“It’s Okay Not To Be Okay”

For many of us, COVID-19 has upended our lives as we once knew them. It has disrupted our schedules, our plans, our work, our goals, our motivation…everything. It’s okay not to be okay right now.

I wrote this song just as much for grown-ups as I did for children. Whether you’re a parent figuring out how to balance parenting with working from home, a small business owner struggling to stay afloat, a teacher providing distance education, or anyone else who is having a hard time right now, this is my love letter to you.

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The August Session Plan is Here!

{August 2021} Session Plan | Listen & Learn Music

Yesterday after one of my music groups, several of the moms were lamenting that their children go back to school in less than 4 weeks. 4 weeks?! How is it possible that it’s time to start thinking about the end of summer already?!

As much as I love this season, there are some perks to the school year. For one, I will save a LOT of the gas money I’m currently spending to drive my kids here, there and everywhere for their summer sports and activities :) I’m also looking forward to regaining somewhat of a normal work schedule during the day.

I tried to keep the spirit of summer going strong in next month’s session plan, while also addressing the transition back to school.

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Beating the Mid Summer Slump

Beating the Mid Summer Slump | Listen & Learn Music

This (several years old) photo is a pretty accurate depiction of how I often feel during the summer: hot, tired, and conquered by my kids. That’s never been more true than this summer in particular.

Their completely packed schedules — tennis, swim team, art class, yoga camp, tutoring — are a product of my own making; in my excitement to resume mostly normal life, I forgot that I should also probably factor in some recovery time.

We’ve been in “go mode” since school ended in May, but professionally, I’ve felt pretty stagnant. And while I’ve only been a parent for 8 years, I’ve been experiencing this summer slump every year since I first started my career in 2007. Maybe it’s because I work mostly with children, and these summer months are typically lighter in terms of my workload, but I still have businesses to run and tasks to be completed.

As is typical for me during the summer, the essential things always get done. And while I usually ride out this slump and get back at it when fall comes knocking, this time around had me feeling restless. I needed…a spark.

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The July Session Plan is Here!

{July 2021} Session Plan | Listen & Learn Music

What a difference a year makes! At this time last year, my colleagues and I were getting ready to reopen Music Therapy Connections — with many, many COVID-19 limitations and precautions in place. Now as we head into July 2021, we’re getting ready to lift almost all of those restrictions and return to — dare I say it? — very nearly normal.

I’m MOST excited about finally resuming our early childhood and preschool music classes next week. It’s going to feel so good to have young children and their families back in the building, making music together.

I’m also excited about the round-up of songs I’ve put together for July and will get to use in those classes. It’s a nice mix of addressing important life skills, instrument/prop use, and just plain fun. I hope you enjoy next month’s session plan as well!

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New Songs for Summer!

New Songs for Summer | Listen & Learn Music

Every day of this summer so far, I’ve woken up with grand plans to update the blog, send out an email newsletter, or accomplish some other needle-moving task related to Listen & Learn Music. And every day, my grand plans have been derailed —- either by more pressing work-related duties or by my children, for whom I am the primary caretaker during the summer months.

But today is the day I finally get to cross at least one item off that list! Here’s a quick roundup of new songs you can add to your summer repertoire (bonus: they are quick to learn and fun to sing).

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The June Session Plan is Here!

{June 2021} Session Plan

I know time has been weird this year, but it’s blowing my mind that summer is almost here. My kids are already out of school, and we’re in birthday season at my house — 3 out of 4 of us (including me!) are celebrating within a two-week time span.

The excitement doesn’t end there, though. At Music Therapy Connections, we are gearing up for our first session of in-person music classes and groups since the pandemic started. We’ve restored our waiting room, which has been bare since March 2020, and will once again be welcoming families into the building. It’s going to be a wonderful summer!

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Embracing My Zone of Genius

Embracing My Zone of Genius | Listen & Learn Music

I first came across the phrase “zone of genius” in the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t already). This refers to the work you are inherently skilled at doing, that gets you into flow state, and that consistently yields excellent results.

All this time, I thought I had been firmly planted in my zone of genius, only to find out that much of my career existed in my “zone of excellence”. It’s easy to confuse the two, because the latter can feel like your genius zone. You may be very good at the work, but that is mostly due to a great deal of practice and experience.

My days were split between many different tasks as both a music therapist and business owner. I really enjoyed most of them — facilitating sessions, teaching classes, handling finances, communicating with my team, providing customer service — but none of these took me into flow state. Writing, recording, and creating resources, on the other hand, LIT ME UP.

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The April Session Plan is Here!

{April 2021} Session Plan | Listen & Learn Music

In true Midwest fashion, this March has already brought its fair share of both “lion” and “lamb” days — I’ve worn shorts, winter hats, tank tops, and boots all within a two-week time span. The official start of spring is less than a week away, and this season of rebirth holds so much more promise than ever before.

We’re all ready to get back to our regular lives, but after this tumultuous year, my guess is that post-COVID life will feel brand new in the best possible way. What are your hopes for this coming spring, summer, and beyond?

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National Polar Bear Day = Free Song Download

National Polar Bear Day | Listen & Learn Music

Did you know that this Saturday, February 27 is National Polar Bear Day?! I didn’t either, until I saw it posted on Instagram, including a mention of my original “Polar Bear” song. Of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to celebrate these beloved creatures AND share one of the most popular songs in my entire collection.

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The March Session Plan is Here!

{March 2021} Session Plan

As I sat down to write this blog post, I realized that the last in-person session plan I created was in March of 2020…almost an entire year ago. 11 months have crawled/flown by (does it feel that way to you, too?), and I’m still waiting to reunite with my groups face-to-face.

The good news is that almost all of our music therapy team is either halfway or fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — I get my second dose on the 19th — which brings us that much closer to fully reopening our studio. I have high hopes for the coming spring and summer!

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{Flash Five} Vol. 1: Emotions

{Flash Five} Emotions | Listen & Learn Music

Last week as I was updating my song catalog, I started thinking about ways I could make more of my songs easily accessible without the commitment of joining Listen & Learn Plus or subscribing to my monthly session plans.

While they can be purchased individually, those $3 downloads (which include the mp3, instrumental track, and lyrics/chords) can start to add up. That’s especially true right now, since the pandemic has limited so much of the work we can do — and for many, that means more limited income.

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