Well, this is a bittersweet post if I’ve ever written one. After 5+ wonderful years providing music therapy services and lessons in my home studio, Music Therapy Connections is moving out. And while I’ll miss the non-existent commute and overall convenience of working at home, the pros of our new location far outweigh the cons.
I opened the doors of my home studio on June 15, 2009, after several years of traveling to my students’ homes. It was a dream come true to see everyone in one place, and not have to schlep my equipment all over town. Here’s a look back at my first year in the studio.
In the spring of 2011, my home studio went under a huge renovation in order to accommodate my decision to leave my job and pursue full-time private practice. The past 3 years in the updated studio have been amazing, but over time, my needs have changed.
In 2012, I welcomed fellow music therapist Katey Kratz to the Music Therapy Connections team, and she has been traveling to clients’ homes for music therapy and lessons ever since. In addition, I started offering early childhood classes last year, but have had to do those off-site because my studio is only big enough for individual and small group sessions.
This past winter, Katey and I began discussing the possibility of moving to a larger studio space outside of my home so that we could both work with students simultaneously as well as offer on-site groups and classes. We wanted a studio we could grow into, since our vision includes hiring another music therapist. We started scouting locations, but it wasn’t until after a visit to my favorite local music store that we found what we think is the perfect opportunity.
In just a few weeks, Capital City Music will be the new home of Music Therapy Connections. There we will have 3 dedicated studios, as well as use of a large room for groups and classes. We’ve been holding our early childhood music classes there this summer, and it has worked out beautifully.
Over the years, I have established a great relationship with the management and employees at Capital City Music (formerly Samuel Music), and they are excited to welcome us to their building. I’m thrilled at the prospect of working right next door to Katey every day, and she’s looking forward to seeing all of her clients in one place (I know the feeling, having been a traveling music therapist in the past!).
Capital City Music is just 5 minutes from my house, though I will actually have to get in the car to go to work starting in September :) It has been such a blessing, working from home for so long — especially this first year after having a baby — but I know this is a step in the right direction. We just shared the news with our families last week, and they have been nothing but supportive and enthusiastic about the new location.
As always, I’ll be sharing my adventures here on the blog, so get ready for lots of “new studio” updates. Oh, and if you’re a music therapist who wants to get in on the action, please consider applying for our open position. It’s an exciting time for music therapy in central Illinois!
I’ve always been a sucker for a full plate, both in the literal sense (ha!) and when it comes to work-related projects. I wasn’t sure if that would be the case this summer, since last year at this time I was on maternity leave and work was not a high priority. But it turns out that the opposite has been true, and I’ve been lucky to strike a good balance between family time and music therapy.
After our weekend summit in California last month, my Music Therapy Pro colleagues and I have stepped up our game. We added a brand-new feature called “Four Corners” in which each of us shares a monthly audio or video post on our area of expertise. My corner is called The Business Savvy Clinician, which is all about running a private practice (both inside and outside of the therapy room). While I love collaborating with Michelle, Kimberly, and Matt on topics for the podcast, it’s also fun to have my very own space over there.
The four of us also launched a new mini podcast called “MT in 3” that will air monthly via the Music Therapy Round Table. This podcast is free, and features a 3-question interview of a different music therapist each month. We had so much fun coming up with a HUGE list of potential interviewees, and then writing the 3 questions that each of them would answer. Michelle Erfurt is our roving reporter, so she’s the lucky one who gets to talk to all of the people we consider to be “rockstars” in our field. The first episode features Mallory Even, who is one of my own personal music therapy idols. You can listen here as well as subscribe on iTunes.
And this is my own personal project, which I’m super excited about. In the last month or so, I’ve had a lot of fellow music therapists ask for advice when it comes to creating and running early childhood programs. Since I have a lot of experience (I’ve been doing it since grad school!) I decided to create a 3-hour online CMTE course on this topic. This is a very labor-intensive project, which I know first-hand after creating The DIY Guide to Writing, Recording, and Sharing Your Music for Kat Fulton’s Music Therapy Ed, but like that one, it has been a labor of love so far. You can learn more and get updates about the course here.
There are actually a few other projects on my plate at the moment, but I need to keep those under wraps just a little longer. I’ll share them with you soon, though! What are you up to this summer? Are you tackling big things, or taking it easy? (Also, sidenote: how is it almost August already!?)
Summer is over halfway over, which makes me very sad. July was off to an exciting start with a quick trip to Denver. We went out to visit my brother Josh and sister-in-law Jeni for the first time since they moved there last summer. I was looking forward to a relaxing, low-key getaway, and that is exactly what we had…starting with the flight out there. We left super early in the morning, which was perfect because Parker slept the entire way! He is such a wonderful little traveler.
On the car ride from the airport to Josh and Jeni’s house, it was Daddy’s turn to sleep. Parker got a kick out of watching him sleep as he drank his bottle. At that point, he was wide awake and ready to hang out with his uncle and aunt.
As much as he enjoyed his time with Josh and Jeni, he really loved hanging out with their big dog Lincoln. Parker was not scared of him in the least, even though Lincoln is a GIANT. A very gentle one, though; he was so good with Parker! He didn’t even seem to mind when Parker pulled his tail, tugged on his whiskers, and laid all over him. They were so cute together.
We had a big family cookout on our first day there, and I think Parker was a little jealous of all the guys playing lawn games while he hung out on the deck with the girls. He did get to go down and run around a little bit later, though :)
The next day was the 4th of July, and we were pretty lazy all day long! Zach met up with a friend to watch the World Cup game, while we hung out at the house and made a trip to the park nearby. We met up with Zach later on for lunch downtown, and Parker stood next to the table dancing to the music the restaurant was playing for most of the meal. He is a dance machine, I tell you. He was cracking me up with this “Mr. Cool” pose.
That night after we put Parker to bed, Zach and I headed to downtown Littleton for a little 4th of July date. We had ice cream and appetizers (yes, in that order…we are such rebels) and then got to see the fireworks before we headed home. We realized it was our first just-the-two-of-us date since February; how crazy is that?
We headed to Coors Field for the Rockies game the next day. Zach got us amazing tickets in the Club section, and we were in the shade for the entire game. Parker did really well sitting through 3+ hours of baseball, and it definitely helped that there were lots of people to take turns holding him on their laps. As long as he is outside and has plenty to look at, he is a pretty chill dude.
We had an awesome time in Denver, and it was a little bit of a bummer to come home — especially since I had to start work the very next day. Zach took Parker to his parents’ house after we got home on Sunday so that I could catch up on laundry, clean the house, and get ready for my students. I was absolutely exhausted by dinner time, but it was an extremely productive day. Parker and I took it pretty easy on Monday until it was time for me to work.
After I was done, we met up with Michelle, Annabelle, and baby Alec for one last dinner before they left. Parker loves his big cousin so much, and I think the feeling is mutual. It will be fun to see their relationship evolve as Parker gets older and can talk back to her.
I made it through my first week back to work, though I felt pretty rusty after taking the entire month of June off. I had a big meeting on Friday that went very well, so we went out to dinner that night to celebrate. We chose Obed & Isaac’s because the weather was so nice and they have a great patio. We didn’t even get seated until 8 (past Parker’s bedtime), but he was a perfect angel throughout dinner.
We ended up going out to eat again the next night, this time at American Harvest with my friend Crystal and her family. On Sunday, Zach dressed Parker up like his little mini-me and the two of them went to The Alamo to watch the World Cup finals. I got to enjoy an afternoon to myself at the pool, which was just awesome. I hadn’t done that since before Parker was born, so I soaked up every last minute.
We don’t have any travel plans or big events happening the rest of the summer, so my plan is to just make the most of the weeks we have left. I refuse to even think about the fall until mid-August!
My son Parker has been attending my early childhood music classes since he was just six months old, which I’ve written about here before. Since I’ve always been the teacher, either my mom or my husband has been with him during class. But this month, I’ve had the opportunity to be “the parent” while someone else teaches.
Every Tuesday, Parker attends my baby music class with my mom, since I’m the teacher. But immediately following, my colleague Katey Kratz leads the toddler music class. I thought it’d be fun to experience the flip side, so Parker and I stick around and join in the fun. And it is FUN. Also, a full-body workout keeping up with him.
Being the parent in your child’s music class brings on a whole slew of considerations that don’t cross your mind when you’re the teacher. Here are just a few of the thoughts that run through my brain every week:
- Is the teacher annoyed that my child keeps take instruments from her bag?
- Should I leave the room with Parker if he starts fussing?
- Does that mom mind that Parker just practically sat down in her lap?
- Am I singing too loudly?
- Are we taking away from the other families’ experience?
- Do I smell as sweaty as I feel?
You’d think that after MANY years of teaching early childhood music classes, I wouldn’t have so many worries — but being the parent is a whole different ballgame. The best I can do is remind myself that when I’m teaching, sticky fingered instruments, naptime tantrums, and wandering kiddos (as long as their parents are keeping tabs) don’t phase me one bit.
My #1 priority is for parents and children to have meaningful interactions through music. And if that means they are sitting while we are dancing, moo-ing while we are baa-ing, or shaking while we are ringing, by all means, carry on. So that’s what Parker and I do every Tuesday; we carry on…and it is my favorite part of the week.
Seven long years ago, before Zach and I were even married, he informed me that he would be going to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014. I said, “Sure, sounds great!” and didn’t think another thing of it…until a few years and one baby later when I realized it was actually happening.
Zach and a few of his good friends started planning their “trip of a lifetime” last summer, shortly after Parker was born. I can’t say I was excited at the thought of him leaving for an extended period of time — especially since he was headed to Rio (which everyone kept reminding me was not exactly the safest destination in the world).
All year, I listened to them discuss flights, game ticket lotteries, travel itineraries, etc. And as much as I was dreading the 10 days he would be gone, I was glad when the time finally came. Of course I was happy for them getting to experience the World Cup, but mostly I was just looking forward to the trip being over so I could stop hearing about it. Admittedly, I was a little jealous; my husband was off to an exotic country to watch soccer and hang out on the beach while I stayed home with the bambino 24/7.
But Parker and I made the best of it. I took the month of June off from work, and my stepsister ended up coming home during that time with my niece and newborn nephew. So we spent lots of time with them, and had quite a few playdates with friends to keep us busy. We got to FaceTime and text Zach throughout the trip, and of course see all of the pictures he posted to Facebook and Instagram (though that didn’t help my jealousy).
10 days sounded like an eternity prior to Zach leaving, but it ended up flying by. Before I knew it, he was headed back home. Parker and I were just getting home from a walk when he pulled into the driveway, and the look on their faces was priceless when they saw each other. (I suppose Zach was happy to see me too, haha!)