Night of Music Therapy

Night of Music Therapy Poster

Once upon a time, I was a graduate student at Illinois State University studying to become a music therapist. And even though it’s been almost 8 years since I sat at a desk in a classroom, I still remember the feeling of wanting to soak up every last bit of information from the music therapists who taught and presented during my time there.

This past weekend marks my second time presenting at my alma mater’s annual Night of Music Therapy event, and both times, I’ve experience a little déjà vu from the students’ perspective. They are just like I once was — eager to learn, ask questions, and come away with knowledge that they can use going forward on their paths to becoming music therapists.

Presenting at Night of Music Therapy

At this year’s event, I presented to both the students and the community at large. During the student session, I talked about my own journey from student to professional music therapist, and gave advice for how they can start preparing now and during internship for their careers.

The Journey from Music Therapy Student to Professional

The community session focused on the growth of music therapy in Springfield starting before I came to work here to the present. I also included a lot of background information about music therapy for those who weren’t as familiar with it, and how the community has played an integral role in supporting the growth of this field.

The Evolution of Music Therapy in the Capital City

I always enjoy spending time with students, especially the students at Illinois State University. They took me to dinner in between the two presentations, so I had a chance to get to know them better and learn more about their professional goals.

Crescendo Music Therapy Club

Such a great bunch of future music therapists (and of course, their fearless leader, Dr. Cindy Ropp). Thank you to Crescendo, the student music therapy association at ISU, for inviting me to present!

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 10

GGB Episode 10: Amy Schaack

Today’s podcast episode marks an exciting milestone: we’ve reached episode #10! When I first had the idea for the podcast, I was worried I would have a hard time recruiting guests. But to my happy surprise, I haven’t had to recruit at all — I’ve had a long list of awesome music therapy mamas volunteer themselves.

Every week I pick up so many great tips and advice from my guest, and this week is no exception. Amy Schaack is a business owner like myself, but she is a few steps ahead of me. Not only has she kept her business going and GROWING despite taking time off to have two babies, but she has also grown her team substantially.

Since I’m heading into my second maternity leave in just a few weeks and getting ready to hire multiple employees this summer, I was extremely grateful that Amy was willing to share her knowledge and experience with me.

Amy talks about building her private practice and hiring employees, sustaining her business through two maternity leaves, and how her company is soon taking music therapy “on the road” in Episode 10 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

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

iTunesClick here to subscribe on iTunes, or search “Guitars & Granola Bars” in the podcast app on your Apple device.
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Click here to listen and subscribe on Stitcher, or download and search the app on your mobile device.

We’re Gonna Wave

We're Gonna Wave Album Cover

I’m really lucky that my colleague Katey is crafty, because when it comes to anything involving sewing, I certainly am not. She volunteered to make ribbon streamers for the most recent session of our early childhood classes, and I did my part by coming up with a song for them.

This is a simple song with a repetitive, familiar melody, because the focus is on movement and following directions. Each verse features a different way to manipulate the streamers, and it is so much fun to see our kiddos get creative with their interpretation of each. They also help come up with additional movements.

The streamers that Katey created are perfect for the 0-3 crowd, because they are attached to loose fabric-covered elastics that can be worn around the children’s wrists. While the older kids like to see how many they can pile on to each arm, the tiny ones can participate without having to actually grasp and hold onto the streamers.

Here’s a photo of Katey’s creations, pictured with one of our monkey friends (which we use for this song) from class.

Colorful Ribbon Streamers for Music Class

Of course, the streamers can be substituted for fabric scarves or other props you already have on hand. I simply change the words when I use this song with scarves or ribbon rings in other settings.
P.S. Did you know that you can gain instant access to a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music?

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus

The Miracle Morning

Miracle Morning

For most of my adult life, I’ve been a morning person. Up until my son was born, I started every weekday with a workout, followed by coffee and a couple solid hours of productive work. I loved my morning routine, and I really did try to get back into it post-baby. But the lack of sleep that first year (thanks to said baby!) made it nearly impossible, and I fell into the habit of sleeping until he woke up.

However, recently I’ve been setting my alarm and taking advantage of those early morning hours while the house is still quiet. My son is a wonderful sleeper now, and since baby #2 will be here in just a couple of months, I figured I better take advantage of this short window of time.

I listened to the audio version of Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 am), which further motivated me to make the most of my mornings. And while I don’t employ all of the components of his miracle morning routine, I’ve adopted many of the tips in the book.

I’m definitely noticing a positive difference in my mood and overall well-being on the days I wake up early, not to mention a huge increase in my productivity levels. My biggest complaint in life is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but creating my own “miracle morning” is at least a start to solving that problem.

Someday — maybe in a year or so when I have (fingers crossed!) two good little sleepers — I would love to craft my mornings as outlined in the book, which would include exercise, journaling, meditation, and reading. But for now, having some extra time to tackle my to-do list while my brain is still fresh seems to be just what I need.

Are you a morning person, and if so, how do you spend those early hours? And if you’re not, maybe reading The Miracle Morning will inspire you the way it re-inspired me.

Sidenote: this isn’t a sponsored post. I just really enjoyed the book and wanted to share the positive impact it has had on my life.

Clean Up Time

Clean Up Time

The concept of “cleaning up” was introduced to my son Parker when he was a little over a year old. At the end of Funshop, the weekly mommy & me playgroup we attend, they play the classic “Clean Up” song (courtesy of Barney, the big purple dinosaur) and everyone tackles their assigned area.

Lucky for me, Parker loved cleaning up — mostly because he loved the song so much. I used this to my advantage at home; every time I started singing the song, he would join in and start picking up whatever mess needed to be picked up.

I decided to change things up a bit a few weeks ago, and instead of singing the same old tune, I played my “clean up” song for Parker. He immediately was on board with it, and started cleaning up the mess at hand. Success! Now he requests “Mama’s phone?” every time I ask him to clean up, meaning he wants me to play my song.

It comes in especially handy when he plays with his kitchen, because there’s a verse all about cleaning up your dishes :) When I wrote this song 6 years ago, I had no idea that one day I would be putting it into practice with my own child.

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