Keep Calm and Sing On

Keep Calm and Sing On

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently participating in the #MusicTherapyBlogger Challenge hosted by Julie Palmieri at Serenade Designs. This week’s prompt was to share a quote that we love and/or makes us think, and then write a blog post reflecting upon that quote.

I’ve come across many inspirational, motivating, and thought-provoking quotes in the past, and while the one I shared above may not be the most prolific, it is definitely the most applicable to my life right now.

I kind of have a lot going on at the moment, which is not news if you’ve been reading my blog lately. My private practice is about to undergo some major (and super exciting) changes, I have lots of projects happening through my online business, and well, there’s the fact that my baby could be born any day now.

But despite all of that, I have to keep singing. All day, every day. With my clients, with my toddler (his current favorite is “Humpty Dumpty” and I’ve never been so ready to move on to a new song in my life), by myself in my car to keep my brain from imploding with all the thoughts constantly running through it.

I have this quote framed and sitting on my piano as a daily reminder. It’s been there for a few years now; the straightforwardness and simplicity of it sets me back on track when I start to feel my stress level rising.

Here’s to a calm day full of singing, sunshine, and whatever else life decides to bring my way. (I wouldn’t be too upset if that included a baby girl…!)

2013: A Year in Review

2013: A Year in Review

Hands down, 2013 has been the best year of my life thus far. The first half was spent anticipating the birth of my first child; the second half has centered around watching my baby boy grow and develop right before my eyes.

Needless to say, when it came to my work I was a little…distracted. Don’t get me wrong: I still put 100% into each music therapy session and lesson, but the extras — songwriting, recording, my online biz, THIS BLOG — took a backseat. For the first time in 6 years, my career was no longer my baby. I guess that’s what happens when you have an actual baby.

That being said, I did manage a few professional accomplishments over the past twelve months that I think are worth noting, if only for my own peace of mind. This list will come in handy on days where I feel like my only accomplishments involve diapers, board books, and an assortment of Fisher-Price toys :)

2013 Review

In January, I participated in Social Media Advocacy Month by writing an adapted version of The Lumineers’ song “Ho Hey” for my clients. I also celebrated my 6th year teaching Church Mice, the early childhood music class at my church (a “job” I will probably do until I’m old and gray, I love it so much).

In February, many of my students participated in Junior Festival and ALL of them received superior scores. Several received their first gold cups, and I couldn’t have been any prouder. That month also saw the launch of Listen & Learn for Little Ones, my new class for kiddos ages 0-3.

In March, my CMTE course — The DIY Guide to Writing, Recording, and Sharing Your Music — went live at This was a huge cause for celebration, because I spent countless hours back in the fall writing and recording the course videos (while simultaneously dealing with horrible morning sickness).

In April, I presented a workshop for my local Illinois Federation of Music Clubs titled Music is for Everyone: Teaching Children with Special Needs. I was super nervous about presenting in front of a room full of fellow music teachers, but it went well and I felt like a (very pregnant) rock star afterwards. Later than month I released a new digital songbook, Tapping, Shaking, Music Making!

2013 Review

In May, with only a few weeks to go before my due date, I started winding down professionally and getting ready for the baby. I made it to my last day of the spring session on May 31, and then enjoyed a few days of rest and relaxation before going into labor just a week later.

In June, I gave birth to my son 3 days after turning 30. As you can imagine, I was just a little busy with Parker and didn’t do much in the way of work all month!

In July, I was still on maternity leave but thrilled to feature guest posts from several awesome music therapy bloggers. Michelle, Kimberly and I held our annual Music Therapy Round Table “meeting of the minds” via Google Hangout, since traveling was out of the question this summer.

In August, I made the big decision to work on Sundays in order to have more time in the evenings with my family. And then I got busy planning my fall schedule, since my maternity leave was up at the end of the month.

2013 Review

In September, I returned to work and realized just how hard it is to have two full-time jobs (stay-at-home mom to an infant during the day, music therapist & teacher in the afternoon/evening) with very little sleep. But somehow I survived that first month back, and it only got easier from that point on.

In October, I had the opportunity to use fellow music therapist Lisa Barnett’s My House Interactive Songbook and blog about it here. I also wrapped up the fall session (which is always my favorite because I get to see how much all the kiddos have grown over the summer) of Church Mice.

In November, I started a new series here on the blog called {Mama Moments} where I get to talk about my favorite topic of all time ;) It was also #AMTA13 conference time, so I made the trek to Jacksonville, FL (with my family in tow) to present and network with lots of awesome music therapists.

In December, I wrote a whopping ONE blog post in all that spare time when I wasn’t a) seeing students; b) undergoing a major house renovation; c) taking care of my baby; d) getting ready for Christmas; d) all of the above. This month flew by in a flash, which seems to have been the story of 2013.

And now here we are, days away from 2014. I have no idea what the next 12 months will hold, nor am I announcing any huge goals as I have in years past. (Blogging every day? Nailed it in 2011. New song every week? Got the job done in 2012. Grow a human being? Delivered on that one in 2013.) But I do have some hopes and plans for the new year, starting with a brand new song for 2014 right here later in the week.

Thank you for reading, offering feedback, supporting my work with your purchases, and just generally being wonderful. Now let’s all go enjoy the last days of this year.

Mommyhood Reality Check

Mommyhood Reality Check

It’s taken me at least four separate sessions spread out over two days to type this blog post, so hitting “publish” is going to feel like quite an accomplishment. Just like completing a load of laundry, making the bed, putting on makeup, and writing a thank you card all feel like big accomplishments these days.

Before I had a baby, I just couldn’t understand why new moms always say they’re lucky if they are able to shower on a daily basis — and now I totally get it. Caring for a tiny human being is a LOT of work, between feeding, changing, comforting, and just holding him while he sleeps.

I have an inbox full of fantastic guest posts by several fellow music therapists and bloggers, and although it was my goal to have them queued up and ready to post starting last week, it just hasn’t happened yet. Parker and I are still establishing a routine, and when I do have the opportunity to get things done during naptime, I usually resort to either sleeping (because not much of that happens at night!) or taking care of the basics around the house.

This blog post is anything BUT a complaint; I absolutely love being a mom and everything that comes with it (including the sleepless nights). It’s more of a reassurance that I haven’t dropped off the face of this earth, and that there’s some good stuff coming your way thanks to my colleagues…just as soon as I have the time and mental capacity (that darn sleep deprivation again) to post it. Thank you for being patient and sticking around during this hopefully short-lived blogging drought!

Seeking Balance in 2013

Hello, 2013!

Here’s the cold, hard truth: the transition from 2012 to 2013 has been a little rough for me. Not because I wasn’t ready for the start of a new year, but because physically, I was in bad shape. I’ve had enough cold bugs in the past that I normally stand up to them like a champ, but this last one got the best of me.

I spent the final three days of 2012 in bed, only getting up to fulfill two performance obligations (including one on New Year’s Eve, when I was at my very worst). There was so much I wanted to do — take down my Christmas decorations, clean my house, write my “2013” song, and get my studio ready for the new semester — but nothing got done. This was one of those rare occasions when I decided to really listen to my body and put my health above all, something I wasn’t used to doing before I was pregnant.

That extra rest paid off, thankfully, and I was ready for my first day back to work yesterday. I’m still not feeling my best, and my voice isn’t nearly back to normal, but I’m thrilled to be functioning as a human being again.

And I’m finally at the point where I can be excited about the start of a brand new year. There is so much to look forward to in 2013; so much, in fact, that I decided not to overwhelm myself with any HUGE goals or resolutions. With my first baby on the way, I need to focus on bringing more BALANCE into my life…something that has eluded me in the past. And that was okay; I could get away with overloading myself with work up until now.

So while I may not be committing to blogging every single day or writing a new song every week in 2013, I am making a promise to set an example in productivity, creativity, and progress in both my work and personal lives…while maintaining my sanity and keeping my stress level to a minimum (both of which where challenged frequently over the last few years!).

My next balancing act of the day involves eating a healthy breakfast, followed by getting to work recording my new “2013” song — well, the instrument parts, at least. I’ll have the finished product here for you just as soon as my voice returns in full. Thanks for being patient, and for following along with my quest for balance in 2013!

Friday Fave: 2012 in Review

2012 Review

It’s a little mind-blowing to think that I’m writing the very last “Friday Fave” installment of 2012. This year seemed to flash by in the blink of an eye…maybe because I wasn’t blogging every day like I did in 2011.

Even so, I had plenty to keep me busy over the last 12 months. I kicked off 2012 by announcing a BIG work-related goal: to write and record an original Listen & Learn song every single week for a year. I had been slacking a bit in the songwriting department, and wanted to work on my skills (not to mention beef up my catalog of resources for my own clients).

This goal proved to be a challenging one, but it has also been one of the most rewarding. I truly love the writing and recording process, now moreso than ever; and the feedback I’ve received from my own clients, Listen & Learn readers, and other music therapists who’ve purchased my songs has made my effort worth every last moment spent (times one hundred!).

I’m looking forward to writing many more songs in 2013, but I’m not setting a hard and fast goal for myself when it comes to the blog. But I’ll save the New Year’s talk for January…let’s get back to 2012. When I wasn’t busy cranking out new music, I was working with clients, teaching lessons, and building my Music Therapy Connections business.

In June, I had the opportunity to hire a brilliant music therapist who had just moved to the area, and she has been subcontracting for me ever since. It has worked out better than I could have ever imagined — not only does she have an opportunity to work with lots of clients, but I now have a much shorter waiting list.

The highlight reel for 2012 is quite long, so I’ll end my yearly review with a few bullet points. Here goes:

  • Celebrating 3 years of Music Therapy Round Table podcasts and a successful first year of Music Therapy Pro
  • Watching many of my students perform in our local Junior Festival — a few even received their first gold cups!
  • Wrapping up my first official year of full-time business ownership, which went more smoothly than I could have asked for
  • Spending a fun and productive weekend with my MTRT & MT Pro colleagues, Kimberly Sena Moore and Michelle Efurt (and finding out that Michelle is expecting a baby…due in a little over a week!)
  • Taking some personal time to enjoy several amazing vacations with my husband. Between Key Largo, Europe, and Maui, we had the travel year of a lifetime
  • Getting the opportunity to spread the word about my business through several media outlets, including television and radio interviews
  • Finding out that I’m expecting! Baby Rambach is due on June 14!
  • Seeing many of my music therapy friends (and meeting lots of new ones) in person at the AMTA national conference
  • Spending the holidays with my friends from across the country and of course, my entire family

Both personally and professionally, 2012 was a year I will never forget…in the best possible way. I’m so thankful to have an outlet where I can share my ideas, creations, and random thoughts, and even more thankful that so many people are interested in reading.

Thank you so much for making this blog worth writing. I hope your year was filled with good things, and I so look forward to ringing in 2013 with you!

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