If there is one thing we music therapists have a lot of, it’s this: music. We’re constantly writing, collecting and purchasing songs to use with our students and clients, and I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with the best way to keep my ever-growing repertoire organized.
I quickly learned that my least favorite place to keep music is inside of books — they’re hard to keep open when I’m playing, I forget which songs are in which book, and most of the time I’m in a different room than my music library. I don’t buy books of music anymore; instead, I go for single digital downloads so that I’m not unnecessarily paying for music I’ll never use.
Years ago, I camped out in my living room and binge-watched “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix while scanning basically all of my favorite songs from the dozens of books I own. It was a long week of tedious work, but so worth it to have digital and printed copies.
Beyond that, I’ve come to realize that there isn’t necessarily one “best” way to keep my music organized. Rather, I rely on 4 different methods to keep tabs on the resources I use every day.
When I first started offering early childhood music classes, the planning process seemed completely daunting. I could handle the marketing, registration, and implementation just fine, but when it came time to plan a new session, I was overwhelmed with anxiety.
I doubted every decision I made when it came to choosing songs, instruments, order of activities, and so on. But with each class I put together, I learned vital lessons and began to trust my skills as a trained professional.
At this point, I’ve planned dozens of classes, most of which are a huge hit with both parents and children — thanks to these 5 principles I follow every single time.
Between the endless grey skies, frigid air and rampant germs being passed around, this winter has me in a bit of a funk. I know I’m not alone — you’re probably just as ready for spring as I am. Music is my favorite kind of medicine, so I put together 4 songs I’ve written or adapted that make me really happy.
So far, 2017 has been the year of visiting preschool and elementary classrooms. I’ve already been to two schools in the last month or so, with another two scheduled this week and next. Sharing my music with kids is pretty much my favorite thing ever, so I’m pretty okay with this trend.
It’s these visits that make me most appreciate alllllll the songs I have to choose from, because I see many of these kids every year (and sometimes even more — quite a few of them attend our early childhood and preschool music classes). I like to keep things fresh by changing up the songs I sing for their sake and mine.
A few years ago, I started a video series called Sunday Singalong here on my blog. Every Sunday, I posted a new video of myself singing and talking about my songs, all of which still exist on my YouTube channel.
I really loved making those videos, and now it’s so much fun pulling up YouTube on my TV to play them for my kids :) So I made a new one this week, and I just might be hooked once again.
Did you know that January is Social Media Advocacy Month for the field of music therapy? As we wrap up this first month of 2017, I’d like to share an introduction to advocacy for music therapists, provided by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Advocacy can help open doors, produce opportunities for growth, expand your horizons, and grow your personal and professional network.
That said, advocacy is also not without its challenges. Over the course of the past decade, music therapists have been faced with responding to misinformed, potentially damaging comments that can serve to undermine the profession and services we provide, all while striving to continue moving forward with advocacy efforts that make a positive difference. These negative exchanges can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and stress, and serve to potentially distract us from focusing on our clients and our work.
In light of the contentiousness that seems to surround legislative and policy issues, we propose incorporating a spirit of mindfulness to advocacy efforts. Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. This requires an awareness of our attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and actions; an understanding of how they impact our experiences and behaviors; and a willingness to take responsibility for our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
To that end, we offer the following guide to assist you in your search of an advocacy zen space and ask…when have you been REACTIVE or PROACTIVE in your advocacy efforts?
Welcome! I'm Rachel Rambach, a board-certified music therapist and the 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.