February 20, 2017 

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In This Issue
A Note From Our President
Christopher Goldston Program
Workshop - Peter Mack
AIM Theory Exams
SIU Summer Piano Camp
College Scholarship
Kathryn Job
Article Headline
Note from the Editor
January Minutes
Click here for the January General Meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


Christopher Goldston
"Yes, you CAN teach composition"
Monday, February 20
Rolling Meadows Library 
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting


Peter Mack
"Lessons with Peter Mack"
Sunday, March 5, 2017 Lecture/Recital 3:00-4:30 P.M.
Monday, March 6, 2017 9:15-2:15 P.M.
Countryside Church, Palatine, IL

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 9:45 A.M.
Rolling Meadows Library Board Room

Sunday, March 12, 2017 Harper College, Music Instruction Center (Building P)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Deadline: AIM Levels 10-12 Performance Exams
All AIM registrations are now online

Saturday-Wednesday, March 18-22, 2017 Baltimore, MD

IMT (Independent Music Teachers)
"The 21st Century Piano Teacher"
Monday, March 20, 2017 Rolling Meadows Library
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting

Monday, March 27, 2017 Deadline: Teachers' Musicale


Happy February and Happy Valentine's Day!  Although winter is still far from over in Chicago it is encouraging to see a little more sun and longer days this month.

During the dark, cold days of winter many of us crave comfort foods.  We enjoy preparing and eating hearty soups and stews.  Valentine's Day gives us an excuse to consume chocolate, the ultimate comfort food.  Fortunately, current research indicates that chocolate is actually good for us!

I have recently begun to regard music as a type of comforting nourishment for the soul.  I am using it to combat the depressing effects of the gloomy weather, disturbing world news and divisive political rhetoric which currently surround us.

Of course, music therapists are very familiar with the power of music to comfort and ease pain.  A number of hospitals bring in musicians to play for patients.  I remember hearing a presentation at an NWSMTA meeting by a group of harpists who specialized in playing for hospice patients.  The sound of their harps was incredibly beautiful and peaceful.  As a church musician I have been able to witness the consolation afforded to grieving families by the music which they select for funeral services.  One of my students even told me that after their family dog died his mother asked him to play for her and said that it helped her to feel better.

I do listen to music while working at home or driving.  However, I have decided that the best tool for lifting my spirits is big, black, and sitting in my living room!  Even on busy days I am trying to make time to sit down and play music that I love.  Regardless of what I choose to play it just feels good to move my fingers across the keys and bask in the sound.  I find that it is both soothing and meditative.

I will close with a quote from Oliver Sacks, the author of Musicophilia:"Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear."

Suzanne Murray

CHRISTOPHER GOLDSTON - Yes, You CAN Teach Composition  February 20th Program

Christopher  Goldston  holds a Master of Music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the University of North Carolina¬≠Greensboro. He lives in Chicago, Illinois, and has taught at Sherwood Conservatory of Music and Harper College. In 1991, Mr.  Goldston  received the National Federation of Music Clubs Lynn Freeman Olson Composition Award for his first composition, Night Train. Since then he has written numerous pieces for piano, voice, and chamber ensemble, including his Thesis for Wind Quintet which won the 1993 MTNA Composition Contest for North Carolina. Mr.  Goldston  has compositions published by Alfred Publishing Company and is now an exclusive author for the FJH Music Company. Mr.  Goldston  enjoys composing and arranging pieces for his students. Many of them have also created pieces of their own under his guidance and have received top prizes in state and national competitions. Mr.  Goldston  has served as composition chair for the MTNA for Illinois, and currently, the East Central Division.


March 5-6 with Peter Mack at Countryside Church in Palatine, IL.

Sunday March 5 from 3:30 - 5:00 "Lessons with Peter Mack", a master class with 6 of our students!  All parents, teachers, and students are welcome to attend!

Monday, March 6, workshop sessions with Peter Mack from 9:00 - 2:30.  

Contact me for more details!
Brenda Buchanan, MA, MT-BC, NCTM
Notes88 Music Studio
Hoffman Estates, IL  60169

A total of 210 students participated in the Achievement in Music Theory Exams for levels 5 to 12 at Harper College on Sunday, January 29th.

Following are the test results-

Low Average Median High # Students Judged
Overall 65.50 90.85 92.50 100.50 210
L12 74.50 92.22 93.00 99.25 29
L11 71.00 84.20 85.00 99.50 11
L10 77.50 88.76 89.75 100.50 21
L09 78.25 91.08 91.88 98.00 16
L08 77.00 91.73 92.63 99.75 24
L07 80.75 93.68 95.13 99.50 26
L06 72.50 91.11 93.50 100.00 49
L05 65.50 89.87 91.63 100.00 34




The deadline is fast approaching for the college scholarship- April 15th .  Your student must be a high school senior, enrolling in a college or university to major in music.  The instrument he/she is performing on needs to be the instrument he/she is majoring in.  The teacher of that instrument needs to be the primary teacher and must be a member of NWSMTA for at least 3 years.  The student needs to perform 3 pieces, one each from the Baroque and Classical eras.  The third piece the student may choose from either the Classical or Impressionistic eras.  The pieces need to be memorized and sent via you tube.  Voice majors need to sing 1 song in English and 2 songs in different  languages.   Complete rules & application form are on the website.  If you have any questions, please call or email.  Leave your name & phone# on my voice mail and if sending an email, please write college scholarship on the subject line.

Pat Borchardt

Greetings from former member, Kathryn Job

Kathryn sends greetings.  She belongs to two garden clubs and runs a Christmas Workshop to raise scholarship funds.  She's teaching less and enjoying it more.  Kathryn enjoys Book Club and Poker Club.  Recently she had major spinal surgery in August which was successful.  She was under orders not to pick up anything weighing more than a gallon of milk for four months.  Fortunately a wine bottle doesn't weigh that much.


Independent Music Teachers Meeting:
The 21st Century Piano Teacher

Our meeting next month (Monday, March 20) promises to be a great one!  Two of our NWSMTA teachers, Deb Lynch and Rachel Wojcicki, will present topics of interest to all of us.  Deb will give a demonstration of how she is successfully using Skype to teach her twin grandsons in California.  Her husband, Terry Goedken, will be on hand for technical support and questions. Rachel Wojcicki is a traveling teacher - she has built a very successful studio in a very short time, and will share tips on how she accomplished that.  She will include topics such as Podcasts, Social Media, Advertising, Creating a Website,  iPad Apps, and many more.  

Plan to be inspired as we learn how to take our studios into the 21st century!


While I was researching something on the web, the internet suggested I might be interested in the book Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.  Now the internet is telling me what I should be doing!  The internet knows me well.  I was intrigued by the book and couldn't wait to share this with my students and my fellow teachers.

The authors describe how a college level ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups.  He explained that half of the class would be graded on the quantity of work they produced.  The other half would be graded on the quality of their work.

The final day of class he would use a scale to weigh the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots would get an "A", forty pounds a "B" and so on.  The quality group only needed to produce one pot - a perfect one - to get an "A".

So, which group do you think received the highest grades?  The works of highest quality were entirely produced by the group graded for quantity.  It seems they created many pieces, and learned from their mistakes.  The quality group theorized about perfection and worked to create a perfect piece, but in the end had nothing but grandiose ideas, and a far inferior final product.

What we need to do to improve is to show up, do the work and keep showing up.  That doesn't mean to continue playing over and over in a haphazard way creating a flawed version of the original.  To get good at something you need to grow your skills.  Be mindful.

Great art can be made by ordinary people.  If your goal is to play a difficult etude for an audience, you cannot totally control the outcome.  But you can control the repetitions that will get you to your goal.  You can build habits that will help you achieve your goal.
Deborah Lynch