Tag Archives: medical music therapy

Ladies and Gentlemen… I give you… The HAPI drum.

Have you heard about the HAPI drum? If you have, great. If not… you have to check this thing out.  I’ve been shamefully hoarding it from my co-interns for the last month.  I’m constantly blown away by it’s sound, meditative abilities, portability and most   importantly- client responses to it.  It has great versatility between individual sessions and groups and is easily adapatble to all sorts of interventions.  I’ve been primarily using it for relaxation, imagery and bonding among group members.  It’s a wonderful tool to have in your cart and totally worth the investment.  The HAPI drum (pronounced ‘happy’) is made out of molded steel and comes in a variety of keys (I use the A-minor).  The slim model is much lighter than the original drum and is easier on the music therapists back.  It is struck with rubber mallets one at a time or simultaneously (I’ve seen it played with fingers but I don’t recommend it- ouch!).  You can find more information about the HAPI drums here: http://www.hapitones.com/.

I had a wonderful experience with a client who loves the HAPI drum. Here is their story.   

C is a delightful woman with a pleasant personality and an inviting smile.  She welcomed music therapy right away and spoke of how much she loved music.  After our initial session C had opened up about many family memories certain songs evokes, shed a few tears, and reminisced about her favorite childhood memories. 

When I came in for my follow-up session with C, she was out of breath; irregular breathing, very shallow.  I introduced the HAPI drum to her and said I thought it would be beneficial for us to do a deep breathing, relaxation exercise to help regulate her breath and bring her to a more relaxed state.  C took to the sound of the drum right away; she closed her eyes and entrained her breath with the drum and followed my verbal ques.  I noticed her rate of breathing slowing throughout the exercise.  At the conclusion of the intervention, she smiled and said, “Wow, that really works.”  She spoke slower and it was observably noticeable that her body and breathing had relaxed and normalized.  As part of the facilitation, I took C through some imagery.  At the conclusion of the session she spoke of vivid colors of red and gold she visualized.  She disclosed that the colors began to move in until they were the pattern on her favorite sofa at home.  The sofa sits in the middle of her house, and when family or friends come to visit, they all gather her around her in this common area.  We joked about how she was “the queen” sitting on this couch in the middle of the room.  She smiled and said how she could feel how the couch felt and how it felt to lay/sit on it and how it was so great to get out of the room for a while.  C said she would love to share the sounds of this instrument with her daughter… we made plans to record different sounds/songs during our next session.  As I was charting in the nurses station, C’s nurse came right over to me.  She said that while I was in C’s room, she was watching her vitals.  She noted excitedly that her heart rate and blood pressure decreased throughout our session and stabilized by the time I left.  She turned to me and another RN and said “that’s crazy how that works.”    

(all names and information have been changed to product client confidentiality)


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“i” Autoharp!

I came across this awesome application and just had to share it with everyone! It’s neat for a couple reasons… but first off it’s called the “Autoharp” application and can be purchased for .99 in the App store (sure beats the cost of an actual autoharp!- not that anything can replace the quality or sound of a real instrument).

These app’s are really handy especially if budgets are low, and new instruments that aren’t 100% necessary aren’t in the cards for the year.  Purchasing an iPad or something similar gives you access to hundreds of instruments that clients wouldn’t normally have access to.  This allows us students or professionals to spice up the sessions with a little something different, gadgety and intriguing.  I really liked this autoharp app because it requires clients and therapists to use the same type of stroke and hand positions that a real autoharp would.  It also has great sound quality (not that cheesy synthetic sound), and allows you to play both up and down strokes, as well as individual strings! Why is this beneficial?

  • I’m in a medical setting currently, and this would be great.  Why? Because normally it would be difficult to bring in an autoharp- it’s way to difficult to clean over and over again with all the strings, and when something needs to be cleaned every time it leaves the office, another option would be great.
  • iPads, iPods and iPhones have protective coverings and cases.  The plastic cover that goes on the screen can be replaced for each client. Other options? – a transparent sheet can be placed over the iPad for each client for sanitary purposes.  Just clean the sheet- it’s way simpler than cleaning each of those strings!
  • Clients can have the opportunity to play the autoharp- although autoharp can be quite easy for clients to play, it can be bulky and awkward.
  • The app is always tuned for you! For anyone who has tuned an autoharp… it’s not very fun. No worries here!

Like I said, nothing can replace the real thing- but it’s nice to have options if you don’t have access to specialty instruments.  Taking part of the budget an investing in an iPad will save money in the long run, and will give you access to dozens of instruments instead of just one or two.

Happy tech-ing!

Thanks! 🙂


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Filed under Activities, Music Therapy, Musical Resources