My Small Business Story: Part 1

Music Therapy Business Owner in Springfield, IL

This week I was honored to be featured in the Springfield Business Journal, which was not only a great opportunity for my business but also a music therapy advocacy win. Even though I’ve been practicing here for 8+ years, I still find myself explaining my profession on a daily basis.

Reading the article and then later in the day having a conversation with a fellow music therapy business owner inspired me to dive deeper into my small business story, especially for new professionals who have aspirations of going into private practice.

I know that I personally LOVE hearing other peoples’ stories (a big reason I host a podcast where I get to do just that!), and I’ve learned a lot about business ownership thanks to colleagues who have been willing to share.

So over the next four weeks, I’ll be giving the full scoop on how I went from having a full-time day job and a small private practice on the side (headquartered in my car) to now co-owning a thriving business with a facility of our own and a team of 7.

You can read my story, along with key takeaways and action items, over on Listen & Learn Plus, where you’ll also find a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music.

Listen & Learn Plus

Civil Wars, I’ll Miss You

Civil Wars Breakup

I fell in love with The Civil Wars’ music the first time I heard their song “20 Years” randomly on Pandora in 2011. I couldn’t get enough of their album Barton Hollow, and my bandmate and I added several of the songs to our set list.

When they posted on their Facebook page last year that they were taking a break but coming out with new music, I crossed my fingers they would stay together and bought the new album when it came out.

I was crushed to read the announcement on their website this past week.

“The Civil Wars—made up of duo partners Joy Williams and John Paul White—have regretfully decided to permanently part ways. The difficult decision ends a tumultuous period for the four-time Grammy Award-winning band, who has been on indefinite hiatus since late 2012.”

Joy and John Paul are amazing musicians in their own right, but there is something magical about the music they made together. It’s not often that I am as inspired and affected by a musician or group as I was by them. It’s not obvious when you listen to the songs I share here, but my personal songwriting has most definitely been flavored by The Civil Wars.

Nothing lasts forever, but this band is one thing I wish had lasted just a little bit (or a few more albums worth) longer. They did leave us with a parting gift — the saddest version of “You Are My Sunshine” I’ve ever heard. I guess it’s quite fitting.

You can download the song for free on their website. After you’ve done that, go check out my first (and current) BIG musical inspiration, Jason Mraz’s new album. It’s beautiful and uplifting…the perfect music to help cope with a painful breakup.

Our Team is Growing!

Hiring Music Instructors in Springfield, ILIt’s time, friends. My private practice and teaching studio, which I started without really meaning to, has come a long way in 7 years. What began as just a few private clients and students has grown into a full-time job, providing enough additional business for a second music therapist and a very long waiting list.

In addition to providing music therapy services, we also teach both regular and adapted piano/voice/guitar lessons. I receive several referrals for new students every week, and frankly, I’m tired of having to break the bad news that there are no openings!

So after pow-wowing with Katey Kratz, who joined the Music Therapy Connections team back in 2012, we decided that the next step is to bring a dedicated music instructor on board. That way we can take on new music students while leaving room in our own schedules to provide more music therapy.

This position will begin with part-time hours, though there is certainly an opportunity for growth. Aside from the basic requirements (a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of teaching experience), some important qualities we’re looking for in applicants include: enthusiasm for working with children, a vast array of musical interests, and willingness to travel to student’s homes in and around the Springfield, IL area. If you fit this description, I hope you’ll consider applying. Or if you know someone who does, pass it on.

There are some other exciting changes coming up for my private practice, and I can’t wait to share them with you just as I have right here over the past five years. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me!

Friday Fave: Look, I’m on TV!

Music Therapy Connections on WCIA

I freely admit that I have NO SHAME whatsoever when it comes to self promotion, especially where music therapy is involved. In fact, just this week I wrote a guest post about how to attract publicity. Sometimes those efforts pay off, and you get to spread the word about your passion to a big audience like I did yesterday!

I was thrilled when Joe Barlow from WCIA’s afternoon show contacted me about doing a story on Music Therapy Connections. A few days later, he was at my studio interviewing me and then filming my early childhood music class. Joe did an amazing job putting the piece together, which you can watch here.

Thanks, Joe and WCIA! The more people who learn about music therapy, the more people can benefit from it. Someday EVERYONE will know how effective it is, but until then, I guess I will just have to keep up with the shameless promotion ;)

Kappa Delta Recognizes Music Therapy

When I found out I was going to be featured in my sorority’s national alumnae magazine a few months back, I couldn’t believe it.   I’ve been reading the Angelos of Kappa Delta since I graduated from Rollins College in 2004, and am always amazed by the wonderful things that Kappa Delta women across the country are doing. To be amongst such company is a pretty huge honor, if you ask me!

“Bridging the Communication Gap” highlights the work I do as a music therapist here in Springfield, along with another KD alum who uses sign language to help children with disabilities learn to communicate.  The article doesn’t mention it, but the picture above was taken during my local alumnae chapter’s Founders Day dinner, for which I wrote and performed an original song.

A special thank you to Kimberly S. Moore, who sent me the article in PDF format.  Her mom is a KD alum as well, saw the article, and emailed it to Kimberly.  (Small world, huh?)  You can download and read it via this link:

Download: Rachel in the Angelos Magazine

Kappa Delta also published a Q&A with me, which covers lots of topics (from my education to my experiences as a KD in college).  You can read that here.