Bereavement workshop focuses on healing through music

Mar. 24, 2014 @ 04:19 PM

A workshop being offered by Hospice of the Piedmont this week will explore the topic of bereavement and the healing power of music.
“Healing Through Music Following Loss” will include a discussion of how music can help individuals through the grieving process, followed by a musical performance by harp students at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts.
The workshop will be presented Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive.
“In addition to traditional counseling and support groups, we offer a variety of creative arts workshops to help people following loss,” explains Chacy SanFilippo, bereavement coordinator for Hospice of the Piedmont.
“Music is a very important part of our lives, and following loss it can rip your heart out or be used in a purposeful way to lift people’s spirits. This workshop will teach people how to use music to lift their spirits following loss.”
Participants in the interactive workshop, which was designed by bereavement counselor Rachelle Burrell, will learn about the healing properties of music, and how music can be used to instill a sense of peace and hope, she says.
“So much of grief is nonverbal — it’s beyond words,” SanFilippo continues. “So much of healing lies in the nonverbal realm as well, and can best be explored through music or the arts.”
In a unique twist, Thursday’s workshop will conclude with a 30-minute performance by high-school harp students from Penn-Griffin, as well as a guitarist who recently suffered a loss in his own life.
“Our students have been studying bereavement, and they’ve been picking selections that will evoke the healing process and that have certain emotions appropriate for the healing process,” says Mike Connors, who teaches harp students at Penn-Griffin. “They’re learning about what some of the human responses are to music — distraction, imaging, emotion, catharsis and relaxation — and how they can help with the grieving process.”
The students have been finalizing their musical selections this week, Connors says.
“We’re trying to have music that’s somewhat soothing, but we also want to have some uplifting, energizing music as well,” he says.
The students have embraced their participation in the workshop, according to Connors.
“So many of them have lost a loved one themselves and have had a positive experience with Hospice,” he says. “Hospice was very good to their families, so these students want to give back and help other people. And with the fact that they’re using music to instill music and hope, what could be more appropriate than the harp?”
SanFilippo says the students’ participation will be a big plus for the workshop.
“Not only will workshop participants learn more about the healing qualities of music, but will also reap the benefits of the healing power of youthful energy,” she says. | 888-3579

Want to go?

“Healing Through Music Following Loss,” a bereavement workshop offered by Hospice of the Piedmont, will be presented Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Hospice of the Piedmont facility, located at 1801 Westchester Drive.
There is no charge, but registration is requested.
To register, call 878-7219 or email