In the summer of 2003, Lynda Lowell and a friend attended a harp concert that was a part of the Somerset Harp Festival. The concert was a wonderful experience—concert grand harps, small folk harps and even electric harps. She met Edie Elkan when she took part in workshops over the weekend and thus began a whole new part of her life. Lynda had recetnly completed several music theory courses at Rartian Valley Community College and played the piano for about four years. When Lynda heard Edie tell the story of Bedside Harp® and its mission, she knew in her heart it was for her. Here was an amazing way to tie together her spiritual side, as an ordained minister and chaplain, with her scientific side, as a nurse.
Lynda began her instructional classes in the fall of that same year. She says, “I am blessed to have faithful friends and a very supportive husband. Very importantly, Edie is a wonderful, patient teacher. As I learned more about how to play the harp, practice became a joy.” Each time she began to practice, harp playing became more and more wondrous. Eventually she enrolled in the Certification program, and graduated with her Mastery in Harp Therapy in August 2005.
Each Certification Module has a unique theme, and Lynda’s journey began to take shape. Regarding the Modules, she says, “As one gets to know oneself, the path to offering harp therapy becomes clearer. For anyone considering certification, I would highly recommend it. Personal growth parallels technical expertise in the exercises and lessons.”
In her journey as a harp therapist, Lynda has met and played for some remarkable people. For example, once, in the emergency room, she played for a screaming, squirming toddler. The respiratory therapist was trying to administer a breathing treatment through a face mask to this small patient, and he wanted no part of it. As she began to play a few notes, the young boy stopped crying in short intervals at first, and then the quiet intervals grew longer as he watched Lynda’s hands on the strings. Within a few minutes, he was asleep in his mother’s arms, receiving the needed respiratory therapy in a very relaxed state.
Lynda currently plays at all of our New Jersey host facilities: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospitals in Rahway and Hamilton and The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and to date has logged over 1000 hours of harp therapy. Recently she was recognized by the hospital in Rahway with a STARS award for her work there.
Last fall, Lynda started teaching instructional harp to students for Bedside Harp and will be among the graduates from our instructional mentors program this summer. She is currently teaching a number of students at our Rahway location and finds it another amazing experience. “Here, people proceed from never having ever touched a harp, to tuning it, playing melodies, learning scales, noodling, and making their own music. It is so exciting watching them learn, each in their own unique fashion.” She credits Edie’s instructional program which is certainly “user friendly” and can easily be tailored to address each student’s unique needs and learning style.
Lynda received her BA in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State College in 2005. She is married and has two adult children. I addition to her work for Bedside Harp, she has a private practice in harp therpay and is a hospice chaplain. Lynda says, “Bedside Harp’s instructional and certification programs provide the framework for this incredible journey. I am grateful to be a part of this program, and offer thanks to Edie, Leslie, and the many others who have taught me by their words and examples.” We are pleased to welcome Lynda to our teaching staff.