Nan Croney is the Founding Director and one of the instructors at HAMA. Today we get to learn more about her! She writes:
I was adopted into a loving family as a one-week-old baby. I loved my childhood on the family farm in Bothwell, Utah, which shaped my life a great deal. Living on a farm had a tremendous impact on me as a human, and on my life course. I thank my parents and farm experience for giving me a strong foundation in early childhood play, a tenacious work ethic, and a deep appreciation for nature.
I apparently showed some musical ability at a young age. My mother tells the story somewhat like this: “I knew Nan was musical when she learned to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star when she was still in her crib. She sang it perfectly after only one try, and in spite of her mother singing off key!” I simply remember always loving music.
Some of my fondest musical childhood memories were riding my bike to the Bothwell Church on Wednesdays during the summer, where I played my ukulele and sang in Carl Ashby’s Music Group. I remember pedaling my bicycle all around Bothwell, pedaling to the beat, and singing my heart out on all the fun songs Carl taught me to love. I remember building my confidence for singing in front of others as I visited many of the elderly in our community, singing to them for a sweet treat in return.
My school years were also filled with music. I loved singing time in many of the grades throughout elementary school. My favorite was when we played ukuleles for several weeks in May Darrington’s 2nd grade class. Jean Stokes taught us, and I loved her for it! I also remember loving the dance reviews we did for the parents, and weaving the Maypole to music at the end of the year.
I began piano lessons when I was eight with Verlynn Adams. I remember her really teaching me to count. I loved the lesson books she used because the songs were so creative. At some point I switched to Margaret Ann Udy, and played in my first recitals with her. Margaret Ann helped me develop my sight reading.
In Middle School, Wayne Jenson kept me singing, and I enjoyed learning to sing parts. I remember performing many of the songs we learned in choir with my best friend, Su Stokes. My love for singing and choir continued through high school, where I again got to sing with Carl Ashby. High School Choir is one of my fondest memories and with Carl, we learned what a beautiful sound really was, how to create it, and the joy that comes from doing so. I will forever be grateful to Carl for all he taught me, which included voice lessons, too, which I also loved. (He later taught my boys voice lessons - it was a real treat to be present in their lessons as their accompanist.)
Sometime during Middle School I transferred to a new piano teacher who taught music theory. This was a big deal, not only because it was the “new thing”, but also because what Ann Buys gave me helped me get through getting my college degree later. Without the theory she taught me, I don’t know if I could have completed my Piano degree. Ann was a fantastic teacher whose enthusiasm carried me through my high school years. She of course had recitals, and I also participated in judged events and other performance opportunities which built my confidence and skill level.
In High School I also took voice lessons with Nedra Pace, which was a treat. I loved hearing Nedra sing - she could lift the roof and anyone’s spirits with her beautiful voice, and I hoped to sing like her one day. I however didn’t practice as I should, and she discontinued my lessons because of it. I regret that. I did, however, get to work with Nedra more through the High School musicals, and the summer musicals she and Dee did in the community every summer. This is where I learned to absolutely love musical theater, and I learned to play the songs from these productions, and many more, because my mother would buy me any book I wanted to play.
In college I received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Utah State University. Since 1990, I have taught music and theory classes in my private studio. For a time I taught private and group lessons at the Utah State University Youth Conservatory where I also served on the Board of Directors and received both the Teaching Assistant of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards. I had other opportunities to serve in the Utah Music Teachers Association (UMTA), and taught many UMTA, Orff, Musikgarten and church music workshops over the years. I love teaching teachers.
From 1998-2002 I completed every level of early childhood music training with Musikgarten. I was then invited to be one of Musikgarten's elite Teacher Trainers and taught workshops across the nation for about seven years.
I am a current member of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association and am level II certified. I am also a member of the Music Teachers National Association.
I love to teach, develop curriculum, sing, play ukulele, read, go camping, waterskiing & snowmobiling with my family, and I enjoy baking and eating out. My favorite thing to do is take road trips with my husband or family across the United States, or travel anywhere else - I love seeing new places and learning about them. Now that I have grandkids, that is at the top of my list of fun things to do - anything is more fun when grandkids are there - I love them with all my heart!
Music fills my soul and sustains me in life. Playing the piano is something I not only love, but it is therapeutic to me. I have also learned how important it is for me to attend the symphony and other concerts. My favorite programs are those with a piano concerto or other piano performances, but I enjoy many kinds of instruments and genres of music and find that these evenings spent completely absorbed in the music, without interruption, fill me and bring a kind of joy into my heart that is unlike anything else. The only real musical regret I have is that I was not able to take more time developing my singing voice. I still hope to do that - in the next life if not in this one.