Dr. Ron D. Price 1940–2013

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Healing Harps Founder

—by Sunita Staneslow

After suffering from a debilitating neurological disorder, Ron Price noticed that his symptoms diminished when he played the harp. This discovery led him to explore the benefits of playing the harp with others who suffered from neurological difficulties. The results were often profound and many harpists showed improvement that went far beyond their expectations. Dr. Price’s work was featured on national television, and millions of viewers learned about the therapeutic benefits of playing the harp.

Ron studied the French horn at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in music and special education. He was on faculty in the music department of both The Ohio State University and NIU (DeKalb). In the 1980s he began teaching harp to a group of severely disturbed boys. The result was so positive that Ron began using the same techniques with other groups and founded Healing Harps. The organization, now based in New Mexico, brought harpists into hospitals, clinics, hospices, and churches. Ron Price conducted several medical and research studies including a study with Sue Huhta that showed an improvement of reading skills by fourth and fifth grade students when they learned to play the harp. Ron and his wife, Carol, developed a certification program for Professional Service Musicians that was specific to the harp.

Ron and Carol Price were famous for organizing “Monster Days” where harpists of all levels, many of whom suffered from neurological ailments, would gather to play together. The power of music was obvious to all who attended. Ron suffered from many health ailments himself, and so doing good helped him see beyond his own self-pity.

Ron performed on the harp for years with the quartet Just Folk. Joined by his wife, Carol, on the hammered dulcimer, his daughter, Jennifer, on violin, and Wally Koch on the bass, they explored the healing power of music, often performing in places where people are challenged by illness and pain. Their recording, Spirit Within, continues to be used by many for pain management and stress reduction.

Ron loved people and had many friends. He enjoyed telling stories and always had a joke to share. A spiritual man, he devoted his life to teaching and helping others. Ron Price will be missed by many around the world who knew him as a friend, a teacher, and a man who inspired others and helped them benefit from the healing vibrations of the harp. •

—Sunita Staneslow

Remembering Ron Price

“Ron Price was a lover of humanity, a consummate musician, both passionate about his craft and knowledgeable about research and its application to the real world.”
—Sue Huhta

“As one of the pioneers of the therapeutic harp movement, Ron Price will always be remembered for his groundbreaking work using the power of resonance on neurological impulses of the body. I will greatly miss him and help to keep his legacies of playing harp for therapeutic benefits alive.”
—Christina Tourin, director, International Harp Therapy Program

“One thing I will always focus on is his infamous saying, ‘Just get over it.’ I’ve had numerous strokes, but I go on and get the job done. Ron will forever inspire me.”
—Sharon Strange

“The special aspect of Healing Harps is that it includes both active and passive healing processes with music. Dr. Price’s expertise in special education played a significant role in the development of Healing Harps and will always be a component of our mission. We are currently working with special needs students at the New Mexico School of Music in Albuquerque and are involved in a project to develop a music curriculum for students with autism. We also plan to establish harp programs in hospitals and other clinical settings.”
—Julietta Rabens-Moor, president of Healing Harps

 

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