My Family

This crew right here? It’s my family…well, one side at least.  All 13 of us will rendezvous in Denver this weekend for a little 4th of July family reunion — the first since this picture was taken at my brother’s rehearsal dinner back in November.

Thinking about seeing my family brought to mind some of my favorite songs about families.  This is one of the few topics I haven’t written any songs about yet, but luckily there are some great ones out there.

My number one go-to family song is My Family, by the Laurie Berkner Band.  It should come as no big surprise, because everyone around here knows how much I love LBB!  I have used this with my family-oriented Church Mice music class as well as in music therapy sessions, and I’m actually jamming to it right now as I type this :)  Here’s the video:

I hope that like me, you’ll have a chance to spend time with your own family over the upcoming holiday weekend. What are your favorite tunes about family?

How Much is Too Much?

Scheduling in Private Practice

Self-employment can be scary at first. After making the decision to leave my full-time job in order to expand my private practice and teaching studio, I did what I thought was the most logical thing, and took on as many new students as I could. More students, more income, less worries…right?

But what I didn’t factor into that equation was “less time” and “more stress”. I’ve already written about my jam-packed schedule once this month, but thought the topic was worth revisiting after I received this tweet:


It was meant in good fun, of course, but Sarah makes a good point. Most sane people probably wouldn’t schedule 14+ half hour lessons and/or music therapy sessions in one day.

The good news is that I absolutely love my students and the work I do with them. Yes, the days are long, but I’m not sitting in an office, bored, watching the clock count down to quitting time.

But I will admit that maybe I’m a little close to crossing the line separating a healthy workload from too much. I haven’t done so yet, though, and intend to keep it that way. That’s what my waiting list is for!

Sarah’s tweet sparked my curiosity, and now I want to know: what is your definition of too much as far as the number of lessons/sessions per day or week? Have you crossed that line? And if so, how did you handle it?

Keep Calm and Play On

Keep Calm ~ Daily Affirmations for Musicians

A few months back, my friend Michelle Erfurt wrote a blog post about framed motivators.  I tucked this idea away in the back of my brain, and came back to it when it came time to start decorating my new studio.

I knew I wanted some frame motivators sitting right on top of my piano, because that way not only would I see them regularly, but so would my students.  The phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” came to mind immediately, but I wanted it to relate specifically to music.

I was excited to come across prints on Etsy displaying the phrases above, but I needed smaller versions to fit the 4×6 frames I’d already purchased.  So I made my own DIY versions, had them printed as glossy photos at Walgreens, put them in the frames atop my piano, and voila:

Keep Calm Collage

Truthfully, there are times during lessons and/or music therapy sessions where these come in very handy — for both my students and I.  So Michelle, on behalf of the entire Music Therapy Connections studio, thanks for the inspiration!


Microphone Stand = Music Stand?!

Microphone Stand for iPad 2

I tried to keep my newest piece of equipment under wraps until today’s blog post, but I couldn’t help but give my Facebook friends a sneak peek over the weekend.  I’m just wayyy too excited about my new microphone stand mount for the iPad 2!

I wish I was one of those people who has all of their gig music completely memorized, but alas, I am not…especially when I’m playing a two or three-hour gig with ever-changing repertoire.

Now, instead of bringing a music stand and big binder full of lead sheets along with all my other equipment, I just stick my iPad 2 and the mount in my bag.  I don’t even have to bring my own mic stand, because the mount clamps on to any standard one.  Not to mention that I never have to worry about my pages blowing in the wind while playing outside.

Admittedly, there is a little bit of a time commitment involved in getting your music onto the iPad before using this setup.  The two apps I use, GigBook and MusicReader, require that sheet music, lead sheets, or just lyrics be in PDF form.  So while I did already have electronic versions of much of my music, I had to do quite a bit of scanning to complete my digital collection.  But it was totally worth it, considering that now all of my music is at my fingertips.

Aside from the convenience of my new iPad mount, it also ups my cool factor immensely :)  I played a gig over the weekend, and everyone (audience members and other musicians) wanted to get the full scoop on my little gadget.

iPad 2: $500 +.
Microphone stand mount: $99.
Making my life easier AND cooler: priceless.

Sunday Singalong: Play the Cabasa!

I love the cabasa because not only is it totally fun to play, but it is also multi-sensory. The unique sound it produces, coupled with the tactile input, makes this one of my most frequently used instruments during music therapy sessions.

Play the Cabasa serves as a great introduction to this instrument, but there is so much more you can do with it. I don’t have any other specific songs I’ve written for the cabasa — instead, I usually just make up a song based on how I’m using it in a session. For example, I might ask my student to roll it over different body parts (foot, leg, arm, etc.) or do that myself if he/she is not able.

How do you use and play the cabasa?

Pin It on Pinterest