We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Hanna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Texas is so rich with young musicians and from my experience in the public school music programs, hurting for private instructors. Many young private music teachers cannot teach from their homes. Much of the time, private instructors go to the schools to teach private lessons to those students who desire to take them. However, that really limits the number of students one teacher can teach. My thought was to open a music lesson teaching studio in a central location that had private lesson teachers in every musical group – piano, singing, woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings, and guitars.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Mary Melodies was born of my passion for teaching private music lessons. I believe that private lessons are INVALUABLE in training our young musicians. That clarinet or trumpet or flute, etc. is a “college scholarship in a box”! And if we don’t groom our young musicians, who will be our pop stars, country music singers and symphony players of the future??? I want my private lesson music studio to be a center of music excellence and a place where families have multiple family members enrolled because MARY MELODIES is a family! Our teachers care deeply about our students and their progress. We meet the students where there are in their musical journey, whether it’s the beginning or middle, regardless of the direction in which they would like to go. We teach sound music theory and help them apply it to the music genre of their choice along with traditional music as well. It is our goal to equip them with a comprehensive music education centered around their instrument/voice so that they can go out into the public schools and win auditions or into college and win scholarships to help pay for their education or to that “back stage” audition to “make the band”!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Royse City, TX is a charming small town that “used to be”, like countless other small towns across America. It’s history is rich with colorful people who are remembered by things like naming the new outdoor performance and gathering area after the man who ran a hotel and restaurant there for generations. Cookston Court is right downtown on Historic Main Street along with delicious restaurants and delightful boutiques. There are barber shops, beauty shops, a coffee shop that makes the BEST soup and sandwhiches, The Well. And then, there is Mary Melodies Music! A lovely music studio with 8 private lesson rooms and a classroom for our “school of rock” where our singers learn how to “rock out” with the drummer and guitarists and keyboardists! So fun! After shopping and a delicious meal, we might wander down to the historic Calaboose on Main Street. It’s an old train car that was turned into a small, 2 cell jail in the late 1800’s for when a criminal was apprehended too late in the day to take them by horse/wagon to Rockwall to jail. The criminal would be shut in the Calaboose overnight and then taken the next day to Rockwall. We have a super fun splash pad at the park down the road where you can cool off and always grab a cool and refreshing snow cone. After a long day of shopping and fun at the splashpad, it’s time to relax and cool off at the Alumni Bar and Grill! Great beer and yummy pub food with sports and music and lots of locals!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank the Music and Fine Arts Department at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The instructors there inspired me from my first year there. Music is a gift. My instructors gave it to me and I have a passion to pass it on! In particular, Mrs. Annette Hall (deceased). Our Division Head of Music, she was a friend, mentor, instructor, and role model. Mrs. Beverly Lobitz, Associate Professor of Music (deceased), taught me how to teach. Her knowledge, patience, and love for her students was evident from the moment you met her. She was a second mother to thousands of us sopranos over her years at UAM. Mr. Gary Meggs, Head Band Director, Woodwind Instructor, Professional Jazz Saxophonist, and pioneer of the Graduate program in Jazz at UAM taught me so very much about teaching music and has continued to be a support over the years. Without these individuals, I wouldn’t be the musician, teacher, or woman I am today.