George Washington University Hospital in downtown Washington, D.C., is part of a small and unconventional medical movement. Once a week, this state-of-the-art facility pays a harpist to play in the emergency room to provide patients with a measure of comfort and calm.

I read it here.

Okay … nice idea, I guess, but of course my first reaction, being who I am, was that some groggy patients might think, “Oh my! I’m in heaven!”

Yeah. That’s me.

My second reaction, again being who I am, is that I think I might get ticked off, depending upon what harp music is being played. (I won’t even go into the, “What if the musician isn’t very good?” because I’m nice that way.)


  1. As an amateur harpist, I have often thought about playing in hospitals. I’ve also thought what has crossed your mind, about patients assuming they’re in heaven.

    But no fear of that with MY playing! 😉

    I would probably just improvise, I’m better at that than reading “real” music. Playing printed notes might make the patients think they’ve arrived at the Other Place.

  2. So many joke possibilities with a harpist at a hospital!

    I didn’t know you played harp, Cameron. Man … horn, recorder, harp … please tell me you mostly make oboe reeds, though …??

  3. They say “the harp is the doorway to heaven.” After picking up the harp for only a few months, I started playing at the nursing homes and even though I couldn’t play through an entire song without making a mistake, they still loved it. Even an amateur harpist sounds great to the people in the hospitals and nursing homes. There’s a Music for Healing and Transition Program ( gives training for people to do this kind of thing.

    Sad to say this but somehow, I don’t think they would appreciate an oboe after a few months of experience. Ya think?

  4. Heh … some may never appreciate oboe, Janet. Although of course they are so very, very wrong. 😉

  5. I dont think harp has ever angered me. even when I play it poorly 🙂 I guess I never thought about harp in a hospital. I think if I made it to heaven and heard a harp i’d be asking if I could have that perfect oboe…of course to practice on 🙂 Scratch that…i’d rather have the perfect reed.