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?!)

Friday Fave: My New Blogging Gig

Studio Helper Blog

I received an email from my friend Lisa Casciola a few weeks back, telling me to apply for the open blogger position at Music Teacher’s Helper.  Talk about a dream job: write 1 blog post a month, and in return receive a free unlimited subscription (worth $49/month) to Music Teacher’s Helper (the online software that helps run the business side of my studio/private practice).

So I applied for the job. As part of the application, I had to provide a list of post ideas as well as a sample post which would serve as my inaugural one if hired.

A few days later, I received an email asking if I’d be interested in blogging for Studio Helper, which is the sister site of Music Teacher’s Helper.  The Studio Helper blog is geared more towards the management and marketing of a studio, which aligned with my ideas and sample post.

Of course I said yes — because as you know, running my studio is a favorite topic around here!  (And I still get the free unlimited subscription to Music Teacher’s Helper.)  My first post will appear on the Studio Helper blog next Tuesday, May 24, and the 24th of every month following.

My dad couldn’t believe it when I told him I’d added one more thing to my already busy schedule, but the way I see it, I’m already blogging every single day…so what’s one more blog post a month?!

Friday Fave: Thesis Theme for WordPress

Thesis WordPress Theme

When Listen & Learn made the move from Blogger to WordPress last summer, there was no question as to which theme I was going to use.

Not only did my good friend the Music Therapy Maven use and recommend the premium theme Thesis, but I saw it pop up all over the blogosphere on a daily basis.

I wanted a theme that I would be able to customize myself to keep Listen & Learn’s signature look, not to mention one that would help boost my presence in the search engines.  Thesis was a bit of a financial investment at $87, but it didn’t take long before I shelled out the additional $77 for the Developer’s Option Upgrade, which allows me to install Thesis on any and all of the domains I own.

I’m in love with my theme, which is why I saved this “Friday Fave” for Valentine’s Day week.  From the many font options, to its search engine optimization capabilities, to the sheer ease of use, Thesis truly takes the intimidation factor out of WordPress.

In fact, I’m using Thesis to roll out yet another website — but more about that another time.  A girl’s got to keep some of her secrets under wraps! ;)

Friday Fave: Building an Empire

Empire Building Kit

A little over a year ago, the lovely and talented Kat Fulton introduced me to a guy by the name of Chris Guillebeau.  I can’t thank Kat enough, because Chris has been a huge influence on the way I live my life and build my business.

Chris’ blog is called The Art of Non-Conformity, and there he writes about how to change the world by achieving significant, personal goals while helping others at the same time.  His articles never fail to inspire me, especially since he practices what he preaches.  Talk about goal-setting: Chris plans to visit every country in the world during a five-year time period; so far he’s been to 149 out of 192 with two years remaining in which to complete his mission.

So when he debuted his Empire Building Kit last spring, I didn’t hesitate for a minute before taking the plunge.  Case studies, video interviews, transcripts, and a 365-day email series (the longest in history) designed to help me build my business in one year by doing one thing every day?  Yes, please.

That was in May.  Today marks day #255, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit “reply” to thank Chris for another valuable idea or nugget of information.  And you know what?  He’s responded every single time.  Amidst his world-traveling, writing a bestselling book, and generally just being awesome, he’s found the time to personally cheer me on.

I love working on my business (which is comprised of my private music therapy practice/teaching studio and Listen & Learn, of course), but what I love even more is seeing positive results.  And although I may not have achieved empire status just yet, I’m on my way.

Any other emperors out there?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the kit.  And if you want to join us, read on.

A Lofty Goal for 2011

Rachel's Desk

I spend a lot of time in this chair, at this desk, in front of this screen.  But after divulging a little too much information in yesterday’s post, it looks like that time is about to increase.

I wrote my first blog post for Listen & Learn Music in September 2008.  In 2009, my first full year of blogging, I wrote 234 posts.  In 2010, I upped the ante by 1 post, totaling 235.  In 2011, my goal is to write 365 blog posts.  Yep, you read that right.

So here’s the million dollar question: can I increase my year’s total number of posts by 130?  I was going to make a half-hearted effort…until I received several tweets and emails from readers who happened to notice when I made my goal public knowledge.  Now I have no choice but to go all in!

This is post #10 of 2011, which means I’m already ahead of the game.  Here’s hoping that I can keep up this momentum for the remaining 357 days of the year.  You can help: since I’ll need plenty of topics to write about, please suggest one (or more) below.

Thanks in advance for your encouragement and readership as I make the leap from blogging enthusiast to blogging maniac!