When I Grow Up: Becoming a Sound Birthing Music Therapist

Hello friends! Today I'm introducing the last installment of the When I Grow Up series, at least for a little while. I've been running this series for over a year and while I have really enjoyed learning about all the different careers, it's time for a little break. I may bring it back after the new year, but for now let's enjoy this last one.

She is actually the perfect person to wrap up the series this year, considering I'm actually considering hiring a doula! So let's meet Beth Hardy.

As a child, I wanted to be a ­______ when I grew up. As a child, I wanted to be a birth worker when I grew up.  I wasn’t even really sure what exactly I wanted to do – maybe be a midwife?  Maybe a doula?  My mom had a copy of Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery on the bookshelf at home, and I loved looking at the pictures of all the long-haired hippie women giving birth naturally at The Farm.  All I knew was that I somehow wanted to be involved with birthing women when I grew up.

At the same time, I also wanted to be a rock star/ballerina.  And I definitely incorporate music into my work now (the ballerina part, not so much). What I do now is specialize in a technique called Sound Birthing: Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth.  

How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? I am living the dream!  Well, in truth, I’m not quite there yet…it’s more like I’m in the down-in-the-trenches, working-really-hard-at-getting-my-business-started phase of my dream. But it’s definitely within reach!  Every day I am doing all I can to connect with pregnant moms in my community, share what it is that I do, and book clients.  

What is your official job title? I haven’t really thought about that…I guess it would be “Sound Birthing Music Therapist,” since “birth-loving-women-empowering-musical-birth-doula-guru” doesn’t roll off the tongue so well.

Ok, now what does that really mean? I am a board-certified music therapist and a trained birth and postpartum doula.  I run Heart Tones Music Therapy & Birth Services in Salt Lake City, UT.

To break it down for you: 

A Birth Doula is a woman who has been trained to assist pregnant moms to have the most empowered, confident, informed birth they can, no matter what kind of birth they are planning or actually end up having.  Doulas are present at home births, hospital births, birth center births, unmedicated “natural” births, and planned or unplanned c-sections.   Doulas are super knowledgeable about all things birth, and offer evidence-based information to moms and their partners so that they can make the decisions that are best for them during their birth.   Doulas are not medically trained, so they don’t offer any medical advice or help to actually deliver the baby the way a midwife or doctor does.  Instead, they are there solely to provide support, comfort measures, and encouragement for the mom and partner.

A Postpartum Doula helps families in the first weeks to months of their new baby’s life.  They visit the families in their homes and offer support and education around breastfeeding, baby-wearing, diapering, bathing, and anything else that the new family may need help with.  They are awesome listeners, and are there to support the whole family (mom, partner, other siblings, and anyone else living in the house), not just the newborn baby.


As a Sound Birthing Music Therapist, I help pregnant moms and their partners learn how to use music during their birth to ease pain, increase relaxation, and get them totally into the zone of strong, confident warrior women.  I attend their birth as their doula and am always observing their progress through labor and putting on the best music to help them at that particular moment.  

I work with pregnant moms here in Salt Lake City where I live, but I also offer birth music consultation services to anyone around the world, helping them learn how to incorporate music into their birth even if they don’t have a Sound Birthing Music Therapist where they live.

What is a typical day like? Whew….well right now my days are filled with reaching out to other birth workers in my community, getting my name out there, and hustling for clients.  I recently moved from San Jose, CA to Salt Lake City, UT, so I am really in the thick of it with building my business and getting to know Salt Lake. 

My days usually go something like this: Start the day with a green smoothie.  Take my dog Griffin for an hour walk in a park near my house.  Go over my to-do list and determine what needs to get done that day.  Start plugging away at emails, networking, and blogging for a few hours in the morning, trying really hard not to get distracted by Facebook, TV shows, or housework.  Some days I facilitate music therapy groups at Adult Day Health Care centers, Alzheimer’s Dementia facilities, and hospices, and I’m even an Uber driver, which helps to pay the bills until my doula biz is off the ground. 

Usually by 3pm I am mentally fried and need to relax and recharge for an hour or two.  This could mean taking a nap, a walk, watching a show, reading, or surfing Facebook. 

After dinner I usually get another burst of creative energy, so I try to do brainstorming on future blog posts, write music, and work on fun projects like quilting.  Then it’s off to bed around 10-11pm.

How did you end up in this career? I have really just gotten into this career full-force in the last few months.  Before that I worked full-time as a music therapist at a veteran’s hospital in CA.  I really wanted to be doing doula work, but I just couldn’t find the time to dedicate to it while I had a full-time gig.  So, I saw this recent move to Salt Lake City as the perfect opportunity to jump into my doula biz with everything I have!

What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I have a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and am state certified and nationally board certified, and I also have additional training in Sound Birthing: Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth.   I did my birth doula training at a place called Natural Resources in San Francisco, and did my postpartum doula training through Doulas of North America (DONA). 

What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? Start reaching out to other people that you see doing what you want to be doing.  We all need help, none of us can build a career on our own, so find those people who you want to emulate and write them an email or take them to coffee.  Find out what they did to get where they are.  Have patience and stay determined to reach your goal – it can take a while! I have been slowly plugging away at becoming a full-time Sound Birthing Music Therapist for the past 8 years, and just within the past 3 months has my life shifted to make that dream a reality.  It definitely doesn’t happen over night!        

Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? At this point I am happy just focusing on my current business.  I hope to continue to grow my business and become really well known in Salt Lake City as the go-to doula for anyone who thinks they may want to incorporate music into their birth, as well as providing birth music consultation services to anyone around the world, helping them learn how to incorporate music into their birth even if they don’t have a Sound Birthing Music Therapist where they live.

Thank you for sharing your story, Beth! If you'd like to know more about Beth, who is a UT State and Nationally Board Certified Music Therapist, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Instagram

I hope you've enjoyed the When I Grow Up series! If you want to see it return next year, let me know. Or maybe I should start a new series! What do you think?

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...

When I Grow Up: Becoming a Graphic Designer & Brand Strategist

Happy Wednesday! Today I'm featuring Lindsay Goldner, a graphic designer and brand strategist. Find out more about her journey now!

As a child, I wanted to be a ­______ when I grew up. As a child I wanted to be either an interior designer, a writer, or a musical theater star when I grew up.

How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? My current career is pretty far from any of those, unless writing blog posts, decorating my apartment, and singing in the shower count!

What is your official job title? I certainly wear many hats in my current career, but my main hat, if you will, is that of a graphic designer and brand strategist! That means I work with entrepreneurs and small businesses to create brand identities (logos, colors, tone, imagery), websites, and everything else that needs designing! As a strategist I help provide clarity on where brands are currently at, where they can improve, and how we can best utilize design to make brands stand out from the crowd.

What is a typical day like? I spent the last few months working full-time at an agency, so now I’m getting back into the freelance life and trying to re-establish a routine, but I’ve never been great at having a true routine! I’m generally a night owl, which means I get up around 10 or so, have some caffeine, and dive right into emails! Lately, I’ve been trying to hold off on my email checking first thing and instead get some creative inspiration via my feedly feed or pinterest to get my creative juices flowing. After that, a typical day can include anything from client calls, to working at a local coffee shop (I keep Starbucks in business these days), running errands, chilling with my cat and reading business books, really anything! I try to get to networking or social events at least once a month, which forces me to dress up and interact with people (important for a freelancer who lives alone!) and do things like yoga or hiking too.

How did you end up in this career? Design was kind of an accidental but, I think, fated career move for me. I majored in English and American Studies at Berkeley but then moved to Boston right after college and started working with startups doing content, social media, and the occasional graphic. I ended up working for a site-maker startup and learning more about design, which led me to create my own website (though I cringe at that early design) for my copywriting/social media services. Randomly, I reached out to the amazing Erika Napoletano (formerly known as @redheadwriting) one day in response to her call for a virtual assistant and sent her my site. Instead of hiring me as a VA, she took a look at my site and asked me to do some Facebook landing pages for her…and I really haven’t looked back since! 

Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? Figure out what really makes you glow. What do you “geek out” over? As Jessica Hische says, "The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

Thank you for sharing, Lindsay! You can find more about Lindsay on her website, Facebook page, Twitter profile, or Pinterest boards.

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...

When I Grow Up: Partner and Designer at Jack & Liberty

And we're back! This week I'm featuring Liberty Riggs, of Jack & Liberty. I'd seen her around the Being Boss group and was super intrigued by the name of her company, and I'm so glad she's sharing her story today!

When I Grow Up - Partner & Designer at Jack & Liberty

As a child, I wanted to be a _____ when I grew up. A whole bunch of things! As a kid, I wanted to be an English teacher, a rock star, an artist and a research psychologist. I guess I've always planned on being very busy.

How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? Well, I am an artist, just not in the way I thought I would be, and there's quite a bit of psychology involved in design - so I would say I'm pretty close. Unfortunately, I can't carry a tune, so 'rock star' was out pretty early on - but I do end up working with a lot of musicians.

What is your official job title? Currently I'm a 'Partner and Designer' at Jack & Liberty, in my 'free' time I'm also an independent design consultant.

Ok, now what does that really mean? Hah, well, Jack & Liberty is a business I run with my partner, Jack Sorokin, who is a photographer. Together we offer brand design and strategy for artists, musicians, and other creative endeavors. That means that I own half the business, am responsible for half the tasks involved with running that business, as well as 100% of the design work. Also being a consultant on the side means that when a project comes along that doesn't fit with the mission of my business, I can still consider taking it on independently.

What is a typical day like? Oh, man. I'm not even sure I have a 'typical' day right now, but it's something I'm working towards. Most days I sit down to work around 8AM, and I like to keep my WiFi turned off for at least an hour or two - that way I can just focus on whatever tasks I must get done that day without distraction. After that, I send out all of my client deliverable for that day and catch up on email a little bit. My afternoons are divided between client calls and meetings, office visits to my consulting clients, and the occasional midday workout.

How did you end up in this career? My first job out of college was in the Industrial Design department at Kohler Kitchen and Bath - that's where I really fell in love with design. I worked with their Artists Editions team, developing decorative patterns and color-ways for new products.

But I became an entrepreneur because I'm honestly a terrible employee. I like working to accomplish goals, not to meet hour requirements. I've always worked hard and been extremely driven, but I get easily burnt out if I can't connect with an organization's larger mission. So, I decided to try setting my own rules and working towards my own mission, and I love it.

What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I was lucky enough to grow up in a city with a great arts magnet highschool (shout out to Booker T. Washington in Dallas, TX!) - so I got started on my arts training fairly young. After I graduated from Booker T. I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art and got my BFA in Art History and Printmaking. So I had a pretty extensive artistic background, but all of my technical design abilities were learned on the job.

What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? My best advice for designers just starting out is to get into an environment where you will be asked to work fairly quickly, and try a lot of new things. Early on in my career I worked at a small advertising agency and had to figure out everything from web ads to direct mail. It was challenging, but it was the best and quickest way to figure what I did and did not like.

Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? Right now I'm trying to build my dream business - and it has been a wild ride. I jokingly tell people that my next business will be some kind of interior decorating / event styling - but I wouldn't be surprised if I actually do that when I grow up.

Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? You can do it! And with so many amazing online communities sprouting up lately centered around finding your purpose and co-creating your life, it's easier than ever to get support if you decide you need to make a big life change.

There's some great advice there, thank you Liberty! (PS - I love her name so much, don't you? Or maybe I'm just a little name crazy right now.) If you'd like to learn about Jack & Liberty, visit their site. If you'd like to see the awesome things Liberty shares on Instagram, follow her!

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...