Friday Fave: My First Review!

When I mailed out the preorders of my new CD on Tuesday, I expected for them to arrive either today or tomorrow, which is the official release day.  So I was incredibly surprised when I received an email from one preorder customer last night, telling me that her copy had arrived on Thursday!

It is so fitting that my first review comes from Sandie, a Listen & Learn reader who has also become a friend and great source of encouragement over the last year or so.  Sandie is a mother to Matthew, who was born with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC).  Matthew absolutely loves music and has a growing collection of Listen & Learn CDs at home.  You can read more about Matthew at Sandie’s wonderful blog.

Her email was as follows:

Hi Rachel,

Yesterday we took a day trip to the beach…about 90 minutes away from where we live. On the way to the beach we played some of your CDs in the car. Matthew still really likes listening to your songs. They are just so much fun.

Today (back at home) I heard the screen door to our house opening up this afternoon and wondered if someone was at my door and who it was. So as I peeked out my peephole I saw the mailman slipping envelopes inside my screen door and front door. As he drove off I opened the front door and scooped up the mail.  Well, I was really surprised to find an envelope from YOU mixed in with our mail and I knew exactly what it was even though I wasn’t expecting it for a couple days.

Thank you very much for the CD and for the picture of you with the sweet note you wrote. It was so kind of you and it is very special. I am going to put it in a frame.  We listened to your CD and it’s so wonderful!

Matthew signed “shoes” each time that you would sing the word “shoes” in “My Clothes and Shoes” song. He also really liked listening to the “Clean Up Song” and when it was over he made a happy “whooo whooo” sound and was excited.  The songs are really great, Rachel.

I think my favorite is “Clothes and Shoes” but need to listen a few more times since they are all so good. I’m not sure which songs is Matthew’s favorite yet but will let you know. I think it just may be the one where he “whooo whooo’d” :)

I especially like how some of the songs have such a beautiful message that speaks to a person’s sense of self esteem and feeling good about who they are.  We will definitely be listening to the CD a lot more and will still be playing the other CDs you’ve made for Matthew too.  Congratulations, Rachel on your brand new CD!!

I hope that you have an absolutely wonderful CD celebration party on July 11th.  And, thank you very much. :)

Sandie & Matthew

As I explained to Sandie in response to her email, it’s a bit scary putting so much of yourself into something (in this case, the music) and then sending it out into the world for others to experience. So to read her words and know that the songs are doing just what I had intended was a huge thrill – not to mention, a big relief!

I hope that the rest of you enjoy Time to Sing Hello as much as Sandie and Matthew have.  Tomorrow you’ll be able to listen to all of the songs and download the album for yourselves.  I’m so excited to finally share it with you.

Time to Sing Hello: Sneak Peek #2

Now that there are only 10 days remaining until the release of Time to Sing Hello, I’m more anxious than ever to share it with you.  First came the cover art and “My Clothes and Shoes” (admittedlly, my favorite track); today’s preview includes the actual CD art and the final song on the album.

“Time to Say Goodbye” was written for children who struggle with separation anxiety and need the constant reminder that goodbyes don’t have to be stressful.  So many of my students fall into this category, especially those with autism spectrum disorders.  The song is mellow and calming, which I think provides the perfect ending to an album made up mostly of upbeat tunes.

I began accepting preorders for hard copies of the CD yesterday, and have been overwhelmed with the response thus far! I guess many of you agree with me that although digital downloads are incredibly convenient, there’s just something about receiving a pretty, full-color album in the mail (shipping is free) along with extra goodies (from yours truly). More about all of that here.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m really excited for July 10 to arrive!  And possibly even more excited for July 11, the day of my CD Release Party (including an interactive performance especially for children and reception).   Your family is invited; if you live in the central Illinois area and would like to come, RSVP right here on Facebook.

You’re Invited!

These invitations went out in the mail last week, so if you live in the Springfield area, there’s a chance you’ve already received yours. But if not, consider yourself invited to my Time to Sing Hello CD Release Party!  Here are the details:

CD Release Performance & Reception
Sunday, July 11 @ 2:00 pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church
533 South Walnut Street

I’ll be performing songs from the album as an interactive experience for the children (and adults!) in attendance, followed by a cake-and-punch reception.  It should be a fun afternoon, and a chance for all the wonderful people in my life to gather in one place and celebrate.

If you’re in my neck of the woods, I hope you’ll bring your family.  To RSVP, send me an email and be sure to include a head count.  Oh, and this is a completely casual affair, in case you were wondering.  Let’s kick back and have a great time!

Pssst…Want a Preview?

Behold, the cover art for Listen & Learn’s debut studio album: Time to Sing Hello.  Although we’re still a few weeks away from its official release, I just couldn’t help but share my excitement with you.  My experience in the recording studio was amazing, and I’m thrilled with how the tracks turned out, but this whole project didn’t feel real until I saw the finished album artwork.

Jason Taylor, a graphic designer on the East Coast, gets all the credit for the concept and design of this album.  I approached him via email back in March, and he responded with an offer to donate his work to the cause.  Needless to say, I was more than thrilled, especially considering his talent and impressive portfolio.  Jason was a dream to work with; he managed to completely capture my vision for this album, and every aspect of the design is perfect.

I’ll unveil the back cover and actual CD artwork when the album is released on July 10, but for now, I’ll leave you with a preview track.  “My Clothes and Shoes” turned out to be my favorite song of the bunch, and I hope you like it, too!

I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the song and the album cover. Please take a moment to share them with me in the comments section.