Where oh where do I begin? I’ve sat down to write this post at least 4 times throughout the past week, and the words just haven’t come. 2021 has been…something, and it isn’t going out without a fight. Here we are, just 3 days away from 2022, and COVID-19 is raging yet again, leaving us to hibernate at home like we’ve done so often over the last almost 2 years.
Myword for 2021 was EMPOWERED. I was ready to have more control over my life after spending most of 2020 having barely any whatsoever, and overall, I think I lived this word well. Most notably, I took control of my future by diving head-first into a full-time graduate program, working towards a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.
I don’t know about you, but it’s right around this time every year that my creative energy and brain power start to lose steam, and all I really want to do is eat delicious treats while watching Christmas movies. It’s especially true this year, having just wrapped up the first semester of my counseling master’s program (finals are no joke!).
But alas, there is still work to be done. I’ll be leading classes and providing music therapy until Wednesday of next week, at which point I’ll take a highly anticipated break until the start of the new year. Speaking of, it’s time to share the first monthly session plan of 2022!
It’s that time! I’ve been doing Thanksgiving Week sales here at Listen & Learn Music for a decade now, but this year, I wanted to step up my game for you.
Now through November 30th, get 50% off EVERYTHING in the L&L store (including song packs, books, and courses) AND with every purchase, you’ll receive my free 6-song pack, “Feeling 2022”, which includes the mp3, instrumental track, lyrics, chords, and facilitation guide for 6 songs to lead us into the new year.
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!
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!