Healing Music for Mind, Body, Soul

Aloha & Greetings!
My name is Celia Canty. I am a composer and performer – harp, piano, and glass armonica. I present this site to share with you the esoteric mysteries of music and healing, especially as corroborated by observation, experience, and science.

I specify the healing qualities of certain acoustic instruments: harp; singing crystal – such as bowls & glass armonica; piano; and flute. You have opportunities to listen to music crafted to correspond to metaphysical teachings on healing music and composed in a Western style.

You can read about and schedule a private Music Bath or consult the calendar to find out when the next publicly presented group Music Bath will be held here in Ashland, Oregon. The Music Bath is an immersion in the live sounds of these special acoustic instruments and can be customized for an individual or played to bathe an entire group in soothing sound.

I now incorporate essential oils into the Music Bath, as I’ve received from Tiffany Carole Levels 1 & 2 of Aroma Acupoint Therapy. The Music Baths are an effort to provide healing through all five senses. Stay tuned for more!

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Ode to Carole Jean

Dr. Delaney! The name inspired true awe in the hearts of her students. She was a powerhouse of knowledge, energy, insights, perfect perfect pitch, spot-on ear, jazz piano, improv like nobody’s business, understanding of students of all ages, and so much more! She was my hero for multitudinous reasons.

The day before a landmark birthday, I sit here wondering how I can encapsulate all she meant to me. I hearken back to a Sunday school birthday party when I was about 12 or 13 (was it my birthday? I cannot recall, but I was obviously impressed by this incident)… One of the mothers present at the party asserted, “I’ve always thought that the mother ought to be the one who gets the gifts and celebration!” I filed that away thinking that one birthday soon I would do just that for my own mother. Alas, it wasn’t to be, as I had few birthdays left before I would lose my mother to cancer, and I was too self-involved at each to remember to fete her. Still, some almost 50 years later, I recall this.

And so today, in timely accord with my birthday and the passing of someone very dear to my heart, I celebrate my “professional mother,” Dr. Carole Jean Delaney, California State University, Sacramento, who just passed from this world 12/28/17.

Once we’d met, she took me under her wing just a bit, even before I was officially in her classes and gaining her music education tutelage. The day I dismally walked into her office determined that it was time for me to quit my Music Degree quest is the day she changed my life. Not only did she think that was poppycock, but she told me to change my piano teacher… something that professionally was a risk for her and I was sworn to secrecy that she’d said that. (Somewhere above, she smiles at me, as we both know all parties involved have passed from this world.) That’s when I went from a mediocre pianist to one who blew away the pre-recital jury who’d heard me before; I even was successful enough at my Senior Recital that I was persuaded to go for my Master’s in Piano Performance. All because Dr. Delaney made it comfortable for me to go to her and she was willing to take the risk to point me in the direction that was right for me.

The two who changed my Pianistic life – thanks to Carole – on the left!

One time I noticed something about Carole (she made me start calling her that after I’d graduated – but oh so hard because of my deep respect for her) – My goodness, I thought, she’s shorter than I. I’d been with her 2+ years and had never noticed that! WHY? Because she was a bigger spirit than her stature would have you believe. I saw, respected, admired, loved the HUGE heart, mind, and spirit that was Dr. Delaney.

 

She encouraged me to join Mu Phi Epsilon and helped me get inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda. She mentored me through all my Music Student Teaching. She put in a great word for me when San Juan Unified School District began their “music prep” program in 1985. And even tho’ she didn’t like having her picture taken, (she really put up a fuss each time) she allowed my boyfriend to take a pic of us together at my Master’s graduation. How lucky I am to have that now!

CSUS MA Graduation with Dr. Carole Delaney

She believed in me so much, I had to start believing in myself! Perhaps that was her greatest gift to me ever! She placed several student teachers with me and wrote me a glowing reference so I could apply to be a Mentor Teacher with the State of California for two rounds of three years each. She encouraged CSUS Music Department to offer me an Alumni Achievement award.

When it was time to move to Maui, she supported me and when the conducting job of the then-Maui Symphony Chorus was offered to me, I consulted with her, and of course she encouraged me to spread my wings. She’d always envisioned my conducting a high school chorus, so this seemed like the perfect fit. Whenever I went back to California, I attempted to touch base with her…. and it was such a meeting around 2006 (? – I really have no idea when this occurred) that I can see clear as day her giving me the news that she had Alzheimer’s. This brilliant human being – brilliant in mind AND spirit – it seemed impossible, yet she confessed it ran in her family. I never got to see her again, sadly. Yet, it doesn’t much matter, because her spirit lives in my  heart and in my soul as the person who believed in me when I most needed it; the one who knew me better than I knew myself when it came to being a teacher of excellent transmission of skills and love; the one who knew without doubt that I was cut out to be a fine conductor.

I will always remember with deepest gratitude this woman of integrity, unmatched professionalism, highest music standards, staunch defense of her students… thank you, dear Dr. Carole Jean Delaney.

Carole’s obituary here

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Remembering Sami Pup & the Harp

Winter Solstice 2017 – a powerful day, already. I was playing harp at a local memory care center. I’d invited several choristers from Siskiyou Singers, the chorus in which I sing, to come sing Christmas carols with harp for the folks at the care center. Our former landlady was one of the singers. We’d had the privilege of living on her property and caring for her 3 dogs & chickens whenever she & her husband traveled. Hobart & Splash had crossed the Rainbow Bridge over the last year or so. Only Sami was left and just recently, her nearly 14-year-old body had started to show those ominous signs of failing.

The Gang of Five

 

During our singing, Pat got the word that Sami needed to be put down that day. Such a sad moment…yet the singing went on. Later that afternoon, Lloyd & I went over to Sami’s home to bid her a warm aloha and whisper sweet cheerleading into her ears. We reminded her that Splash and Hobart were waiting just over the Rainbow Bridge and that Diamond and Ginjo would be there, too. They’d all go romping in the ocean, there was no doubt. Lloyd mentioned Sami being “the great escape artist” and we all had a good chuckle and reminiscence over that.

Sami with best Play Pal/Friend, Splash

But wait! This is a healing harp blog…and indeed, I had a powerful opportunity to use my harp with Sami. I remember the night the thunder was VERY loud, unusually relentless. Sami was staying with us in our home as her “parents” were away. She was distraught, whining steadily, and quite anxious, due to the thunder. Nothing I thought of worked for more than a few seconds. Finally, I remembered that dogs are fond of harp therapy, too. So I brought my hospice harp into the room with her, Hobart, and Splash and started playing my most soothing tunes. Soon, Sami lost all her edgy anxiety, finally laid down (for the first time in an hour) on her bed, and calmed down to the point where she was genuinely relaxed. Even when the thunder went off, she remained calm. Thank you, Sami, for reminding me that the music is good for our best friends, too.

Sami at Peace
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Hospice Music on Veterans’ Day

Today I played harp for someone on hospice who had a hideous and gnarly job after the sinking of the Indianapolis in 1945. I didn’t ask him about it; I only know what I know from the social worker who made the referral. This gentleman is depressed and very contained. He’s had trauma, I was told. Well, indeed yes! I had not heard of the sinking of the Indianapolis so I just researched it. Oh my! She was carrying parts and the enriched uranium (about half of the world’s supply of Uranium-235 at the time) for the atomic bomb Little Boy, which would later be dropped on Hiroshima. She was gunned down by a Japanese submarine and sank in 12 minutes. It’s the single largest loss of life from the loss of a single ship in the US Navy’s history. Wikipedia states: Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 317 survived.

The gentleman for whom I played today was one of those who helped gather the dead bodies from the shark-infested waters after the sinking. How do you do such things and not experience trauma? When man’s inhumanity to man is so intensely horrible, it’s hard to go forward, yet this man did for 72 more years. That means he must be in his 90s. I am sure his Faith has gotten him through. Yet now, a troubled heart of trauma makes his end days sad. I imagine he never received the opportunity to download and process in the way one might now.

And I, a mere harpist, sat there trying to reach to my depths and his, trying to choose music that might touch him. Midway through, I realized that here I am playing for one of our older vets on Veterans’ Day – rather unplanned, except by God, I’m sure. All I could think was…. “Blessings; Peace; Blessings; Peace.”

“Old Rugged Cross” brought distinct fond reminiscences to him, as I hoped it would, and his gruff voice tried to sound some of the chorus from “In the Garden.” “Edelweiss” brought him a touch of warm sentiment, and before you knew it I was through. I felt that I should have stayed all evening to play for such a one. I promised to come back – he said, “Any time.” I left with my fervent prayer for him until we meet again: Peace.

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Power and Reward of Encouragement

In my time on Maui, I did more than play the harp 🙂 Seems like that’s the story of my life… wearing more than one hat at a time… yet, that has allowed me to always persevere with my beloved music.

I had the opportunity to teach for four years at University of Hawaii, Maui (aka Maui Community College when I first started in 2009). My first and always ongoing class was the College Chorus, which dovetailed nicely with all my conducting work for Maui Choral Arts Association and its Concert Chorus et al.

A couple of years into UH teaching, I finally had the dream men’s section – some wonderful young men showed up to sing and I, as well as my women singers, were delighted to have our sound so fleshed out. We were a small, but mighty, group.

One young man, Saia Lotulelei, planning a wrestling career it seemed at the time, is a stellar sight-reader and has a gorgeous bass voice. He was going to go to school in Nebraska for his wrestling and I encouraged him to “never stop singing.” I could feel so much music in this young man. You know, sometimes when we’re in tune with our God-self, we get it right, and thank God I said this to him! He has wound up getting his degree in Music Performance and is now shopping around for a college to support his dream for a Masters in Composition! Today, he Facebooked me this message:
Aloha! Just wanted to share this with you and thank you for encouraging me to be involved with music while on your time Maui! Here is my alumni concert choir singing one of my pieces conducted by my music mentor Dr Roush! Thanks again!
He included this wonderful youtube of his own composition being performed:

Further he said: I know I’ve always loved music and had a special connection with it. When I had the opportunity to go back to college, your words help guide me toward the right direction! “Never stop singing” you said! I’m just glad you took time to encourage me…🙂

I am so grateful I got this one right and encouraged him, when I didn’t even know it would ultimately matter. Thanks, God!

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Have Harp, Will Play to Relieve Stress

You never know where you might find a harpist…. in the Phoenix Auto Center waiting area??? Well, why not? I had my hospice harp with me as I was heading to a patient next after getting my car fixed up… and, when speaking to wonderful Katrina, she mentioned she was always dealing with stress and wished I could stay and play for her all day…. I volunteered that I could play while waiting, and she was into it, so I set up and provided some soothing music for all there. I do believe it was appreciated! 🙂

Live harp music has a quality that’s been clinically studied (tho’ more is needed) and shown to reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and bring calm to all sorts of settings… even auto centers!

Thank God for all the few thousand gigs I played on Maui! I built a solid repertoire of memorized music, much of which is universally appealing. I have truly been blessed by how opportunities in my life have built on one another, even when least expected.

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Happy Birthday, ML King

Martin Luther King and I share the same birth day… I don’t mean the day we celebrate his birthday, but the actual birth date of January 15. Only more recently have I come to appreciate what an amazing man he was… for those of you of a more metaphysical bent, from pretty reliable sources I’ve understood him to be an initiate, which gives even more emphasis to the gifts he gave. While I’m not completely in agreement with all of his philosophies nor all of his practices, I respect his depth of thought, his vast attempts to advance civil rights through non-violent resistance, his holding close to his Christian beliefs.

When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
~Martin Luther King Jr. ~

Yesterday I had a mini-concert to present for an Assisted Living group, for whom I perform monthly. I decided to dedicate my music to ML King by finding all the harp arrangements I could of spirituals, a couple of gospel hymns, and some excerpts from Roger Miller’s musical, Big River.

Roger Miller you ask? Really? The guy who wrote “King of the Road” wrote the lyrics and music for an on- and off-Broadway musical? Yup, and a really good one at that, garnering many Tony awards including for Best Score. 🙂

The program was a lot of fun to present – on my white DeLight lever harp – and felt to be a success, since most people didn’t know the history of the many tunes I presented, nor in particular did they know Big River.

Continue reading Happy Birthday, ML King

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“Where’s-the-Music??”-Ray Passes

A little Ray of Sunshine left my life today. Trite, I know. Yet oh so true. I learned from his daughter that he transitioned last night. How glad I am that I got to play harp music (via Providence Hospice) for him one more time on Monday afternoon. Here’s Ray when he was younger. 🙂
(Photo and permission to use given by daughter)

Ray Carlsen

I’ve played for over 50 individual hospice patients so far this year, some several different sessions. I played for Ray seventeen times since I first started with him in February of this year. I rarely have an opportunity to become attached to my hospice harp patients because I might only see them once, or maybe several times and they’ve not been communicative.

From the very first, Ray was a delight: “What’s THIS???” as I uncovered my white harp. The first notes sounded and he would exclaim almost every time, “OH! … OH! … OH!” as if in ecstasy from the sounds penetrating his slight form. At 94, he wasn’t much for lengthy conversations, but he was sure an appreciative listener. Often, I would lull him to sleep, which for me is always such a compliment.

Once, back in March, I’d put him to sleep and was super quietly packing up. Suddenly, I was startled to hear, “WHERE’S THE MUSIC???” He almost seemed to be hollering.

I responded that I had to go. “Shall I come back next week?”

“You can come back EVERY day!” Ahhhh, now that’s a heart-melter for someone doing what I do…. so many times, my clients are asleep – perhaps never knowing I’ve been there, or dementia has consumed their conscious awareness. Ray just loved to listen and sleep.

Even last week, when I played for him for the sixteenth time, he’d been more awake more consistently than usual and when I was getting ready to go he asked if I had to leave and I told him it was time. “Shall I come back?”

“YES!!! WHEEEEN?”

“I can come back next week if you’d like.”

“YEEEES! You’ll come back???” He almost seemed to need me to promise I’d be back.

“Alright, I’ll see you next week.” I sensed he was fading, but didn’t know it was SO imminent until his daughter called me on the weekend and asked if I could come soon…

He was one of the two people dear to me whom I’ve lost this week who always called me “Sweetheart.” Both dear people meant it… that was what made the sound of their saying it so extra special.

Honestly, I worry a bit about how hard this is going to be on his doting and loving caregivers. They were absolutely amazing with him and he adored them, it was obvious to me. Ali always called him “Handsome” and he responded with all sorts of loving statements to her. Often, their humorous repartee would give me a giggle or a smile. Leo always called him “General” and he called Leo “Chief” – because Leo actually IS a Chief from his Samoan tribe and Ray was a Corporal during WWII, doing combat in North Africa for over a year. The respect these two strong men expressed to each other was touching.

How blessed I was to play for this wonderful man in this loving adult foster care home here in Southern Oregon. Now I’m going to go wipe away more tears.

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Music Is the Message of the Soul

Currently I have the most heart-warming opportunities to play for such a wide variety of people. Janet is one of those amazing people…

The Music!!! ... It comes down from Heaven & goes back again! 
~J.A. Adult Foster Care Home Owner/Caregiver~

In December 2015 she hired me to play on a weekly basis for her adult foster care home! I was impressed that anyone would consider harp music weekly. I was gratified, too, as I’d been thinking for some time now that people are waiting too long to indulge in the specialness that is harp music, if they’re only just getting to it as they’re dying. I mean, I’m grateful they’re getting it at all, I’m grateful that it offers the gifts it does to the dying… yet there are many qualities those of us still living – ill or healthy – might receive from having the harp played for us. And Janet is wise enough to figure this out.

She came from Romania to this country 30 years ago and gives of herself as a caregiver in a most remarkable way. What I particularly appreciate about her is that she, along with her assistants, all stop and indulge in the music, the singing, the gift the harp is to the soul. The title of my blog is straight from the lips of Janet.

Just yesterday when I played for her and her “house guests,” she exclaimed after we’d finished singing and one of the gentlemen apologized for his voice, “We hear the voice, God hears our hearts.” Helloooo…. how beautiful and true is that?

At the other foster care home I play for on Tuesday, a couple of the women, forgetting I come regularly, wandered in wondering what was up… one rather disgruntled, the other with a question mark on her face. As soon as I started the music, they both melted, along with the rest of the folks. The disgruntled one said to me, “I could listen to this all day long.” The other expressed delight by smiling the entire time I was there. That is simply rewarding beyond words. Thanks, God!

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Chasing Dream Harp Along Road via Intention & Connection

I am so super *delighted* to have found my perfect hospice harp! The power of intention was put into action so fast, my head was swirling in early November.

Recently, through following a series of serendipitous links, connecting from one internet dot to the next, I learned of Heartland Harps. I went to the website and was intrigued enough to sign up to receive information. Next, I added a Heartland Harp to my wish list on a document I keep on my computer. Whew! I didn’t realize how fast this would manifest into something special.

Quickly, I received a series of email-articles about the harps David Woodworth has crafted at Heartland in North Carolina. I ultimately explored them and the website, hungering for the beautiful powder blue “Delight” I saw pictured there.

Then, on Halloween, I received an email announcing that David, the creator of the extraordinary Heartland Harps, was going to be touring the West Coast, including Northern California and Southern Oregon, and that would start on 11/3! Yikes! For some time I had been planning a trip to Sacramento and needed to stick with some of my plans, but a bit could be nipped if it meant I could see (& play) the harp in person. David only makes it to the West Coast every 2-3 years so with that incentive I connected and found out that he would be heading up to Eugene, Oregon on I-5 on 11/7. Might we please meet in Ashland as he headed up? I inquired. Yes, sure. Then, on 11/7, I realized that he was already in Williams, CA and if I could scoot up I-5, we could meet ahead of his departure. Done! Arrived at the hotel, met up with him in the lobby, and he had these absolutely amazing harps! What’s so amazing about his harps? They don’t have a speck of wood in them! The only metal is in the tuning parts. They otherwise are made of carbon-fiber, which makes them so lightweight it’s dizzying! My wood harp I was renting, similar in height and number of strings, weighs about 25 pounds….David’s Delight weighs 11!!! It was an unbelievable difference and made me think that I could keep on doing hospice for quite awhile longer, carrying something so lightweight.

IMG_2069Besides, the tone is so wonderfully resounding, especially in the bass, and is easily made sweeter, softer, louder, bolder. I SO wanted this harp, especially when he asked if I’d like to see a white one he had with him. WHITE! I’m not a black fan and white seemed like it could be perfect…. and there she was! The automotive paint that’s used to achieve the white modifies the sound toward the mellower end and made the harp sound even better for hospice. Yet, I had NO intention of purchasing a harp just then – after all, it had only recently made it onto my wish list. I eagerly sent these pics to my husband, just to show him what I was up to…  but honestly, I was “in love” with Delight already. David & I agreed I’d go to the coffee shop, call my husband, think about the on-the-road special he was offering, decide. My husband was Mr. Supportive, which was wonderful. But still, such an outlay… I went back just in time to catch David ahead of his departure up I-5. I *still* couldn’t decide. He laughed with me. We agreed we’d meet an hour up the road at Red Bluff where he had to get gas.

One hour later, I was not much closer to a decision when he phoned to say he was pulling off. I asked one more favor: could he wait one more half-hour until we got to Redding? OK! What a patient man. We met at a Redding gas station and I could no longer stand it. The stunning white DeLight – my name for her – was coming home with me. Right there and then, we loaded her into my Prius, I paid him and came home with butterflies and stars of delight all rolled into one wonderful feeling that I finally had my own, incredibly beautiful, richly resonant, yet oh-so-practical hospice harp: the power of intention at its best!!!

[If you have any interest in a Heartland Harp, I recommend David’s website, accessible via the links on this page. There, you can learn all about the wonderful qualities of his harps, lightweight being only one terrific quality.]

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The Harp Music Encircles You

You know, I told a doctor visiting me the other day: 
You doctors have it all wrong. We don't need medicine. You should put the [hospice] harpist in your pocket instead. ~S. T., Hospice Patient~

Today I played for a lovely woman who, until I started playing for her a couple of months ago on a semi-regular basis, had a very poor impression of harp music. It seems her impression was derived from only hearing an occasional “plunk-plunk,” as she called it, at symphony concerts. She didn’t seem to know it was capable of playing a fluid, beautiful melody, and so, when I landed in her room with my hospice harp, I was able to completely change her mind! What a joy! She was totally startled by her experience the first time and is now so grateful when I arrive in her room to play for her every couple of weeks. She prefers to meditate quietly and “get right with God” she told me today, than to have a lot of hub-bub going on around her.

I love how it's all of everything and it all blends into one remarkable sound: harmony, rhythm, flowing melody. ~S.T., Hospice Patient~

Each time I visit she has one or more profound observations to share and today was no exception. I decided to write them down before I forget:

The music encircles you... it's better than medicine! I think the doctors are catching on...
It creates a breakthrough for my mind, body, and spirit. 
~S. T., Hospice Patient~
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