The mission of a Harp Therapist: "To serve by soothing."

What is the difference?

Music Therapy


Music Therapy uses music and music making as therapeutic tools to rehabilitate the normal functions of living and improve quality of life, and promotes measurable changes in behavior. To become a music therapist requires getting a degree. Music therapists have access to a patients medical records and works with medical staff because each music therapy session has a particular objective. A "typical" music therapy session may incorporate multiple interventions or just one long, in-depth one. The key is that each intervention is designed to target a specific therapeutic goal and objective.  like getting a child to move their arm by creating music on the spot by playing an instrument or a person to vocalize by singing or composing a song.

Therapeutic Music

Therapeutic Music uses the artistic application of the intrinsic elements of live music and sound to provide an environment conducive to the human healing process. Some of the most therapeutic instruments are those that can be plucked and are vibrant with a little  sustaining power. Therapeutic Musicians (T.M.) are certified through extensive programs that provide high-quality training, requiring intensive clinical practicums and holding high standards for each graduate. They are not mere entertainers or performers but rather provide prescriptive music, chosen based upon the patient's current condition. Through careful observation a T.M. modifies the music being played or sung accordingly. 

Harp Therapy


Harp Therapy provides live therapeutic music by a certified harp therapist exclusively on the small therapy harp at the bedside to support healing of body, mind and spirit. This music is individualized to patients by focusing on their immediate needs and current situation. Meeting a patient wherever they are (bed, gurney, chair), and creating a cradle of sound, is the essence of harp therapy. Music is played by ear and incorporates familiar songs as well as improvisation and matching modes with moods. Tammy is certified through Bedside Harp Program interning at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, NJ, which is one of only three nation-wide programs to be accredited through the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians (NSBTM).

Benefits of Harp Therapy


Experience Peace

The soothing tones of the harp can help give listeners an emotional release, support sacred moments, provide comfort and face truths deeply hidden in the heart. True peace can be found and can live within you. Peaceful music uplifts your spirit. Good music can transport you to a special time and place and temperance. Have you ever heard the sound of calm? 

Rejuvenate Your Body

Improves your health! 

Live therapeutic music can:

  • Relieve stress and tension.
  • Improve digestion.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Stabilize heart and respiration rates.
  • Calm nerves.
  • Relieve tension headaches.
  • Relax tight muscles.
  • Clear mind and release emotions.
  • Lead a patient into a deep state of relaxation.
  • Increase endorphin production which may decrease the need for pain medications.
  • May reduce infection.
  • Have a positive influence on protective cells of the immune system.
  • Increase salivary immunoglobulin, which speeds healing.
  • Can be used with Alzheimer's and comatose patients and as an aid for those with learning disabilities.


Playing by ear on a small therapy harp allows Tammy to be mobile and access small areas providing harp therapy in just about any setting but especially at the bedside, in a chair or on a gurney. 

A Therapy Harp is the ideal size for small spaces with patients in hospice, at home, skilled nursing facilities, assisted and independent residences, infusion rooms or any hospital setting.


The harp therapist provides music that is custom-tailored to the patients immediate needs and current situation. Often playing by ear, the therapeutic musician meets the patient where they are, and creates a cradle of sound sometimes through playing soft and slow familiar tunes or noodling (improvising) in a mode that suits the circumstance. Through careful observation, the harp therapist determines how to play the harp, being mindful to make musical changes based on the patient's needs and reaction. Such changes include altering the tempo, volume, rhythm, key signature and type of song. Creating both familiar and unfamiliar sound combined with applying the different scales or modes can influence the patient's mood. 

Unspoken Conversations

"Where words fail, music often speaks."

Hans Christian Andersen

"Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." William Congreve 

"A great song should lift your heart, warm the soul and make you feel good." Colbie Caillat

"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." Maya Angelou 

"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." Leopold Stokowski

"Music... can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." Leonard Bernstein

"Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife." Kahlil Gibran

"Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens." Maria Augusta von Trapp

"Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul." Johann Sebastian Bach

"I see my life in terms of music." Albert Einstein

"People ask me how I make music. I tell them I just step into it. It's like stepping into a river and joining the flow. Every moment in the river has its song." Michael Jackson

"How is it that music can, without words, evoke our laughter, our fears, our highest aspirations?" Jane Swan 

"Music is a language that doesn't speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it's in the bones, it's in the bones."

Keith Richards

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by.  No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." Billy Joel

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." Bob Marley



A Vibrant Instrument

There are many unique attributes of the harp that make it the perfect musical instrument for healing. One of the oldest instruments known to humans, the harp was revered for its healing powers throughout ancient civilizations, including biblical times, and is associated with gods, kings, heaven and angels. The various tones of the harp are naturally soothing, beautiful and ethereal. Harps are made from wood, which is a resonant substance that represents strength and warmth. The sustained vibrations of harp strings create an echo or flowing sound that penetrates deeply into the body. Receiving the sounds of the harp can be experienced as receiving a massage to the soul.

Musical Massages

The recipient need do nothing but rest into the gentle sounds of the harp. To experience this is to understand why so many people love it and so easily relax into it. The specific effects of the harps unique timbre promotes a sense of well-being in the recipient as well as in the player. Taking harp lessons has its own benefits. A musical massage can help soothe, support and celebrate.

Find out more

What are Musical Massages??

Origins of the Western Music Scale & Harmonic Series

Pythagoras of Samos (circa 580-500 B.C)

"Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, was the founder of the Pythagorean philosophical school and brotherhood in Croton.  He is credited with developing the Western musical scale by calculating intervals based on the harmonic series. (This system was the predecessor of our current equal temperament scale).

Pythagoras taught his disciples to use the seven musical modes to incite or allay various emotions. Prescriptive modes were used in the morning to cleanse the mind from sleep and provide inspiration.  In the evening, other modes, conducive to rest, were used to soothe and relax. He cured physical and spiritual ailments by reciting poetry or having specially prepared musical compositions played in the presence of the sufferer. He also prescribed diet and music to restore and maintain health of the body and soul.  

He preferred stringed instruments – especially the lyre.  Each note of the seven-string lyre was thought to echo one of the celestial bodies.  The secret symbol of the lyre was the human condition: the body of the lyre represented humankind's physical form, the strings represented the nerves and music, the spirit. As the "nerves" were played upon, the spirit would correspondingly create the harmony of well-being."

excerpt from "The Mythic Harp" by Sarajane Williams


Biblical Harp Therapist

King David

"Probably the most famous of all harp-healers, David, was born in 11th century B.C., in Bethlehem, Judea. He was the son of Jesse and ostensibly an ancestor of Jesus. The shepherd-warrior-poet soothed troubled King Saul and the evil spirits were removed with psalms and sweet music from his kinnor.  (side note: After God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul, his courtiers recommend that he send for David, a man skilled in playing the harp, wise in speech, and brave in battle. David thus enters Saul's service as one of the royal armor-bearers and plays the harp to soothe the king and the evil spirits would leave him).

Saul was declared the first King of Israel (c.1021 B.C.) by public acclamation after defending his people against the Philistines, but political undermining by other community leaders contributed to Saul's progressive mental deterioration.  Although David married Saul's daughter Michal and befriended his son Jonathan, Saul was extremely jealous of David's success as a warrior – and in a manic rage, ordered David to be killed. 

After fleeing to the desert frontier of Judah and Philistia, David led and organized other outlaws and refugees – and maintained patriotic status by protecting the local population from bandits. 

When King Saul and his son were killed by the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, David became the second king of Israel (c.1000-962 B.C.) and established a united kingdom over all Israel with Jerusalem as its capital. David took wives from the various groups in his kingdom and created a harem. His wife Bathsheba produced the next heir to the throne – Solomon. 

The "House of David" became the symbol of the bond between Yahweh and the nation. David also became a symbol of future fulfillment and peace.  In one of St. Augustine's sermons, he described the ten strings of David's kinnor as symbols of the Ten Commandments. All of the songs and music in honor of God, including The Book of Psalms, are symbolized by the harp."

excerpt from "The Mythic Harp" by Sarajane Williams

but David's historical account can be found in the 1st and 2nd books of Samuel, the Book of Chronicles, Ruth, and song writings can be found throughout The Book of Psalms.