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Love Letter from a Certified Music Practitioner

September 5, 2017
Posted by
Music practioner with her Ravenna 34 harp

After her organization received funding for a harp that will live at a local hospital for a rotating crew of therapeutic harpists to play, Nancy Hartwig wrote us to say how much she loves her Ravenna 34 and to fill us in on some of the wonderful things that are happening in the Northern California CMP community.

To the exceptional employees at Dusty Strings -

I just want to say “thank you” and share how much I love my Ravenna 34-string harp.  Several times per week, I take my harp to hospitals, memory care facilities and skilled nursing centers to provide music to individuals who are in some type of physical and / or emotional pain.  The durable craftmanship has endured many rough loadings into and out of my car.  Despite being lightweight, the sound of the Ravenna is clear and bright – perfect for use by the bedside and in larger venues such as a hospital lobby or nurses station.

I feel extremely grateful to have discovered a way to use my love of the harp as a viable profession.  In 2012, I became a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) through the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP).  The mission of MHTP is to train musicians on the art and science of providing therapeutic music in healing environments.   It is obvious, to most of us, that music has an impact on the body, mind and spirit but ongoing research shows how music can decrease pain and anxiety, stabilize heart rate and lower blood pressure.  

The instruction I received through MHTP was well designed and taught by exceptional teachers.  At a very high level, the training consists of using elements of music (key, rhythm, timbre, etc.) to support a patient’s specific condition.  For example, someone in chronic pain may benefit from music with a steady heart beat rhythm while arrhythmic music would be more appropriate for a patient actively dying.   By understanding the dynamics of music and applying that to physiological responses and emotional needs, music can provide solace to patients as well as families and attending staff.

In Northern California, we have an amazing community of CMPs united by an organization called Music Partners in Healthcare (mpih.org).  This non-profit was created in 2008 by three CMPs with the goal of expanding the music practitioner’s role in our area.    The mission of MPIH is to create partnerships with the healthcare community, increase awareness of the CMP profession, offer continuing education opportunities for CMPs and provide funding to expand the presence of music in healing environments.

In our small, but growing, community of 26 CMPs, we have a total of 14 Dusty String harps used for this work.  Recently, we received funding that allowed us to purchase a Dusty Strings harp that will remain on-site at a local hospital.

Again, THANK YOU.  Please know your craftsmanship is appreciated and makes a difference in the world.


Nancy Hartwig

From all of us at Dusty Strings, here's a big thank-you in return to Nancy and her colleagues for the important work they do on a daily basis to help patients in need and to promote the practice of therapeutic music!

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