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Chris Cook, Director of Traditional Worship, says: "We grow music ministers here at RBCPC. In fact, our motto is "Every musician a minister." We offer many opportunities to grow in faith while expressing our gifts through music. Here is a reflection written by one remarkable musician, Joan Sweet, who has found a unique direction for her ministry."
Often, while sitting at the bedside of a critically ill patient,playing my harp, I am in awe of the power that live harp music has on the human body.
As a Certified Music Practitioner, I take my harp to private homes, nursing facilities and hospitals to play for patients of all ages from critical babies in the ICU , to aging seniors close to passing. I have witnessed harp music relieve patient anxiety, stabilize body rhythms, including breathing patterns, relieve body tensions, provide a way to release emotions particularly with family members in the room, and induce a deep, relaxing sleep.
I was at the bedside of my elderly mother when she passed away in the emergency room of a hospital. God planted a seed in my heart that day when I realized there must be a better way for people to pass.
Soon after, the seed began to sprout and grow as I learned of an organization, Music for Healing and Transition Program, (MHTP.org,) that certified musicians to play at the bedside of patients. This group headquartered in New York is approved by the National Board of Therapeutic Musicians.
I contacted them and qualified to become a student. I began the training in 2004 and after 80 hours of classroom work, 45 hours of bedside internship, I was certified in 2005. I have been playing my harp since then averaging three patients a week.
I am affiliated with VITAS Innovative Hospice in San Diego, Hospice of the North Coast in Carlsbad and Elizabeth Hospice. I truly feel God has called me to do this work.
Before entering the room of each patient, I pray for God's guidance so that the music I bring may provide comfort and peace to all who hear it.
Joan Sweet BA, CMP