February 15, 2016 

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Maureen Flood
February 2016

Dear friends and colleagues,

I will be filling in for Robin until she is well enough to return to us....... hopefully, soon!  Our thoughts and prayers are with Robin as she recovers.  Please feel free to send cards to her - I know that it lifts her spirits that so many people care and express their concern.  She is still in room 705 at Lutheran General Hospital.  

I'm sure you are busy preparing your students for AIM Performance exams and the Awards Competition - lots to do!  Also, keep in mind the college and camp scholarships.  I hope some of you are thinking about doing something good for yourselves, too - such as attending the MTNA Conference in San Antonio  April 2-6.  And - I want to encourage you to play in the Teachers' Musicale coming up on  April 11th.  

How are you all handling the winter blahs in your studios?  For me, fall is always very busy, and spring, too - but winter seems to drag on for my students (and me)!  I use it to catch up on theory, technic and sight-reading skills, but this year I am trying to put together a little rock/jazz/pop concert to keep my students motivated.  My students all seem to love performing, so they're at their best when a recital is just around the corner.  I also really enjoyed our Independent Music Teacher meeting in January - I got lots of ideas and think I need to start a Technic Olympics Competition in my studio!  

For us teachers, too, sometimes our days to "shine" are few and far between.  From lesson to lesson, we don't tend to see huge progress in our students, but - come recital time, I usually am astounded, because my students seem to play better than expected!  It must be all that last-minute practice in the hours leading up to the recital!  

Last year, I received the best gift of my teaching career.  One of my graduating students had to write a college essay - the topic was " Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?    Here are two quotes from that essay:

"I have been in love with the instrument from the time I mindlessly smashed my hands into the keys as a toddler, experimenting with the sour sounds that pierced the air of my living room. I have played piano through family deaths, personal triumphs, and to simply pass time. When I sit at my piano with my hands on the keys, nothing else exists; time stops and I am free to break from the chaos of my everyday life to be alone with my music and myself.  "

"Amid the rapid-paced life of a teenager, the piano has given me the opportunity to slow down. Balancing family obligations with co-curricular activities, work and most importantly my studies is no easy task. My piano is my space to press pause and take a deep breath. No words can describe the feeling of being alone and playing a song until your fingers are sore. Playing the piano enriches my life and gives living in a hectic world a bit more harmony. "

Reading that essay, I felt that it validated every success and failure over the past 35+ years of teaching - We very often look at scores and medals to evaluate our own success as a teacher.   But the gift we are giving our students is so much more than those scores and medals!  This same student contacted me her first week of school, to let me know that she was so excited to have found a piano right in her dorm!  I think I was more excited than she was!

Well - As I write this letter, I'm sitting by the fireplace, watching the snowflakes gently fall.  BUT - I need to get my boots on and get out there and shovel!

Maureen Flood


Bruce Neswick, world-famous organist and composer, will present a concert at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 1234 N. Arlington Hts Rd in Arlington Heights on Friday, March 11 at 7:30 pm.

The program includes works by Bach, de Grigny, Stanford and others, as well as hymns for congregational singing, with Mr. Neswick's improvisations. The concert is free and open to the public.

Mr. Neswick will lead an organ workshop at the church on Sat, March 12 from 9 to Noon, sponsored by the Fox Valley American Guild of Organists. Questions?

Contact Barbara Kudirka, Dir. of Worship & Music at


We are very fortunate to have member Kathlyn Sbarboro, whose program, " Before, During and Beyond:  Musical Experiences for the Young Piano Student" promises to be fun and informative!  Please join us on  February 15 at the Rolling Meadows Library for this program!

Kathlyn Sbarboro is the Piano Facilitator for the Continuing Education Community Music Center at Harper College. Ms. Sbarboro teaches both group and private lessons to students of all levels, and oversee's all piano performance festivals, recitals, and student placement. Ms. Sbarboro has earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, and a Master of Arts degree in Piano Pedagogy. She is recognized as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music by the Music Teacher's National Association, through which she has served as Group Piano Chair, Recital Chair, and Theory Co-Chair at the state and local levels. Ms. Sbarboro is a registered Music Together® teacher, teaching Music Together® classes in the western suburbs. She also maintains an independent piano studio, and is active in the Chicago area as a clinician and festival/competition judge.

Maureen Flood
Vice-President, Programs



If you have a high school student graduating this year and majoring in music at a college or university, you are already working
on repertoire for their audition for school.  Don't forget about our $1000 scholarship, which goes to 1 student, and has helped the students with their extra fees throughout the school year.  It is for 1 year only, $500 for the fall semester & $500 for the spring semester if they kept their grades up in music classes the first semester.  Parents have been very appreciative in regards to this scholarship.  Complete rules and enrollment form are on our website. Deadline is  April 15.  If you have any questions, please call or send an email.

Pat Borchardt


I sent a card to Cathy Albergo due to her cardiac arrest. Cathy did not have to have open heart surgery, and was fortunate to be in a situation where she got help pretty quickly. She had to be revived. The blockage was taken care of with a stent, so with multiple medications Cathy is going to be OK, which cheers us all, I know.She had two stents put in.

Also, a sympathy card was sent to Phil Samuels due to the loss of his mother, Lyda Samuels. NWSMTA sent a $25 check in Lyda Samuels memory to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.

Janice Wilkans
Hospitality Chair


Registration has begun for the Granquist Music Competition, the largest music competition in the State of Illinois. This year's event will be held  Saturday, June 25, 2016at Geneva Community High School,  416 McKinley Avenue. Teachers are encouraged to enroll students as early as possible. Online entry deadline is May 25 and mailed applications must be postmarked byMay 23. Both deadlines will be strictly enforced.
This is the 46th year of the competition established in 1970 by music educator Herb Granquist. We are pleased that the Granquist family will once again be coordinating the competition.  All contestants will be classified by instrument, age and years of instruction.  Solos, duets and ensembles are all encouraged to register.  There are three levels of competition-Olympic, Concert and Performance.
To view the brochure, rules and regulations, download a registration form or register online, visit  To receive an application by mail or for payment assistance, please call the Geneva Chamber of Commerce at  630-232-6060.  The competition is presented as part of Swedish Days Festival supported by Northwestern Medicine and hosted by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.
Technical Musical Questions related to the competition should be directed to:
*phone:   630-346-2605


We are looking forward to the Awards Competition on  Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Harper College.  The deadline is  March 16.  Please review the eligibility requirements, rules, repertoire and other details, and plan on entering your students in this competition!  

- The Awards Competition Committee
I was really inspired by the comments made by Maureen's student.  As teachers we deepen the skills of our students to see beyond the black dots on the page, to feel and portray the music to their audience.  But as Maureen's student points out, much of what she values about her life with music is what she does when she is alone.  Every path of knowledge has something to offer to our experience of being alive.  Enlightening a student or our ourselves, personally, teaches us to navigate new ways to make the ordinary extraordinary.  

Teaching is like putting a drop of ink in a cup of water.  It changes the color of the entire cup.  As we add more drops and stir the water, we change what previously existed.  We listen and reflect back to the student what has come from them.  I encourage my students to avoid extra movement as they are playing.  The movement blocks what they are trying to bring out.  I suggest they sit still and feel.  

Ultimately, we want to guide our students to their center, so they can become the teacher.  How blessed to be able to accompany them on their journey.  

Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association
Robin Meredith-Kramer, President
Maureen Flood, Website

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter