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Thoughts on playing at bedside

harp on riverbank

My perspective is as a music therapist who sometimes does bedside work. There is a different training and certification for bedside musicians. However, I did have the chance to work with an experienced bedside musician and music therapist during my internship and have had the opportunity to attend some trainings by prominent harp therapists.

As a music therapist, I work to elicit an active response from my clients. Even in more receptive methods, I may look for indicators such as slower, more even respirations or a client report of less pain. I use evidence based interventions to help the client reach their goals. Music is chosen based on client preference and goals to be achieved.

Transitional music, however, focuses on easing on the pathway between life and death. It is more spiritually focused. One training program sees their work as providing musical last rites. Music and the elements of music are more prescriptive. I have found that I am both hyper aware of the client and inwardly focused. I rely on intuition more than a formal assessment.

As a harpist, I have been invited to partake of people’s most intimate moments. This is a privilege and I do my best to be responsive to the family’s needs as well. There also seems to be a certain grace to playing at bedside and that I am able to play in ways that I would not anywhere else.

Ministering applies both to those who had an active faith and those who did not. I would love to hear what songs or musical pieces help you connect to your Spirituality or bring you peace.

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