Coffee and Creativity by Megan Martin, MA, MT-BC

            My day usually begins with coffee. Long before my children wake, I take a moment with my coffee. Coffee has become so much more than the jolt of energy I need to wake up, but my comfort. I enjoy my process in the morning of making coffee. I pick the blend of beans, grind them for either the French press or espresso maker, I heat the water, and then I pick my mug. I love my mugs. I think half of what brings my joy in this whole process is the mug I use to enjoy my morning cup of comfort. With my mug, my coffee, and the quiet, I begin to think.

            Owning a small business is hard. It takes an enormous amount of creativity to bring your dreams to fruition. I remember the exact moment my dream started. I actually stole the idea from my best friend, who I now call my business partner. We were in college. I was attending a rush event for the sorority I eventually called my family for those 4 years. Anna introduced herself to me like this:

Anna: "Hi! My name is Anna Cafazza! I want to be a music therapist and run my own private practice!"

Me: "Cool!" (plot my entire life on this sentence, which involved changing my major from vocal performance to music therapy that very next week)

            Since that conversation, creativity has ruled my life. Fueled by coffee, I create. It's not just about creating music and helping others. That is what most people see on the surface of what we do at Healing Sounds. It's the best part of what we do! But, we can't do that without creativity. Most music therapists I know have the same education as me, and we all agree on this one thing: nobody taught us how to run a business when we were in school. We are trained in theories, practical applications, various instruments, psychology, populations, and most importantly, music. The climate in our field is rapidly changing. Music Therapists were most commonly seen in hospitals, residential facilities, VA programs, and long term care communities. And while this is still common, it's not as prevalent as it once was. Residential facilities are shifting their mode of care from facility based, to home based. Now, people are receiving services within the comforts of their own home. I love this change. This is person-centered care. It's allowing the client to have control of their healthcare, it gives them options, and gives them freedom to spend their time (and money) however they like. Unfortunately, it also means people are outsourcing. Music therapists are not being employed IN places, but rather contracted from a practice. I didn't go to school for that. Hence the coffee and creativity.

            From the moment I wake with my coffee till I rest in the evening with my glass of wine, my creative brain is constantly working. How do I market to these places? Where is the money going to come from to buy the instruments I need? We don't have a clinic yet, where am I going to provide this workshop? What happens when I get sick? I don't have paid time off which means I may need to work more to save extra money. It's Mardi Gras... do I have music for that? How much are my estimated quarterly taxes? Remind yourself to look up estimated quarterly taxes in the morning. Music and social anxiety- I can create that workshop! Imagine your brain is an open window on your desktop, and in that window there are 25 tabs open all at once. The questions are endless and the planning is endless. This feeds my soul. I crave this.

            It's now mid afternoon and I am staring at my 4th cup of coffee. It's gone cold, but I don't care. I take another sip, and continue to create.