Day in the Life of a Music TherapistThe #1 question I get asked — whether via email, social media, or in person — is the following:

What is a typical day like for you, and how in the world do you manage to fit everything in?

Just this morning I was thinking to myself, “Hmm…I should probably write a blog post detailing my typical day so that when I receive this question in my inbox, I can simply respond with a link to the post.”

And then, as fate would have it, Michelle Erfurt tweeted later this morning that she would love to read a “day in the life of Rachel Rambach” blog post. Surely, a sign that I was meant to write this! So without further ado, here is a description of the typical day in the life of me.

4:40 am: My alarm goes off.  It’s time to hit the gym, where I work out for a little under an hour.  Then it’s time to head home, feed my dog, make coffee, pack my lunch, and browse through blog posts in my RSS reader as I eat breakfast (usually a protein shake).  Then I get ready for work and am out the door by 7:20 am.

7:40 am: I arrive at The Hope Institute, where I work full-time.  My first order of business is making sure everything is in order for that day’s music therapy classes.  I set my visual schedule, select instruments, tune my guitar, and play through songs before each class.  In the little time that is left before my morning classes, I respond to emails and consult with teachers.

11:00 am: On most days, my morning classes are over by this time and I take a quick break to eat lunch.  I like to multi-task, so while I eat, I usually check up on my email inbox, Twitter, and Facebook.  If my music therapy intern is with me, we’ll have our supervision meeting during lunch and go over plans for the afternoon and coming weeks.

12:00 pm: I’m lucky to have planning/creating time built into my schedule.  Most of my songs are written during this hour, and I’m also able to record my instrumental tracks at work, since I have all of the equipment I need there to do it.  However, I wait to record my vocals at home, since I share two walls with rather noisy classrooms :)

1:00 pm: I re-organize my desk space (things get a little cluttered when I’m songwriting or recording) and prepare for my afternoon classes.  Then I head out with my cart and guitar.

2:30 pm: My afternoon classes are over, and I have a bit of time to catch up on data and paperwork before I head home at 3:00.  This is also the time I write my to-do list for the evening and the next day.

3:30 pm: The first student arrives at my home studio for either a lesson or music therapy session.  Typically, I see between 5-7 students each weekday in my private practice, totaling 30 students in all.  I finish my lessons and sessions between 6:30 and 7:30 pm.

7:30 pm: Time to eat dinner and hang out with my husband and dog.  Zach works long hours like I do, so we’re both pretty tired at this point.  But my day’s work isn’t done yet…which is why most nights you’ll find me on the living room couch with my laptop open to a new blog post.  I do most of my blogging in the evenings, though I usually set my posts to go live early the next morning.

9:00 pm: At this point, I usually go back to my office/studio (in the next room) for vocal recording.  I’ll also mix and prepare my songs for use with students and of course, to post here at Listen & Learn.  If I don’t have recording to do, I tackle other tasks like editing the Music Therapy Round Table podcast, paperwork for my private practice, tweaking my websites, or whatever else I didn’t get accomplished earlier in the day.

10:00 pm: One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to be in bed by this time each weeknight, since I have to wake up so darn early.  (I used to stay up until 11 or so, which meant less than 6 hours of sleep!)

So there you go…a day in the life of a music therapist.  We all have our own unique work situations and routines, of course, but this is what works best for me (for now, at least).  What does your typical day look like?

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