Studio Renovation: Progress Update #1

Studio Renovation Progress

This is what I came home to on the first day of my studio renovation.  Eek!  A hole in the wall!  But that meant I was one step closer to a beautiful new waiting room, even though it’s not looking quite so beautiful in this picture.

By the end of the very next day, our contractors had installed the door leading to the garage, where students and their families will enter and exit through the “people door” you can see above.  They had also ripped up the old carpet to get ready for the new flooring, which left the room looking like this (click to enlarge pictures):

Studio Renovation Progress

Here’s a view of the door from the garage.  You can see how close the new door is to the existing door through which everyone will enter from outside.  We’re planning to partition off the rest of the garage from this little alcove:

Garage - Studio Renovation Progress

The trim and step still need to be painted, but the hard work is done.  What I like about this renovation is that we didn’t have to add another exterior door to the house, which might have affected the resale value if/when we decide to move.  And this new entryway can easily be reversed if a buyer does not want it.

The contractors have also begun framing in the door that will separate the studio “wing” from the rest of the house.  I thought it was hilarious when last Friday, after one of my students’ parents used the restroom, she came back and asked, “Did Sadie rip up the trim in the hallway?”  A valid question, since I hadn’t yet explained the renovation :)  Here’s how the doorway was looking a few days ago:

Studio Renovation Progress

It’s further along now, since the guys have been back every day to mud the drywall.  (Don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about?)  But it’s definitely still looking rough, and I’m very anxious for this part to be completed since it’s visible to everyone who comes in the house.

The room that will become my new studio is still fairly untouched, aside from housing the other room’s closet doors and a couple pieces of furniture.  But soon they’ll be repainting and recarpeting, at which point I can start decorating — the most fun part of any renovation.

So that’s where we’re at right now.  A lot of thumb-twiddling as we wait for the new flooring to come in, which won’t be for another couple of weeks.  This process is most definitely a lesson in patience!

It’s Time for Us to Go, Oh-Oh-Oh!

Church Mice Photos

The end of a month-long Church Mice session is always a little bittersweet.  On one hand, it’s nice to have Sunday afternoons to myself again until the next session begins; on the other hand, I miss the fun times with my sweet kiddos.  I mean, just look at those faces!

My helpful husband came to our last class of the winter session earlier this month and caught some of the action.  (You can see all 60+ pictures here.)  One of the best parts is the hugs and thank you’s I get after we’ve sung the Church Mice goodbye song:

It’s time for us to go, oh, oh, oh,
Church Mice is over for today.
It’s time for us to go, oh, oh, oh,
So tell me, what do we say?

Goodbye, goodbye,
Farewell, and so long.
Goodbye, goodbye,
This is the goodbye song.

I wish that we could stay, hey, hey, hey,
But I’m afraid our time is through.
I wish that we could stay, hey, hey, hey,
But I have to say goodbye to you.

Goodbye, goodbye,
Farewell, and so long.
Goodbye, goodbye,
This is the goodbye song.

Goodbye, _________,
Goodbye, _________,
Goodbye, everybody.

Listen & Learn vets may recognize this song as a repurposing of the goodbye song I wrote for my students at The Hope Institute a couple years ago.  That’s one of the great things about my different jobs: there’s lots of overlap :)

I’m already gearing up for the spring session of Church Mice, which begins the first Sunday in May.  But until then, I’m going to enjoy my free Sunday afternoons!

The Art of Scheduling

The Art of Studio Scheduling

My guess is that I’m in the minority when I admit that I actually enjoy scheduling music therapy groups, individual sessions, and lessons.  Sure, it can be a huge headache; but there’s something extremely satisfying about making it all work (after lots of erasing and rearranging).  It’s sort of like a puzzle, and I love puzzles!

So here’s how I tackle this job: I give all of my current students and incoming students (or their parents) a list of all my open time slots, as pictured above, a few months before the next session begins.  I’ve found that it’s easier to schedule the summer and school year sessions at the same time, so that I don’t have to go through the passing out and collecting process twice.

Students and parents then fill in their preferred time slots, rating them 1 through 5.  I have a master spreadsheet that looks a lot like the tables above, except with much bigger cells…because I pencil in each student in each of their preferred time slots and circle the number.  I’ve done this both on the computer and by hand, and found that the by-hand method works much better — for me, at least.

Once I’ve received everyone’s time slot preferences, the real fun begins.  I take my hand-filled master spreadsheet and begin plugging students into the computer, giving higher preference to students in order of seniority (how long they’ve been in my studio).

I have to take into account which families have more than one student, students with longer lessons or music therapy sessions, and the type of lesson or session they have.  I try to space out music therapy sessions, because these take the most energy and planning (as opposed to a piano or voice lesson).

Students don’t always get their first, second, or even third preference.  In years past, I haven’t had to go beyond the #5 slot, but I’ve never had more than 30 students.  This summer and fall, though, I have 50 students to schedule…so that may change.  This is going to be one tough puzzle to put together!  So if I seem a bit frazzled after the first of May, you’ll know why ;)

How do you go about scheduling your students or classes?  And do you dread it, or look forward to it like me?  If there’s a better method out there, I’m not opposed to trying it out.  Please share!

Birthday Fun for My Studio’s Mascot

Sadie Turns 2

Even though Sadie spends her afternoons romping around with her cousin at my in-laws’ house (so as to keep her occupied while I work with students), I still refer to her as the official Music Therapy Connections studio mascot.  After all, my students know her and ask about her all the time, plus she’s my constant companion as I blog away and plan music therapy sessions.  Sadie even makes a star appearance in one of my songs.

So how do we plan to celebrate the big 2?  This is one spoiled pup to begin with, which means we’ll have to outdo ourselves today.  Sadie’s favorite treat is a peanut butter-filled Kong, and today she’ll get an upgrade from the mini to the full-sized version.  My little girl is growing up!

Sadie is still a bit hyper, which is why I keep her out of the way of students as they come and go.  But I can’t wait for the day she calms down and can handle a little more interaction every once in a while.  I know a few kids who look forward to that day, as well :)

Sadie Through the Years If you see this dog today, please wish her happy birthday!


Sunday Singalong: Boogie Baby

This song was a staple right out of internship, when my repertoire was still small and I hadn’t yet thrown myself into heavy-duty songwriting.  So my students heard it a LOT that first year, and it climbed to the top of the “hits list” right away.

But as my repertoire grew and most of the songs I used in music therapy sessions were my own, “Boogie Baby” fell by the wayside.  In fact, during one class’s Total Request Live edition of music therapy, we all racked our brains but for the life of us, could not think of the song everyone used to love so much.

They finally did think of it, and then the following week, another class made a list of “Rachel’s Hits” for a CD to play in the classroom.  Sure enough, “Boogie Baby” was on that list!  Since it came up twice in such a short time span, I figured it was time to feature the song in a video.

Are you familiar with this fun little tune?  If so, maybe you can clue me in on its origins, since I heard it for the first (and last) time from my internship supervisor.  I think it will be making an appearance in some of my upcoming sessions!

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