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.
This fall, however, I won’t be returning to teach lessons. Making this decision has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because I truly can’t put into words how much I love all of my students — some of whom have been with me since the very beginning. Truthfully, I always thought I would stop teaching lessons after having my second child, but I just couldn’t say goodbye to my students.
So I continued teaching, even though it meant I was unavailable to pick up my kids from daycare and school. Even though it meant I couldn’t have dinner with my family most evenings. And even though many nights I was up until midnight working, just so I could get everything done.
But that isn’t a sustainable lifestyle. My daughter just turned 2, and my son will be 4 in a few days. They are getting older, and I’ve realized how quickly that happened…and how much I’ve been working through it all.
When I explained all of this to my families, every single one of them shared words of understanding and encouragement. They expressed their sadness, but also told me how happy they were for me that I would now have more time for my family. Their responses solidified that I had made the right decision.
It’s been a hard couple of weeks, first breaking the news to my families, and then having “last lessons” with each one of my students. There have been many tears (including my own), and I can’t help but think how strange it will be to not see their sweet faces in September. I’ve watched these kids grow up, and our time together has been about so much more than learning music.
The good news is that this isn’t goodbye, for most of my families. Almost all of my students will continue to take lessons with other teachers at Music Therapy Connections, so I’ll still get to see them from time to time. It makes me so happy that they will continue to study their instruments and grow as musicians, despite not having me as their teacher anymore.
So what will the next chapter in my story look like? It will still include working with a few music therapy clients, teaching early childhood music classes, and of course, the business side of Music Therapy Connections. I’m also excited to have more time to write new songs and focus on Listen & Learn Music.
But most of all, I’m excited to be here for my kids at the end of the day. To eat dinner together and not rush through the nighttime routine as we have these past 4 years. I’m looking forward to a slower life and a less packed schedule.
To all of the families I’ve worked with and students I’ve taught over the past 10 years, thank you for the many memories you’ve given me, conversations we’ve shared, and lessons I’ve learned from YOU. Never have I been more thankful for Facebook and Instagram to keep up with your lives.
One of my (now former) students, Emma, described how she was feeling before our recital as “nerv-cited” — and I can’t think of a better word for my current emotional state as I take this leap into the next chapter of my story.
I’m with you. You have a lifetime ahead of you and you are choosing wisely in how to invest it. Even though you’re not in as many direct activities, your work continues in the many ones you have helped (me included!). And, the neat thing is, your kids will treasure every moment–even though they don’t know it yet! Again, with as many gifts as you are given, you’re rephrasing, reviewing, renewing. That is what I hope for you–renewal as only Jesus can give! Renewal as the Holy Spirit continues to work in your lives and ours. Sometimes you need a push.
Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for your support and comforting words…they really mean a lot to me. I feel like I received a bit of a divine push in making this decision, and I know that it is meant to be. I’m grateful for your support and kind words as I enter this renewed stage of my life. <3
I’ve been through a similar journey…a couple of times. Last year I let go of several private students to make space for more family time with my new 9 year old daughter. This year I will let go of more. It’s sad. And it’s so wonderful to be able to have more of a relaxed family life . Congratulations! Your students were so lucky to have you for so long !
Hi Susan! I’ve been thinking about you a lot these past few months as I’ve come to this decision, because of what you’ve shared with me about the evolution of your work and business. It is very sad, but I’m trying to keep the positives in mind right now as I make it through the hard part. Thank you as always for sharing your wisdom and encouragement! <3
Yup. Moving on can be rough even when it’s done the right way for all of the right reasons. Congratulations and Mazel Tov! You’ll be okay and whenever you want to teach again–there will always be students out there who’ll love you all over again.
Best of luck as you move froward in your next chapter!
Todd, the Off-Duty Superhero from Philly
Yes, you’re so right, Todd! It’s difficult right now, but I know I’m making the right decision. Thank you for your words of encouragement! Hope all is well and your summer is off to a great start :)
Thanks for always being so authentic. It sounds like you are making the right decision and you won’t regret it! Snap – and you’ll be in a position to take on more students when your children are grown and busy with their own life. Treasure these days!
Thank YOU for always being so supportive, Janet! Yes, I know that’s how it will go…time flies too quickly!