Well, this cartoon basically sums up my entire professional life. Every single day, I push outside of my comfort zone in order to be the best music therapist and business owner that I can be, even when I’m feeling completely spent.
If your work day is anything like mine, it probably includes facilitating sessions, teaching classes, leading groups, interacting with client families, speaking with colleagues, networking with other professionals, and attending work-related events. Add to all those face-to-face interactions the inevitable emails, social media exchanges, and phone calls, and I’m 100% “peopled out” by the end of the day (if not sooner).
I absolutely love my career, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But I will admit that it’s been a steep learning curve, becoming good at my job, given the fact that I am a total introvert. I’ve had to challenge myself with uncomfortable and sometimes downright scary situations in order to grow as a music therapist, and after 10 years, I finally feel like I have insight to offer fellow introverts who also experience similar professional challenges.
Rhythm sticks are a go-to instrument in our music therapy sessions and classes. They’re not colorful and interesting-looking like some of our other instruments, but they are super versatile and can address so many important skills.
Another benefit of rhythm sticks is that they’re inexpensive, so we always have enough on hand to that everyone can play at the same time, no matter how big our group. We buy these in bulk.
Since we use our rhythm sticks so often, I’m constantly writing new songs specifically for them. It’s been awhile since I shared a song round-up, so here are 8 of my favorite stick tunes for working with children.
Recently I was having a FaceTime conversation with my friend Jocelyn, when she mentioned this audiobook to which she had been listening. “It’s called The 5 Second Rule,” she said, which immediately brought to mind the rule that dropped food is acceptable for consumption as long as you pick it up within 5 seconds. #momlife
But then Jocelyn went on to explain the basic premise of the book: that you can get yourself to take action on any task by counting backwards from 5. I liked the concept, but I was confused as to how it warranted an entire book. Despite my skepticism, I used one of my Audible credits to download the audiobook version, and stated listening after we hung up the phone.
When we first started offering early childhood and preschool music classes, there were 2 options: a morning class and an evening class. And before every session, I worried that we wouldn’t have enough families sign up, and we would have to cancel a class.
Thankfully that never happened, although there were plenty of sessions with small class sizes throughout those first few months. But with each session, we learned what worked (and what didn’t) when it came to filling classes. Over the last two years, we have consistently filled 5 different classes per session — a huge feat considering where we started.
Before our summer session began this week, my business partner Katey and I set specific goals for class registration numbers. We aimed high because we love a good challenge, and then we came up with a plan to meet those goals.
Katey and I had a little emoji party on Monday after I texted her that not only had we achieved those pie-in-the-sky registration numbers, but we had actually exceeded them with a waitlist for several of the classes. What the what?!
I would love to share with you our specific strategies for maxing out this session of early childhood and preschool music classes, because I know the struggle all too well.
Can I tell you how excited I am about this week!? We’re getting ready to host Music Therapy Connections’ annual Favorite Song Singalong, which is a free event for families with young children.
The Singalong, which will be held on both Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, features a variety of our favorite songs (both original and traditional) that we’ve included in music classes over the last year.
One of the reasons I love this event so much is that it allows us to welcome in many new families from the community who haven’t attended our classes before. We also get to see our “regulars” — a big treat since we’ve been on break for the last month.
Add to that the opportunity to share my favorite songs, play our favorite instruments, and make music with lots of excited kiddos…well, it’s basically the recipe for an awesome time.
As I was working on the details of the event this past week, I thought, why not bring a similar concept to Listen & Learn Music? Except instead of sharing only MY favorite songs, I want to hear YOURS. Enter the Favorite Song Challenge.
Back before I ever even considered called myself a songwriter, I made up piggyback songs. I learned this term while studying music therapy in graduate school, and quickly found out how handy they were, especially when working with children.
Piggyback songs are much easier to write than completely original songs, because there is already an existing melody. Sometimes I would change just a few words, while other times I would completely rewrite the entire lyrics; it just depended on how and with whom I planned to use the song.
As I began dipping my toe into the water of original songwriting, I used piggyback songs less and less. But I still get plenty of mileage out of them, and my students and clients love them, too.
When I shared my adaptation of “Under the Sea” recently, a colleague posed this question:
“Can you educate me a bit? How do you publish these without infringing on rights? I love adaptations and would like to know how you do it!”
This isn’t the first time I’ve received this question, and the answer is a bit complicated, so instead of replying just to her, I decided to turn it into a blog post.