Merrie (on the left) and Nan with Their Great Grandmother’s Piano
Merrie Crawford Skaggs and Nan Crawford Funkhouser founded MerrieNan Melodies. The sisters share a dream to teach children and adults (of all ages) to learn to read music. They believe you can learn joyously and early–or later–in life, and that learning to read music gives you confidence and independence with music. They both learned to play on this beloved pre-1900 piano. Merrie was 12 years old when she taught 4-year-old Nan to read music. All four of Merrie’s daughters learned to play on this same instrument. And now Merrie’s granddaughters are learning to play on this dear old piano with the MerrieNan Melodies approach.
Nan started taking piano lessons when she was four years old. In junior high school, she chose the French horn. Nan graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and a minor in Piano Performance. She played French horn with the Kansas City Symphony for 25 years and also has taught both French horn and piano for over 30 years. One role Nan plays with MerrieNan Melodies is to come up with new music that helps students learn.
Merrie has been an educator her entire career, starting out in public schools and culminating at Baker University. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and was the Chair of the Undergraduate School of Education at Baker for four years. She has been a big part of making sure the materials in the program are educationally sound.
Merrie Crawford Skaggs and Nan Crawford Funkhouser are sisters who have collaborated on the creation of MerrieNan Melodies. Nan and Merrie have had great fun creating a different approach to teaching music. Their respective professional fields of music and education have complemented each other in the creation of MerrieNan Melodies. Both Merrie and Nan are interested in supporting the joyful education of music students of all ages.
The name “MerrieNan” is the name their parents gave to the 33-foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser they had when Merrie was 16 and Nan was 9. The family spent a summer out on Tablerock Lake in Missouri where their father was building boat ramps and other amenities for state parks. The name MerrieNan became synonymous with long summer weeks out on the water making happy memories. They revived the name for their company in the hopes that the MerrieNan Melodies program will bring joyous memories and “smooth sailing” to music students.
The vision Merrie and Nan have is that their approach will be out there everywhere making a difference. The vision is that all people regardless of age or background can learn to read music easily and joyfully in order to enrich their lives.
Read more about our unique approach