Self-care: Practice What you Preach

I cannot believe we are almost in August that we have a new intern starting on Tuesday!!  My oh my, how time does fly. Both Rachel and I have had so much going on the past few months, on top of everything exciting happening at MTC, that we have felt a serious need to get back in touch with our mantra for this year: simplify, streamline, self-care

major goals

We developed our mantra in late December of last year and have been actively working toward all three aspects.  We’ve talked a lot about this mantra and ways we’ve been working toward those goals in several blog posts I’ve linked to below.  Simplifying and Streamlining have been huge and exciting areas of focus and things we talk about almost daily as we continue to grow our team and expand our services.  But with all of the hustle to achieve those goals, self-care has sometimes taken a back seat.

We value our team members, student, clients, and families and want to be our best for them every day.  We also value our interns and understand that internship is a very stressful time and a huge transitional period from being a student to a practicing professional.

We want to lead by example.  Putting focus on and implementing our own self-care routines helps us to be our best selves in all we do.  It allows us to be more present, provide a positive example for those around us, stay balanced in work and in life, and simply be accountable. Self-care is a continual journey and something we really want to practice.  

Rachel and I spent time on Tuesday talking about the importance of self-care and sharing some of the ways we practice self-care in our live Facebook video.

As we continue this self-care journey and as Sammy begins her internship, we’d love to hear some of the ways your practice self-care and what helps you to find balance in your daily life. Looking for other ideas to jump start your self-care journey? Check out the other blog posts we’ve written on this topic:

Three Words for 2016

Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care

The Intern’s Corner (Week 23)



9 Tips for Overcoming Songwriting Blocks

Songwriting is a huge part of everything we do here at Music Therapy Connections.  Wether we are writing new songs for our Listen & Learn for Little Ones Classes, composing original tunes for our individual clients, or encouraging our students to create their own compositions; songwriting is engrained in what we do.

 Sometimes, the hardest part of songwriting is simply getting started.  I remember sitting down to write some of my first songs as a new professional and feeling so self-conscious that I could barely put pen to paper.  Even now, developing materials to suit the needs of my clients can sometimes seem like a daunting task.  Overcoming that self-doubt and learning how to let it flow can be a tricky process, so Rachel and I took a little time today to talk about our favorite methods for getting past those songwriting blocks and challenges.

Below are ALL 9 tips in our Facebook Live video earlier today along with some extra ideas to get you started.

Morning Pages – In the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, the author describes the practice of morning pages: taking time every morning for free writing.  Creating the practice of setting aside time and putting all of your thoughts on paper every morning without editing.  This free flow of thoughts can be an excellent bridge to songwriting. 

Topic Journaling – Pick a word or single topic to write 10 lines or sentences on.  You do not have to write complete thoughts or sentences and can use any number of lines or sentences you choose.  Selecting a single topic for free writing can be a helpful way to get started on song ideas.  (BONUS: other methods I love using are word associations and mind mapping to get my creative juices flowing).  The primary goal here is to open yourself up to ideas and just jot them down.  Save the editing for later. 

Going back to music you enjoy – Is there a song that makes you feel amazing?  Are there songs you simply love? Go back and give them a listen.  See if you can find out why you love them or what feels good.  Use them as your inspiration.  OR simply take time to enjoy music other people have created.  Create a playlist for your life or put together a set of songs for how you are feeling.  Spotify is a great resources for this adventure.

Enjoy Yourself – My best songs almost always come from positive experiences in other parts of my life.  Go do something you love and enjoy your life.  Keep your voice recorder handy though because you never know when that inspiration will strike.

This little app is my best friend.

This little app is my best friend.

Think of Songwriting as a Conversation – Talk with someone about your songwriting or say your lyrics out loud like you are talking to someone.  Sometimes, even just talking through why you are struggling will help you get over that hump.

Go for a Walk – Get outside. Get some fresh air. Clear your mind.  Walk away for a minute and change your scenery.  

Don’t Force It – If you start to get frustrated, put it all aside and come back later.  Literally, walk away.  Thinking about something else for a little while can be just the solution you are looking for.  Sometimes, a good night’s sleep is also incredibly helpful.

Be Present – Clear both your physical and mental space of clutter and create the space to be present in songwriting and creating.  This is your time to be in the moment and create.  

Share Your Song –  Share what you’ve written with someone. ANYONE.  This can be a single client, a co-worker, your child, a friend, your significant other, a family member, or even your pet.  Sharing your creation out loud with someone provides new perspective and a sense of accomplishment.  

(bonus) Record your creation. The method could be  a video, a simple voice recording, a full recording, etc.  How you record does not matter. Capture what you have accomplished so you can listen later, remember what you’ve done, and visit your work in the future.  Take a moment to listen and appreciate what you’ve created.  Take pride in your accomplishment and give yourself some praise!

What are your favorite tips for starting the songwriting process? We’d love to hear from your and share your ideas with everyone!

3 Day Hand Drumming Camp

Next week we have a very special mini-camp happening!!

I am so excited to have the opportunity to share my love of music and playing hand drums during the 3 DAYS of drumming camp!


This isn’t your typical drum-set style drumming!  No drumsticks or experience needed!  The group is open to people of all abilities and levels of musical experience.  Whether you are looking to just have fun, learn something new, or add to your current skills, we would love to have you join the group!  Over the 3 days, group members will:

  • explore different kinds of drums
  • play rhythm instruments from around the world
  • learn basic hand drumming techniques
  • become familiar with simple rhythmic patterns
  • play instruments in a group
  • learn a few ways to lead a drum circle
  • improvise on a variety of percusion instruments
  • and build confidence


Not only is hand drumming and participating in a drum circle a fun experience, it’s also a great way to make new friends, build relationships, work on focused attention and listening, learn new skills, relax, and more. The hour-long group will be from 6:30 – 7:30 pm June 28th, 29th, and 30th.  I hope to see lots of new and familiar faces!


Always Adapting: Counting Through the Seasons

Last fall, we began increasing the number of early childhood classes we offer.  We split the classes into age groups but also offer groups with mixed ages.  Though we use the same curriculum across all of the classes in one session, you will find that every group is just a little different.  Each class has it’s own unique mix of participants that make it a little different from any other group even if other groups have the same ages, genders, etc.


This means ADAPTING and often on the fly.  I, personally, teach both our Wednesday and Thursday night classes.  Though I use the same materials for both classes, the presentation looks a little different each night.  My Wednesday night class tends to be a little more active so I change the order of songs slightly, create additional verses for our movement songs, and ask more questions of group members.  My Thursday night class is often more reserved and will sit for a long stretch of time.  I use this to my advantage and take a longer time reading our book or singing our counting songs.

I LOVE all of the material we create and like to use them with my individual students and clients as well, adapting them even more as we go.  Our newest book, “Counting Through the Seasons” was initially developed for our early childhood classes though all of our therapists have now adapted the songs to work on a variety of goals.  In our newest “extra” going out to our VIP members and being added to the “Counting Through the Seasons” download, I describe 9 ways our seasonal counting songs can be adapted to work on goals aside from counting to five and how they can be changed to fit multiple seasons.

The price of the book (“Counting Through the Seasons”) will increase on Friday, June 10th.

 Be sure to download your copy at a discounted price today!  

3-Week Mini Session: Listen & Learn for Little Ones

Fitting in a 5-week session at the end of the school year can be tough!!  There’s graduations, concerts, recitals, parties, vacations, holidays, track meets, and the list goes on and on!  So, why push a class that might be poorly attended?

Instead, we’ve created an alternative that gives new families a shortened session they can use as a trial, provides our regular attendees a little break, takes into account conflicting dates that might be on everyone’s calendar, and all at a discounted rate.  We know this is a busy time of year for everyone so we try to work with families to find a reasonable solution.

Take a brief look at our video and visit our website to learn more about our mini session and register today!  Classes start next week.