I remember as if it were yesterday: sitting at this very computer, creating a blog, and writing my first post. Did I think people would read it? Maybe, maybe not. Did I think I’d still be here, one year later, writing a Top Ten list about the reasons I’m grateful for Listen & Learn Music and its readers? Not so much, but here I am, and here goes:

1. Connecting with parents who believe in the power of music and what it can do for their children. If not for this blog, I never would have met amazing parents like Sandie, who motivates me with stories of her son, Matthew, and his love of music and the songs I share. It’s one thing to touch the lives of the children with whom I work directly, but its another to know I am making a long-distance impact on others.

2. Becoming a part of the music therapy community. As the only music therapist in my city, I felt alone and disconnected for the first year of my career. Through Listen & Learn, I have had the privelige of communicating with many MTs for whom I have great respect. Just a few from the huge list: Michelle Erfurt, Wade Richards, Amanda Ellis, Kimberly S. Moore, Brenda Papierniak, Candie Stiles…

3. Exciting collaborations. One of the most exciting being my work with Model Me Kids, a company that creates videos modeling social skills for children and teens with autism, Asperger’s, and other developmental disabilities. I wrote original music to narrate their video about faces and emotions, which is coming out very soon! You can learn more and see a clip here.

4. My presence on SongsForTeaching.com. I have been a fan and customer since I first began my studies in music therapy, and still am. I am so proud that since last November, my original songs have been included on their site, as well as recordings I have done for them of songs in the public domain. This would not have been possible without my blog. I am currently working with Ruth, the absolutely wonderful owner of the site, on a new project (which hopefully I’ll be sharing with you soon!).

5. Overcoming my biggest fear. Well, I haven’t done this yet, but I will be facing (and hopefully overcoming) my enormous fear of public speaking in November when I present “Music Therapy in the Blogosphere” at the AMTA National Conference in San Diego. Just the thought gives me butterflies, but I’m excited, nevertheless.

6. A platform to share my songs. As I mentioned in my very first post, the songs I was writing and using with my students were just sitting around, only heard by me and them, until I started this blog. If one person can benefit from a song I’ve written and shared here, I’m a happy camper :)

7. A good excuse to utilize technology. Ever since I was in seventh grade, when the internet really took off, I have been extremely interested in all things technology. Now when I spend countless hours exploring the web and experimenting with the latest sites and trends, I can tell myself it is for the good of the blog!

8. An outlet for writing. When I was in high school, my career goals were split between music and journalism. English was always my strongest academic subject, and in high school I wrote for my school’s newspaper. When I got to college, even though my English professor asked me to become an English major, I went in the other direction. Though this is just a blog – not a novel or amazing essay or article – it is still a place where I can express myself through the written word (not to mention, the sung word!).

9. A reason to be on Twitter. This one is silly, but kind of true, I suppose. So many people (members of my family included!) think Twitter is a pointless waste of time, but it really is a good way to connect with Listen & Learn readers on a more personal level.

10. Complete creative control. Like for instance, making the decision to write an incredibly long-winded post dedicated to my blog’s 1st birthday! There are no rules when it comes to blogging, and I like that. Of course, this is first and foremost a place to share the songs I write for educational and music therapy purposes, there isn’t a rule against posting pictures of my nephew or writing about my iPhone.

So there you have it. If you’ve made it this far, congrats! And more importantly, thank you. Thanks for reading my blog regularly, listening to my songs, sending emails, and providing amazing support and motivation that will keep me going for another five, ten, twenty years!