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Hi there! I'm Molly: small town enthusiast, digital marketer, and mom of 4, passionate about helping local, small businesses thrive. Stick around to learn how YOU can flourish while living and doing business in a small town.

molly knuth

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The Gift of Music with Callie FitzGerald

You will be SO inspired by today’s guest my friends.

Today I sit down with my friend, Callie Mescher FitzGerald, a licensed music therapist and founder of Centrally Rooted in Dubuque, Iowa.

A native of Cascade, Iowa, Callie holds degrees in Music Education, Vocal Performance, and is certified as a Neurologic Music Therapist. She has been passionate about the development of children her entire life and is eager to share her knowledge and joy of music with children and families. Her approach is informed, but informal, and she enjoys wearing her ‘therapist hat’ to see the developmental milestones expand in little ones. 

In the midst of personal transformation after losing her partner to mental illness, Callie decided to bring her music back to her hometown to lead children in vocal and instrumental lessons beginning in 2018. In a mere two years, Callie went from a handful of students to now a full roster with a waiting list. And in 2021, Callie and her new husband purchased a building in a historically underserved neighborhood in Dubuque, Iowa, to create Centrally Rooted. Centrally Rooted provides a safe space for creative and self-expression for kids and families of all ages, abilities, and income levels.

You will LOVE this episode. Tune in for a few key takeaways, and then go give Callie and Centrally Rooted a follow!

Key Takeaways

  • Callie’s vision is to create a center for developing and supporting positive mental health via self-expression. Right now, the offerings include a lot of music, but Callie’s goal is to bring in yoga, play therapists, art therapists, and more to help people focus on their overall well-being in a variety of creative ways.
  • As a girl, Callie did NOT love music. She says her parents forced her to begrudingly attend weekly music lessons, but it wasn’t until joining the theater club and performing on stage in high school that she considered music as a career.
  • In her undergrad, Callie studied musical performance and music education. But she also found that she loved the study of psychology and understanding how the human brain worked. She then decided to pursue a music therapy degree after finding the neurologic, research-based effects of music on the brain.
  • “Music has a way of sneaking into each different area of the brain, and so there’s really no limit for what can be reached. New pathways can be merged in the brain via music-making.”
  • “It’s amazing what music can do in the brain.”
  • Callie has worked with stroke victims, autistic children, spinal cord damage, and has helped them recover in fun, effective ways.
  • “The work is hidden; it just looks like play.” Callie “hides” the therapy into fun and play to intrinsically motivate her patients and get them to push past some of their perceived limitations.
  • Mindful Musicians is the combination of Callie’s personal mission, professional training, and societal need to have constructive conversations about mental health. Presented through music and play to children and their caregivers, Mindful Musicians teaches kids positive self-talk, accepting others, confidence-building, coping skills, emotional expression, and more.
  • With music competence in children’s formative years comes verbal development, coordination, and Callie says, “It’s about setting them up for the most success they can have.”
  • Callie’s big goal is to turn Mindful Musicians into a curriculum and make it available to families, schools, and organizations, to positively impact kids in their care.
  • “I was letting the constraints of the world we live in limit my dreaming capability.”
  • “All we can choose is how we react to it,” Callie shares that pain and suffering is inevitable in life, but through reflection and growth beautiful things can become of it.
  • And so, so much more in today’s episode! 

Follow Callie and Centrally Rooted

Keep up on all the happenings at Centrally Rooted on Facebook @centrallyrooted or head to to sign up for their programs or contribute to the scholarship fund.

MKM Spring Programming

Growing your business is hard…trust me, I know. But you don’t have to go it alone.

So this spring, I’m offering two group programs to support you as you run your small-town small business:

1. MKM Social School: Our 12 week education program to help you learn the platforms, systems, and structures to market your business online

2. MKM Business School: A mastermind for business owners looking for growth beyond social media. A place where we will bring in niched-down experts in areas like messaging, business finance, productivity, etc. and where we can ask other questions as we grow through the “teen years” of our businesses.

More info will be released in the weeks to come, but you can hop on the email waitlist now so you’re the first to get details:

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Hi there! I'm Molly: small town enthusiast, digital marketer, and mom of 4, passionate about helping local, small businesses thrive. Stick around to learn how YOU can flourish while living and doing business in a small town.

molly knuth

Meet the blogger