It’s Listen & Learn’s birthday, but YOU’RE getting the presents.
My baby is hitting double digits! It’s hard to believe that this little website I started as a brand-new music therapist is still going strong 10 years later. Recording the songs, creating the materials, and writing the blog posts that fill up these pages brings me SO much joy, but what fills me up even more is knowing that they are benefiting YOU.
YOU are the reason that Listen & Learn Music is still alive and well today, and YOU are the reason I’ll be celebrating another 10 years in 2028. Every email and comment I receive detailing how a song was brought to life in a classroom or music therapy session, and how it helped a child to learn a new skill, provides the motivation to make this an even more valuable resource for you.
To properly thank you for your support, I want to give you a gift for every year of Listen & Learn Music. Starting September 1, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite resources with you from the L&L collection each day in yearly chronological order, all the way through September 10.
Our Biggest Giveaway Ever
And last, but not least, I hope you’ll participate in the GIVEAWAY I’m doing on September 10! One extremely lucky winner will receive a LIFETIME VIP MEMBERSHIP to Listen & Learn Plus, including all current and future CMTE courses.
All you have to do is help me celebrate by:
1) following Listen & Learn Music on Instagram
2) Creating a post about how you’ve used a L&L resource, or just simply sending a birthday wish
3) Tagging @listenlearnmusic on your post
4) Using the hashtag #listenlearnmusicturns10
Feel free to save and post this image and use the caption:
Wishing @listenlearnmusic a very happy 10th birthday! I’m joining in the celebration and hoping to win a lifetime VIP membership to Listen & Learn Plus! #listenlearnmusicturns10
Follow the steps above to enter as many times as you’d like between September 1 – 10.
Start from the beginning.
Each day, I’m writing a blog post recapping each year of Listen & Learn Music and announcing the resource gift for that day.
If you’ve entered your name and email address above, you’ll receive these directly to your inbox, and you’ll also have access to them (along with other cool stuff) inside the private Facebook group.
After 10 days of looking back on the history of Listen & Learn Music, I couldn't end this party without a little talk about the future around here. We're officially into Year 11, and its off to the best possible start. The countless emails, social media posts, and...
I can say with 100% certainty that Year 10 has been my favorite chapter in Listen & Learn's story thus far. For the first time ever, it has played a role equal to Music Therapy Connections in my professional life, and I've found a beautiful balance between the...
It was during Year 9 that I finally came up for air and regained a bit more balance in my life. My daughter started part-time daycare, meaning I had more hours in my day to get back to the part of my work I missed most: writing and recording songs. Our Listen &...
Year 8 of Listen & Learn Music was a HARD one. That's not to say it wasn't good -- in fact, it was all the good things in my life at one time that made it hard. I was adjusting to having two kids (my toddler went to part-time daycare and I was home with my baby...
Year 7 at Listen & Learn was another big one. With my son in part-time daycare, I finally had daytime hours to devote to songwriting and creating content, so the first thing I did that year was create an online CMTE course all about my favorite kind of direct...
Year 6 at Listen & Learn Music was a time of adjustment and learning. As a brand new mom with a baby at home and two businesses to run, I had to figure out how to prioritize my time and energy...because I didn't have a whole lot of either (year 6 was also a time...
Year 5 of Listen & Learn Music got off to an exciting start: I found out I was pregnant! This amazing news fueled me to do big things over the next few months, knowing that I would be taking a 3-month maternity leave in the summer. I spent the early part of that...
I look back fondly upon Year 4 of Listen & Learn Music, because for the first time, I started to consider it as part of my job rather than just a fun hobby. Since I was completely self-employed at this point, I had the freedom to spend my days writing new songs...
I was enthusiastic about Listen & Learn Music from day one, but in Year 3, I took things to the next level. I decided to post EVERY SINGLE DAY for an entire year, and as crazy as that might have sounded, I actually did it. I had plenty of experiences that year to...
2009 brought a lot of changes in my personal and professional life. My husband and I bought a new house, got a puppy, and I transitioned my private practice from being in my clients' homes to having my own home studio, all while continuing to work at my full-time...
More from Listen & Learn Music
For the last few years, I’ve viewed Facebook as a necessary evil. It’s an easy way to update my friends and family and vice versa. I belong to a number of personal and professional groups, including a fitness accountability group that I post in daily. I have pages for my business, and rely on other pages for info about my kids’ extracurricular activities.
But over the last few months, scrolling my Facebook feed has become an increasingly negative experience. I’m not even talking about political posts and arguments in the comment sections. What I mean is that consuming bit and pieces of other peoples’ lives has led me to question my own career, social life, accomplishments…everything. I found myself constantly living in comparison mode, and the worse it got, the more addicted to scrolling I became.
Part of that has been cutting way back on my social media consumption (more about that in this blog post), which has resulted in having more time to get ahead on both my schoolwork and work-work :) The latter includes a new session plan, which drops today!
How is the new year going for you? If it’s anything like mine, it’s probably been a little (or a lot)…bumpy. COVID-19 is raging once again, which has posed issues for my private practice, children’s school, and just about every other area of life. It’s beyond frustrating, and I know for some, this resurgence has been devastating. If you are in that position, my heart is with you. There has to be some light at the end of this tunnel, right?
Pandemic or not, monthly session plans continue on—next up, for the month of February. I’ve already been using quite a few of these songs (including the companion hello/goodbye songs, which I wrote on the spot during a telehealth music therapy session last week) throughout January, and will probably still be singing them in March, too :)
Where oh where do I begin? I’ve sat down to write this post at least 4 times throughout the past week, and the words just haven’t come. 2021 has been…something, and it isn’t going out without a fight. Here we are, just 3 days away from 2022, and COVID-19 is raging yet again, leaving us to hibernate at home like we’ve done so often over the last almost 2 years.
My word for 2021 was EMPOWERED. I was ready to have more control over my life after spending most of 2020 having barely any whatsoever, and overall, I think I lived this word well. Most notably, I took control of my future by diving head-first into a full-time graduate program, working towards a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.
I don’t know about you, but it’s right around this time every year that my creative energy and brain power start to lose steam, and all I really want to do is eat delicious treats while watching Christmas movies. It’s especially true this year, having just wrapped up the first semester of my counseling master’s program (finals are no joke!).
But alas, there is still work to be done. I’ll be leading classes and providing music therapy until Wednesday of next week, at which point I’ll take a highly anticipated break until the start of the new year. Speaking of, it’s time to share the first monthly session plan of 2022!
It’s that time! I’ve been doing Thanksgiving Week sales here at Listen & Learn Music for a decade now, but this year, I wanted to step up my game for you.
Now through November 30th, get 50% off EVERYTHING in the L&L store (including song packs, books, and courses) AND with every purchase, you’ll receive my free 6-song pack, “Feeling 2022”, which includes the mp3, instrumental track, lyrics, chords, and facilitation guide for 6 songs to lead us into the new year.
I have to say, I am very excited for Thanksgiving. Pretty much all the holidays in 2020 were a huge bummer, but now that my family is vaccinated (and hopefully the kids will be soon, too!), we are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving and Christmas together this year.
I know we still have plenty of time — I didn’t forget about, you Halloween — but putting together the November session plan had me thinking a few weeks ahead. It’s been so much fun pulling out all of my fall favorites for my music therapy sessions and classes (especially the in-person ones that I missed so much last year), and I’m pumped to see “Turkey Dinner Dance” and other Thanksgiving songs in action soon.
Back in August, my friend told me that she was going back to school for her PhD in speech-language pathology. I have a lot in common with this friend: we both have two kids (our boys play competitive travel soccer together), busy careers, and full social lives.
So when she shared this news with me, the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh wow, I could never do that.”
I’ve been saying that for years. I went straight to graduate school after finishing undergrad, so the only life I knew was student life. That served me well, and helped me stay focused as I earned my master’s degree in music therapy. My mom went back to school for her doctorate shortly after turning 50, and I was just in awe of her ability to do so. I couldn’t imagine the rigorous schedule and responsibilities of being a student ON TOP OF regular life.
After that conversation with my friend, though, I rethought my words. Why couldn’t I do it? School was my thing; the only B I ever got — like, literally ever — was in a dance class my freshman year of college, and I’m still not over it. (Kidding, kind of.) I love to learn, and I had been feeling the itch for professional growth over the last year or so.
A few days later, I found myself googling “counseling programs” and taking copious notes. Wait, what? Did I want to become a counselor? Apparently, yes I did.
Turns out that if you enroll in a full-time graduate program and take on a new telehealth contract ON TOP of everything else you already have going on, the days and weeks suddenly speed up and disappear before your eyes. That’s how my fall is going so far…how about you?
Truth be told, this *very* full schedule isn’t actually as stressful as I thought it would be. Having so many things on my plate has caused me to find a space for EVERYTHING on my calendar, and since there are no hours (or minutes, lol) to spare, I simply don’t have the option to procrastinate. It’s working well so far, and hopefully will continue to, since this is my life for the foreseeable future.
If your plate is just as full as mine, hopefully I can help give you back some of the time you might otherwise spend planning for your music therapy sessions, circle time, or classroom music. That was my whole reason for creating monthly session plans in the first place, and why I’ve continued to do so for 3+ years!
This (several years old) photo is a pretty accurate depiction of how I often feel during the summer: hot, tired, and conquered by my kids. That’s never been more true than this summer in particular.
Their completely packed schedules — tennis, swim team, art class, yoga camp, tutoring — are a product of my own making; in my excitement to resume mostly normal life, I forgot that I should also probably factor in some recovery time.
We’ve been in “go mode” since school ended in May, but professionally, I’ve felt pretty stagnant. And while I’ve only been a parent for 8 years, I’ve been experiencing this summer slump every year since I first started my career in 2007. Maybe it’s because I work mostly with children, and these summer months are typically lighter in terms of my workload, but I still have businesses to run and tasks to be completed.
As is typical for me during the summer, the essential things always get done. And while I usually ride out this slump and get back at it when fall comes knocking, this time around had me feeling restless. I needed…a spark.
What a difference a year makes! At this time last year, my colleagues and I were getting ready to reopen Music Therapy Connections — with many, many COVID-19 limitations and precautions in place. Now as we head into July 2021, we’re getting ready to lift almost all of those restrictions and return to — dare I say it? — very nearly normal.
I’m MOST excited about finally resuming our early childhood and preschool music classes next week. It’s going to feel so good to have young children and their families back in the building, making music together.
I’m also excited about the round-up of songs I’ve put together for July and will get to use in those classes. It’s a nice mix of addressing important life skills, instrument/prop use, and just plain fun. I hope you enjoy next month’s session plan as well!
Every day of this summer so far, I’ve woken up with grand plans to update the blog, send out an email newsletter, or accomplish some other needle-moving task related to Listen & Learn Music. And every day, my grand plans have been derailed —- either by more pressing work-related duties or by my children, for whom I am the primary caretaker during the summer months.
But today is the day I finally get to cross at least one item off that list! Here’s a quick roundup of new songs you can add to your summer repertoire (bonus: they are quick to learn and fun to sing).
I know time has been weird this year, but it’s blowing my mind that summer is almost here. My kids are already out of school, and we’re in birthday season at my house — 3 out of 4 of us (including me!) are celebrating within a two-week time span.
The excitement doesn’t end there, though. At Music Therapy Connections, we are gearing up for our first session of in-person music classes and groups since the pandemic started. We’ve restored our waiting room, which has been bare since March 2020, and will once again be welcoming families into the building. It’s going to be a wonderful summer!
I first came across the phrase “zone of genius” in the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t already). This refers to the work you are inherently skilled at doing, that gets you into flow state, and that consistently yields excellent results.
All this time, I thought I had been firmly planted in my zone of genius, only to find out that much of my career existed in my “zone of excellence”. It’s easy to confuse the two, because the latter can feel like your genius zone. You may be very good at the work, but that is mostly due to a great deal of practice and experience.
My days were split between many different tasks as both a music therapist and business owner. I really enjoyed most of them — facilitating sessions, teaching classes, handling finances, communicating with my team, providing customer service — but none of these took me into flow state. Writing, recording, and creating resources, on the other hand, LIT ME UP.
In true Midwest fashion, this March has already brought its fair share of both “lion” and “lamb” days — I’ve worn shorts, winter hats, tank tops, and boots all within a two-week time span. The official start of spring is less than a week away, and this season of rebirth holds so much more promise than ever before.
We’re all ready to get back to our regular lives, but after this tumultuous year, my guess is that post-COVID life will feel brand new in the best possible way. What are your hopes for this coming spring, summer, and beyond?
Did you know that this Saturday, February 27 is National Polar Bear Day?! I didn’t either, until I saw it posted on Instagram, including a mention of my original “Polar Bear” song. Of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to celebrate these beloved creatures AND share one of the most popular songs in my entire collection.
As I sat down to write this blog post, I realized that the last in-person session plan I created was in March of 2020…almost an entire year ago. 11 months have crawled/flown by (does it feel that way to you, too?), and I’m still waiting to reunite with my groups face-to-face.
The good news is that almost all of our music therapy team is either halfway or fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — I get my second dose on the 19th — which brings us that much closer to fully reopening our studio. I have high hopes for the coming spring and summer!
Last week as I was updating my song catalog, I started thinking about ways I could make more of my songs easily accessible without the commitment of joining Listen & Learn Plus or subscribing to my monthly session plans.
While they can be purchased individually, those $3 downloads (which include the mp3, instrumental track, and lyrics/chords) can start to add up. That’s especially true right now, since the pandemic has limited so much of the work we can do — and for many, that means more limited income.
Okay, so I have a confession to make: the pandemic has turned me into a bit of an online shopaholic. Luckily for my bank account, my purchases are usually under $35 (save for the occasional splurges), and all directly benefit my well-being in one way or another.
For example, I’m spending pretty much ALL of my time at home right now, and that has empowered me to make my home as comfortable, beautiful, and optimized as possible. A good majority of my shopping has been focused on that goal.
Another significant portion of my purchases have been dedicated to my physical health. In the new year, I’ve recommitted myself to working out regularly at home, so I’ve been slowly building up my collection of fitness equipment.
The last area in which I’ve been investing is self-care, though you could argue that all of these fall under that category. My current favorite things — the ones I’m sharing with you here today, all relate directly to self-care. I’ll explain below just how each item has affected my physical, emotional, and/or mental health.
Truth be told, I had a difficult time getting into the creative flow over the past couple of weeks. While I usually look forward to and enjoy this work, it took every ounce of self-discipline in my body to write, record, and prepare the materials for next month’s session plan and share it here today.
I know I’m not alone in this struggle, considering the violence, division and unrest taking place in our country right now. 2021 has proved to be yet another challenging year so far, but I still have hope for the not-so-distant future. I’m holding onto that as I move forward, and doing my best to focus on the things I can actually control.