Adventures in Music and Healing

 I had coffee with my dear friend Diane this past week. I enjoyed hearing about her discovery of playing the harp and I was interested to learn more of how it had gotten her through a particularly dark time.

Below is the story of her adventure into buying a Concert Harp.

May it give you courage and inspiration to flow into your own dreams:)

(My thoughts are in blue)


 Can you tell us the story of how you decided to start playing the harp?

Diane: For the longest time, I told myself… there are too many painful things going on in my life and all I could do was take in the simple beauty of the stars on a clear night or make a quick visit to notice a blue jay at my bird-feeder. These small wonders were the things I did to just get through the daily grind as I was healing. I didn’t believe that really good things were meant for me. I thought they were for somebody else, more deserving.

So it is with shock and a bit of trepidation that I share the miracle of taking a huge leap and buying a concert harp. Partner and friends kept encouraging me to go ahead and saying:

“Now is the time to buy the harp you’ve been dreaming about.”

 Buying a harp is a huge undertaking. How did you go about finding the right instrument?

Diane: I went to a harp conference called “Beginning in the Middle.” hosted by the Virginia Harp Center.  This event was a great place to see and try out lots of harps in one place and I went with the idea that I might buy one.

 Interesting. I have attended something similar called the “flute convention” and I have always come away inspired by all the resources pulled together into one place. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience and how you felt during the process of choosing a harp?  

Diane: The first day I just looked at the harps. I was too intimidated to try out any harps with other people milling around. I knew that they were better players than I.

The second day I plucked quietly at the large harps, afraid to sit down and really play for sound. And for some reason I noticed that my body hurt throughout the weekend…then I thought:

“A pedal harp for a 5’2” woman …would be too much for me to handle.”

I imagined that should there be a nuclear war, how would I carry my pedal harp with me? What would happen if I got sick and spent all this money on a concert harp and it just sit in the corner of the living room?

 Ha! Funny how difficult it is for most of us to take the first big steps towards our dreams. We can be our biggest “boarder bullies” at times. So what happened? How did you decide to take the plunge?

Diane: At some point, I remembered …that I loved the rich sounds of the concert harp. The tones alone had been getting me through my practice and these past few difficult years. So I realized it was time to buy my own instrument.

Partner was particularly helpful as he reminded me that even though I was just over 5′, that I’d worked with lots of creatures larger than myself,  as he stood almost a foot taller next to me, his comment made me laugh:) He also reminded me I’d grown up with a draft horse, who probably weighted a ton so:  “Surely you could handle a concert harp.”

I also had several friends who reminded me how much joy the harp brought into my life. It was like they could see what I couldn’t. They mirrored back to me in clear uncompromising statements about what they had witnessed.

Their message: If ever you can find the resources to get a concert harp, do it.! and Keep at it!!

I’m so glad you decided to listen to your community of encouragers. What a great blessing these people can be in our lives. So how did buying a concert harp change your life? 

Diane: Today you can find a simple Lyon and Healy concert grand Chicago model stands in my living room where a recliner once sat. Partner calls it the Quaker harp.


My work is picking up so I am busier now, but every chance I get, I try to set aside some time to play. I love it! I pretend that one day I will be good enough to play for my friends, family, and use sound as a healing tool. I might even play schmaltzy harp music in public to strangers!


Speaking as someone who has heard you play the harp in worship, your someday is now and you are already “good enough”. I am so glad you decided to follow your heart and pursue your dream of owning a concert harp. Thank you for sharing your story with those of us who are endeavoring to connect with God thru the Arts. I hope it will  encourage someone out there to begin their own quest of following their heart. Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers? 

Diane: All the major religions talk about non-attachment to the material world. One day we will all die. However, as I work with this fact, I am reminded how this spiritual truth can be turned around into great blessing. Instead of seeing it as a limitation I wonder:  

How do I want to live with the time I have been given? How can my life be tuned in and used as part of the grand universal symphony?


Diane Younkin’s  blog: is written by a grandmother living in the woods near Harpers Ferry, WV. Heartgarden enjoys birding, writing and playing the harp. Her paying work includes serving as a spiritual director and counseling. Look for her Facebook Page for upcoming events in our area:)


“The time has come to set out for sacred ground, the mountain, the temple the ancestral home, that will stir our heart and restore our sense of wonder.”

Phil Cousineau ~ The Art of Pilgrimage

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to God on the harp.”

Psalm 147: 7

Peace be with you:)



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