Meet Your Professor: Lori Cruciani

Department: Music



Story by Danielle Pahl, Multimedia Editor

Danielle Pahl: What sparked your interest in music?
Lori Cruciani: I come from a long line of music teachers. I am a third generation music teacher. My grandmother was a music teacher, my mom was a music teacher at a college and I guess it was kind of inevitable. I don’t remember starting to play piano. I was so young.

DP: What brought you to Eau Claire?
LC: I got my undergrad here actually. What brought me here was the great music program. I am from northern Wisconsin so I wasn’t too far away and I was familiar with the city and I came for the great teacher that were here.

DP: How long have you been teaching and why did you pursue a teaching career?
LC: I have been teaching here for 16 years and I really enjoy working with kids of all ages. I had first started teaching at home. I did private lessons with my own children at home because it gave me the opportunity to stay home with them. A job opened up here part-time, which was perfect for working and blending a family. It gave me a chance to work with students of all different majors. It is so fun to teach them something that they can use as a hobby. Most of the kids are there because they either love music or they have always wanted to play or they are renewing something that they did in their childhood. I think it is really different to teach a subject that is really not a mandatory subject but is something that everyone is doing for fun. It’s fun to see the smiles and gratification on people’s faces when they say ‘I’ve always wanted to play The Entertainer’ or some piece like that.

DP: If you were not teaching what would you be doing?
LC: That is a hard question. I can’t see myself doing anything else besides teaching. I may be in a different subject matter. I have always had a great love of English and literature. I thought about teaching History at one time or music History. I guess teaching is just in my soul. I can’t imagine not teaching.

DP: What is your favorite part of teaching?
LC: I think my favorite thing is being able to teach a GE class … a class where I get students of all majors at all points in their academic career that have a love of music and are learning something that they can take with them forever, no matter what their career is. To add a hobby, to add arts, to add well-roundedness to their life.

DP: How do you make class interesting?
LC: I try to bring in a whole lot of different avenues. Not only do we do very traditional classical music, but I have also tried to bring in ‘How do you read a fake book or lead book style’, or how people can relate that. Maybe people play guitar or tablature. I try to also bring in a lot of music of what you hear and music history or music appreciation. Not only is it interesting to know how to play it yourself, but I want you to be interested in the music you hear all around you and in different settings and being able to relate to it. It isn’t the same thing every day. The technique is different, the songs are different, the history or the aspect we are focusing on is different.

DP: What is one of the funniest moments you’ve had in a class?
LC: I am sure there have been things that people have said. I think you find humor in class just trying to get the coordination. I think there is a lot of laughter in our classes. We all laugh at each other trying to figure out this coordination that if you were five years old would get in a snap. As adults we think so hard about it. As people get the coordination and get more confident to be able to say ‘I don’t know why that was so hard.’ I think it is a class where you can laugh at yourself and have fun while you are learning.

DP: What do you think is most important for students to take away from college?
LC: Coming from a music class, I think here at Eau Claire I feel the strongest asset we have to offer you all is the opportunity to take classes in all different disciplines and become such a well-rounded individual. To be able to learn about different subjects, to be appreciative about different subjects, and understand different disciplines. I just hope no one leaves here without having tried everything and experience everything because it all adds up to make you such a strong individual, not only for your future workplace but as a person.