We are so incredibly fortunate to have such a well-rounded, incredibly talented, and diverse group of musicians teaching lessons and providing therapy services at Music Therapy Connections. Not only do each of our teachers provide lessons to a large number of students each week, they are also all involved in their own musical projects. Every one of our teachers has been involved in a large variety of musical endeavors throughout their careers and most are still actively involved in making music outside of the lesson room and in the public arena.
While Katey, Kristi, and Reid are all involved in local or touring bands, Rachel continually creates amazing resources and songs, Matt Nall and Melissa provide worship/praise music, Alisabeth is involved with the Springfield Choral Society, Matt Mifflin performs in a solo and group capacity, and Becky compose music. Our entire team is making music, for so many reasons, in a variety of styles, and across a large span of settings. By participating in making music, we each are learning and growing in our own way, making us all better teachers and services providers through our individual experiences.
This week, we want to give special recognition to Kristi Lecocq who is celebrating the release of the second album with her local band, The Fireside Relics. They will be performing on Friday, March 24th at Capital City Bar & Grill in Springfield, IL to celebrate the release of the album. We are so thrilled for Kristi and all of the members of Fireside Relics and hope you enjoy their new album.
I hope, if you have the chance, you will take a minute to listen to one of the new songs on Kristi’s album or check out any of the other incredible projects our team members is involved in. We’ll be sure to share more music projects or ways you can support music in our community and studio as they happen.
Last Thursday as we were wrapping up our last class of the early fall Listen & Learn session, one of the parents made a comment that stuck with me. With a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face she said, “That went so much better than the first week”. She was referring to the fact that within four weeks, all of the two year olds in our class had started passing and sharing items during class without any prompting from parents and often while using the sign language for please and thank you. She was referring to the “magic” that had happened over the past few weeks in music class.
Day one of class had it’s share of tears, meltdowns, and resistance to sharing anything. As the weeks progressed, sharing and playing together became easier. By week four there were such vast improvements that most of the caregivers took a back seat role in the class and let their little ones show off their new skills. It all worked.
When these transitions happen, it can seem magical. A huge shift and a lot of learning has happened in such a short amount of time that it’s hard to fathom. However, this growth is by design. All of our class crates that we use in our sessions are designed to foster growth and development in areas where we know it is typically needed. The songs are sequenced in a way that makes sense for our families so that there is balance between movement, instrument playing, reading, and quiet sitting. The books are chosen to work on academic concepts and the instruments are selected to keep things fresh each session while encouraging specific skill development.
The development of social skills and the increased interaction that happens over the four weeks are all part of the plan. And when that plan works, it feels like magic. The joy, the smiles, and the pride that come from both the little ones and their caregivers is contagious and fills me with such happiness. Even though I know all of the whys and hows, it still feels magical to me, too.
It’s that time again!! We are in the process of putting together materials for our new music crate and class package. That means new songs, new materials, and new stories are coming your way VERY SOON!! I love creating new materials to share, but like everyone else I often struggle with the process of getting started. That’s why I want to share 3 quick songwriting tips and reveal the best time for writing new songs.
1. Let It Flow – One of my favorite things to do when writing new material is simply write everything down or record it all! That means writing down or recording, with no filter, every single word that pops into my head in the moment. It may not be perfect on the first try, but I can almost guarantee at least a new idea, a good line, or an awesome melody will come from just getting letting go and letting it flow.
2. Ask the “w” questions – Ask yourself the who, what, when, where, why questions when your are writing or refining your song. Who is this for? Why am I writing this? What is the purpose? By answering those questions, you can sometimes spark new ideas or stumble upon all new material.
3. Write it Now, Revise Later – If you are feeling unsure of your song or lyrics or feeling stuck, write something down. OR record something, anything. Then walk away. Physically walk away and do anything else that will consume your mind and take you away from the song writing process. Come back with a clear head and try again.
So, when is the best time for writing new songs….??
NOW and whenever you feel any little spark of inspiration. The more you write the easier it gets. The more ideas you have stored away, even in small, 5 second, snippets or single lines of lyrics, the more you have to pull from in the future. My favorite song ideas often hit when I’m least expecting it so I quickly pull out the nearest piece of paper and write down the idea or open the voice memo app on my phone and make a quick recording or note to self that I can easily return to later.
I’d love to hear more of your ideas on what helps you create new content. What is your favorite time to write new songs? Do you have any tips to share on your songwriting process?
As we wrap up another awesome week of music therapy at MTC, I wanted to tell you a little more about how we’ve been advocating for music therapy this week. If you follow our Facebook page, you’ve probably heard that it’s Illinois Music Therapy Week. To celebrate, we are working even harder to put out the word about music therapy.
On a weekly basis, Rachel and I record live videos on Facebook with songs, resources, and ideas for music therapists, students, and teachers. This week we covered the topic of being an advocate by simply talking to anyone and everyone about music therapy and getting out in the community.
Whether it is the chatting with a cashier at Walgreen, informing the doctor in a hospital, answering your waitress’ question at lunch, speaking at a community event, having coffee with a friendly neighbor, etc, the more people you talk to about music therapy, the more word spreads and curiosity grows. Think that for every one person you tell, they possibly tell another five, ten, or a dozen people.
We also challenged our intern, Sammy Springer, to share her own definition of music therapy and how she is becoming more of an advocate every day. She explains in her video the importance of having an elevator speech and being able to be concise in talking about music therapy.
On top of everything else this week, we had the incredible opportunity to be featured on our local news! What says advocacy more than the words MUSIC THERAPY being said or shown on the local news multiple times!!!! What a blessing and a joyful moment in our week.
We hope to see you advocating for music therapy and are always happy to answer any of your questions! Happy Illinois Music Therapy Week!
Things are always busy at MTC, but the past few weeks have felt even more intense as we continue to move through our season of transition and change. School starting back in August is like the start of our new year. With that new year comes new students, new policies, new contracts, and tons of awesome new ideas!!
I know that it can get confusing for everyone (myself, team members, and families included) because we are shifting things around and have several balls in the air. So, I wanted to share a few ways we stay organized and on the same page as a team and share some ideas you can implement as well.
Know Your Role – I say it time and time again. Rachel and I make a great team! We work constantly to clarify and simplify our roles so that we can each play to our strengths and accomplish more within our company without repeating work. Knowing that I handle most of our internship details and HR topics while Rachel handles more of the PR and family contact/communication allows for us to easily designate who needs to handle new tasks and gives all of our team members a better idea who to talk to about certain topics.
Write It Down – I was out of town last week and was without Wi-fi for an entire week. Coming back on Monday was a little bit of a shock to my system after having been away but it was made easier by the fact that Rachel kept a running list of what happened each day. Reading through that document was a quick and easy way to brief myself for the upcoming week and get back in the swing of things. This is a practice we started over a year ago that I am so thankful for! We also keep pretty detailed meeting notes and communicate throughout the day via Slack
Honest, Clear, and Concise Communication – Being truthful and timely helps us to keep things moving. Even though we have a scheduled Tuesday meeting to talk about business matters, you will find Rachel and I in and out of the office using whatever little face-to-face time we have to quickly answer each others questions or have small discussions. I write down what we need to talk about so that we can communicate more effectively and move forward as quickly as possible. We also encourage regular communication with all of our team members and have an open door policy so we can address most issues and celebrate victories as they occur.
Check out our facebook live video from earlier where I share secret number four and delve further into how we keep things running smoothly.
We are looking forward to sharing more of the projects we are working on in the very near future! Stay tuned by following us on facebook or becoming a VIP member!