The American Harp Journal - Extras - Summer 2018

Supplement to Vol. 26 No. 3 (Summer 2018) of The American Harp Journal

Supplement to Vol. 26 No. 3 (Summer 2018) of The American Harp Journal


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The American Harp Journal


Official Publication of The American Harp Society, Inc. ◆ Vol. 26 No. 3 Summer 2018


The American Harp Journal

Vol. 26 No. 3

Summer 2018


2 Ann Hobson Pilot: An Appreciation by Emily Laurance

7 The Therapeutic Use of Harp: Modalities, Programs

and Training

by Bethany Wheeler

16 AHS 43rd National Conference: Back to Our Future,

Redlands, California

17 Extras: Seen at Redlands…Additional Photos from

Receptions and Performances


Ann Hobson Pilot: An Appreciation

by Emily Laurance


N my last years at Oberlin, my teacher, Alice

Chalifoux, began to engage me in discussions

about where I should go to continue my training.

Or rather, she told me what she thought I ought

to do.

“You should study with Ann,” she said. Miss

Chalifoux did not tell me that I should continue with

her, but that didn’t bother me: Miss Chalifoux was

sensitive to her students’ individual personalities. I

trusted her to determine the best fit for me, and she

saw something that would respond well to Ann’s

tutelage. But she pointedly instructed me: “you must

never call her Ann; you must always call her Miss

Hobson.” I had been brought up to use honorifics,

so I would never have questioned the formality. But

Miss Chalifoux felt it necessary to emphasize this

point, since she herself spoke always of “Ann”—her

former student. So, pleased with my own correctness,

I made sure to address her as “Miss Hobson” when I

auditioned for her that spring. “I am Mrs. Pilot now,”

she gently corrected me. I was slightly embarrassed

but struck by her direct, formal bearing.

That was my first introduction to Ann Hobson

Pilot: correct, measured, polite. But before we even

met, I was aware of Mrs. Pilot’s career. After graduating

from CIM in 1966 she had performed with the

Pittsburgh and the National Symphonies and was

then invited to audition in Boston. Although moving

to Boston meant playing second to Bernard Zighera,

it also meant playing principal for the Pops under

Arthur Fiedler—an especially high-profile position,

as the Pops had a regular national broadcast on

public television via WGBH. In those same years I

was starting to mature as a young harpist; I saw Mrs.

Pilot regularly on the Pops broadcasts, and she was

L. to R. Emily Laurance, Ann Pilot, Prentiss Pilot. Cleveland,


a prominent feature of them. Whoever edited the

footage anticipated each showy glissando in the lush

orchestrations that typified the Pops. Each time the

camera focused on Mrs. Pilot—not with a close-up

of her hands or a shot from behind, but directly on

her face, with all its concentration and close attention

to detail. The camera fully saw her: one of the

few young women and the only African American

in the orchestra. In the midst of that middlebrow atmosphere,

audience, and repertoire, there was something

refreshingly new about her, as though the longstanding

musical traditions that I trained in were, at

bottom, big enough to include everyone.

Mrs. Pilot’s high-profile performing career sometimes

overshadowed her reputation as a teacher.

At the New England Conservatory we were all in

awe of her, not only as a musician, but as a person.

We noticed all her sartorial choices—not flashy,

but elegant and often streamlined. We particularly


admired how she rocked a pair of leather pants. But

mostly we admired her measured character and focus.

She was both self-effacing and intimidating: she

taught as much by example as by exhortation, quietly

communicating her expectation of excellence for us.

She exuded a confidence born from self-control and

a depth of discipline. I saw in her a determination

to succeed—never at someone else’s expense, but

through unwavering standards of musical and personal

integrity. I guessed that she had honed these

tools over time: these were her inner resources while

she navigated a career sometimes marked by overt

bigotry or subtler racial exclusion. In a 2009 interview

with the Boston Globe she recalled, for example,

the loneliness she experienced as a young professional

playing with the National Symphony “because

we were playing in Constitution Hall, the famous

hall where Marian Anderson had been turned down

to sing. I had a feeling of not really belonging.’’

In lessons Mrs. Pilot did not speak of herself very

much, and we didn’t ask, for fear of impertinence.

But every now and then she would mention one

of these instances in a manner marked by reflective

critical distance—how she was disallowed

from studying at Salzedo’s Summer Harp Colony in

Maine, for instance. But she just as readily acknowledged

those mentors who recognized her worth and

talent: people like Edna Phillips, with whom she

studied in Philadelphia, and Alice Chalifoux, who

overcame some of her own prejudiced habits of mind

and came to see Ann as her own person. For her own

part Ann saw past Miss Chalifoux’s limitations and

chose to focus on her best self. Teachers learn from

their students too, and I have no doubt that Ann

challenged her teacher to be that best self.

She saw me too. In the teaching studio, as in

the orchestra, Mrs. Pilot communicated a belief in

musical excellence, discipline, and integrity that outweighed

individual limitations. But we also had frank

talks about my own challenges as a harpist and as a

person: managing physical health, mental preparedness,

building stamina and conserving energy. The

day of my master’s recital jury Mrs. Pilot heard me

warming up from the practice room. I was playing

Salzedo’s Ballade, and I was pouring every ounce of

energy I had into the piece. Mrs. Pilot walked down

the hall, tapped on the door, and put her head in.

“Make sure you save some of that,” she said with a

bemused expression. She was never a gushy teacher,

but in her naturally reserved style she was always

looking out for me.

One of my favorite memories of Mrs. Pilot occurred

when I went by myself to hear her play with

the Boston Symphony. To most audience members,

a venue like Symphony Hall is a formal space, and

the separation between audience and performer can

seem large. I had not yet learned just how intimate

a space a concert hall can be. As I sat in the audience

before the concert, Ann came out to tune. She

looked out at the audience, and much to my surprise,

smiled directly at me and gave me a little wave right

from the stage. She saw me!

In the years since I left NEC I have visited with

Ann and her husband Prentice several times. I continued

to take lessons after I finished my degree, and

coached with Ann as part of the Tanglewood Fellowship

Orchestra. I learned to call her “Ann.” After

Ann retired from the Boston Symphony in 2009 she

had more time to tour on her own. My husband and

I visited with her on trips to the Bay Area, where we

heard her in chamber concerts and saw her lead master

classes (my husband is a master class devotee).

In May this year I got the chance to visit with

Ann and Prentice again in Cleveland. The Cleveland

Institute of Music, Ann’s alma mater, recognized

her with an honorary degree, and invited her

to give the 2018 commencement address. That

weekend I joined many of Ann’s fellow Chalifoux

students that still live and work in Northeast Ohio

for a special lunch held in her honor. While all of us

had shared a common teacher in Miss Chalifoux, I

was the only one there who had also been Ann’s student,

and I am grateful to have seen this side of her.

There are many kinds of successful teachers, and

most share an intense focus on their students’ particular

needs. But a great teacher will also look beyond

a given student’s limitations and focus instead on a

larger shared purpose, one that provides meaning to

all of the painstaking concentration on the details of

technique. All of my teachers gave me this, but while


studying with Ann this principle acquired a sharper

focus for me, in part because I was then grappling

most directly with what it meant to be a professional

musician. In her performing and teaching life Ann

regularly gave me a model. I saw I didn’t have to be

someone I wasn’t: I didn’t have to conform to someone

else’s model of a harpist, because Ann’s focus

was on the music, both the process of creating and

what got created. Our common investment in musical

excellence was the basis of our bond, and mirrored

a common desire for personal integrity; it was

also my assurance that even with all of its challenges

and lofty aspirations, there was a place for me in the

professional musical world.

On May 18 I attended a series of events honoring

Ann Hobson Pilot, the former Principal Harp of

the Boston Symphony Orchestra and my teacher at

the New England Conservatory. The first event was

comparatively intimate: a group of harpists with long

connections to Cleveland and the surrounding area

hosted Ann and her husband Prentiss at a lunch

on the campus of Case Western University. But the

main event came the next day, when Mrs. Pilot

gave the commencement address at the Cleveland

Institute of Music, her alma mater, and received an

honorary degree. With this recognition, CIM was

celebrating one its most prominent alumni, one already

honored with their alumni achievement award

in 2010. With her commencement address she welcomed

the class of 2018 into an alumni community

that she has honored with an outstanding career as a

performer, educator, and advocate.


First of all, I would like to give thanks to President

Hogle and the Board of Trustees for recognizing me

in this way. I cannot tell you what an extraordinary

honor this is, not only to receive the honorary doctorate

but to be able to give the commencement

speech to the graduating class of 2018.

I remember my first trip to Cleveland and the

Institute. It was January of 1964. I had spent my first

couple of post- high school years at the Philadelphia

Musical Academy, where I lived at home. I was

inally leaving Philly to study with the legendary

Alice Chalifoux.

Since I did not yet own a car, my parents drove

me to Cleveland where I would be staying in one of

the dorms at Case Western. It was to be my first stay

in a dorm and I was pretty excited. We first went to

check in, and I met the house mother who showed

me to my room and introduced me to my new roommate.

We then left to have dinner before my parents

had to drive home.

When I arrived back at my dorm room, my

new roommate had moved out. I was puzzled but

shortly afterwards the house mother came running

in to apologize. My new roommate had moved out

because, “Well, you know,” the house mother said

with obvious embarrassment, “because of the racial

thing.” In the short time that we had been at

dinner, my roommate had moved out with all her

belongings—emptied the closets, the drawers and

the bookshelves because she would not share a room

with a black person.

To say I was hurt and yes, angry, is an understatement.

But the worst was yet to come. The entire

dorm found out about this and I had to endure comments

from a lot of the other students about how

sorry they were and how embarrassed I must feel.

The only good thing about that experience is that

I was able to leave the dorm after that semester and

get my own apartment with a harpist friend from CIM.

Despite my rocky beginning, it was not long before

I began to flourish at the Institute and to grow

with all that it had to offer before my graduation in

May of 1966. Of course, the choice of a teacher of

your primary instrument is of the utmost importance

and I know I would not have been as successful

without the guidance of Alice Chalifoux or AC as we

fondly called her. Fortunately, I had already studied

with AC the summer before at the Salzedo School

in Camden, Maine, so I knew what to expect from

this diminutive fireball with the salty tongue and

the slightly southern drawl. At first, I was somewhat

concerned about her Alabama roots, but I soon realized

that though she may have had some prejudice in

her thinking, she was always supportive of me in her

actions. One of the funny moments I remember with

her was when at a lesson where I guess she thought

I had played a piece particularly well, her comment


Ann Pilot, commencement address, CIM, May 19, 2018.

was, “Annie —when you were just playing, I forgot

you were black for a minute.”

The opportunities that AC gave to me were certainly

without prejudice. When she was asked by the

Pittsburgh Symphony to recommend someone to

sub for the 1965-to-1966 season as second harp, she

recommended me. That was how I got my first experience

in a major symphony. Even better, when the

National Symphony called her for a recommendation

for someone to play principal harp for the 1966-

to1967 season because of a serious injury to their

harpist, once again she sent me. Fortunately, I was

more than ready when these opportunities presented

themselves, so much so that the National Symphony

asked me to stay and offered me a contract beyond

that first year.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of hurtful incidents

due to “the racial thing.” Not being allowed into certain

restaurants or hotels was pretty much standard

procedure in the south in the mid-sixties though it

was surprising to me having never experienced this

as a northerner. The obvious displeasure of some of

my orchestral colleagues of my very presence was

also painful.

I’m often asked, “How could you put up with

this?” and the answer is how could I not. I was hired

to play the harp and that was what I tried to do to

the best of my ability. I recognized that other African

Americans had to endure much, much more than

I ever did and so in continuing to blaze a trail as so

many others before me had, I made sure I was considerate,

honest and that I treated others with the

same respect that I expected to be treated with even

if it meant expressing displeasure if someone made

an insulting or, shall we say,off color statement or

joke. After a while I think these same people realized

that the “racial thing” was their problem not mine.

I enjoyed my three-year tenure with the National

Symphony but when the Boston Symphony asked

me to audition in 1969, I was ready. The process of

auditioning behind a screen was very new at the time

and I successfully won the audition. I was hesitant

to take the job at first because it was basically for

second in the BSO and first in the Boston Pops but I

was finally persuaded that this was the best move for

me. It wasn’t long before I was elevated to assistant

principal and then awarded the principal harp position

in 1980 which turned out to be a wonderful year


for me because it was also the year that I married the

love of my life, Prentice Pilot. We have enjoyed 38

wonderful years of marriage and his love and support

has been invaluable in my journey.

My years with the BSO were so rewarding that I

stayed for 40 of them and was asked to stay longer

but to me it was of the utmost importance to retire at

the top of my game and it was the right move for me.

I have performed the concerto that John Williams

wrote for me about 20 times since my retirement. I

have enjoyed many opportunities to perform other

concertos and to play chamber music with wonderful

musicians. I have enjoyed playing for special occasions

such as the opening of the Museum of African

American History in Washington, D.C. in September

of 2016 and a performance of the Ginastera Concerto

in Buenos Aires for the 100th anniversary of

his birth. Prentice and I have also been able to enjoy

traveling and cruising to our favorite destinations.

So now that I’ve told you, graduates, about the

fulfillment of my dream job, my dream marriage and

my dream semi-retirement—what advice do I have

for you? I hope that my message has been clear about

overcoming adversity. I truly believe that adversity

has made me a better and stronger person. All of

you will have some adversity in your lives—some of

you probably already have. The important part is not

getting discouraged and never giving up. We have a

friend’s son who at 16 years old came to our program

last summer at the Boston University Tanglewood

Institute. He was clearly very talented and played

very well. This past January his mother passed away

unexpectedly and when I heard him play again very

recently I was stunned by his improvement—not

technically but the amount of feeling he was now

putting into his playing was touching.

Also make sure you are ready for whatever opportunities

come along. Taking an audition when you

are not prepared is never a good idea because it can

lower your confidence for the next time.

The second bit of advice is to remember those

who have supported you. The support of my parents,

my sister, my husband and my teachers were very important

to my success and I could not have done as

well without them.

The last bit of advice is to appreciate the journey

that music affords us. Appreciate the friends you

have made here at CIM. I still have good relationships

from my days so many years ago. One of my

best friends from that time is Alyce Rideout, Alice

Chalifoux’s daughter who is here with us this

morning. Her support during those trying years was

invaluable to me and we have maintained our friendship

for all those 55 years.

I wish you the best as you embark on this new and

exciting adventure that is your life in music. Good

luck and stay safe and strong. —Ann Hobson Pilot


Emily Laurance is a harpist, musicologist,

and educator. She is Principal

Harp of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra

and freelances in the greater

Cleveland area. She is a member of

the writing faculty at Case Western

Reserve University and serves as Associate

Editor of The American Harp Journal. V


The Therapeutic Use of Harp: Modalities, Programs and Training

by Bethany Wheeler, MA, MT-BC

Editor’s Note: The author categorizes performance in

healthcare settings by musicians without specific therapeutic

music training as “volunteering.” Although not

specifically mentioned, the commentary regarding this

category could also apply to those harpists who may be

hired to perform or “entertain” in healthcare facilities.

This is the first article in what we hope will be an ongoing

series about this important topic.


ANN 1 had been playing the harp for several years

and thought it would be nice to share some of

her music as a volunteer at a local hospital.

Thinking that harp music could be very soothing, she

inquired about volunteer opportunities on the hospital’s

hospice floor. Her desire was to provide some enjoyment

and comfort to anyone who stopped to listen. The nurses

on the hospice floor were very excited for Ann to come

and readily agreed. However, when she arrived, instead

of being shown to the lobby, Ann was taken to one of the

private rooms where she was asked to play for a dying

patient and her grieving family. She played for the patient

and her family for twenty minutes and then excused herself.

Ann was shaken by this experience, feeling that the

emotional weight of the room had been too much for her

to bear. After this experience, Ann told the nurses that

she preferred to volunteer in common areas rather than

private rooms. She spent the next several weeks playing

in the hospice floor’s family lounges, which turned out to

be a positive experience for both Ann and the patients’


Although it may not reflect a typical experience,

this real-life vignette sheds light on an important

ethical issue related to the use of the harp in health-

1 A harpist whose name has been changed for privacy.

care settings—namely, that any individual seeking

to enter into a healthcare setting to use the harp in

a therapeutic manner should have adequate therapeutic

training. A talented and proficient harpist

who lacks suitable therapeutic training may be unequipped

to understand, respond to, or cope with the

nuanced medical, social and psychological situations

encountered in healthcare settings. Additionally,

there exists a great diversity of physical and emotional

needs, cultural values, and musical preferences

within healthcare populations 2 ; this necessitates that

the musician not only cultivate an exceptionally

broad repertoire, but also be able to implement it

in a flexible manner, responding to the moment-bymoment

needs of each individual. How, then, can

harpists ensure that they are adequately prepared to

interact with patients and their families effectively?

What steps can a harpist take towards ensuring that

the patients, their families, and the harpist all emerge

from the musical experience with a positive rather

than a negative outcome?

In recent decades, several different therapeutic

modalities 3 and training programs have emerged

seeking to equip musicians to use their instruments

in a therapeutic manner within healthcare settings.

However, within the harp and healthcare communities,

there remains some confusion surrounding these

various therapeutic modalities, particularly regarding

the training and settings associated with each.

In an attempt to clarify these issues, this article

includes the following: 1) a description of four modalities

available to harpists who wish to use the harp

2 Many diverse populations may be found in healthcare settings,

including: the geriatric population, hospice population,

pediatric population, non-English speaking population, etc.

3 Throughout this article, modality refers to a therapeutic

method, approach or application.


in a therapeutic manner in a healthcare setting, 2)

documentation of the different training programs

and therapeutic settings associated with each modality,

3) considerations regarding the best individual

fit of programs and training, and 4) presentation of

practical suggestions in the selection of music and

implementation of the harp within therapeutic



Below is a summary of four modalities available to

harpists who wish to use the harp in a therapeutic

manner in a healthcare setting and the training programs

associated with each. The four modalities are

music volunteering, therapeutic musicianship, musicthanatology

and music therapy.

1. Music Volunteering. Music volunteering is the

application of music provided by an amateur or

professional musician that is given in a not-for-pay

capacity. Aside from strong musicianship, additional

specific certifications, trainings, and credentials are

not necessary. However, volunteer sites may offer

brief training programs to orient the volunteers to

their duties and any expectations associated with

their position. In music volunteering, the music

is provided without specific therapeutic intent. A

music volunteer may desire to help create a calm environment,

or to provide a pleasant music-listening

experience; however, this music is not intended to

address specific health-related, psychological, behavioral,

or social goals or needs. The music played is

likely to include the volunteer’s current repertoire, as

opposed to being systematically chosen for the health

needs of the patient. Some examples of music volunteering

include: 1) playing live music in communal

areas of a hospital, 2) performing a recital program

at a retirement community, and 3) playing live music

for residents in a long-term care facility.

2. Therapeutic Musicianship. According to the National

Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians

(NSBTM): “Therapeutic music is live acoustic music,

played or sung, and specifically tailored to the

patient’s immediate need. It is an art based on the

science of sound…A therapeutic musician uses the

inherent healing elements of live music and sound to

enhance the environment for patients in healthcare

settings, making it more conducive to the human

healing process.” 4 The NSBTM defines the courses

of study, scope of practice, code of ethics, and other

rules of conduct for certified therapeutic musicians.

The course of study for certified therapeutic musicians

consists of approximately 80 hours of coursework.

This coursework is offered through three

different programs types: classroom-taught, online

with on-site internship requirements, or self-paced

independent study. 5 Additionally, prior to certification,

graduating students must complete “an Independent

Study Internship, fulfilled by completion of

a minimum of 45 hours of music provided directly

at the bedside at approved facilities.” 6 To maintain

certification, an additional 40 hours of continuing

education is required every four years. Coursework

is offered through several training programs across

the country, each offering a different certification:

Certified Clinical Musician (CCM), Certified Music

Practitioner (CMP), and Certified Harp Therapy

Practitioner (CHTP). 7

3. Music-Thanatology. According to the Music-

Thanatology Association International (MTAI):

“Music-thanatology is a professional field within the

broader sub-specialty of palliative care. 8 It is a musical/clinical

modality that unites music and medicine

in end of life care. The music-thanatologist utilizes

harp and voice at the bedside to lovingly serve the

4 “FAQ,” National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians,

accessed November 30, 2016, www.nsbtm.org/faq/.

5 “FAQ.”

6 “Accreditation Standards,” National Standards Board for

Therapeutic Musicians, accessed November 30, 2016,


7 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance: An Overview

of Music Therapy and Therapeutic Services,” American

Music Therapy Association and National Standards Board

for Therapeutic Musicians, last modified August 2015, www.


8 Palliative care is a form of medical care for persons with

serious and life-limiting illnesses. Palliative care is focused

on providing symptom relief and improving quality of life.

Support is offered by a multidisciplinary team which may

include physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and

other complementary and supportive therapies, such as massage,

Reiki, art therapy, music therapy, music-thanatology,

therapeutic musicianship, etc.


physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the dying

and their loved ones with prescriptive music.

Prescriptive music is live music that responds to

the physiological needs of the patient moment by

moment.” 9 Unlike the other modalities described in

this article, the training of music-thanatologists is

limited specifically to the use of music at end of life.

Music-thanatologists often work closely with

chaplains in both hospital and hospice contexts.

Certification for music-thanatology is overseen by

MTAI and is based on a demonstration of their

professional standards of competency. Training programs

are offered at Lane Community College in

Portland, Oregon, and long-distance through the

Chalice of Repose Project ® . The course of study includes

approximately 600 hours of in-class training,

300 hours of clinical experience, and 50 supervised

vigils prior to certification. 10 At this time, there is

no continuing education requirement to maintain

certification. This course of study can lead to one of

three certifications overseen by MTAI: Contemplative

Musicianship Program (CMP), Music-Thanatologist

(MTH), and Certified Music-Thanatologist

(CMTH). 11

4. Music Therapy. The American Music Therapy

Association (AMTA) is the governing body which

oversees the advancement of education, training,

professional standards, credentials, and research

in support of the music therapy profession. AMTA

defines music therapy as: “the clinical and evidencebased

use of music interventions to accomplish individualized

goals within a therapeutic relationship

by a credentialed professional who has completed

an approved music therapy program. Music Therapy

is an established health profession in which music

is used within a therapeutic relationship to address

physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of

an individual.”12 Music therapy interventions may

include music improvisation, receptive music listen-

9 “What is Music-Thanatology?” Music-Thanatology Association

International, last modified September 22, 2008,


10 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance.”

11 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance.”

12 “What is Music Therapy?” American Music Therapy

Association, accessed November 30, 2016, www.musictherapy.


List of Schools Offering Music Therapy

and Harp Programs

• Alverno College, Milwaukee WI

• Appalachian State University, Boone NC

• Arizona State University, Tempe AZ

• Augsburg College, Minneapolis MN

• Baldwin Wallace University, Berea OH

• Belmont University, Nashville TN

• Berklee College of Music, Boston MA

• California State University Northridge, CA

• Cleveland State University, Cleveland OH

• Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO

• Concordia University, Seward NE

• Converse College, Spartanburg SC

• Drury University, Springfield MO

• Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA

• Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti MI

• Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Meyers FL

• Florida State University, Tallahassee FL

• Howard University, Washington DC

• Immaculata University, Immaculata PA

• Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne, IN

• Loyola University, New Orleans LA

• Marylhurst University, Marylhurst OR

• Maryville University, St Louis MO

• Marywood University, Scranton PA

• Molloy College, Rockville Centre NY

• Montclair State University, Upper Montclair NJ

• Nazareth College, Rochester NY

• New York University, New York NY

• Ohio Univserity, Athens OH

• Oral Roberts University, Tulsa OK

• Pacific University, Forest Grove OR

• Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte NC

• Sam Houston State University, Huntsville TX

• Seattle Pacific University, Seattle WA

• Seton Hill University, Greensburg PA

• Shenandoah University, Winchester VA

• Southern Methodist University, Houston TX

• State University of New York at Fredonia, NY

• Temple University, Philadelphia PA

• Texas Woman's University, Denton TX

• University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa AL

• University of Evansville, Evansville IN

• University of Georgia, Athens GA

• University of Kansas, Lawrence KA

• University of Kentucky, Lexington KY

• University of Miami, Coral Gables FL

• University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN

• Utah State University, Logan UT


ing, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery,

music performance, learning through music, and

movement to music.13

Music therapists are required to hold a bachelor’s

degree or higher from one of AMTA’s seventy-two

approved colleges and universities, each of which

holds accreditation from the National Association of

Schools of Music (NASM). 14 For individuals already

holding a bachelor of music degree who wish to complete

requirements for certification as a music therapist,

a music therapy equivalency program is offered.

Rather than earning a second bachelor's degree,

the student completes any coursework required for

professional certification that has not already been

completed in the course of their previously earned

degree. 15 Several different forms of training are available

for persons seeking training in music therapy:

bachelor of music in music therapy, bachelor of music

in performance or education plus a music therapy

equivalency, master of arts in music therapy, and

PhD in music therapy.

The course of study required for professional

certification includes a minimum of 5,800 hours

of classroom training and 1,200 hours of supervised

clinical training. Prior to certification, music

therapists must pass a board examination offered

through the Certification Board for Music Therapists

(CBMT). CBMT’s MT-BC program has been fully

accredited by the National Commission for Certifying

Agencies (the same organization that oversees

accreditation of nursing and counseling programs) 16

since 1986. 17 The development of strong musical

competency (the ability to perform, improvise, harmonize,

transpose, compose, and arrange music in

a variety of styles and genres) is a core requirement

13 All of these types of interventions are taught in depth during

the training programs detailed in this article.

14 “Welcome to NASM.” National Association of Schools of

Music, accessed November 30, 2016, nasm.arts-accredit.org.

15 “Music Therapy Equivalency Program,” The University of

Iowa School of Music, last modified June 6, 2016, music.


16 “NCCA Accreditation,” Institute for Credentialing Excellence,

accessed November 30, 2016, www.credentialingexcellence.org/ncca.

17 “The Certification Board for Music Therapists,” The Certification

Board for Music Therapists, accessed November 30,

2016, www.cbmt.org.

within the music therapy curriculum. These skills are

then applied to patient-specific needs (e.g., music to

reduce pain or to promote relaxation) and cultural

and personal preferences. Thus, a music therapist

should have a broad repertoire of music and functional

skills that permit flexible uses of music individualized

for each patient.

After certification, music therapists are required

to complete 100 hours of continuing education every

five years. 18 Additionally, several states (including

Nevada, North Dakota, Georgia, and Oregon) require

licensure in order to practice as a music therapist

within state borders. The process of obtaining

licensure is overseen by each state. Music therapists

are required to demonstrate proficiency in piano,

guitar, voice, and percussion, as well as their primary

instrument. Music therapists are typically employed

full-time, part-time or on a consultant basis to a

health-care or educational agency, and have been

trained to serve a variety of clients within a variety

of healthcare, community, educational, and mental

health settings.

Training Programs and Credentials

Harpists who seek to use their instruments within

therapeutic (rather than performing or teaching)

settings have several different training program and

certification options available to them.

Table 1 provides an overview of the four modalities

discussed above and addresses the various levels

of training and certification involved with each,

the therapeutic settings in which each modality is

implemented, as well as the populations served by

each modality.

Settings and Populations

The harp can be effectively used in a variety of

therapeutic settings. Just as each modality provides

a unique approach to training, each modality is also

designed to fit within specific settings and work with

specific populations. Music volunteers, for example,

may provide music in any number of settings desirous

18 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance.”


Table 1. Therapeutic Modalities: An Overview









Classroom Training N/A 80 hours 600 hours 5,800 hours

Clinical Training N/A 45 hours 300 hours,

including 50

supervised vigils

Required Degree N/A No degree


Continuing Education N/A 40 hours

every 4 years

Certification/Licensure N/A 3 possible certifications:


CMP, and


Populations Served


Key: N/A = Not Applicable

No specific


No specific settings



Medical settings

No degree



3 possible


CMP, MTH, and


End of Life

Hospice and

Hospital settings

1,200 hours supervised

clinical training

Minimum requirement of

Bachelors degree; Masters

and PhD possible

100 hours every 5 years

1 possible certification:

MT-BC; Licensure required

on a state-by-state basis

Varied populations;

specialized trainings available

for NICU, Neurologic Music

Therapy, and Guided Imagery

in Music

Medical, Educational,

Mental-Health, and

Community-Based settings

of a music-volunteering program, such as hospitals,

retirement communities, and long-term care facilities.

According to the NSBTM, therapeutic musicians

may work in a variety of healthcare settings in which

live music can be delivered directly to individual

patients. 19 These settings include hospitals, skilled

nursing facilities, treatment centers, nursing homes,

and hospice facilities. 20 Music-thanatologists, who

work specifically to provide end-of-life care, work

primarily at bedside in homes, hospitals, and inpatient

hospice facilities. 21 According to the AMTA,

music therapists work in varied settings, including psychiatric

and medical hospitals, rehabilitative facili-

19 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance.”

20 “FAQ.”

21 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance.”

ties, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers,

veterans facilities, agencies serving developmentally

disabled persons, community mental health centers,

drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing

homes, hospice programs, wellness centers, correctional

facilities, halfway houses, schools, military

bases, as well as private practice. 22

Selecting the Best Fit

As the previous sections of this article have emphasized,

these four modalities encompass a broad

spectrum regarding the training involved, clinical

settings in which each modality is implemented,

and the populations each serve. Harpists seeking to

22 “Therapeutic Music Services at a Glance.”


implement the harp in a therapeutic manner should

consider several things: the harpist’s own talent and

skill, the amount and type of therapeutic training

which best fits their interests and lifestyle, as well as

their desired therapeutic setting.

For example, a harpist who desires to work for pay

in educational, community, and medical settings, and

is willing to pursue a bachelor degree or higher from

an accredited music school, would do best to seek a

music therapy degree. Should the harpist already hold

a bachelor degree or higher from an accredited music

school and be willing to take additional university

classes, a music therapy equivalency program would be

ideal. For a harpist who is drawn to specialize in endof-life

care, particularly desiring to provide musical as

well as spiritual support, pursuing credentials in musicthanatology

is a suitable fit. For a harpist who seeks to

implement the harp in a healthcare setting, but does

not wish to pursue a university degree, enrolling in

a therapeutic musicianship program may be best. For

harpists desiring to share their music outside of traditional

settings (recitals, ensembles, etc.), but who

do not desire to address specific therapeutic goals, a

volunteer position at a local nursing home or hospital

waiting area would be ideal. Each harpist should

consider which modality best suits their desired level

of training, clinical setting, and population, and

choose accordingly.

Practical Recommendations

Susan was in her late 60’s and was nearing end-of-life.

“I’m embarrassed to admit this,” she shared with a music

therapist, “but I have never liked Mozart or Haydn. I

would prefer to listen to music of my favorite composers

instead; maybe Bach or Brahms?”

Like Susan, all individuals deserve to have their

musical preferences heard and honored, particularly

in times of great emotional, physical, or spiritual

stress. When implementing music in a therapeutic

setting, the harpist should take care to select appropriate

music to ensure that the needs and preferences

of the listener are being met and respected.

The following section of this article addresses some

practical recommendations for harpists to consider

when selecting and implementing music.

Individual Aspects of the Listener. Many characteristics

influence a listener’s musical preference. These

can include age, gender, culture, ethnicity, spiritual

beliefs and identity. 23 A musician within a therapeutic

setting should take care to address each of these

aspects when selecting appropriate music. Failing to

do so could result in awkward, ineffective, or even

offensive musical selections. The musician should

be especially careful to only present songs of a religious

nature if the listener has requested them. For

example, a harpist should not assume that “Amazing

Grace” is a welcome song choice for all listeners.

When in doubt, the best course of action is simply to

ask the listener what his or her musical preferences

are and respectfully abide by them. Additionally, providing

a musical menu listing the harpist’s repertoire,

categorized by decade or genre (classical, folk, Celtic,

religious, pop transcriptions, show tunes, etc.), is

another excellent method of ensuring that the listener

has every opportunity to select his or her own

preferred music, and to avoid causing offense with an

inappropriate musical choice. In a volunteering situation,

the harpist may wish to ask the director of volunteer

services or nursing staff if there are particular

types of music that tend to be preferred by patients

or residents. To the extent possible, a volunteer

should share music that is likely to be appreciated

across many ages and cultures.

Assessing a patient’s music preference contributes

greatly to the effectiveness of the music intervention.

This assessment may not be a one-time event,

however. If the harpist is providing support over an

extended period of time, the listener’s needs and

preferences should be continually assessed to reflect

any changes. 24 If the individual is unable to communicate

musical preferences, the harpist should communicate

with family or staff in an effort to gather

this information. If no information on musical prefer-

23 Amin Ebneshahidi and Masood Mohseni, “The effect of

Patient-Selected Music on Early Postoperative Pain, Anxiety,

and Hemodynamic Profile in Cesarean Section Surgery,” The

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 14 (2008),


24 Annie Heiderscheit et al., “Music Preferences of

Mechanically Ventilated Patients Participating in a

Randomized Controlled Trial,” Music and Medicine 6 (2014),



ence is available, the musician should use his or her

best clinical judgment to present songs that would be

most appropriate.

Relaxation versus Distraction. Music may be used in

therapeutic settings to address a number of different

goals. Common uses in medical settings include

reducing physical discomfort, anxiety, or a sense of

isolation. The music that a harpist offers should be

carefully selected to best support each intended goal.

Music chosen to promote relaxation has different

musical traits from music intended to distract away

from a painful or anxiety-producing stimulus. This

distinction between relaxation and distraction is important,

as “relaxation and distraction are two separate

mechanisms encompassing distinctively different

properties.” 25 Research indicates that specific aspects

of music such as tempo, timbre, dynamic, rhythmic

complexity, melodic complexity, pitch range, and

presence or absence of sung lyrics together play a

role in whether music is sedative (relaxing) or stimulating

(distracting). A 2012 study found that music

to promote relaxation should have “a median tempo

of approximately 60 bpm, small dynamic variations,

low rhythmic complexity, relatively low melodic and

instrumental complexity, major mode, diatonic, with

pitches centered around C5 (an octave above middle

C or C4), and with no lyrics.” 26 Another study states

that relaxation music has a “slow, consistent, and

steady tempo, is tonal and consonant, with predictable

melodic, rhythmic, textural, and harmonic features.

The music has few dynamic changes, [and]

is repetitive.” 27

Distraction, which involves the diversion of attention

away from an aversive stimulus, is another

common mechanism for pain reduction and manage-

25 Xueli Tan, “Interactionality of Trait-State Music Preference,

Individual Variability, and Music Characteristics as a Multi-

Axis Paradigm for Context-Specific Pain Perception and

Management” (PhD Thesis, University of Iowa, 2015).

26 Xueli Tan et al., “The Interplay of Preference, Familiarity,

and Psychophysical Properties in Defining Relaxation

Music,” Journal of Music Therapy 49 (2012), 150-179.

27 Denise Grocke and Tony Wigram, Receptive Methods in

Music Therapy: Techniques and Clinical Applications for Music

Therapy Clinicians, Educators and Students (London, UK:

Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

Resources for Additional Research

Journal Publications

The Journal of Music Therapy

• Music Therapy Perspectives

Journal of the Music-Thanatology Association


The Harp Therapy Journal


• National Library of Medicine: MEDLINE

• National Library of Medicine: PUBMED

Other Notable Publications

The Music Practitioner - E Newsletter

• Music Therapy Matters Monthly

• Music Therapy ENews

• Imagine Magazine

ment. 28 This approach is based on the “Gate Control

Theory of Pain,” 29 where music “is offered as the

positive and competing stimulus to divert patients’

cognitive focus from pain-evoking situations to the

music.” 30 In contrast to the sedative nature of music

for relaxation, music for distraction should be more

stimulating: involving faster tempos, more complex

melodic and harmonic components, and may or

may not involve sung lyrics. Additionally, music for

distraction may involve active engagement on the

listener’s part; the listener may be encouraged to sing

along, actively focus their attention on the music, or

actively engage in music making themselves.

When selecting music, the harpist has much to

take into account, particularly regarding the therapeutic

needs being addressed by the music, and the

listener’s individual musical preferences. However,

28 Kate Gfeller, “Music Therapy, Medicine, and Well-being,”

in An Introduction to Music Therapy: Theory and Practice, ed.

William B. Davis et al. (Silver Spring, MD: American Music

Therapy Association, 2008), 305-341.

29 “The Gate Control Theory of Pain” states that a ‘neural gate’

within the central nervous system “can be opened to varying

degrees, thus modulation the incoming pain signals before

they reach the brain... The extent to which the gate is open

or closed depends on 1). The amount of noxious stimulation,

2). The amount of sensation in other peripheral fibers

and 3). The messages that descend from the brain.” “Music

Therapy, Medicine, and Well-being.”

30 “Music Therapy, Medicine, and Well-being.”


Scope of Practice

Another consideration worth discussing is each approach’s

scope of practice: the services that each

certification trains, educates, and deems their professionals

competent to perform. While similarities do

exist between these modalities, it is helpful to highlight

some key differences as well. According to the MHTP, a

Certified Music Practitioner’s primary service is to use

“Unitative Listening or another suitable transpersonal

process to be centered in oneself, [and be] open and receptive

to the patient’s physical, emotional and/or spiritual

needs that may be supported with live therapeutic

music.” 1 Additionally, Certified Music Practitioners are

trained to refrain “from utilizing music or the musical

instrument in a manner that solicits patient participation…[and

use] only simple statements for self-introduction,

patient orientation to the therapeutic music

session, and for obtaining the patient’s permission when

initiating the session and during the session.” 2 Certified

Music Practitioners are trained to implement live music

to address the patient’s physical, emotional and/or spiritual

needs within a healthcare setting.

Music-Thanatologists are also trained to use live

music (specifically that of the harp and voice, referred

to as ‘prescriptive music’) to address the physical,

emotional and spiritual needs of their clients. This

prescriptive music is described as being “live music

that responds to the physiological needs of the patient

moment by moment. For example, by observing vital

1 “Scope of Practice” Music for Healing and Transition

Program. Accessed October 2, 2017, www.mhtp.org/scopeof-practice/

2 “Scope of Practice”

by cultivating a varied and flexible repertoire, and

implementing this repertoire carefully and thoughtfully,

the harpist can take steps to ensure that the

listener’s musical preferences and therapeutic needs

are being met.


For harpists seeking to implement the harp in a

therapeutic manner in healthcare settings, there is

certainly much to consider. The harpist’s musical

proficiency, level of therapeutic training, and degrees

and certifications, as well as the clinical settings in

which they work, the populations with whom they

signs such as heart rate, respiration and temperature,

the music-thanatologist provides music that is tailored

to each specific situation.” 3 This music is intended to

“bring solace, dignity and grace to those nearing the

ultimate journey at the end of life…ease physical symptoms

such as pain, restlessness, agitation, sleeplessness

and labored breathing, and offer an atmosphere of serenity

and comfort.” 4

In contrast to this, Music Therapists are trained to

use a variety of music approaches to address a client’s

social, emotional, physical, cognitive, educational, and/

or spiritual needs. These approaches include “music

improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing,

lyric discussion, music and imagery, singing, music

performance, learning through music, music combined

with other arts, music-assisted relaxation, music-based

patient education, electronic music technology, adapted

music intervention, and movement to music.” 5 Additionally,

music therapists are trained to implement these

music approaches as part of a music therapy treatment

plan, developed “specific to the needs and strengths of

the client who may be seen individually or in groups.” 6

As such, music therapy implements its services within a

broader scope of practice than those of either Certified

Music Practitioners or Music-Thanatologists.

3 “What is Music-Thanatology?” Music-Thanatology Association

International. Accessed October 20, 2017, www.


4 “What is Music-Thanatology?”

5 “Scope of Music Therapy Practice” American Music

Therapy Association. Accessed October 2, 2017, www.


6 “Scope of Music Therapy Practice”

work, the repertoire offered, and the listeners’ therapeutic

needs and individual preferences all interact

to inform the therapeutic efficacy of a musical session.

However, by seeking appropriate therapeutic

training for the settings in which they work, and by

adopting the ability to place the listener’s needs and

preferences ahead of their own, harpists can step

forward more confidently into therapeutic settings,

better prepared to support and care for the listeners

with whom they work.


American Music Therapy Association. “What is

Music Therapy?” Accessed November 30, 2016.



American Music Therapy Association and National

Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians.

Therapeutic Music Services at a

Glance: An Overview of Music Therapy and

Therapeutic Services.” Last modified August

2015. www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/


The Certification Board for Music Therapists. “The

Certification Board for Music Therapists,” Accessed

November 30, 2016. www.cbmt.org.

Ebneshahidi, Amin, and Mohseni, Masood. “The

effect of Patient-Selected Music on Early Postoperative

Pain, Anxiety, and Hemodynamic Profile

in Cesarean Section Surgery,” The Journal of Alternative

and Complementary Medicine 14 (2008):


Gfeller, Kate E. “Music Therapy, Medicine, and

Well-being,” in An Introduction to Music Therapy:

Theory and Practice, ed. Davis, William B., Gfeller,

Kate E., and Thaut, Michael H. (Silver Spring,

MD: American Music Therapy Association,

2008): 305-341.

Grocke, Denise, and Wigram, Tony. Receptive Methods

in Music Therapy: Techniques and Clinical Applications

for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators

and Students (London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

Heiderscheit, Annie, Breckenridge, Stephanie J.,

Chlan, Linda L., and Savik, Kay. “Music Preferences

of Mechanically Ventilated Patients Participating

in a Randomized Controlled Trial,” Music

and Medicine 6 (2014): 29-38.

Institute for Credentialing Excellence. “NCCA Accreditation.”

Accessed November 30, 2016. www.


Music-Thanatology Association International.

“What is Music-Thanatology?” Last modified

September 22, 2008. www.mtai.org/index.php/


National Association of Schools of Music. “Welcome

to NASM.” Accessed November 30, 2016. nasm.


National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians.

“Accreditation Standards.” Accessed November

30, 2016. www.nsbtm.org/training-andprofessional-standards/accreditation-standards/.

National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians.

“FAQ.” Accessed November 30, 2016.


Tan, Xueli. “Interactionality of Trait-State Music

Preference, Individual Variability, and Music

Characteristics as a Multi-Axis Paradigm for Context-Specific

Pain Perception and Management.”

PhD Thesis, University of Iowa, 2015.

Tan, Xueli, Yowler, Charles J., Super, Dennis M., and

Fratianne, Richard B. “The Interplay of Preference,

Familiarity, and Psychophysical Properties

in Defining Relaxation Music.” Journal of Music

Therapy 49 (2012): 150-179.

The University of Iowa School of Music. “Music

Therapy Equivalency Program.” Last modified

June 6, 2016. music.uiowa.edu/future-students/


Additional Online Resources

American Music Therapy Association:


National Standards Board for Therapeutic

Musicians: www.nsbtm.org

Music-Thanatology Association International:



Bethany Wheeler is a graduate of the

Oberlin Conservatory of Music

where she earned a Bachelor of Music

in Harp Performance under the

instruction of Yolanda Kondonassis.

In 2017, she completed a Master

of Arts in Music Therapy from the

University of Iowa, including a music therapy internship

at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She currently

works as a hospice music therapist and freelance

harpist in the Eastern Iowa area. This article was written

as part of her graduate thesis project.


AHS 43 rd National Conference:

Back to Our Future, Redlands, California

by Leslie Shortlidge


HE American Harp Society Inc.’s 43 rd National

Conference, BACK TO OUR FUTURE, is now

one for the history books. If you were able to join us

in California at the beautiful University of Redlands,

we hope your experience was entertaining, educational,

and just plain fun!

The conference highlighted various aspects of

the California harp legacy, including Latin American

music and culture, jazz, Hollywood—and Bollywood!

Several panels focused on the entertainment industry.

And keeping with the future-focused aspect of

the conference, many panels took an in-depth look

at teaching, preparing young people for a career

with the harp, and navigating the world of grants

and funding.

The University of Redlands rolled out the welcome

mat to attendees, performers, vendors, students,

harp-haulers, family members, and presenters

of all stripes. The School of Music at Redlands is

internally known as a center for the interchange of

expertise, knowledge, and opinion, and was a very

supportive host. Redland also boasts the magnificent

Memorial Chapel, a high-vaulted and heavenly performance

space where our performers’ music could

not have been better served.

We were treated to three outstanding evenings in

that space, from featured performers Emmanuel Ceysson,

principal harpist for the Metropolitan Opera in

New York City; Lori Andrews, Motoshi Kosako, and

Carol Robbins and the Redlands Symphony Orchestra

with performances from Paul Baker, Ellie Choate,

Cristina Montes Mateo, and Julie Smith Phillips.

Our event also featured young award winner

Abigail Kent who was the first prize recipient in

the Young Professional Division of the AHS 2017

National Competition and AHS Concert Artist

for 2017-1019, and Anne Adams Awards winners,

Mana Azimi, Abigail Enssle, and Adam Phan. (See

article elsewhere in this issue regarding the Anne

Adams Awards.)

2018 AHS National Conference chair Mary

Dropkin and her team did an outstanding job of

organizing an event with the interests of many in

mind! The registration table was the “go-to” nerve

center, where everyone who needed anything from a

map to the grounds to just the right cable to set up a

laptop presentation felt welcome and cared for.

The pop-up Historical Harp Museum in the

Memorial Hall Narthex was great fun, as were the

performances by some of our youngest participants

in the same space. Those young musicians are the

future, and we hope they will look back on their national

conference experience as a pivotal moment.

As an extra special added feature, professional

recordings of all performances and workshops were

made by the team from Brigham Young University.

This rich archive of great sound and video is made

available via the AHS Archives on loan to AHS


As always, we extend our sincere thanks to our

exhibitors who go to great effort and no little expense

to create a wonderful shopping and networking

experience during the conferences. We hope you

found your next harp or that special piece of music!

And we couldn’t put on a national event like this

one without the support of our sponsors Lyon &

Healy Harps and Salvi Harps, Harp Column and Anderson

Musical Instrument Insurance. As ever, they

make our world go around.

Make space on your calendar for the 44 th Annual

Conference in 2020, when we’ll all meet again in

Central Florida for “That’s Entertainment!” V


Seen at Redlands...

Additional Photos from Receptions andPerformances

18-19 Anne Adams Awards Recitals

21-21 Evening of Jazz, June 28

21-26 Open Concert Reception, June 27

27 Around Redlands


Anne Adams Awards Recitals

Anne Adams Awards Recitals

Evening of Jazz, June 28

Evening of Jazz, June 28

Open Concert Reception, June 27

Open Concert Reception, June 27

Open Concert Reception, June 27

Open Concert Reception, June 27

Open Concert Reception, June 27

Open Concert Reception, June 27

Around Redlands

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