Before and After

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

When Katey and I first stepped into 1234 Centre West Drive, we knew we had found just what we were looking for. Yes, we were surrounded by a sea of purple, but we saw past the cosmetic misfortune because the bones of the building were good. Actually, they were great.

Though the entire place required a fresh coat of paint and new carpet, we didn’t have to change any of the structural aspects in order to suit our needs. We had every room we were looking for and then some — not to mention that every room had a window! And having come from a previous space that had NONE, that was a deal-maker.

This summer, Katey and I spent more hours than we care to admit transforming what you see in the “before” photos on the left to the bright and cheery “after” photos on the left. That gorgeous paint job is courtesy of Katey herself; she and her crew tackled 2,300 square feet of wall space in less than a week (with prep and cleanup help from me when I wasn’t with my babies or at my family reunion that fell on the same weekend).

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The exterior of the building stayed the same, except of course for the sign on the door. I designed the logo, and Ace Sign Company here in Springfield did the printing and installation for both exterior signs.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

A look at the foyer from the front door. You can see that the color scheme changed drastically; we actually chose the colors based on those of my former home studio. It was so sunny and conducive to the work we do, we decided to stick with yellow and blue.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The building’s prior occupant was an engineering firm, but with Katey’s handiwork, all remnants of their sign are gone and replaced with an art display wall for our students’ masterpieces (plus all the materials needed to create them)!

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The view of the front entrance from one of our waiting areas. Notice the chalkboard wall — it hasn’t been this clean or empty since we welcomed students in for the first time :)

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

Our three main teaching rooms from the back hallway. All with windows; natural light has never been as appreciated as it is now after a year without windows in our former space.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

A peek into our dedicated piano lesson room. Matt Nall, our piano instructor, prefers teaching on an acoustic piano as opposed to the Clavinovas and keyboards that occupy the rest of our rooms.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The room where I’ll be doing most of my teaching and conducting some of my individual music therapy sessions. The Yamaha Clavinovas in my room and Katey’s room have been generously provided by Capital City Music, which is where we purchase all of our lesson materials and send our students for pianos, other instruments, books and materials.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

We have LOTS of babies and toddlers in our building either because of their siblings or for their own music classes, which is why it was important to us to provide a changing station and rocking chair. I’ve already gotten plenty of use out of both with all the time baby Mia and I have spent there.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

A close-up look at our main waiting area. We love that it is right outside of our lesson rooms so that parents can wait nearby and even join their student’s lesson for a little performance at the end if they wish.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

This is another waiting area outside of our large group room. We made it extra cozy with a corner full of bean bags and pillows for kiddos to hang out in before their classes begin.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

And our large group room, which we kept pretty bare on purpose. We have an instrument wall for all of our class supplies and guitars so that they don’t distract our little students while not in use.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

This is our small group room, where we will hold our ukulele class, other group lessons, and select music therapy sessions.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

And finally, what will eventually be our dedicated recording studio. Right now it’s pretty bare, but with the generous donations we have already gotten and hopefully will continue to receive, we will fill this room with all the equipment needed to record all of our students’ and clients’ beautiful music.

A huge thanks to my father-in-law, Steve Rambach, for his photography, and to all the wonderful family members and friends who dedicated their time and efforts to creating this amazing space. Click here to see the complete photographic “after” tour. Or better yet, visit us and see it in person!

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 31

GGB Episode 31: Lauren Servos

I had a hard enough time returning to work after my maternity leave to work with children in my private practice, so I can only imagine just how difficult it was for Lauren Servos to not only return to work, but spend her days treating CRITICALLY ILL infants the same age as her daughter.

During my interview with Lauren, I learned a lot not only about the role of a music therapist in the hospital setting, but also the self-care that is required of one who also has a family at home (not to mention a growing private practice!).

Lauren talks about her experiences working in many different capacities at the same hospital, shares her beautiful natural birth story, and how she overcame the emotional challenges of working with medically compromised children after returning from maternity leave in Episode 31 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

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

This episode is sponsored by Music Teacher’s Helper, which is software for music teachers and therapists that helps manage your private music lesson studio and/or music therapy practice. I’ve used Music Teacher’s Helper every single day since 2011, and it is one of the best tools I have to keep my private practice running smoothly.

Sign up here for a 30-day no risk trial. If you choose to sign up after the trial using my link, you’ll save 20% off your first month!

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

Hum a Tune

Hum a Tune Album Cover

I’ve seen a lot of funny things in my years of working with kids, but one of the funniest has to be watching a child learn to play the kazoo. For some, it clicks right away, but most of the time there is a learning curve involved.

My two-year-old fell into the latter category; once he got it, though, I finally had to hide the kazoo during naptime to give my ears a break ;)

Learning to play the kazoo 😂 #parkergram #bingo

A video posted by Rachel Rambach (@rachelrambach) on

Parker’s rendition of “Bingo” inspired me to write a song all about playing the kazoo, which was a topic I hadn’t previously tackled. The song ended up in my Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum songbook (along with 11 other songs for all kinds of instruments).

The key to teaching a child to play the kazoo is to first help him or her master humming. When I use this song, I introduce it first with no kazoo at all; instead, we just sing and hum. Then we add kazoos, at which point there’s no turning back!

Kazoos are great for working on oral motor skills, proper breath support and control, and of course, upping the silliness factor of any class or music therapy session. I’m in the middle of planning my upcoming Listen & Learn for Little Ones session, and this song might just have to be included.

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

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 30

GGB Episode 30: JoAnn Jordan

There are very few music therapists who DON’T know JoAnn Jordan. She’s one of those people who goes out of her way to hello at conference, celebrates your good news on Facebook, and retweets you on Twitter.

I always love talking with JoAnn because not only is she an innovative music therapist, but she also has lots of wisdom to share on the topic of motherhood. So naturally, having her as a guest on the podcast was a no-brainer.

JoAnn talks about discovering her passion for working with two seemingly opposite populations, raising her daughter and building a private practice in a rural area, and adjusting to life as an empty nester in Episode 30 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

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

This episode is sponsored by Music Teacher’s Helper, which is software for music teachers and therapists that helps manage your private music lesson studio and/or music therapy practice. I’ve used Music Teacher’s Helper every single day since 2011, and it is one of the best tools I have to keep my private practice running smoothly.

Sign up here for a 30-day no risk trial. If you choose to sign up after the trial using my link, you’ll save 20% off your first month!

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

Five Little Ducklings

Five Little Ducklings

Earlier this week as I organized all of my singable stories on the bookshelves of our brand new studio, I took note of my favorites and those that have been most effective in classes and music therapy sessions. Five Little Ducklings ranks in the top 10, although if you ask my son Parker, he will tell you it’s #1.

I’ve shared other Melanie Gerth books here on the blog before, but this one takes the cake for a few reasons. First of all, the ducks: they are big, colorful, and fuzzy. They’ve stood the test of time (I’ve had this book for 7+ years!) and still look good as new. Second, there’s counting involved as in all of her books; I like that there are only five ducks to count and therefore it’s a bit shorter than the others. This fits my younger kiddos’ attention spans — or lack thereof — quite well.

And third, the familiar melody is easy for little ones to learn and remember. I think Parker had the entire song memorized after one or two listens, and he’s 2. (Of course, at this point he could sing it in his sleep, as we listen to it on every single car ride.)

I have used this singable story in my early childhood classes, both with the book and as a standalone song. If you don’t have the actual book, you could make picture cards to go with it or even have your students “act out” the story. Another way to get creative with it is to change the ducklings to other animals and replace “quack, quack, quack” with the appropriate sounds.

I’m on the hunt for some fresh new singable stories to add to my collection, so please share your favorites with me! You can find a whole heap of singable stories I’ve shared right here.

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