Counting My Blessings on Thanksgiving

by Rachel on November 26, 2015

Family at Thanksgiving

It’s been a wild ride of a year, and I haven’t had much time to take a step back and really think about all the reasons I have to be thankful. But if ever there was a time to do so, it’s today. My husband took the kids to his parents’ house for breakfast, so I have just enough time to drink a cup of coffee and write a quick note to you on this Thanksgiving morning.

I’ll start by saying thank YOU for reading my blog — whether you’ve been here since the beginning in 2008 or just found your way here recently. I can’t express how grateful I am for every comment, email, song purchase, membership, and friendship formed over all these years.

I’d also like to thank you for your support as my business has evolved and grown, but especially in these last few months as we opened our first facility. One of my biggest blessings in life is my business partner, Katey; together we have taken Music Therapy Connections to a level that I only dreamed was possible — and we aren’t stopping there.

I’m also thankful to every single family who walks through our doors, because they are the reason we do what we do. They bring us so much joy and fullfillment every day, and help Katey, myself, and the rest of our team support our own families.

And that leads me to my ultimate blessing in life: my family. My husband Zach, our son Parker, and our daughter Mia are my world, and I’m so lucky to be living this adventure with them. But of course, our adventures wouldn’t be nearly as smooth and enjoyable without the rest of our family, most of whom live in our neighborhood :) We are eternally grateful to our parents for all that they do for us, from taking Parker to school every morning to buying endless clothes and toys to cooking for us throughout the week.

I’m looking forward to spending this holiday with all of them, and I hope you have the opportunity to spend the day with your loved ones, too. Thank you for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Speaking of counting blessings, click here to download my song “Count Your Blessings” for free. I use it all holiday season long to help my students realize the blessing in their own lives.


Free Download + Thanksgiving Super Sale!

by Rachel on November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Super Sale

You guys, I am so excited about Thanksgiving. I look forward to this holiday every year, but this one is special — it’s my daughter Mia’s first Thanksgiving, and my son Parker is old enough to (mostly) understand why we’re celebrating.

I always offer some type of deal or discount here at Listen & Learn Music to kick off the holiday season, and this year I’m going all out with two big ones.

  1. Free “Early Childhood Programs: Create, Market, Make Music!” Online Course ($75 value) when you join Listen & Learn Plus, my membership site where I provide hundreds of music therapy songs, resources, downloads, biz advice and more.
  2. 50% off the entire Listen & Learn Music Store when you use the code THANKS50 at checkout.

Oh, and I have a free download (mp3, instrumental track, & lyrics/chords) to share with you as a little Thanksgiving gift. I wrote “Count Your Blessings” specifically for the Thanksgiving season, but it is perfect for use throughout all the holidays!

Claim the specials and your free download here.

These two specials are available now through November 30. Thank you so very much for reading, sharing your feedback, and supporting Listen & Learn Music throughout the years. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Bear Says Thanks

by Rachel on November 21, 2015

Bear Says Thanks Children's Book

One of my favorite books to read to Parker is Bear Snores On, because I love the way the words flow and the phrase “…and the bear snores on” repeats. So when I was browsing online and found that there were other books in this series, I got really excited.

I was in search of a Thanksgiving-related book to use in our early childhood music classes, and Bear Says Thanks was the perfect choice. It’s a little bit longer than our usual singable stories, but the repetition makes it easy for everyone to join in. The illustrations are lovely and the hard copy version is nice and big.

The tune I came up with is a mash-up of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” and “Turkey in the Straw” — kind of random, I know, but that’s what came out when I first tried setting the words to music :) I like using familiar melodies for singable stories, because they are easier to remember.

There are a few other books I love to pull out at Thanksgiving time (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie and Ten Fat Turkeys are favorites) but this one is currently at the top of my list.


{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 44

by Rachel on November 20, 2015

GGB Episode 44: Emily Wangen

Like last week’s episode, this one was also recorded live and in person at the AMTA national conference in Kansas City. It features one of my favorite people, Emily Wangen, who has so much to share related to both her personal life and her career in music therapy.

I think you’ll be just as inspired by Emily as I am — she is someone I look up to as a fellow mom, business owner, and person in general! She has faced and overcome some significant challenges, which she discusses candidly in the episode.

Emily talks about her experience with pregnancy loss, how long commutes and inclement weather affected the development of her private practice, and her ideal vision for the future in Episode 44 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

Be sure to check out the show notes page for more information about Emily, along with links to the resources she mentions in the episode.

This episode is sponsored by Serenade Designs, which is owned by board-certified music therapist Julie Palmieri. Julie helps her fellow music therapists create, enhance, and rock their online presence.

Through Julie’s website design services, social media and online marketing services, and virtual assistance, she’s here to help you rock your online presence — while making it all feel effortless. She assists music therapists in having a strong representation on the web so that they can focus on working in the field they love — music therapy.

Julie understands what it’s like being a busy business owner as well as a Momma. :) You can learn more about how Julie can help you with your online presence at

iTunesClick here to subscribe on iTunes, or search “Guitars & Granola Bars” in the podcast app on your Apple device.
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Click here to listen and subscribe on Stitcher, or download and search the app on your mobile device.


#AMTA15: Conference Recap (With Pictures!)

November 18, 2015

Another year, another wonderful national conference under my belt. I can’t believe this was my 7th — it seems like just yesterday I was a new professional attending #AMTA09 in San Diego. This was my second time attending conference with a baby in tow, and I was extremely fortunate to have my mom with me […]

Thanksgiving Sensory Feast

November 16, 2015

The following is a guest post by Marilyn Webster. After Marilyn told me about this activity she created and led, I mentioned that I would love for her to share it here on the blog. I’m so glad she took me up on it! Hi, my name is Marilyn Webster, and my daughter has been […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 43

November 15, 2015

This episode is super special, because it’s the first in the entire series to be recorded in person! I spent the past several days in Kansas City at the 2015 AMTA national conference, and my guest this week just happened to be there as well. I got to spend a good amount of time with […]

Better When I’m Dancing

November 10, 2015

My business partner Katey recently shared with me a video of Meghan Trainor’s song “Better When I’m Dancing” from The Peanuts Movie and asked if I had heard it. I hadn’t, but I loved it and knew immediately I wanted to adapt it for use in music therapy sessions and classes. I might have had […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 42

November 6, 2015

I soooo enjoyed interviewing this week’s guest, and it wasn’t just because of her fantastic southern accent :) Jodie Ross has a thriving career as a music therapist, and her enthusiasm for her work comes through in our conversation. Jodie also has some wonderful insight to share when it comes to parenthood, despite being new […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 41

October 30, 2015

Listening to this week’s guest tell her story, I was struck by how many similarities there were with my own: we both went into turbo drive building our businesses during pregnancy, had quick deliveries just a few days after our 30th birthdays, and now have daughters who are only 4 days apart in age. Jennifer […]

Good, Good, Good Goodbye

October 29, 2015

When I write a hello or goodbye song, I make sure I reeeeally like it, because most likely I’ll end up singing it for YEARS. Case in point: my rotation of these includes songs I wrote during my internship (over eight years ago). But I’m always adding to that rotation, because it’s nice to have […]

The Intern’s Corner

October 27, 2015

In addition to growing our team and moving into a new facility this fall, we also started a university-affiliated internship program. Katey and I made the decision to do so last winter; we spent months interviewing, filling out paperwork, and getting all of our ducks in a row to welcome our very first intern. Alisabeth […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 40

October 23, 2015

I have to credit this week’s guest for introducing me to the world of podcasts, because I didn’t really even know they existed until she suggested we start one almost exactly six years ago. Kimberly Sena Moore and I met virtually through social media back in 2009, became fast friends at AMTA conference a few […]

My Small Business Story: Part 4

October 22, 2015

Last week, I shared Part 3 of this series, in which I’m giving you the full scoop on how I went from having a full-time day job and a small private practice on the side (headquartered in my car) to now co-owning a thriving business with a facility of our own and a team of […]

Five Orange Pumpkins

October 19, 2015

Between singing about them with my clients, admiring them with my two-year-old, and seeing them everywhere, it sort of feels like pumpkins have taken over my life…and I’m okay with that. It’s fall, after all, and pumpkins are the orange ambassadors of this season. I’ve written many a song about them, and this one is […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 39

October 16, 2015

I was feeling pretty good about myself when I went back to teaching early childhood music classes this summer, a mere 5 weeks after my daughter was born. And then I had my mind blown by this week’s podcast guest; suddenly my “quick” return didn’t feel quite as impressive. It’s no secret that business owners […]

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