Listen & Learn Turns 4!

Listen & Learn Turns 4!

Four years ago today, I sat down at my computer, came up with the name Listen & Learn Music, started a blog using Google Blogger, and wrote this post. I can’t believe I actually remembered to celebrate today — it usually dawns on me a couple of weeks later — but here I am, writing the 1,044th blog post on Listen & Learn’s 4th birthday!

Just for fun, I visited the Way Back Machine and captured a screenshot of the blog when it was just one month old. Needless to say, the look has changed just a little over the past four years.

Listen & Learn in 2008

In August of 2010, I made the switch from Google Blogger to WordPress, which opened up a whole new world for Listen & Learn. Here are some other blogging highlights since September 4, 2008:

  • November 2008: I was given the opportunity to make my songs available on Songs For Teaching, one of the most popular websites for educational music.
  • June 2009: I started a membership site, Listen & Learn Plus, which now has over 100 members.
  • November 2009: A songbook made up of songs from the Listen & Learn collection, was published by my now-colleague and good friend, Michelle Erfurt.
  • July 2010: I released a studio album, Time to Sing Hello, which was funded by donations made via Kickstarter by Listen & Learn readers and supporters.
  • January 2011: In a moment of what can only be described as pure insanity, I made a New Year’s resolution to blog EVERY DAY for a year.
  • January 2012: I completed my goal of 365 blog posts in 365 days, and shared my New Year’s resolution for 2012 — to write a new Listen & Learn song each week for an entire year.

This blog has connected me with hundreds of amazing people, including other music therapists, fellow bloggers, songwriters, educators, and parents. I am inspired every day to keep writing songs not only for my students, but for the students and children of those who visit Listen & Learn. What started as a little hobby is now a full-blown business…but it doesn’t feel like work at all.

I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement, comments, tweets, “likes” and purchases over the years. I feel like this is just the beginning of what has so far been a wonderful adventure!

Guess Who Just Turned 3!

Listen & Learn Turns 3

My little blog is growing up so fast. It seems like only yesterday that I was celebrating Listen & Learn’s 2nd birthday, and now here we are kicking off year #3!

Although technically L&L is still a toddler, I think it could qualify for old lady status in comparison with some of the other music therapy blogs out there. I love seeing new blogs pop up — right now I’m totally digging The Groovy Garfoose among many others — because it takes me back to when I first started mine. If you want to take a trip back to the beginning of Listen & Learn, you can read my first post ever.

Just as I have grown and changed over the years, so has this website. I can’t say for sure what is in store for Listen & Learn this year, but I do know one thing: I don’t have plans to slow down any time soon.

Many of you have been around since the beginning, helping Listen & Learn thrive by sharing your comments, presenting questions that make great blog topics, and passing the link on to your friends.

I hope you’re still here doing the same on birthdays number 5, 10, and 15! (Ambitious? Maybe. But there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, right?!)

Hey, Hey…It’s My Birthday!

Rachel's 28th BirthdayAs a birthday present to myself, I’m taking a break from the usual “Sunday Singalong” video — mainly because I haven’t had a chance to make one this week!  After wrapping up my last day of work on Thursday, doing double duty as maid of honor and vocalist in a wedding on Friday, and attending another wedding yesterday, I think I deserve a day to just chill with my friends and family.

This is the third birthday I’ve celebrated at Listen & Learn, which I find incredibly hard to believe!  I’ve written about turning 26, turning 27, and now the big 2-8. It’s true what they say…time flies when you’re having fun.  This year is going to be an exciting one filled with lots of new adventures, but before I get to those, here a few highlights from my 27th year:

  • Releasing my first studio album
  • Taking a 2nd anniversary trip to Chicago
  • Becoming an internship supervisor
  • Celebrating my brother’s wedding
  • Presenting my first CMTE at AMTA National Conference
  • Hosting my family on Christmas for the first time
  • Becoming self-employed and expanding my business

There are lots more highlights I could list, but I’m out of time!  My family and friends are getting together for an afternoon birthday celebration in just a little bit.  I’ll report back at to whether or not I receive the items on my birthday wish list, though all I really care about is being with the people I love :) Happy Sunday to you, whether or not it’s your birthday!

The Top 3 Items On My Birthday Wish List

I may be turning 28 next month, but I’m still allowed to make a wish list for my birthday!  With my new studio transformation in progress, most of the things I’m asking for relate directly to my work — though that is almost always the case.  (Last Christmas, my parents insisted that I put at least one thing on my list that didn’t concern music or technology.)

So here are the top 3 items on my loooong list of wants.  Let’s just say I would be more than pleasantly surprised if I receive them on June 5.

Ipad 2

iPad 2: I’ve actually gone back and forth on this one.  As awesome as the iPad is, I just don’t know if I really need it.  For one, my husband has one and gives me free reign over his whenever I want.  Also, I already have an iPhone.  But the more I read about the iPad and explore the apps that are available, the more convinced I become that it would be a useful tool in my studio.


Airturn Page Turner: This is one of reasons I want the iPad.  The idea of my students and I being able to play using sheet music displayed on the iPad or Mac (of course, I would also need this) and use a foot pedal to turn the pages is just awesome.

Blue Mikey

Blue Mikey: A microphone for my iPhone.  I am a huge fan of Blue Microphones and have been using the Snowball for years.  But sometimes during a lesson or music therapy session, I don’t necessarily want to set up my computer and microphone.  I’d love to be able to just plug this bad boy into my iPhone and start recording.  I do this every once in a while with the voice memo app, but it would be nice to get a more high quality sound.

What music & technology related items are on your wish list?

Birthday Fun for My Studio’s Mascot

Sadie Turns 2

Even though Sadie spends her afternoons romping around with her cousin at my in-laws’ house (so as to keep her occupied while I work with students), I still refer to her as the official Music Therapy Connections studio mascot.  After all, my students know her and ask about her all the time, plus she’s my constant companion as I blog away and plan music therapy sessions.  Sadie even makes a star appearance in one of my songs.

So how do we plan to celebrate the big 2?  This is one spoiled pup to begin with, which means we’ll have to outdo ourselves today.  Sadie’s favorite treat is a peanut butter-filled Kong, and today she’ll get an upgrade from the mini to the full-sized version.  My little girl is growing up!

Sadie is still a bit hyper, which is why I keep her out of the way of students as they come and go.  But I can’t wait for the day she calms down and can handle a little more interaction every once in a while.  I know a few kids who look forward to that day, as well :)

Sadie Through the Years If you see this dog today, please wish her happy birthday!