In the summer of 2007, I started a little side hustle called Music Therapy Connections. That side hustle grew into an actual business that took up all the hours I wasn’t working at my full-time job, and it eventually replaced my full-time job. In time, it grew into a partnership with another music therapist and didn’t stop there.
10 years in, Music Therapy Connections is a full-fledged brick and mortar business with a team of 10 that serves hundreds of families within our walls and hundreds of people in the community each week. What a wild ride it’s been.
And through it all, I’ve not only run the business, but also provided music therapy, led early childhood music classes, and taught piano, voice and guitar lessons. I’ve taken two summer maternity leaves and extended summer breaks to be with my kids, but always returned to my students in the fall.
This fall, however, I won’t be returning to teach lessons. Making this decision has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because I truly can’t put into words how much I love all of my students — some of whom have been with me since the very beginning. Truthfully, I always thought I would stop teaching lessons after having my second child, but I just couldn’t say goodbye to my students.
So I continued teaching, even though it meant I was unavailable to pick up my kids from daycare and school. Even though it meant I couldn’t have dinner with my family most evenings. And even though many nights I was up until midnight working, just so I could get everything done.
But that isn’t a sustainable lifestyle. My daughter just turned 2, and my son will be 4 in a few days. They are getting older, and I’ve realized how quickly that happened…and how much I’ve been working through it all.
When I explained all of this to my families, every single one of them shared words of understanding and encouragement. They expressed their sadness, but also told me how happy they were for me that I would now have more time for my family. Their responses solidified that I had made the right decision.
It’s been a hard couple of weeks, first breaking the news to my families, and then having “last lessons” with each one of my students. There have been many tears (including my own), and I can’t help but think how strange it will be to not see their sweet faces in September. I’ve watched these kids grow up, and our time together has been about so much more than learning music.
The good news is that this isn’t goodbye, for most of my families. Almost all of my students will continue to take lessons with other teachers at Music Therapy Connections, so I’ll still get to see them from time to time. It makes me so happy that they will continue to study their instruments and grow as musicians, despite not having me as their teacher anymore.
So what will the next chapter in my story look like? It will still include working with a few music therapy clients, teaching early childhood music classes, and of course, the business side of Music Therapy Connections. I’m also excited to have more time to write new songs and focus on Listen & Learn Music.
But most of all, I’m excited to be here for my kids at the end of the day. To eat dinner together and not rush through the nighttime routine as we have these past 4 years. I’m looking forward to a slower life and a less packed schedule.
To all of the families I’ve worked with and students I’ve taught over the past 10 years, thank you for the many memories you’ve given me, conversations we’ve shared, and lessons I’ve learned from YOU. Never have I been more thankful for Facebook and Instagram to keep up with your lives.
One of my (now former) students, Emma, described how she was feeling before our recital as “nerv-cited” — and I can’t think of a better word for my current emotional state as I take this leap into the next chapter of my story.
Want to read the first 4 chapters of my small business story? I wrote in detail how I went from starting a small private practice on the side up until where this chapter begins, and included key takeaways for each step in the journey. Click the image below to download it.