I have to say, I am very excited for Thanksgiving. Pretty much all the holidays in 2020 were a huge bummer, but now that my family is vaccinated (and hopefully the kids will be soon, too!), we are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving and Christmas together this year.
I know we still have plenty of time — I didn’t forget about, you Halloween — but putting together the November session plan had me thinking a few weeks ahead. It’s been so much fun pulling out all of my fall favorites for my music therapy sessions and classes (especially the in-person ones that I missed so much last year), and I’m pumped to see “Turkey Dinner Dance” and other Thanksgiving songs in action soon.
Back in August, my friend told me that she was going back to school for her PhD in speech-language pathology. I have a lot in common with this friend: we both have two kids (our boys play competitive travel soccer together), busy careers, and full social lives.
So when she shared this news with me, the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh wow, I could never do that.”
I’ve been saying that for years. I went straight to graduate school after finishing undergrad, so the only life I knew was student life. That served me well, and helped me stay focused as I earned my master’s degree in music therapy. My mom went back to school for her doctorate shortly after turning 50, and I was just in awe of her ability to do so. I couldn’t imagine the rigorous schedule and responsibilities of being a student ON TOP OF regular life.
After that conversation with my friend, though, I rethought my words. Why couldn’t I do it? School was my thing; the only B I ever got — like, literally ever — was in a dance class my freshman year of college, and I’m still not over it. (Kidding, kind of.) I love to learn, and I had been feeling the itch for professional growth over the last year or so.
A few days later, I found myself googling “counseling programs” and taking copious notes. Wait, what? Did I want to become a counselor? Apparently, yes I did.
Turns out that if you enroll in a full-time graduate program and take on a new telehealth contract ON TOP of everything else you already have going on, the days and weeks suddenly speed up and disappear before your eyes. That’s how my fall is going so far…how about you?
Truth be told, this *very* full schedule isn’t actually as stressful as I thought it would be. Having so many things on my plate has caused me to find a space for EVERYTHING on my calendar, and since there are no hours (or minutes, lol) to spare, I simply don’t have the option to procrastinate. It’s working well so far, and hopefully will continue to, since this is my life for the foreseeable future.
If your plate is just as full as mine, hopefully I can help give you back some of the time you might otherwise spend planning for your music therapy sessions, circle time, or classroom music. That was my whole reason for creating monthly session plans in the first place, and why I’ve continued to do so for 3+ years!
This (several years old) photo is a pretty accurate depiction of how I often feel during the summer: hot, tired, and conquered by my kids. That’s never been more true than this summer in particular.
Their completely packed schedules — tennis, swim team, art class, yoga camp, tutoring — are a product of my own making; in my excitement to resume mostly normal life, I forgot that I should also probably factor in some recovery time.
We’ve been in “go mode” since school ended in May, but professionally, I’ve felt pretty stagnant. And while I’ve only been a parent for 8 years, I’ve been experiencing this summer slump every year since I first started my career in 2007. Maybe it’s because I work mostly with children, and these summer months are typically lighter in terms of my workload, but I still have businesses to run and tasks to be completed.
As is typical for me during the summer, the essential things always get done. And while I usually ride out this slump and get back at it when fall comes knocking, this time around had me feeling restless. I needed…a spark.
What a difference a year makes! At this time last year, my colleagues and I were getting ready to reopen Music Therapy Connections — with many, many COVID-19 limitations and precautions in place. Now as we head into July 2021, we’re getting ready to lift almost all of those restrictions and return to — dare I say it? — very nearly normal.
I’m MOST excited about finally resuming our early childhood and preschool music classes next week. It’s going to feel so good to have young children and their families back in the building, making music together.
I’m also excited about the round-up of songs I’ve put together for July and will get to use in those classes. It’s a nice mix of addressing important life skills, instrument/prop use, and just plain fun. I hope you enjoy next month’s session plan as well!
Every day of this summer so far, I’ve woken up with grand plans to update the blog, send out an email newsletter, or accomplish some other needle-moving task related to Listen & Learn Music. And every day, my grand plans have been derailed —- either by more pressing work-related duties or by my children, for whom I am the primary caretaker during the summer months.
But today is the day I finally get to cross at least one item off that list! Here’s a quick roundup of new songs you can add to your summer repertoire (bonus: they are quick to learn and fun to sing).
I know time has been weird this year, but it’s blowing my mind that summer is almost here. My kids are already out of school, and we’re in birthday season at my house — 3 out of 4 of us (including me!) are celebrating within a two-week time span.
The excitement doesn’t end there, though. At Music Therapy Connections, we are gearing up for our first session of in-person music classes and groups since the pandemic started. We’ve restored our waiting room, which has been bare since March 2020, and will once again be welcoming families into the building. It’s going to be a wonderful summer!
I first came across the phrase “zone of genius” in the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t already). This refers to the work you are inherently skilled at doing, that gets you into flow state, and that consistently yields excellent results.
All this time, I thought I had been firmly planted in my zone of genius, only to find out that much of my career existed in my “zone of excellence”. It’s easy to confuse the two, because the latter can feel like your genius zone. You may be very good at the work, but that is mostly due to a great deal of practice and experience.
My days were split between many different tasks as both a music therapist and business owner. I really enjoyed most of them — facilitating sessions, teaching classes, handling finances, communicating with my team, providing customer service — but none of these took me into flow state. Writing, recording, and creating resources, on the other hand, LIT ME UP.
In true Midwest fashion, this March has already brought its fair share of both “lion” and “lamb” days — I’ve worn shorts, winter hats, tank tops, and boots all within a two-week time span. The official start of spring is less than a week away, and this season of rebirth holds so much more promise than ever before.
We’re all ready to get back to our regular lives, but after this tumultuous year, my guess is that post-COVID life will feel brand new in the best possible way. What are your hopes for this coming spring, summer, and beyond?
Did you know that this Saturday, February 27 is National Polar Bear Day?! I didn’t either, until I saw it posted on Instagram, including a mention of my original “Polar Bear” song. Of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to celebrate these beloved creatures AND share one of the most popular songs in my entire collection.
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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Next month’s music therapy sessions, early childhood groups, or classroom music…planned for you in advance.
Click the image below for this free resource and song collection!