“Under the Sea” Adapted for Castanets!

Last summer as I was planning an ocean-themed music class, I thought, “what better song to adapt than a Disney classic that’s perfectly on topic?!” So I did exactly that.

The tune is (mostly) the same, but the lyrics got a little makeover so that now, “Under the Sea” can be used to facilitate castanet playing.

My new version is a bit less wordy than the original, so it works well in an early childhood or music therapy setting. You can also easily switch out “castanets” for “rhythm sticks” and keep the rest of the lyrics the same. I love a great multi-purpose song!

Under the Sea - Music Therapy Song for Castanets & Rhythm Sticks

Download the mp3, instrumental track, and chords here.

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The Next Chapter in My Story

Last Lessons - Ethan & Olivia

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.

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And Then She Was 2

Rachel and Mia Belle at Two Years Old

Two years ago right around this time, I was holding a brand new baby girl in my arms and wondering how I got so lucky. Her entrance into the world wasn’t quite as smooth as her brother’s, but all those hours of labor made the moment that much sweeter.

Mia Belle was not what I would call an easy baby; she didn’t sleep through the night for her first 18 months of life, and she clung to me for dear life at all hours of the day. She cried just about every afternoon as I left for work. But in between the clinging and crying, she was unbelievably sweet. And funny. This girl learned how to go from coy to total ham in about 6 seconds, and she charmed everyone in her path with her huge blue eyes.

And she still does, this little 2-year-old of mine. Complete strangers stop to comment on how cute she is and how beautiful her eyes all are the time, but really, the best part about her is her personality. She’s always had so much of it, and now that she is talking nonstop, we are getting to experience the full extent.

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8 Hit Early Childhood Music Class Songs of This Year

Using a Parachute in Early Childhood Music Class

I’ve never written, recorded, and facilitated as many early childhood songs in my entire life as I have over the past 10 months. Last August we kicked off a new season of Listen & Learn for Little Ones, music classes for children ages 0-3, at my teaching studio and private practice, Music Therapy Connections. 8 class sessions later, we are winding down and getting ready to take a much-needed break before we do it all over again.

I’ve been looking back at our song collections from this year’s classes as I start to plan for next year, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the biggest hits of the 2016-2017 season.

Many of the songs we include in our early childhood curriculum are designed to fall into multiple categories, from instrument play, to cognitive skills, to movement, etc. We only have 45 minutes out of the entire week to work with our kiddos, so we want to make sure to cover as much ground as possible without overwhelming them with dozens of tunes.

I chose one song from each of our 8 sessions, which I think are a nice representation of the range of concepts we address in class. To listen to each song and read more about it, just click the link or cover art.

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Adapting Songs from the ’50s and ’60s

Adapting Songs from the 1950s and 1960s

I don’t always adapt existing songs, but sometimes when I do, they’re based on iconic tunes from the 1950s and 1960s, rewritten specifically as movement songs.

Funny story: I have a long list of songs I’ve written but haven’t shared here on the blog and in my store yet. Yesterday I decided to do a little catching up, and chose two songs at random to share. It wasn’t until after I added them to the store that I realized both were based on songs by male artists from the 50s and 60s.

I took this coincidence as an opportunity to remind you that inspiration for new songs and adaptations can come from any style, genre or generation. A few years back, I was really into adapting current pop songs, and still like to do so from time to time. But I have found that borrowing ideas and melodies from other decades can be a lot of fun, especially since many parents and grandparents attend music therapy sessions and music classes.

It’s up to you as a songwriter to decide just how closely you want your version to resemble the song that inspired it. You can put a modern spin on an old classic, or keep it true to the original. Here are my adapted versions of the songs by the prolific artists pictured above.

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A Day in the Life of a Music Therapist {2017 Ed.}

Day in the Life of a Music Therapist

Earlier this week, I came across a blog post I wrote almost three years ago detailing a typical day in my life as a music therapist. I got a little nostalgic as I read it, thinking back to a time when I only had one baby and he still spent his days at home. It’s amazing how much life can change in just a short time.

That blog post was actually based on my original “day in the life” post written in 2011, when I had NO kids and still worked full-time at The Hope Institute, with a private practice on the side. Talk about a blast from the past! I remember that time well, but it seems so, so long ago after everything I’ve been through since.

I really wish I had written this kind of post last year, when I was in the thick of having a baby still at home and a business undergoing huge growth and changes. I think back on it and wonder how I managed to do everything, but somehow I did.

Life is nowhere near as challenging these days, since both of my kids are in daycare and preschool all day (except Fridays) and I have plenty of time devoted to work. But having all that time creates a different kind of challenge — figuring out how to manage it in the best possible way with my priorities in mind.

I still have a long way to go with this, but I’m making progress. I’ve learned that the best way to combat misuse of time is to plan out my day the night before (I use and absolutely could not live without Trello, the online tool that keeps my entire life organized), so that when I sit down to work the next morning, I know exactly where to begin.

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When Your Creativity is Stifled

When Your Creativity is Stifled | Rachel Rambach | Listen & Learn Music

A few weeks ago, I was making some updates to the Music Therapy Connections website when an error message popped up. I’ll spare you the technical jargon, but after making a call to my hosting provider, I discovered that my current hosting server is no longer being updated and will prevent my websites from running smoothly and doing everything I need them to do.

The customer support representative recommended that I upgrade to a new server, and explained what the process would look like for doing so. Now, I consider myself to be a pretty tech-savvy person, but a lot of what he was explaining seemed overwhelming and over my head. Even so, it was pretty clear that I needed to take the plunge, and thus began the Great Website Migration of 2017.

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The 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project | 100 Days in Lyrics

Last year, I followed along as several people in my Instagram feed participated in the 100 Day Project. Every day for 100 days, they posted a photo of an action they took related to a creative project on a singular theme.

One of my favorite accounts to follow was Elise Blaha Cripe, who posted 100 days of pep talks. When she mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a new round of #the100dayproject was coming up, I decided to get on board.

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“Wave Goodbye to Winter” With This Spring Song

It’s officially spring, but winter still hasn’t completely left the building. On gray, windy, and chilly days, this is one of my favorite songs for reminding myself, and whoever I’m singing with, that sunny skies and warm temps are in fact on the way.

The motions for this tune are simple, and it’s easy to adapt the words to best suit your needs. You can download “Wave Goodbye to Winter” — including lyrics/chords, mp3 and instrumental track — here.

Wave Goodbye to Winter - Song for Spring

What songs are you singing for spring? I’m trying my best to get into spring mode, even despite the dreariness outside. I’ll take inspiration from wherever I can get it!

8 Quick Tips for Live Video Broadcasts

Quick Tips for Live Video Broadcasts

First things first: I must preface this post by explaining that I am NOT an expert at live video. I’ve had quite a bit of practice since it rolled out last year, but I’m still awkward and nervous as all get out every single time. As uncomfortable as live video makes me, I keep getting back on the horse because I have seen how far-reaching it can be.

We all know that Facebook has all but killed organic reach for business pages, which is why I put much more time and attention into my Instagram feed these days. However, since Listen & Learn Music has a pretty decent following on Facebook (which doesn’t even touch our Music Therapy Connections reach…#goals) I want to foster those connections. And since Facebook puts a high priority on live video and allows it to reach more people organically than other kinds of posts, it only makes sense to get in front of the camera.

I put a screenshot of a recent live video at the top of this post to illustrate how it shows up in the newsfeed. (If you click on the image, it will take you to the actual video.) I’ll be referring to it in several of my quick tips, which are as follows.

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