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!

Friday Fave: The Next Alicia Keys

The Next Alicia Keys

I can’t help but share the work of my students, because it never ceases to amaze me. You’ve heard from Jayla before (here and here), and while all of her performances are impressive, the recording I’m posting today might be the most impressive of all.

Jayla is not only a talented singer, but she also plays the guitar and writes her own songs. Over the summer, she attended a prestigious camp for songwriters in Los Angeles, and her songwriting has come such a long way in a short time. We’re working on recording some of Jayla’s original music, but in the meantime, here’s the Alicia Keys song that almost seems to be meant for her to sing.

When I played this for my mom, she could hardly believe that Jayla is only 15 years old. She has such a mature sound, something I noticed at her very first lesson. Jayla takes her music very seriously, and if she keeps it up, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear her on the radio in a few years.

Next, I’ll have to introduce you to Gabby, Jayla’s younger and also extremely talented sister. This family has some good musical genes!

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 ;)

Listen & Learn Turns 4!

Listen & Learn Turns 4!

Four years ago today, I sat down at my computer, came up with the name Listen & Learn Music, started a blog using Google Blogger, and wrote this post. I can’t believe I actually remembered to celebrate today — it usually dawns on me a couple of weeks later — but here I am, writing the 1,044th blog post on Listen & Learn’s 4th birthday!

Just for fun, I visited the Way Back Machine and captured a screenshot of the blog when it was just one month old. Needless to say, the look has changed just a little over the past four years.

Listen & Learn in 2008

In August of 2010, I made the switch from Google Blogger to WordPress, which opened up a whole new world for Listen & Learn. Here are some other blogging highlights since September 4, 2008:

  • November 2008: I was given the opportunity to make my songs available on Songs For Teaching, one of the most popular websites for educational music.
  • June 2009: I started a membership site, Listen & Learn Plus, which now has over 100 members.
  • November 2009: A songbook made up of songs from the Listen & Learn collection, was published by my now-colleague and good friend, Michelle Erfurt.
  • July 2010: I released a studio album, Time to Sing Hello, which was funded by donations made via Kickstarter by Listen & Learn readers and supporters.
  • January 2011: In a moment of what can only be described as pure insanity, I made a New Year’s resolution to blog EVERY DAY for a year.
  • January 2012: I completed my goal of 365 blog posts in 365 days, and shared my New Year’s resolution for 2012 — to write a new Listen & Learn song each week for an entire year.

This blog has connected me with hundreds of amazing people, including other music therapists, fellow bloggers, songwriters, educators, and parents. I am inspired every day to keep writing songs not only for my students, but for the students and children of those who visit Listen & Learn. What started as a little hobby is now a full-blown business…but it doesn’t feel like work at all.

I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement, comments, tweets, “likes” and purchases over the years. I feel like this is just the beginning of what has so far been a wonderful adventure!

8 Ways To Jump Start Your Morning

8 Ways to Jump Start Your Morning

The way I spend my morning almost always dictates how the rest of my day will go. This has been the case since college, but it has become even more true now that I work for myself and have the responsibility of structuring my day.

There’s no big secret to how I jump start my mornings, but there are a few key things I do that have really seemed to work as far as setting a positive tone for the day ahead. A typical morning for me:

  1. Wake up early. I set my alarm for 5 am almost every day (and if you think that’s impressive…my husband is out the door by 4:30!). I love the feeling of having a few extra hours to accomplish things, starting with…
  2. Work out. My early morning trips to the gym began on January 1, 2008, when I made a New Year’s resolution to get into great shape for my August wedding. It worked, and I’ve continued them ever since. I feel incredibly energized and ready to take on just about anything afterwards!
  3. Coffee. The first thing I do when I get home is make myself a cup. A little caffeine goes a long way :)
  4. Eat breakfast. My mom would always nag me to eat breakfast growing up, and I begrudgingly did. Now I know that I won’t get far without it, so I’m sure to eat something with my coffee while I check email and catch up on blogs.
  5. Get some fresh air. My dad and I have been biking several mornings a week for the past month, and I am hooked. The gym is okay, but it doesn’t compare to being outside — especially on beautiful Indian summer mornings like today.
  6. Dress for success. There are plenty of mornings that I could happily spend in my pajamas, lazing around my office. But on days where I take a shower first thing and put on a cute outfit, somehow I’m much more productive. The way I dress definitely affects my attitude!
  7. Listen to music. I have a “get pumped” playlist that I listen to on my Spotify app while I get ready in the morning, and it really gets me going. This is probably one of the most important elements of my morning, actually.
  8. Set some goals. I’m a list maker, as many of you know. Having a definitive list of goals in front of me at the beginning of the day gives me direction, and sets a course of action until my first student arrives at 3 pm.

I have to admit that I am guilty of skipping several of these steps this morning — although I did have coffee, breakfast, and an awesome bike ride. I’m off to listen to some tunes as I get ready for my day, and then attack the to-do list waiting for me on my desk. How do YOU jump start your morning?