About Listen & Learn Music
A few words and phrases I might use to describe myself: mom, music therapist, singer, songwriter, educator, social media and technology enthusiast. So what happens when all of these aspects of my life converge? Well, you’re looking at it! Listen & Learn is where all of my interests and skills are combined for one purpose: to help children learn and grow through music.
It was my students who inspired me to start this site in September of 2008. My collection of original songs had grown rapidly, and I wanted to put them out there for other music therapists, parents, and teachers who might find them useful. The blog grew out of passion for what I was doing, as well as the incredible response I received.
Here you will find over 150 songs for children covering cognitive, social, emotional, and physical concepts. I also enjoy sharing anecdotes from my daily life, especially those related to motherhood.
I’m Rachel, a board-certified music therapist and singer/songwriter. I own a private practice, Music Therapy Connections, which enables me to work one-on-one and in small groups with children of all ages and abilities in my home studio. Let me tell you the story of how I got here.
Growing up, my goal in life was to become a professional singer. I spent my formative years performing on stage at school, community theater, and church. I had never even heard of music therapy when I began my undergraduate studies at Rollins College as a vocal performance major. But I quickly realized that although I enjoyed performing immensely, it just wasn’t enough. I wanted a career that would allow me to help others while still making use of my musical talents; so when I discovered music therapy while researching for a paper, I was captivated. I did more research and shadowed a music therapist so I could get a better idea of what it was all about.
Fast forward one year, when I graduated three semesters early so that I could begin my masters degree in music therapy at Illinois State University. I fell in love hard and fast (coincidentally, with both my studies and my now-husband, who I began dating just as I started graduate school). My professors were convinced that working with children was my calling, and I wholeheartedly agreed. I finished my coursework and began an internship with a private practice in St. Louis.
Upon completion of my internship, I returned to my hometown of Springfield, Illinois where I had a job waiting for me at The Hope Institute for Children & Families. (Life works in mysterious ways: months earlier, the school had received a grant for a music therapist. Just as I started to worry about securing a job halfway through my internship, I received an email inviting me to interview for the position.) My private practice was started almost by accident, as I kept receiving requests for music therapy services and accepted them as they came.
After four years at The Hope Institute, I left to run my business on a full-time basis. Then in the summer of 2013, my life got a whole lot more interesting when my husband Zach and I welcomed our son Parker. Since then, I’ve been learning the ropes of being a working mom and loving (almost) every minute! Life is good.
Q. So you’re a music therapist. What exactly does that mean?
A. In a nutshell, music therapists use music to improve peoples’ lives. We work with many different populations, though I specialize in the area of children with disabilities. I am not teaching a child to sing or play the piano; rather, music is merely my means for communicating with that child as I help him or her learn to count, express emotions, improve social skills, expand his or her range of motion, etc. You can find out more about music therapy by visiting the American Music Therapy Association.
Q. Can I download your songs for my own personal use?
A. Yes! Just click on the word “Songs” at the top of the Listen & Learn page, which will take you here. All of the songs I post can be downloaded instantly as reasonably priced albums or individual tracks.
Q. Just how many songs have you written?
A. To be completely honest, I haven’t actually counted. But I’m positive that the number is in the middle to high hundreds, and growing. I’m always coming up with new topics for songs, and I just can’t seem to write them fast enough!
Q. I need a song about (insert topic here). Can you write it for me?
A. Sure! I am always up for suggestions and ideas for new songs, especially from my readers. And if you’re looking for a specific, goal-based song for your student or child, you want to go here.
Q. How can I learn more about your music therapy services?
A. This one is easy enough. Simply visit Music Therapy Connections, where you’ll find an explanation of my services, general music therapy info, and links to even more.
Q. Do you write music exclusively for kids?
A. The answer is no! In what little spare time I have, I love to write and perform for a more mature audience. Curious? Visit my personal site to see and hear another side of me.
And now for the super fun part, where I tell you everything else you might not already know about my site. If you still have questions, feel free to contact me directly.
- The main intent of Listen & Learn Music is to share songs, resources, and stories related to music therapy and music instruction. I started this blog in the fall of 2008 for that purpose, and continue to uphold it today.
- My original songs may be adapted and used by you, the reader, in an educational or therapeutic setting. However, recording and selling those songs as your own is strictly prohibited.
- If you would like to record an adapted version of an original Listen & Learn song for the purpose of sharing it on your blog or website, I ask that you contact me for permission before doing so.
- Your comments are more than welcome on each and every blog post. However, in the spirit of community, I ask that you refrain from offensive language and content. Constructive criticism is welcome, but please be kind.