Writing It Down & Crossing It Off

by Rachel on September 15, 2014

Writing It Down

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 an attempt to organize all the chaos, I entered everything into iCal. Then I used the Reminders app to make lists for each different area of my work and life that needed attention. I could access both my calendar and lists from my iPhone, iPad, and laptop, so I thought everything would be under control.

But I was wrong. Things were still slipping through the cracks, and whenever I found a free block of time to get something done, I would be overwhelmed and have no idea where to start. So one night I went old school and wrote out a list of things I had to do the next day.

Thanks to the list sitting on my desk the next morning, I knew exactly where to start and how to budget my time. I didn’t waste precious minutes with things that didn’t need to be done right away; instead, I went right down the list, crossing things off as I finished them.

You really don’t get the same satisfaction from check-marking an item on your iPhone as you do drawing a line through something with a sharpie, do you? It’s amazing how focused and motivated I am when I sit down to work each day, because I know that my goal is to have crossed off every single item before I go to bed that night.

I use these small notepads (of which I have several, thanks to giveaways at AMTA conferences!) so that I can’t fill it up with too many to-dos; keeping the list relatively short allows me to concentrate on the MOST important items. And if for some reason something doesn’t get done that day, I write it down on the next day’s list. This doesn’t happen often, though, because nothing irks me more than throwing away a list with items left uncrossed!

Thanks to these daily lists, I’m just about finished with content creation for that online CMTE course I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Early Childhood Programs: Create, Market, Make Music! is just a couple weeks away (or less, if I really get things in gear) from launching — I can’t wait to share it with you :)


{Mama Moment} Baby’s First Musical

by Rachel on September 11, 2014

Parker at Sesame Street Live

Parker has an obsession with all things Sesame Street. He asks to watch it multiple times a day, and when he hears the theme song he comes running and dances along to the music. He knows the characters’ names, and can identify them verbally. So when we found out that Sesame Street Live was coming to our city over Labor Day weekend, we couldn’t resist.

That being said, I had low expectations for how this would all play out. I mean, how plausible was it for a 14-month-old to sit through a stage show, especially one where life-sized characters were singing and dancing around? Not to mention that it would be dark and extremely loud. We agreed that he would either completely love it…or be completely scared out of his mind.

Parker at Sesame Street Live

Captivated, mesmerized, entranced: those three words best describe Parker’s reaction. This is a boy who does not like to sit still for longer than a minute, but the only moving he did during the show was from one lap to another. He kept his eyes on the action the whole time, and didn’t make a peep.

I noticed that all of the other children in the audience were just as attentive, which leads me to believe that Sesame Street has these kids completely figured out (or maybe they put something in the air in the auditorium, haha).

Parker at Sesame Street Live

I didn’t see my first musical production (Peter Pan at The Muni, an outdoor summer theater here in Springfield) until I was 4 or 5, so Parker has me beat by a few years. I’m so glad we took the chance on attending the show, because he had the time of his life. It was really fun to watch his reaction and experience it through his eyes.

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


“How Do You Like It?”

by Rachel on September 10, 2014

Moving into a new studio

The weekend before my first day at the new studio, my mom gave me a happy sunflower arrangement and a card wishing me good luck. They’ve both been sitting on my desk since then — a nice reminder of how supported I am by not just my mom, but everyone in my life.

Since that first day of work, I’ve gotten phone calls, texts and emails from people asking how I like working in my new space. Just about every single parent, and even many of my students, have asked when I’ve seen them for lessons or music therapy.

Here’s the honest truth: I love it.

Like, more than I ever thought I would. After working from home all these years, it’s a huge change, made even more significant because I’m leaving Parker (whereas before, he was just a few rooms away). But there is such a thing as spending TOO MUCH time at home, even for this self-proclaimed homebody, and I had reached my limit by the end of the summer.

Now I look forward to getting in my car, making the five-minute drive to work (and more often than not, stopping for an iced coffee — an extra perk of having a “commute”) and then at the end of the day, coming home to my family. Even though I bring a lot of work home with me, the fact that I physically leave my work space helps me separate the two much more so than before.

I have to giggle, because a lot of people have been a little…sympathetic…when they ask how I like working away from home. I myself thought it would be a more difficult transition than it actually has been, so it feels good to be able to reassure them that I am extremely happy with the new arrangement.

I love having other people around, hearing all kinds of music being made, interacting with adults on a regular basis, and having  separate, dedicated spaces for lessons, music therapy and groups. Oh, and test driving that Taylor 414ce guitar from the showroom this week has been an added bonus of working inside of a music store ;)

But here’s the most important thing of all: my STUDENTS are happy in our new location. Change is harder for some of them than most people, but so far they’ve all handled it like champs. And their parents, too; I am extremely grateful to work with such wonderful families who have supported my many, many transitions since starting my business.

My hope is that a month and then a year from now, I can give you the same report. Thanks to all of you who have provided encouragement and lovely feedback throughout this adventure so far!


New Studio Tour (Part 1)

by Rachel on September 3, 2014

Music Therapy Connections studio

Day 1 in our new studio is officially in the books! Yesterday was a whirlwind of administrative tasks, moving the last few things, putting the final touches on my office, and finally, welcoming students for the start of the fall session.

Our new space includes my office/studio, Katey’s office/studio, a therapy room, and large group space. Today I’ll give you a look inside my office/studio, since it’s the closest to being “done” in terms of stocking and decorating. I really love how it has shaped up, but it’s definitely going to take some getting used to since it looks and feels so different from my old studio.

Music Therapy Connections studio

Katey and I wanted a uniform look throughout, so we went with all new furnishings — including desks, pianos, shelving, and rugs. I’m keeping my home office intact, so almost everything in the old studio stayed behind. The color scheme in our new space is blue and green with pops of pink (of course).

Music Therapy Connections studio

One of the biggest changes is our new pianos, which will take some getting used to. They are beautiful instruments, but very different from the good ol’ Cable upright I’ve been playing since I was a toddler. My students have so far been pretty excited about this change, especially checking out all the cool features that come with a Clavinova.

Music Therapy Connections studio

Several pieces of student artwork did make it over to my new office, though there is plenty of blank wall space left to fill. I’m reserving my bulletin board for photos of my piano students with their certificates (which I call the “wall of fame”).

Music Therapy Connections studio

Of course, no studio would be complete without a mirror for voice students. Most of them resist singing in front of one at first, but after a few lessons, they not only get used to it, but begin to enjoy observing themselves as they sing. I think it is so important to be aware of your breathing, posture, facial expressions, and overall body language.

Music Therapy Connections studio

My desk is pretty stark at the moment, which is how I like it. I try to keep papers filed or in my planner rather than stacked on my desk, though when life and work get a little crazier, that won’t always be the case.

Music Therapy Connections studio

I’m not one for clutter in general, which is good since my new office/studio is considerably smaller. I love that all of my music therapy instruments now have a dedicated home in the therapy room, which frees up lots of space in here.

I have a feeling this room will look and feel much more “lived in” after a couple of weeks, but for now I am enjoying the extreme organization and newness of it. Stay tuned for part 2 of the new studio tour!


First Day of Work

September 2, 2014

Tweet Today marks my 8th “first day of work” after summer break at Music Therapy Connections, but this year is different. I have a new office, studio, and coworker, so it almost feels like I’m starting a brand-new job. Luckily, I’ll be surrounded by the familiar faces of my clients and their families; a girl […]

A Fresh Look for Fall

August 28, 2014

Tweet This is a season of change for my private practice. What started as a tiny little side hustle for me back in 2007 has blossomed into a full-time business for not one, but TWO music therapists. I couldn’t be happier to have Katey Kratz as a partner in what is now Music Therapy Connections, […]

“Back to School” Roundup

August 22, 2014

Tweet I’m not sure how it happened, but yet another summer has slipped away and a new school year has begun. My Facebook newsfeed is full of back-to-school photos (which I love, just to be clear…as long as I don’t have to think about my child going off to school anytime soon!) and we’re gearing […]

Welcome to the World

August 19, 2014

Tweet Fun fact: It was my mom, not me, who wrote the first song dedicated to my son Parker after he was born last summer. She would sing it to him every time she came over to see him, and now we all sing “The Parker Song”. It took a couple of months for the […]

Coming Soon: A New Online CMTE Course

August 18, 2014

Tweet I’m knee-deep in content creation for my new CMTE course — Early Childhood Programs: Create, Market, Make Music! — and I can’t wait to share it with you in a few weeks. Creating a new group, class or program can be overwhelming, but it can also be extremely rewarding — especially when the end […]

Be a Part of the Baby Band

August 14, 2014

Tweet Let’s be honest: it doesn’t get much cuter than a whole bunch of babies playing instruments together. I’ve been a “baby bandleader” for many years now, teaching early childhood music classes, so it’s a little ridiculous that it took me this long to write a song all about my favorite kind of band. “Baby […]

My Last Week Working From Home

August 13, 2014

Tweet This summer, I’ve had lots of people ask me what I do. When I explain that I’m a music therapist with my own private practice/teaching studio, they almost always comment how incredibly lucky I am to work from home. Every time that happens, I think to myself, “Yes, I am incredibly lucky and it […]

If I Were a Music Therapy Student NOW…

August 11, 2014

Tweet If only we could go back in time and do certain things over again, knowing what we know now. Better yet, having the resources we have now. The years I spent in graduate school studying music therapy (2004-2006) seem like ages ago; SO much has changed in our field, in technology, and the world […]

Civil Wars, I’ll Miss You

August 9, 2014

Tweet I fell in love with The Civil Wars’ music the first time I heard their song “20 Years” randomly on Pandora in 2011. I couldn’t get enough of their album Barton Hollow, and my bandmate and I added several of the songs to our set list. When they posted on their Facebook page last […]

Summertime Tune

August 5, 2014

Tweet I’ve been writing this blog for almost 6 years now, and blabbing on and on about how much I love summer for just as long. So August is always a little bittersweet, because that means my favorite season is almost over and fall will be here in a blink. But this year instead of […]

Music Therapy Connections is Moving!

July 28, 2014

Tweet Well, this is a bittersweet post if I’ve ever written one. After 5+ wonderful years providing music therapy services and lessons in my home studio, Music Therapy Connections is moving out. And while I’ll miss the non-existent commute and overall convenience of working at home, the pros of our new location far outweigh the […]

Summer Projects

July 23, 2014

TweetI’ve always been a sucker for a full plate, both in the literal sense (ha!) and when it comes to work-related projects. I wasn’t sure if that would be the case this summer, since last year at this time I was on maternity leave and work was not a high priority. But it turns out […]


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