{Mama Moment} Letting Go a Little

by Rachel on December 18, 2014

Mama Moment: Letting Go a Little

I had known all along it was coming, but I wasn’t prepared for just how difficult it would be. And as great as I knew it would be for my little social butterfly, that didn’t make it any easier. But it was time.

Last week, Parker started daycare. We had been planning for this all fall, knowing that one of his daytime babysitters was off to begin her internship in January. And we were thrilled to get a spot in the daycare/preschool on the college campus where my mom teaches, since that meant she could help transport and be close by.

After having the opportunity to be home with Parker much of the time (the rest of which he was here with babysitters) for the first 18 months of his life, that first drop-off was ROUGH. He cried, I cried…it wasn’t pretty.

But his teachers are wonderful, as is the rest of the staff. They have sweetly emailed photos and notes of reassurance throughout his first two weeks, and every afternoon they send out a journal describing their day along with photos.

The drop-offs have gotten easier. There are still tears (mostly from Parker…I hold mine in until I get in the car) but in all honestly, those 3 days a week when he’s in daycare have become sacred to me. Not because I needed a break from him, but because I was starting to burn out trying to juggle the full-time mom/full-time business owner roles.

I spent a year and a half putting some of my attention on any given task, and the result was that I always felt distracted. My time with Parker didn’t feel like quality time, because my to-do list was always in the back of my mind.

But now? I am a POWERHOUSE on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I schedule all of my appointments for those days, spend huge chunks of time focusing and getting into “flow” mode with my writing, songwriting, session planning, and administrative tasks, and even devote a few minutes here and there to self-care.

Parker is starting to enjoy being at “school” (especially playing in the gym, according to his teachers), and I know that eventually he will grow to love it. I love that he is interacting with other children his age and learning new things each day.

And on Friday, I am ready to focus solely on Parker until I leave the house to see clients at work, have a relaxing weekend with my family, and get the week off to a leisurely start on Monday. I thought I had the best of both worlds before, but now that I feel more like my old self, I know this is the best possible arrangement for us.

For more mama moments, Parker updates (including an abundance of adorable photos and videos), and pregnancy progress, check out my family blog, www.therambachs.com.


Christmas Song Round-Up!

by Rachel on December 17, 2014

Christmas Songs for Children

It’s holiday crunch time: those last few days before winter break when I try to fit in as many seasonal songs and activities as I can, because I know I won’t have the chance again for an entire year. I love, love, love Christmas time, especially the music, which is why I have been inspired to write so many original songs over the year.

I’m doing my best to make use of them, many of which I’m sharing with you below in case you need a little extra inspiration in the remaining days before Christmas.

It’s hard not to “catch the spirit” when you work with children every single day. This time of year feels so magical, which I try to capture and put into words with this song. It’s a great way to share in the excitement of this time of year with my little ones.

I wanted to write a song that includes all of the winter holidays, and one thing that they have in common is the lights — whether they are on the Christmas tree or glowing on top of lit candles. “Lights, Lights, Lights” has a mellow feel to it, which is a nice contrast to most of my more upbeat seasonal songs.

“Red and Green” is a song I’ve been having so much fun singing and playing in my holiday-themed early childhood music class this month. We use red and green colored shakers so that there is a visual component to the song, and take turns holding up and shaking the correct colored shakers as we sing about each.

You know I love a good counting song, and aside from the old standby, “The 12 Days of Christmas”, I rely on this one. “Ten Twinkling Trees” is all about picking out the perfect tree, and also works on counting backwards from 10 to 1.

My students seem to have a LOT of extra energy right about now, which of course is completely understandable! That’s where a movement song comes in handy, especially one where they can help come up with fun ways to work out all that energy. “Spread Christmas Cheer” is set to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, and I always sing the traditional lyrics at the end of the song.

One of the big topics of discussion with many of my students is how they will spend their holiday break. This song is a great way to get the conversation going, and prompt them to share their plans for spending time with family, traveling, or whatever other fun things they’ll be doing over those two weeks I won’t see them.

We all know the traditional song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, but there aren’t many songs out there dedicated to those other reindeer that help fly Santa’s sleigh. I wrote two songs just for them, both of which are included in this little album (which, as a bonus, also comes with the lead sheets and instrumental tracks).

I have just 5 more working days left to enjoy these songs along with the other many classics we all know and love. Let’s all go forth and “spread Christmas cheer” with all these musical goodies!


A New Addition on the Way

by Rachel on December 16, 2014

A New Addition on the Way!

Almost exactly two years ago, I shared the news that I was expecting my first baby. It’s hard to believe, because that feels like just yesterday, but I’m thrilled to announce that baby #2 is coming in May!

I wrote all about finding out the news on my family blog, where I plan to journal occasionally about this pregnancy just as I did with my first.

My due date is May 26th, just two weeks shy of my son Parker’s 2nd birthday.  I had heard that pregnancy isn’t exactly a walk in the park with a toddler underfoot, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how exhausting and challenging it would be. After a not-so-pleasant 1st trimester, I’m so happy to be feeling better now that I’ve reached week 17.

The most common question people ask is “are you hoping for a girl?” — and in all honesty, I really don’t care either way. I know it sounds cliche to respond that it doesn’t matter as long as the baby is healthy, but it really is true.

That being said, we WILL be finding out the sex of the baby…on Christmas day! We have a cute plan for a gender reveal with our families, and I’ll be sure to share the video with you.

It’s been a whirlwind pregnancy thus far, and the whirlwind continues as we are closing on a new house at the end of the week. Never a dull moment around here, I tell you. I’m looking forward to getting settled in and regaining some semblance of normalcy.

I’ll be posting baby news here every so often, but mostly I want to focus on the gigantic pile of new songs I’ve been stockpiling these last couple of months. Thanks as always for reading and your generous support!


Rudolph & Co.

by Rachel on December 8, 2014

Reindeer Songs for Kids

Every December, I get to sing reindeer songs with lots of excited children at my church’s annual Breakfast with Santa event. This year just might have been the most fun yet, because my little boy was old enough to attend. He joined right in with the rest of the kids, playing instruments and singing along.

There are a few key ingredients to our reindeer singalong: castanets and rhythm sticks (because how else do you make reindeer hoof sounds!?) and the perfect tunes. “Do You Hear the Reindeer?” and “The Other Eight Reindeer” are two original songs that I wrote just for this occasion, and we round out our singalong with the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Reindeer Songs for Children

Since I get so much use out of these songs every year, I bundled them up — along with their instrumental tracks and notated lead sheets — into one little album. Listen to the songs below, and click through to get it for yourself.

Receive immediate access to this download, plus over 150 other songs, lead sheets, visual aides, and valuable resources for only $9.99 per month…learn more about becoming a member or just subscribe below. You won’t be disappointed!

Members, click here to access this post.


{Mama Moment} How Being a Music Therapist Prepared Me for Motherhood

December 1, 2014

Tweet The following is a guest post by Mary Altom, a board-certified music therapist and neurologic music therapist. She owns Sound Starts Music, a private practice in Frisco, TX and Music Therapy Kids, an online resource for parents and professionals working with children who have special needs. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of […]

Thanksgiving Song Round-Up!

November 19, 2014

Tweet The holidays are here! This time of year is so much fun — I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the fresh start that the new year brings. With only a few days left before Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a quick round-up of the songs I’ve written to celebrate the first big […]

#AMTA14: Conference Recap (With Pictures)

November 12, 2014

Tweet Last week I took a solo road trip to Louisville, KY for the 2014 AMTA national music therapy conference. As all conferences seem to go, it was a complete whirlwind of meetings, meals with friends, sessions, and exhibiting. Although it seems like just yesterday I was attending my first one in San Diego, I […]

{Mama Moment} Joining in the Fun

November 10, 2014

Tweet The following is a guest post by Gretchen Chardos Benner, MSW, MT-BC. Gretchen is the owner of Piedmont Music Therapy, whose mission is to engage, empower and accompany individuals to reach their goals grounded in the frameworks of music therapy and social work. My children remind me of the best ways to get a […]

Off to Louisville for #AMTA14

November 5, 2014

Tweet November is one of my favorite months of the year, because it means I get to reunite with all my music therapy friends at AMTA national conference. I always look forward to a few days away, recharging my batteries and getting pumped up about my career field. I always come home completely inspired and […]

Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin

October 27, 2014

Tweet I wish I could take credit for the adapted Halloween song and activity I’m sharing with you today, but alas, I cannot. The mother of one of my students directed me to a pin via Pinterest, which led me here. It’s a Halloween version of Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, which we have […]

Halloween Song Round-Up

October 23, 2014

Tweet With Halloween just a week away, I’ve been getting lots of use out of my own collection of songs on this topic AND looking around the web for some new inspiration. Since you’re probably doing the same, I thought I would share the tunes I’ve written and/or adapted to sing at Halloween time. Black […]

Sundays at Church Mice are Twice as Nice

October 21, 2014

Tweet The fall session of Church Mice, the early childhood music class I’ve been leading since way back when I was in grad school, ended last week. I’m always a little bummed when it’s over, because it is a big highlight of my week. I love that it’s super casual — anyone can drop in […]

A Day in the Life of a Music Therapist {2014 Ed.}

October 13, 2014

Tweet Almost four years ago, I wrote about a day in my life as a music therapist, and it has since become one of my most-read posts. But a LOT has changed since then: at the time, I was employed full-time at The Hope Institute and working with private clients on a part-time basis. I […]

Shake It Off

October 6, 2014

Tweet I could very easily say that I’m only familiar with Taylor Swift’s music because my students love her, but that would be a bold-faced lie. The truth is, I’ve been a T-Swizzle fan since the beginning, back when she was a country artist. I like a lot of her songs (and even perform several […]

A New Online CMTE Course…Open Now!

September 30, 2014

Tweet I’ve been facilitating early childhood music programs since graduate school, before I was even a full-fledged music therapist. I’ve continued to do so all of these years, and it has been so exciting and fulfilling to see my programs continue to grow and touch the lives of many young children (and their families). After […]

Writing It Down & Crossing It Off

September 15, 2014

Tweet This month has been insane. Between changing my business structure, moving my office/studio to a new location, seeing a full load of student, starting new sessions of two different early childhood classes, and creating an online CMTE course, I’m lucky I’m still sane enough to type this blog post. A few weeks ago, in […]


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