Therapeutic music resources & links
Here is a list of certification programs, conferences, publications, books, and sheet music for therapeutic musicians.
Certification programs for therapeutic musicians
It is important to receive proper training to be a therapeutic musician. No one should administer treatment in a healthcare facility without being appropriately credentialed. Music is powerful. Imagine what would happen if you played music with an erratic rhythm to someone who just came out of heart surgery?
I am certified by the Music for Healing and Transition Program➚ (full disclosure: I have served on their Board of Directors since 2012). I chose this program because:
I found them to be the most pragmatic and research-focused of all of the programs.
The classes are in person (either on-site or via live video conference), which was a better learning environment for me than home study.
The program certifies performers on voice or any acoustic instrument, not just harp.
You choose your own repertoire instead of using a restricted set of pre-selected tunes, which means you also get to change and improve your repertoire list over time.
They are accredited by the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians.
Each of the following programs has a different scope of practice. Some of them allow or encourage patient interaction. Those that are harp-only sometimes have restrictions on the size or type of harp:
Music for Healing and Transition Program➚ (MHTP*)—this is the program I am in
International Harp Therapy Program➚ (IHTP*)—harps only
Bedside Harp➚*—harps only
Chalice of Repose Project➚ (music-thanatology)—harps only
*Accredited by the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians➚
Therapeutic music conferences and webinars
For continuing education and networking:
The Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) International Biennial Conference➚, summer, even-numbered years, locations vary. The next conference is Creating our Vision of Music in Healthcare June 18-20, 2020, Cambridge, MA, at Longy School of Music Bard College, featuring keynote speaker Kenny Werner of Effortless Mastery➚.
Somerset Folk Harp Festival➚, Parsippany, NJ, mid-July every year. Primarily for harpers, this fantastic, information-packed yearly conference offers an intensive track of individual seminars for playing therapeutic music, as well as a great vendor hall and plenty of other workshops about playing the harp.
Therapeutic music publications
The Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) has a semi-monthly newsletter with articles of interest to music practitioners. This is the link to the MHTP newsletter archives➚. You can subscribe to the newsletter from a link in the left side of the page.
The Harp Therapy Journal➚ is a quarterly newsletter with the latest in therapeutic music research and articles by key members of the therapeutic music community.
Books about playing music at the bedside
There is an extensive therapeutic music bibliography from the Music for Healing and Transition Program➚ with books on music and healing; healing and self-care; and aging, dying, and death.
Melody’s Traditional Music and Harp Shoppe’s list of therapeutic sheet music also includes therapeutic music DVDs and books for purchase➚.
Learning to play harp
I am also a harp coach, specializing in adult beginners. I teach via video conference. See my site EnjoyTheHarp.com➚ for more information.