I used to be self-conscious of the fact that my company offers other services in addition to music therapy. As much as I loved providing typical and adapted lessons as well as early childhood classes, I wondered if that somehow made Music Therapy Connections less than other music therapy practices.
But it didn’t take long for me to realize that providing those other services in and of itself was a hugely effective way of advocating for music therapy. Families who brought their children for piano, voice, or guitar lessons would often ask what music therapy was all about, and they were responsible for the bulk of my referrals. The awareness of music therapy in my community was growing as a result of their word of mouth.
This started happening in the early days, when my studio was still located in my home. Moving our business into the music store in 2014 was a gigantic step for music therapy, because now the store management and employees were witnessing and referring our services.
But the game-changer was having a sign — easily visible from a highly trafficked street — with the words “MUSIC THERAPY” on them.
For my partner Katey and I, our role as “connectors” when it comes to advocating for music therapy has increased tenfold since turning our private practice into a brick-and-mortar operation. At least a few times a week, people walk through our doors wanting to learn more about music therapy and how it can help their family member.
Our families who are there for services other than music therapy are seeing and learning about what we do as music therapists just by being in the building, and they in turn are connectors as well.
This is Social Media Advocacy Month in the world of music therapy, and I’m proud to be playing my part by spreading the word not only on a local level just by going to work every day, but also by blogging and posting on social media about our field regularly. You can help, too:
If you’re a music therapist yourself:
- Develop your music therapy “elevator speech” and give it. Often.
- Share information about the work you do with friends and colleagues in related fields.
- Give our your cards and brochures to anyone and in anyplace you think might benefit from music therapy.
- Seize every opportunity to participate in fairs, expos, and other public events.
- Take to social media! Use and follow the #mtadvocacy hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay current with the latest happenings.
If you have benefited from music therapy or know someone who has:
- Spread the word about what music therapy can do.
- Share music therapy success stories with your healthcare providers and other professionals.
- Support and attend music therapy-related events and programs. Invite your friends.
- Give referrals to others who you think may be able to benefit from music therapy.
Be sure to visit the Music Therapy State Recognition website for more posts about #MTadvocacy throughout the month of January.
Last December, we offered our very first holiday-themed music class at Music Therapy Connections and it was a such a blast. I mean, what’s better than singing about reindeer and clicking reindeer hooves (a.k.a. castanets) with a bunch of kids?!
So of course we brought back Little Jingles this year, and we have a completely full class starting tomorrow evening. This year, Katey and I kept some favorite songs and activities from last year in the rotation, and we added a few new ones as well. The session is a mix of both familiar and completely original songs with lots of opportunities for singing, dancing, and instrument playing.
Just as we’ve done with many of our other class sessions, we’ve made our Little Jingles package available at Listen & Learn for Leaders, which is a resource we created for therapists, educators and parents.
This facilitator package includes a guide with a list of instruments, materials and instructions/suggestions for each song, as well as a lyric packet for participants, chords for the facilitator, and collection of mp3s.
You can purchase it as a standalone product, or get it for free when you become a VIP member (more about that here).
We’re super excited about kicking off the month of December with our Little Jingles class, and we invite you to join us in leading it with your own students, clients, and families!
You guys, I am so excited about Thanksgiving. I look forward to this holiday every year, but this one is special — it’s my daughter Mia’s first Thanksgiving, and my son Parker is old enough to (mostly) understand why we’re celebrating.
I always offer some type of deal or discount here at Listen & Learn Music to kick off the holiday season, and this year I’m going all out with two big ones.
- Free “Early Childhood Programs: Create, Market, Make Music!” Online Course ($75 value) when you join Listen & Learn Plus, my membership site where I provide hundreds of music therapy songs, resources, downloads, biz advice and more.
- 50% off the entire Listen & Learn Music Store when you use the code THANKS50 at checkout.
Oh, and I have a free download (mp3, instrumental track, & lyrics/chords) to share with you as a little Thanksgiving gift. I wrote “Count Your Blessings” specifically for the Thanksgiving season, but it is perfect for use throughout all the holidays!
These two specials are available now through November 30. Thank you so very much for reading, sharing your feedback, and supporting Listen & Learn Music throughout the years. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
One of my favorite books to read to Parker is Bear Snores On, because I love the way the words flow and the phrase “…and the bear snores on” repeats. So when I was browsing online and found that there were other books in this series, I got really excited.
I was in search of a Thanksgiving-related book to use in our early childhood music classes, and Bear Says Thanks was the perfect choice. It’s a little bit longer than our usual singable stories, but the repetition makes it easy for everyone to join in. The illustrations are lovely and the hard copy version is nice and big.
The tune I came up with is a mash-up of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” and “Turkey in the Straw” — kind of random, I know, but that’s what came out when I first tried setting the words to music :) I like using familiar melodies for singable stories, because they are easier to remember.
There are a few other books I love to pull out at Thanksgiving time (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie and Ten Fat Turkeys are favorites) but this one is currently at the top of my list.
Another year, another wonderful national conference under my belt. I can’t believe this was my 7th — it seems like just yesterday I was a new professional attending #AMTA09 in San Diego.
This was my second time attending conference with a baby in tow, and I was extremely fortunate to have my mom with me as well to help. I did make sure that Mia made at least a few appearances, since there was a long list of music therapists waiting to hold her :)
The Music Therapy Round Table hosted a booth in the exhibit hall as usual, and we were lucky to have wonderful neighbors once again (Metro Music Therapy, Music Therapy E-Books, and Music Therapy Book Club). I spent quite a bit of time manning our booth, which meant I got to connect with lots of fellow professionals, interns and students.
Katey and I attended the Music Therapy Business Owners meeting on Friday and were inspired by all the amazing things happening in private practice. We all introduced ourselves and shared our biggest successes and challenges this year as business owners. It’s awesome to be a part of a community filled with like-minded, supportive colleagues.
Another highlight was running into my former internship director, Maria Carron Cavanagh. I hadn’t seen her since completing my internship at Midwest Music Therapy Services in May 2007, so we were able to catch up and I told her how influential she was in my decision to start a private practice.
I also ran into quite a few of the music therapists I’ve interviewed and gotten to know through my podcast, Guitars and Granola Bars. I feel like I know them so well after hearing their stories, so it was really nice getting to meet them face-to-face. Jennifer Whitlow, who was featured in Episode 41, also had her daughter with her!
I always look forward to recording our live episode of the MTRT podcast right at our booth in the exhibit hall, which we did on Saturday morning. We also drew winners of our raffle and shared the results of our fun little survey.
This was my shortest conference experience yet, since I didn’t arrive until Thursday afternoon and then left on Saturday. I’m looking forward to next year when I’m neither pregnant nor will I have a child with me; it will be the first time in 4 years I can fully immerse myself without fighting morning sickness or taking breaks to feed the baby.
Happy baby getting ready to hit the road! This was Mia’s first roadtrip, and overall, she did wonderfully in the car. Towards the end, we were both anxious to get home to Zach and Parker (who had a great time during their “boys weekend” together).
See you at #AMTA16 in Sandusky, Ohio!