Before and After

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

When Katey and I first stepped into 1234 Centre West Drive, we knew we had found just what we were looking for. Yes, we were surrounded by a sea of purple, but we saw past the cosmetic misfortune because the bones of the building were good. Actually, they were great.

Though the entire place required a fresh coat of paint and new carpet, we didn’t have to change any of the structural aspects in order to suit our needs. We had every room we were looking for and then some — not to mention that every room had a window! And having come from a previous space that had NONE, that was a deal-maker.

This summer, Katey and I spent more hours than we care to admit transforming what you see in the “before” photos on the left to the bright and cheery “after” photos on the left. That gorgeous paint job is courtesy of Katey herself; she and her crew tackled 2,300 square feet of wall space in less than a week (with prep and cleanup help from me when I wasn’t with my babies or at my family reunion that fell on the same weekend).

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The exterior of the building stayed the same, except of course for the sign on the door. I designed the logo, and Ace Sign Company here in Springfield did the printing and installation for both exterior signs.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

A look at the foyer from the front door. You can see that the color scheme changed drastically; we actually chose the colors based on those of my former home studio. It was so sunny and conducive to the work we do, we decided to stick with yellow and blue.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The building’s prior occupant was an engineering firm, but with Katey’s handiwork, all remnants of their sign are gone and replaced with an art display wall for our students’ masterpieces (plus all the materials needed to create them)!

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The view of the front entrance from one of our waiting areas. Notice the chalkboard wall — it hasn’t been this clean or empty since we welcomed students in for the first time :)

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

Our three main teaching rooms from the back hallway. All with windows; natural light has never been as appreciated as it is now after a year without windows in our former space.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

A peek into our dedicated piano lesson room. Matt Nall, our piano instructor, prefers teaching on an acoustic piano as opposed to the Clavinovas and keyboards that occupy the rest of our rooms.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

The room where I’ll be doing most of my teaching and conducting some of my individual music therapy sessions. The Yamaha Clavinovas in my room and Katey’s room have been generously provided by Capital City Music, which is where we purchase all of our lesson materials and send our students for pianos, other instruments, books and materials.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

We have LOTS of babies and toddlers in our building either because of their siblings or for their own music classes, which is why it was important to us to provide a changing station and rocking chair. I’ve already gotten plenty of use out of both with all the time baby Mia and I have spent there.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

A close-up look at our main waiting area. We love that it is right outside of our lesson rooms so that parents can wait nearby and even join their student’s lesson for a little performance at the end if they wish.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

This is another waiting area outside of our large group room. We made it extra cozy with a corner full of bean bags and pillows for kiddos to hang out in before their classes begin.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

And our large group room, which we kept pretty bare on purpose. We have an instrument wall for all of our class supplies and guitars so that they don’t distract our little students while not in use.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

This is our small group room, where we will hold our ukulele class, other group lessons, and select music therapy sessions.

Before and After: {Music Therapy Connections} Lessons, Music Therapy & Classes in Springfield, IL

And finally, what will eventually be our dedicated recording studio. Right now it’s pretty bare, but with the generous donations we have already gotten and hopefully will continue to receive, we will fill this room with all the equipment needed to record all of our students’ and clients’ beautiful music.

A huge thanks to my father-in-law, Steve Rambach, for his photography, and to all the wonderful family members and friends who dedicated their time and efforts to creating this amazing space. Click here to see the complete photographic “after” tour. Or better yet, visit us and see it in person!

All Signs Point to Music Therapy Connections

Music Therapy Connections :: Springfield, IL

We signed the least on our new building back in May, but it wasn’t until I spotted this sign from the street that it hit me: Music Therapy Connections has a new home!

What started as a solo music therapist traveling to clients’ homes now has 2,300 square feet of dedicated space and a team of 6. Our doors at 1234 Centre West Drive open in less than two weeks, and I couldn’t be any more excited!

Music Therapy Connections LLC :: Springfield, IL

I designed our exterior signage based on our logo with the guidance of Matt Larison at Ace Sign Company here in Springfield, and they did an amazing job producing and installing it. I feel a little silly admitting this, but I drove past our building four times on Monday just to admire the sign from the street. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing it and knowing that thousands of people drive by it every day.

In fact, I’ve already gotten two phone calls from people who drove by and were curious about our services. I guess I never really considered that having our own building and sign would be marketing in and of itself.

This is only one of many exciting moments to come in relation to our new headquarters. Tomorrow the carpet installation will be complete, which means we can start moving in furniture, instruments, and equipment. We’ll have the whole team together the week after next, and then we’ll actually start working with our students and clients there — the culmination of 6 months of planning, saving, and hustling.

But until that day comes, I’ll be driving past to get a glimpse of our sign at every opportunity and pinching myself each time.

A Recording Studio for Music Therapy Connections

A Recording Studio for Music Therapy Connections

Last week, I shared some super exciting news with you: my private practice and teaching studio is moving! We found the perfect location for our music therapy sessions, lessons, groups, classes…and a recording studio.

When we realized we had the extra space in our new building, we HAD to jump on the chance to create a dedicated recording studio. We love giving our students the opportunity to record their songs and original creations; not only does this allow them to hear their progress and share with their family, but it also fosters confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment.

Those are important goals for ALL of our students, which is why we are raising funds toward equipment for our recording studio. As we make improvements on the new building and purchase other furniture and materials, we don’t quite have the room in our budget for extras — so we are asking for help.

A Recording Studio for Music Therapy Connections We’ve started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $1500 towards our recording studio, and we have just a little over a month to do it. Our move-in date is August 1, and it would be amazing to have the studio up and running when we open our doors at the end of the summer!

Our conservative goal of $1500 will cover the basics: microphone, headphones, speakers, preamp, and cables. Any additional funds we raise will go towards other equipment, including dedicated computer with recording interface, digital keyboard, and so on (right now we use our own personal equipment from home).

You can contribute any amount (every last dollar helps) and pay by credit card or PayPal. We are offering several perks to our donors to show our appreciation, including:

  • recognition on our website
  • digital downloads from our collection of original children’s music
  • gift certificates to attend our groups and classes
  • membership to our music resource websites

Click here to check out our campaign, and if you’re willing, make a contribution. Even if you can’t contribute monetarily, you can still help: spread the word by sharing this page with your friends via email and social media. Our budding recording artists thank you in advance!

Music Therapy Connections is Moving…Again!

Music Therapy Connections is Moving

I’m experiencing a bit of deja vu as I write this, because I wrote a post by the same name almost exactly one year ago. Last summer, I joined forces with my business partner, Katey Kamerad, to form an LLC and move from my home studio into Capital City Music. There we had 3 dedicated studio rooms and the use of a large room for our groups and classes.

And it was a great stepping stone. But as the year went on, we realized we were outgrowing the space — especially once we hired a new instructor, music therapist, and accepted a music therapy intern. So the search began for a new location which needed to meet several specific needs:

  • our own accessible entrance
  • plentiful parking
  • waiting area
  • 3-5 small studio rooms
  • large group room
  • meeting room

After exploring several possibilities, we finally came across the perfect building. It’s in a great location, has all of the above, and BONUS — there are windows in every room! I knew the minute we walked through the door that it was meant to be.

New MTC Building

The left side of the building (all 2,300 square feet of it) is ours. I’m picking up the keys this morning, and then the real fun begins. The entire space will be repainted and recarpeted, so it will feel brand-new by the time we open our doors to students and clients at the end of August. I could not be more excited!

But I should also admit that it’s a little scary to take a leap like this. With an increase in space comes an increase in costs, not to mention responsibilities related to both the new building and our growing team.

The days of running my business as a sole proprieter with almost no overhead were much easier, but I ran out of opportunities for growth (as there are only so many hours in the day). Katey and I got to that same point this past year, and luckily we share the same vision for our business. So as challenging as this next year may be, we are up for it.

New MTC Building

I distinctly remember driving past a building like this several years ago, thinking how amazing it would be to call a place like that home to my business someday. It seemed so out of reach at that point, but “someday” is here. The coming months will be busy, overwhelming, and extremely exciting…I can’t wait to share this new leg of the journey with you!

“How Do You Like It?”

Moving into a new studio

The weekend before my first day at the new studio, my mom gave me a happy sunflower arrangement and a card wishing me good luck. They’ve both been sitting on my desk since then — a nice reminder of how supported I am by not just my mom, but everyone in my life.

Since that first day of work, I’ve gotten phone calls, texts and emails from people asking how I like working in my new space. Just about every single parent, and even many of my students, have asked when I’ve seen them for lessons or music therapy.

Here’s the honest truth: I love it.

Like, more than I ever thought I would. After working from home all these years, it’s a huge change, made even more significant because I’m leaving Parker (whereas before, he was just a few rooms away). But there is such a thing as spending TOO MUCH time at home, even for this self-proclaimed homebody, and I had reached my limit by the end of the summer.

Now I look forward to getting in my car, making the five-minute drive to work (and more often than not, stopping for an iced coffee — an extra perk of having a “commute”) and then at the end of the day, coming home to my family. Even though I bring a lot of work home with me, the fact that I physically leave my work space helps me separate the two much more so than before.

I have to giggle, because a lot of people have been a little…sympathetic…when they ask how I like working away from home. I myself thought it would be a more difficult transition than it actually has been, so it feels good to be able to reassure them that I am extremely happy with the new arrangement.

I love having other people around, hearing all kinds of music being made, interacting with adults on a regular basis, and having  separate, dedicated spaces for lessons, music therapy and groups. Oh, and test driving that Taylor 414ce guitar from the showroom this week has been an added bonus of working inside of a music store ;)

But here’s the most important thing of all: my STUDENTS are happy in our new location. Change is harder for some of them than most people, but so far they’ve all handled it like champs. And their parents, too; I am extremely grateful to work with such wonderful families who have supported my many, many transitions since starting my business.

My hope is that a month and then a year from now, I can give you the same report. Thanks to all of you who have provided encouragement and lovely feedback throughout this adventure so far!