Jenny Naylor first climbed up to the piano when she was 4 1/2, picking out familiar tunes from "Annie."
When she was 5, playing by ear and working at the keyboard with her mother, Jamie, gave way to professional lessons and lots of practice.Now, seven years later, the musically gifted youngster practices two to three hours a day and routinely enters local and out-of-state piano competitions, often winning awards in her age division.
The young pianist recently placed third in the Utah Symphony Guild junior division.
But perhaps her biggest thrill to date comes not from her performances but from her musical composition.
Just days before Jenny graduated from the sixth grade at Cottonwood Elementary School, Granite School District, earlier this month, the 12-year-old was notified that she had placed third in the national PTA Reflections contest.
Her entry, a piece for two pianos called "A Waltz to the End of the Sky," won third in the nationwide PTA cultural arts program. Her win netted her a certificate and $100, which she spent on 10-speed bike.
"It only took me about a month to write," says Jenny, who plays her waltz trills with flourish on her living-room grand piano.
While the piece sounds impressive to a visitor, her mother points out that Jenny is performing only half of the composition. On the entry tape, her piano teacher, Susan Duehlmeier, was Jenny's duet partner.
This year's waltz may have earned Jenny her first national Reflections prize but it is by no means her first Reflections honor. She has won either district or state honors since she began competing in second grade.
Talent runs in the family. Sister Laura, a first-grader, earned top state Reflections honors for her painting this spring, while brother Jason, an artist and fourth-grader, and sister Sarah, a harpist and third-grader, won school Reflections contests. There are future Reflections winners in the wings - three preschool siblings.
Jamie and Preston Naylor encourage their children's artistic endeavors. "We don't watch much TV around here," Jamie says.
She often sits with Jenny as she practices, pointing out details to refine in her performance.
"But she's way beyond me," her mom says of her daughter's abilities.
Jenny admits that her music takes a strong commitment and huge investment, often limiting her play time with friends and other activities.
But she thinks it's worth it. Her short-term goals include more piano competitions and next year's Reflections contest. In the long run, she has set her sights on being a Sterling Scholar and winning a college scholarship.