{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 18

by Rachel on May 22, 2015

GGB Episode 18: Allison Hingley

Back in December, my family moved from one side of the neighborhood to the other with an 18-month-old in tow and another baby on the way. Here I was thinking that was a difficult transition…and then I interviewed music therapist Allison Hingley.

She moved across the country with a two-week-old newborn, and that was just one of MANY big life changes Allison went through in a relatively short amount of time. She certainly inspired me to believe that anything is possible when it comes to raising a family and pursuing a fulfilling carer.

Allison talks about raising a toddler and newborn while completing a master’s program, her family’s various moves around the country, and her decision to start a private practice after staying home with her young daughters in Episode 18 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

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

This episode is sponsored by Music Teacher’s Helper, the best way to manage your private music lesson studio and/or music therapy practice. I’ve used Music Teacher’s Helper every single day since 2011, and it is one of the best tools I have to keep my private practice running smoothly.

Sign up here for a 30-day no risk trial. If you choose to sign up after the trial using my link, you’ll save 20% off your first month!

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Make Music With Kids This Summer

by Rachel on May 21, 2015

Early Childhood Music Class

We captured this moment in one of our early childhood classes earlier this month, and it is basically the perfect photo for this blog post. An adorable child decked out in her summer shades, clacking away on castanets — yep, pretty much sums it up!

I’ve mentioned here before that my early childhood music program really took off last summer, which was my impetus for creating the online course Create, Market, Make Music! It covers all the bases I ran while designing and implementing my own program, from the very beginning planning stages to communicating with families after the class is over.

Summer is just around the corner, so now is a great time to get to work creating an early childhood program. The course is concise and action-based, so you can start putting what you learned into practice right away. (It also comes with 3 CMTE credits!)

If you sign up before the end of May, I’ll send you a complimentary copy of my brand-new songbook collection, Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! Most of the songs in it were written with my early childhood kiddos in mind, so hopefully they will come in handy as you start creating your own classes.

Click here for all the details and to sign up for the course. I’m looking forward to helping you on your path to making music with kids this summer!


Preparing for Maternity Leave

When I originally laid out my school year schedule way back in August, I wasn’t pregnant and therefore planned to end the spring session at the very end of May as usual. Now here we are, in the final days of May — less than a week away from my due date. And I’m still working.

My son’s due date was in mid-June two years ago, and the timing was PERFECT since I was able to finish my spring session and then have a week off before he was born 6 days early. Little did I know just how valuable that week off was!

Although I’m still feeling great, it’s getting increasingly harder to motivate myself and work up the energy for a full afternoon/evening of students. But the alternative is staying home, twiddling my fingers and wondering when baby girl will arrive.

I’ll have plenty of time to stay home this summer during my maternity leave, though it won’t be quite the total vacation from work I took after Parker was born. Being a brand new mom, I’m so glad I decided to completely take off the summer with him and unplug from my online work, as well. It was definitely a big adjustment once I did return to work in September, but I don’t regret it.

The second time around, maternity leave will look a little different. While I won’t be seeing students and clients as usual, I will be returning to lead a couple of classes in July. And I have plenty of administrative work to do for both my private practice and online business.

Luckily neither are a one-woman show these days: I have an amazing business partner, Katey Kamerad, at Music Therapy Connections, and a fabulous project manager, Julie Palmieri, for my online work. Their help and support will be essential as I adjust to life as a mom of 2.

I think it will take some time and experimentation before I find my rhythm with a newborn and the work on my plate, and I know it won’t be smooth sailing (is anything about motherhood ever smooth sailing, especially in the newborn days?).

But I’m looking forward to all of it nevertheless, whether my maternity leave starts today or next week. At this point I’ll be completely honest…the sooner the better!


Keep Calm and Sing On

by Rachel on May 19, 2015

Keep Calm and Sing On

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently participating in the #MusicTherapyBlogger Challenge hosted by Julie Palmieri at Serenade Designs. This week’s prompt was to share a quote that we love and/or makes us think, and then write a blog post reflecting upon that quote.

I’ve come across many inspirational, motivating, and thought-provoking quotes in the past, and while the one I shared above may not be the most prolific, it is definitely the most applicable to my life right now.

I kind of have a lot going on at the moment, which is not news if you’ve been reading my blog lately. My private practice is about to undergo some major (and super exciting) changes, I have lots of projects happening through my online business, and well, there’s the fact that my baby could be born any day now.

But despite all of that, I have to keep singing. All day, every day. With my clients, with my toddler (his current favorite is “Humpty Dumpty” and I’ve never been so ready to move on to a new song in my life), by myself in my car to keep my brain from imploding with all the thoughts constantly running through it.

I have this quote framed and sitting on my piano as a daily reminder. It’s been there for a few years now; the straightforwardness and simplicity of it sets me back on track when I start to feel my stress level rising.

Here’s to a calm day full of singing, sunshine, and whatever else life decides to bring my way. (I wouldn’t be too upset if that included a baby girl…!)


{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 17

May 15, 2015

Tweet When I sat down to interview Kristen O’Grady via Skype for this episode, she told me about how she and her daughters had just returned from a day trip to the beach. I have to admit, I was a little jealous of how she had spent her Monday. Kristen explained later in the interview […]

Strum With Your Fingers & Thumb

May 14, 2015

Tweet A few months ago, I started a new music therapy group for children with special needs and wanted to include a song about playing the guitar. I wrote “Strum with Your Fingers & Thumb” specifically for the group, and it ended up being the inspiration for my new songbook. This song is designed to […]

Why I Love Tuesday Mornings

May 12, 2015

Tweet While I initially created the Listen & Learn for Little Ones early childhood class just over two years ago, it wasn’t until last July that I was able to get it up and running on a continuous basis. Ever since, I’ve spent almost every Tuesday morning making music with young children and their parents […]

Can’t Live Without My…Ukulele!

May 12, 2015

Tweet I’m currently participating in the #MusicTherapyBlogger challenge, hosted by Julie Palmieri at Serenade Designs. This week’s blogging prompt is to write about something that works in our everyday lives as a music therapist, and I didn’t have to think twice about that. At 38 weeks pregnant, it’s no surprise that I have a GIANT […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 16

May 8, 2015

Tweet Julie Palmieri is a people person. Of course, this is one of the characteristics that makes her a great music therapist, but her people skills when it comes to online interaction make her especially good at the specialized work she does. Julie specializes in helping fellow music therapists build, grow and rock their online […]

A Lesson in the Importance of Self-Care

May 7, 2015

Tweet This is how I spent a good portion of last weekend: in a hospital gown, with my giant 36.5-week pregnant belly strapped to monitors. It wasn’t pretty, friends. That’s what happens when self-care goes out the window. You find yourself in the hospital due to severe dehydration, mystery fevers, and painful contractions. I’m extremely […]

“What’s Your Songwriting Process?”

May 7, 2015

Tweet Songwriting has always been a big part of my work as a music therapist, because I like to use mainly original compositions in my sessions, groups, and classes. Not a week goes by that I’m not coming up with a new song here and there. Between just having released a brand-new songbook, hosting a […]

My Latest Songbook Collection is Here!

May 5, 2015

Tweet I am so happy to announce that as of today, my new songbook collection — Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! — is available in its entirety. I have been working SO hard over the last couple of months writing and recording 12 brand-new songs that I think you will love and be able to […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 15

May 1, 2015

Tweet Jennifer Sokira is one of those people who you’ll meet and feel like you’re old friends after talking with her for just a few minutes. I know that was the case for me when I met her at AMTA national conference a few years back. We were introduced through mutual friends, and stayed in […]

Welcome to the World, Baby

April 28, 2015

Tweet I welcomed my first baby (that’s him at five days old) to the world a little shy of two years ago. Not long after he was born, I was inspired to write the song “Welcome to the World” for all of my friends and family who were having babies of their own. I’ll be […]

Gather ‘Round the Drum

April 27, 2015

Tweet Last week, I announced my new songbook — Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! — which releases on May 5. But I wanted to give a taste of this brand new song collection, so I made 3 of the 12 tunes (along with the sheet music) available when you preorder. One of those tunes is […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 14

April 24, 2015

Tweet What stood out to me the most during my interview with Brittany Scheer was her infectious positivity. This was one of those conversations I left feeling inspired and optimistic, simply because Brittany has such a great attitude towards her work, family, and life in general. One of the podcast-related projects on my list is […]


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