There is nothing like making music with young children face-to-face, where we can interact through singing, movement, and playing instruments. Little did I know on March 4, the final week of my mid-winter class session, that the next time I would see my students, it would be through a screen.
From the end of March through July, I led virtual music classes via Zoom, and they were certainly better than no music classes at all. It was a fun challenge to figure out new ways to engage the children and make our sessions as interactive as possible. Like my fellow music therapists and educators, I learned to stretch my creativity and make the most of this medium.
Wow, what a wild ride the past half year has been! It’s been an interesting several months, and I’m so glad to be back on the blog to share what life as a music therapist has looked like during this time.
Going back to my previous posts, the last one I shared was in February: A Week in the Life of a Music Therapist. Little did I know that the world would soon be flipped upside down with a pandemic. As I’m sure many people have experienced, my typical week does not look much like it did back in February!
It’s definitely feeling like fall here in central Illinois, even before the new season has officially arrived. Typically we’re still experiencing summer weather late into September, but this past weekend was perfect for long sleeves, pumpkin patch visits, and fire pits.
Each year, I fine-tune my seasonal repertoire both by writing new songs AND retooling older ones. I’ve spent most of this month getting my fall arsenal of songs ready, and today I’m sharing a round-up of 7 autumnal favorites.
These songs address a variety of goal areas in addition to focusing on the fall season — you should know by now that most of my songs are multitaskers ;)
Now that the official end of summer is imminent, have you started pulling out all your fall faves? Since I create each session plan a month in advance, I was going through my fall songs and writing new ones way back at the beginning of August. Finally being able to put them to use is exciting!
Historically, October is a very fun time to be a music therapist. Children love singing about all things related to Halloween, which is why I keep writing songs on this topic. This year, I pulled out some oldies, gave them a makeover in the way of updated lyrics and brand-new recordings, and added them to the October session plan.
Way back at the beginning of March (when people were still traveling for fun), I spent an entire airplane ride home planning a big launch for the reopening of my membership, Listen & Learn Plus. It involved an extensive email series, a new course, bonuses…the works. I hadn’t done a launch like this since I released my book, so I was PUMPED.
The official launch announcement was scheduled for March 13. That was also the day my children’s school, my business, and most of the country, shut down due to COVID-19.
This blog post is the fourth in a series all about utilizing the elements of music in music therapy sessions or music classes, check out the previous posts on rhythm, dynamics, and tempo right here! The elements of music series will continue with a focus on minor keys!
Minor keys are usually pretty recognizable by the way they make a song sound sad, angry, or spooky, but are not nearly as common in music as major keys are, and very rare in children’s music.
Because of the rarity of minor keys in music written for children, they often have a strong reaction when they hear them. They may be confused or interested, but hearing a minor key almost always garners a reaction!
And what a summer it was. The year 2020 has been anything but normal, and that applies to my favorite season, as well. Between having my kids home with me 24/7, not traveling at all, and only providing services virtually, it was a…unique experience.
That said, we did all we could to make the best of it. Things like swimming as much as we could (my daughter learned how to swim without floaties this summer!), grilling out several nights each week, spending time with our neighbors, trying new art projects, and taking long bike rides helped keep us busy and for the most part, happy.
And even though it wasn’t my ideal summer, it was still bittersweet to (unofficially) say goodbye to it as Labor Day weekend ended. The weather has already cooled way down and my kids are planning their Halloween costumes; there is no mistaking that fall is upon us.
In 2020, school looks different than it ever has before. For some kids, it means logging into a Zoom call. For some kids, it means homeschooling. And for some kids, it means venturing back into the classroom. My own children fall into that last category.
August always feels like a frenetic month, this year more than ever. I don’t know about you, but I always try to squeeze in as much summertime fun (swimming, bike rides, grilling out) as possible, while also dealing with the logistics of heading into a new school year.
The pandemic has added a whole new layer to this, since there has been so much uncertainty around returning to school. I recorded an entire podcast episode all about what that means for me and my family, and my co-host (fellow mom and music therapist) Jaime Lawrence shared her plans, as well.
Of course, amidst all of this, there are classes and music therapy sessions (both virtual and in person) to plan, so hopefully having the September session plan at your fingertips will make these next few weeks just a tiny bit less stressful.
Life has felt pretty heavy lately. We’re nearing the six-month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means it’s been almost six months since my kids were in school, I was able to do my job as it is meant to be done, we’ve been able to travel…the list goes on and on.
And now that the upcoming school year is upon us, we’re facing hard decisions that will determine what our lives will look like in the second half of this insane year. There is bad news every day, the state of our current government is terrifying, and everything is uncertain.
I’ve also been listening to Taylor Swift’s new album folklore on repeat, which — as INCREDIBLE as it is — doesn’t do much in the way of lifting my spirits. It’s a work of art, but it is a moody and contemplative work of art that has definitely elicited some tears.
All of that to say: I was in dire need of some serious self-care this weekend. That meant *finally* getting some alone time (since during the week while my husband is at work, I’m with my children for 10+ hours/day), and using the first few minutes of said alone time to create a fresh playlist.
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!