, and is vocal, but not verbal. On my last visit, I was delighted to see that she was beginning to walk, with help from her family. Even though I have grown attached to her, I hope this means she will be home soon.

Making Beautiful Music Together


Last Monday, I finished my final internship hours with the International Harp Therapy Program, and yesterday I submitted my final portfolio to the program.

More developments as they unfold.

In the news

The public relations team at my new job found out about my harping and interviewed me for the school newspaper!

PS – My new job is keeping me very busy this fall, and my fingers are crossed that this weekend is the one where I finally catch up and can stop working 12 hour days. So the posts will be short and sparse for a while longer.

Right Intent

Right  intent is one of the elements of the Buddhist eightfold path, including “the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively.”  Who wouldn’t want to aspire to harmlessness?

Eightfold Path

When I worked on an assignment clarifying my intent in the very first IHTP lesson, I understood that it was an important exercise in goal setting and motivation – helpful for working through the year long (or longer) program. The IHTP also needs to know what we are thinking; they need to protect the quality of their stamp of approval for the sake of their graduates, the facilities they work in, and for their own viability.

I am playing bedside in a local hospice to fulfill some of my internship hours. The very first person I played for was near death and unresponsive. As I played,  my mentor suggested that I add a high F to my improvisation. With that addition, the patient gave a little sigh and settled himself int bed a little bit. Another F. Another little sigh, another little settle. Another F?

There is fine line between exploring to find what will help the someone relax, and experimenting- manipulating someone to see exactly what the limit of the music is. The difference? You guessed it – intent.

The effect of that high F was so astonishingly, dramatically, evident, that now I see  just how easy it was to wonder, “what if I…,” instead of “what is helping” – to manipulate, instead of meet and follow what is already present. It is such a simple thing for delusion to take over and color our approach to this work.

This firsthand message shows me another facet to the importance of right intent. Our intent is our mission statement and our target, and we need to keep our eye and our focus on it. We have not only to identify our purpose for others, but to articulate it to ourselves, actively and regularly, so that we continually remind ourselves why we’re here.

How do you find that fine line in your own life? Do you have a daily practice, or is it easy for you to see where you need to go? Or something else?

Internship Countdown

Two hours down, 78 to go! I played for two hours at the Reiki Harmony Centers’s Reiki Share last night. What’s a Reiki Share? It’s when Reiki practitioners and students get together to practice on each other and on anyone who can use a session. At the Center I am playing at, sessions are free for Reiki students, and only $5 for anyone else, so it’s a great way to experience this for yourself. The excitement over having a harpist would have been easy to feel even if it wasn’t a Reiki Center (tee hee!)

There is nothing like first hand experience to help you really, really, really learn what it is you thought you already knew. I thought I knew a lot, and now after putting theory to practice, I’m proud to say I now know even less. Here’s what I learned:

Pay attention to the space that you are playing to, not the space you are in. This was a group session, so the only space available was just outside the doorway. I learned too late that the resonance in the room where the work was being done was not the same as the hallway I was playing in. Fortunately, they were only a fifth apart, and I was playing in consonance with the room, but it would have been better if I had spent a little time in the space first. And watching the events unfold in the room helped to know when to wind each of the 20 minute improvisations down.

Don’t think about what you are doing. Just play.  Isaac Asimov said “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” Every time my brain tried to take charge things got complicated – muddy. The music comes on its own, it really does. And it’s not repetitive or boring.

Keep it simple. Where have I heard that one? No matter how simple I made it, it could still have been simpler and more effective.

There are no coincidences. ‘Nuff said.

Overall, it was a good session, and I’m looking forward to the next 78 hours. But I’m really glad that this first one is done.

Reiki Share

OK, the last time I checked, I wasn’t from Missouri, but as a card-carrying  ISTJ, I’ve got to see it to believe it. So what is it with this Reiki thing? Well, it looks like it is going to be a long story.

Part of the self-care portion of the IHTP curriculum includes a basic introduction to reiki. During our training, we got a short attunement from our instructor Judith Hitt, who is a Reiki Master. And I”ll be darned if I couldn’t pick up the resonant tone of everything around me after that — the room, people’s voices,birdsong, the air conditioner…  Before that session, I was humming high and low, trying to match what I heard, and never quite sure that I was getting it.

So back to the ISTJ-ness that is me. True to form, I found the Reiki Harmony Center here in Phoenix, and found out that reiki practitioners really do practice — on each other. So for $5, I got another attunement, along with an introduction to the actual practice of reiki. So far so good, I can still hear. 🙂

For the record, I don’t know what ki is — maybe it’s a god, maybe it’s some universal electromagnetic energy, maybe it’s something else. I am leaning toward  thinking of it as something hard-wired in our brains – some way we have evolved to be able to recognize, in some form, the bigger picture of things, and put our own selves into perspective. But even if it’s just a giant placebo in the sky, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then we are doing well to provide it with a pond to swim in.

Going to San Diego

This Sunday begins my first week in San Diego for the IHTP program. We will be working and studying together at the San Diego Hospice.

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