January 20, 2014

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In This Issue
Note from the President
Awards Committee Info
Editor's Note
January Program
Emilio del Rosario Competition
College Scholarship
November Minutes
For the November minutes, please click here.
Upcoming Events


Jan 20 - Meeting - Rolling Meadows Library

AIM Kudges' Mtg. 9:00 AM


Jan 26 - AIM Levels V-XII Theory Exams


Feb 7 - AIM Judges' Mtg.

Rolling Meadows Library


Feb 9 - AIM Levels III-IV Performance Exams


Feb 17 - Meeting Rolling Meadows Library


Mar 1 - Barozue Festival



A Welcome from Our President
Maureen Flood
Happy new year to all!  
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and winter break.   The terrible weather contributed to my staying home and getting my studio all organized and ready  for the new year!  I purchased a new teaching tool called a "ladybug squeezie," which I learned about from Diane Hidy's Facebook page, for demonstrating the proper hand position to children.  My students have all benefited!  Here's a link to Diane's page:


I love the piano teacher groups on Facebook -- everyone is so willing to share ideas!  In addition to Diane Hidy's page, a few that I follow are Professional Piano Teachers, headed up by Kathleen Theisen, The Art of Piano Pedagogy, headed up by Irina Gorin, Piano Teachers' Lounge and Wendy Stevens, Compose Create.  It's a great way to network, share and receive advice about studio policies or teaching situations.    Most of these teachers are presenters I've heard at national conferences.  We can all learn from them! 


I am getting excited about the upcoming MTNA Conference!  I hope we have a huge turnout from our group.  It promises to be excellent!   Have you read the schedule on MTNA's web site?  I'm already trying to plan out my days there.  Register by February 1st to receive a member's discount.


Our next meeting will be Monday, January 20, at the Rolling Meadows Library -- our own Chieko Garling will be presenting her ideas on how to memorize music using practice ideas from jazz.  She presented this topic at the ISMTA State Conference in 2012, and has added to it! 


I'm sure you are busy preparing students for the upcoming AIM Exams -- and don't forget to start drumming up interest for our new Baroque Festival coming up on February 22nd.  It will be an enriching experience for all of our students!


Maureen P. Flood
President, NWSMTA
Awards Change


The Awards Competition Committee has decided to raise the age limitation of Intermediate Division up to 15 years instead of 14; due to the difficulty of the repertoire.

Galina Kostukovsky

Note from the Editor 

At my last piano recital, I performed a Rachmaninoff Prelude for my students.  Before playing, I like to take the opportunity to share something about the piece, the composer or the time period.  I thought my students and their parents would be interested to find out that as a boy, Rachmaninoff's parents were not pleased with his level of commitment to his piano playing.  They discussed with other family members what should be done.  It was decided to send him to the Moscow Conservatory, where he could study with Zverev. He then moved in with his new piano teacher, so he could receive strict discipline and supervised practice.

No wonder Rachmaninoff became such a legend.

I have three eleven year old boys applying for a room in my house.  The parents thought it was a wonderful idea.  I think it's time to raise my tuition.

Deb Lynch, Editor


Janice Wilkans son has been in intensive care for acute pancreatitis.


Ruth Petersen had to have quadruple bypass surgery right after Christmas.  Her recovery was complicated by pneumonia symptoms, so she had to go from the hospital to a rehab facility.


Constance Hughes' brother passed away, at the age of 53, due to a staph infection.  The services were held in Ohio.


Please remember them and their families in your prayers.



Janice Wilkans

January Program

 "Teaching How to Memorize Music Using Practice Ideas from Jazz"

Chieko Garling holds a bachelor of music degree in jazz piano from Roosevelt University.  
Originally from Japan, she moved to the Chicago area to study composition and jazz piano at Roosevelt University.  While she was in school, she started to play professionally at many restaurants and jazz bars; some of them are Velvet Lounge, Greenmill, Pops for Champagne, Isaac Hayes Center, Hot House, Fitzgerald's, Smoke Daddy, and M Lounge. She is currently studying classical piano with Dr. Razaq at Harper College.


She offered a presentation at the ISMTA convention 2012, which had been partially prepared to answer the questions she often get from classical piano colleagues, "How do you memorize music so fast? How do you teach that?" The presentation was well-received, and NWSMTA decided to invite her as one of their clinicians for the 2013-14 monthly programs.


The first half of presentation briefly talks about how jazz musicians memorize music. The second half discusses how she applies the ideas to classical and other genres in private piano lesson settings. She will use different examples on the same principals discussed at the convention, and also talk about new practice ideas she has been employing lately.  

$1000 College Scholarship
The deadline of April 1st is approaching for the College Scholarship.  If your student is preparing for an audition for college/university, they should be ready to enter the college scholarship.  They will need 3 pieces, one of which needs to be Baroque, voice majors need to prepare one piece in a foreign language.  An essay of not more than 500 words is also required.  Complete details are listed on the website.  Go to For Members, then Student Event Info and click on College Scholarship.  If you need more info please call Pat Borchardt (847-356-6016) or email
Pat Borchardt
November AIM  Exam Report


We had 136 students entered for the November AIM exam held on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at Harper College.  The exam consisted of Level I and II theory and performance and Level III and IV theory only.  27 teachers from NWSMTA enrolled students for the exam and most all participated in some way, working as a judge, hall monitor, front desk check-in, written room monitor or scoring room assistant.  Thank you everyone for helping out.  It simply would not be possible to offer these exams to our students without everyone assisting in some way.  Despite the miserable weather almost all students attended, with only 5 students requesting make-up exams due to illness.  Below are the total numbers by level along with the high, low and average score for each level. 




High score

Low score

































The Performance exam for levels III and IV will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at Harper College.  Those entries are now past due.  Please contact Mary Anne Block if you have any questions regarding either of these exams.  We look forward to more entries next year!


Achievement in Music (AIM) Reminders


Levels 5-12 Theory exam is Sunday, January 26th at Harper College 1200 W. Algonquin Rd. Palatine.  The Deadline has already passed.


Teachers need to check the transposition lengths and difficulty requirements which may be different for each level (listed on the first page of every level).  Please have your students bring the original copy of their prepared transposition for the judge.  Photocopies or workbook pages are not allowed. 

Scores will not be available for any portion of the theory exam until Friday, January 31st.  Aural skills exams will be given with pre-recorded iPods. Students may bring their own headphones if they prefer.  Please remind students to take the aural skills and written exams either before or after their scheduled appointments (allow at least 30 minutes at least).    

All teachers entering students should be available to judge or help on exam day.  In addition, we may be looking for high school students who need community service hours to help monitor exams.  Check with your high school students if they would like to volunteer for a couple of hours.  If you are not involved in the AIM program but would like to see what AIM exams are all about, we can always use extra people to sit at the registration desk, proctor the written/aural skills exams or monitor the halls. Contact one of the co-chairmen if you would like to help. We especially need people who are comfortable with iPods (version 5 - with touch dial).


Click here for link to Baroque Festival Poster.

Historical Information (Old News)

In 1964, ISMTA held Plateaus of Progress.  Later it was replaced by Syllabus and finally became Achievement in Music.  Illinois served as a model for many other states.

Our group was formed in 1962. Our first board meeting was held at Lyon-Healy at Randhurst in Mt. Prospect in 1969.
Janice Wilkans

Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association
Maureen Flood, President
Chieko Garling, Webmaster

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter