How Dropbox Has Changed My Life as a Music Therapist (No Joke)

How Dropbox Changed My Life as a Music Therapist

I used to have a whole shelf of binders filled with songs I had written and collected over the years. When I planned my music therapy sessions, I would go through those binders, most of which were organized by song topic, and pull out pages to practice or take with me into sessions.

Most of you can relate when I tell you how frustrating that was. It was time consuming, the papers always got misplaced or shuffled around, and then there was the chore of putting them away afterwards.

Thankfully, as technology evolved, so did my repertoire collection. Over time I either scanned or imported all of my music into files on my computer, but I still found myself doing a lot of printing in preparation for sessions. That changed as soon as I got my first iPad in 2011; I used several apps that allowed me to not only store and organize my music, but also access during a session.

Surprisingly, though, my #1 go-to app is not music-specific. It doesn’t cost a dime, and most people already use it (though most likely not to its fullest potential). Dropbox has literally changed my professional life, you guys. The title of this post is not an exaggeration.

I store my entire hard drive on Dropbox. Every last file. By doing so, I can pull up any document whether I’m at my computer, another computer, or using a mobile device. This includes my entire repertoire collection, which as you can imagine is pretty sizable considering the sheer volume of songs I’ve written myself. I also use tons of music that I’ve purchased over the years, all of which is saved in Dropbox as well.

Having my entire collection with me at all times comes in super handy as far as planning goes, because I can listen to a song, pull up a lead sheet and practice anywhere, and then have it on my iPad right in the session if I need it. I also have my visual aides saved there, so most of the time I just use my iPad to view them with my client(s) during a session.

I used to get so frustrated when I didn’t have the song I needed with me, but that never happens anymore. Even though I spend less time preparing for sessions, I actually feel much more prepared going into them because I know I can access songs on the fly as needed. Game changer, I tell you.

I’ve been using this system for a couple of years now, so it’s sort of hard to believe that I didn’t think to implement it over at Listen & Learn Plus my premium site where I share resources for music therapists, until this month. I actually have my friend Amy to thank for helping me connect the dots: she just recently joined and told me that in all honesty, she hadn’t used the site very much yet because she lacked the time to figure it out and download the materials.

That was a red flag for me. I knew then and there that I needed to make a change in order for Listen & Learn Plus to be as accessible as possible, especially now that we live in such a mobile-based world. Thanks to my conversation with Amy, it is now super easy to pull up the hundreds of songs, downloads, and other resources on my site no matter where you are…because I have implemented the very same system I use myself. Dropbox, baby.

I strongly encourage other music therapists to hop on the Dropbox bandwagon and have all of your music therapy materials at your fingertips. It has made me a much more versatile and effective practitioner, for sure. And if you are interested in giving your repertoire collection a HUGE boost (I’m talking hundreds of songs and resources), then I hope you’ll consider joining Listen & Learn Plus.

Do you already use Dropbox in your music therapy practice? I love it so much that I’ve been brainstorming even more ways to utilize it both in my practice and in other areas of my professional life. Please share your ideas with me!

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 34

GGB Episode 34: Lesleigh Zundt

I’m so appreciative of the fact that every guest I’ve interviewed for the podcast has been willing to open up and share her (and his!) very personal stories. This week’s guest is no exception; Lesleigh Zundt and I had a conversation about the not-so-fun side of motherhood: baby blues and postpartum discussion.

But we also celebrated her triumphs, including keeping up a regular pumping schedule for an entire year, even when it meant doing so in her car on a regular basis. Working moms who pump are kind of my hero (and motivate me to keep it up!).

Lesleigh talks about pursuing her music therapy degree while raising a young daughter, overcoming baby blues after the birth of her son, and her adventures in pumping as a working mom in Episode 34 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

Be sure to check out the show notes page for more information about Lesleigh, 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.

Tales from the “Potty Train”

Potty Training a 2-Year-Old

Truth: I dreaded potty training long before I even had kids. I am a total germaphobe, so the thought of taking my tiny child into a public restroom completely grossed me out.

Fast forward a few years to this week, where I found myself sitting Parker on a toilet in the women’s restroom at Busch Stadium. Was it gross? Yes. Did I cry a little inside when he insisted on flushing himself? Undoubtedly. But did I survive? Here I am writing this blog post.

The real truth is, potty training has been surprisingly easy. Parker was excited to wear his Olaf underwear, and pretty much understood the concept of staying dry and using the “potty train” (he is going through a total choo-choo phase right now, so his misunderstanding of the phrase has worked to our advantage) from day one.

We didn’t use any special method or books; what worked for Parker was spending a full 3 days at home with the potty in the living room as a constant reminder to use it.

There have been some accidents on occasion, but after a few weeks of training, I’m thrilled to say that I only have one child in diapers now. Funny, my spending at Target hasn’t decreased as significantly as I thought it would…

Having a potty-trained child is still a lot of work, between the nonstop reminders, incessant trips to the bathroom, and tush-wiping duty. And the thought of all the public restroom adventures in my future kind of makes my skin crawl, but I’ll get over it. Maybe.

Lollipop Start & Stop

Lollipop Start & Stop | Listen & Learn Music

For some reason, telling kids to “freeze” while playing an instrument is a whole lot more effective than just asking them to stop. The part where they have to wait is deliciously excruciating for everyone involved — okay, delicious for me, and mostly just excruciating for them ;)

That’s the basic concept of Lollipop Start & Stop, but not only do they have to listen for the words “freeze” and “go”, but they also have to watch for hands raised and thumbs up. I’m all about getting as many senses involved as possible, as you know by now.

Lollipop drums are always SUCH a hit (pun intended) because they are colorful and fun to play, and I like them because they aren’t too loud compared to bigger drums. Just this morning I had 15 or so toddlers playing them in my early childhood class, and they were surprising amazing at stopping and starting at the appropriate times.

This song is super adaptable in that you can change the words and signals used to let kiddos know when to play and stop. I think I’m going to have a good time keeping them on their toes each time we sing this one!

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 33

GGB Episode 33: Kathy Schumacher

I love, love, love talking to creative entrepreneurs. Being one myself, it is so interesting to hear how others take their ideas and turn them into something tangible. And when those creative entrepreneurs are moms, I love picking their brains about how they make it all work.

Kathy Schumacher shared with me an absolutely brilliant metaphor for thinking about the so-called “work-life balance”. You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out what it is (but trust me, it’s GOOD).

Kathy talks about her early success in the private practice setting, how she has structured her career around her family since having her children, and her adventures in creative entrepreneurship in Episode 33 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast.

Be sure to check out the show notes page for more information about Kathy, 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.

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