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Our Teachers and Studios
Nancy Cree, Iowa City
Nancy started teaching in 1974 after studying music education at the University of Iowa.  From those first students taught in the living room piano, to her own innovative teaching studio, to the establishment of the Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Centers in 1989, and leadership in the field of keyboard music instruction; Nancy has effectively combined the joy and excitement of keyboard music with a solid foundation in music fundamentals.

Over the years, Nancy has conducted workshops on the integration of technology into traditional piano teaching, and good studio business practices on the local and state level.  In 1988, she created a videotape and wrote an article for Clavier magazine on the use of technology and was featured in the technology section of the fall 1999 Iowa Music Teacher magazine.

Nancy is active in her local Iowa Music Teachers Association (IMTA) district Festival and Auditions.  She judges for festival and auditions around the state and has been the chair for the East Central IMTA Piano festival for many years.

Beyond her teaching and supervisory work, Nancy has a large family and loves to spend time with her husband, Stephen, and their seven grandchildren – and she always has a book with her so she can indulge in her favorite hobby whenever time allows.

Tina Chapman, Coralville
Tina Chapman is our lead teacher.  She joined our program in 1990 and has been working with West Music since 1982.  She shares teacher supervisory duties with Nancy and handles the billing for our West Music locations as well as her teaching responsibilities.

Tina studied music education at Simpson College.  She has performed for years playing keyboard in several bands and playing and singing for many weddings.  Tina has also arranged many ensemble music pieces for our centers.  Before joining us, she worked with West Music for eight years doing everything from working the sales floor, to managing the teaching studios, to teaching many group organ and keyboard lessons.  Her years of service for West Music earned her the 2002 Pearl J. West award for outstanding work and dedication to the music education field. 

She has served as the president for our East Central IMTA (Iowa Music Teachers Association) Local Association.  She is also State IMTA student composition competition chair.  Tina is qualified to judge for our IMTA state festivals and auditions and does so frequently.

In her spare time she enjoys playing for weddingd, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Ashley Heffernen, Coralville
Ashley grew up in the Cedar Rapids area and has been playing the piano since she was 6 years old. She began to write her own compositions and arrangements when she was in middle school and even taught several piano lessons out of her house while in high school. She graduated from Luther College in Decorah in December of 2014, with a Major in Spanish and a minor in piano and composition.

After graduation, Ashely lived in Mexico for a year where she taught English to music, dance, art and theater students. She also gave free piano lessons at a local art school.

Ashely currently teaches Spanish at Summit Schools in Cedar Rapids and is very excited to start teaching piano again with West Music. In her free time she loves to compose new music, read, run, bike, and spend time with her family.

Natalie Landowski, Coralville
Natalie Landowski joined our teaching team in May of 2013.  Originally from southern California, Natalie received her B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of California, Irvine.  She graduated with honors and was the recipient of the Marjorie Rawlins and Medici Circle scholarships.
In May 2012, she graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with her M.M. in Piano Pedagogy.  At Illinois, she had the privilege of being a teaching assistant to Dr. Reid Alexander, teaching group and private piano. She was awarded the Graduate Teaching Certificate from the UIUC Center of Teaching Excellence.  During her time at Illinois, Natalie was an active private teacher as well.  She served as an instructor for the UIUC Piano Laboratory program, and was President of the MTNA Collegiate Student Chapter for the 2011-2012 year.  Natalie has also served on the piano faculty of the Illinois Summer Youth Music Festival.

In addition to teaching, Natalie also shares a passion for performing.  She gave her Master degree recital in April 2012 and has performed in master classes and chamber and solo performances with the Upper Bay Philharmonic Society in Newport Beach, California.

 Natalie started work on her D.M.A. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy in the fall of 2012 at the University of Iowa, and is studying with Dr. Ksenia Nosikova.

Allison Chenoweth, Marion

Allison Chenoweth became part of the Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Centers' teaching team in June of 2005, starting in a brand new studio in the newly remodeled West Music, Marion Conservatory.

Allison is originally from Ottumwa, Iowa where she was active in band, orchestra, choir, jazz band, and piano from a young age. In the summer of 1996, she toured Europe with Iowa's Ambassadors of Music, playing clarinet in the band. After high school, she attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa where she earned a Bachelor's degree in both Music and Anthropology in 2002.

While at Cornell, Allison participated in band, choir, and also joined Pandemonium, the steel drum ensemble. She also discovered a new love for music from around the world, and immediately following graduation, moved to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Humanities focusing on the field of ethnomusicology and studying the development of steel pan bands in the Chicago area. Following her 2003 graduation, Allison moved to the northern Chicago suburbs, where she taught community college and rented space to teach piano.

In her spare time, Allison loves to read and garden and tries to keep up with the latest developments in the world of ethnomusicology.   She enjoys finding piano music that focuses on the music of other countries and teaching her students about it.

Allison is very active in the Iowa Music Teachers Association. She is currently the state co Vice-President for State Auditions, and chairs local IMTA piano auditions and festivals. Allison also helped to start the Musical Mornings program at West Music, a monthly meeting for local piano teachers to meet and discuss topics in teaching and studio business.

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