January 19, 2015

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In This Issue
President's Prelude
January Program
Chamber Music Festival
Digital Piano for Sale
College Scholarship
AIM Theory Exams
Lyric Opera
AIM Exam Report
Note from the Editor
November Minutes
For the November minutes, please click here.
Upcoming Events


Jan 19 -9 A.M.

AIM Judges Meeting

Rolling Meadows Library


Jan 19 -


Janice Razaq "Adjudication Tips for Effective and Successful Critiquing"

Rolling Meadows Library  

9:15 A.M. IMT Chat  9:45 A.M. Meeting


Jan 25 -


Harper College, Music Instruction Center


Feb. 2

9:45 A.M.

AIM Judges Meeting Rolling Meadows Library


Feb. 8 


Harper College, Music INstruction Center


Feb. 16

Postmark Deadline

AIM Levels V - XII

Mar. and Apr. Performance Exams


Feb. 16

PROGRAM: Daniel Horn

"Practicing the Essence of Debussy"

Faith Lutheran Church, 431 S. Arlington Hts. Rd., Arlingtonn Hts.

9:15 A.M. Chat

9:45 A.M. Meeting

A Prelude from Our President


Dear fellow friends and teachers,


Here we are in a new year, full of possibilities, giving us a chance to start fresh and let go of things that are not useful anymore - old music, worn out teaching practices - and claim something new - a new color for our teaching studio or a fresh perspective maybe.


We have a wonderful opportunity this Monday, January 19th, at our meeting, to gain some new insights from our very own distinguished member Janice Razaq, who will be speaking to us about effective and successful critiquing in an adjudication situation. This is timely and will be helpful, as our students' AIM Exams come up at the end of the month. Many of you do judge in other situations too, and we all critique our students on a daily level, so it's good to consider what kind of language we can use to encourage, instruct and inspire whomever we are "judging".


The Festival of Pianos Committee had our yearly meeting last week to choose some new repertoire for the 2015 Festival, and after trying many duets, came up with a fantastic list of great variety, both in style and difficulty, which we will be presenting to you in the near future.


An interesting event, American Grands, that you might like to attend, is coming up next weekend, Saturday, January 24th, at Elgin Community College. It is comprised of 12 grand pianos on stage, with 24 pianists playing each piece! Some of our members perform in it each year, which makes it fun. More than 400 pianists of all ages and skill levels will perform during American Grands XX. Performances are at 1:00, 4:00 and 7:00 pm. Tickets for all performances in the ECC Arts Center are available online at or at the ECC box office, or call (847) 622-0300.


Maybe some of you saw an article in the Daily Herald in the last few weeks about piano study, and piano sales in our time, and how that's changed. It was titled "Piano Stores Closing As Fewer Children Taking Up Instrument" and was in the January 2nd issue of the Daily Herald. I read this and was upset with the focus of the article! It is probably accurate in the things it states, about numbers of instruments sold, but what I would like to dispute is the accepting the attitudes of some of the people interviewed. For example, from the article:  Larry Fine, a Boston-based piano technician, consultant and author, said it is an indication of a changing society. "Computer technology has just changed everything about what kids are interested in," said Fine, who also publishes a website offering consumer information on new and used pianos. "People are interested in things that don't take much effort, so the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do." Maybe in his experience this is true, and maybe in some of our experiences with our students we have seen this too. It just seems to me that this is what we want to work against in our teaching, this apathy, and instead we work on helping our students build up their focus, their interest, their endurance, their memory, and their ability to consider a long musical idea and then be able to present it when they play. If we give in to popular culture and the dissolution of using our minds for more than a minute at a time, we are doing a great disservice to our students!

As 2015 begins, I hope that your holidays were restful and you were able to spend some time with the special people in your lives.  I'm looking forward to picking up where we left off, strengthening our collaborative bonds, getting to know you all better, learning something new about our beloved vocation of Music and hope you are too!


Your colleague in inspiring musical learning,




Robin Meredith-Kramer

NWSMTA President


 January Program


Janice Larson Razaq has a doctorate from Texas Tech University and other degrees from Eastman School of Music and University of Illinois. A Fulbright scholar to England, she performed at Wigmore Hall in London where she received excellent reviews. She was an award winner in the Maria Canals International Competition in Barcelona. Dr. Razaq is heard on WFMT and Minnesota Public Radio and plays concertos with area orchestras. Solo performances range across the country. Recent performances/presentations were for the American Matthay Association Festival in

N. Carolina. She is Vice-President of the American Matthay Association for Piano, a national organization which promotes the teaching ideals of the great English pedagogue, Tobias Matthay. Dr. Razaq also recently presented a session for the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Association Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dr. Razaq is active in the Illinois State Music Teachers Association where she is Immediate Past-President. She is Director of Keyboard Studies at Harper College in Palatine where she teaches applied piano, non-credit piano, class piano and piano ensemble. She often presents lecture recitals on various topics for area music teachers groups and is in demand for judging auditions and competitions.

Adjudication Tips for Effective and Successful Critiquing

This program is based on aural and visual observations that Dr. Janice Razaq has shared with students who have auditions. It is often true that comments made to the auditioner, competitor, or festival participant are similar to critiques made to one's own students. The difference is that the audition critique needs to be brief and to-the-point, because there is no opportunity for follow-up.

Topics included in the presentation will be:

  • Does the music speak to the listener?

  • What is included in the word "accuracy"?

  • How does the student approach the music and the performance?

  • Is the tempo appropriate?

  • Is there understanding of the phrase structure?

  • Is the playing mechanical or expressive?

  • Does the student understand and project dynamic markings?

  • Are the various "touches" understood?

  • Are balance and voicing elements attempted?

  • Is tone quality good?

  • Are technical demands met?

  • Is pedal usage stylistic?

  • How well does the student grasp an understanding of the piece's overall architecture?

Please bring your Encore, Books I and II, if you have them, so you can refer to many examples in the presentation.

Chamber Music Festival

Olga Bornovalova and Janice Razaq will team up with Duo Piano performances of Lutoslawski's "Paganini Variations" and "Three Waltzes for Two Pianos: A Medley of Waltzes Made Famous in Disney Films", arranged by Greg Anderson. The performance will be during the Harper College Chamber Music Festival on Saturday, January 24, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Tickets will be available at the door or by calling the Box Office.

For Sale - Technics Digital Piano, SX-PX201 (black)


This piano was used minimally and is in about new condition, with only a few minor scratches on it. 

The piano bench frame has a few scratches/nicks, however, the seat is virtually like new. 
The Sustain and Soft pedals are somewhat discolored but do work properly.


Asking Price - $600.00

Original Price - $1894.00



Keyboard 88 Keys (Polyphonic 32 Notes)
Sounds Grand Piano, Upright Piano, E Piano 1, E Piano 2, Harpsi, Pipe Organ
Pedal Soft/Sostenuto, Sustain
Touch Sensitivity Light, Normal, Heavy
Transpose C-G-F#
Midi In, Out, Thru
Output 20 Wx2 Speakers 14 cmx2 Power AC120 V
Dimensions 54-1/16" x 38-5/16" x 17-27/32"
Weight 97lbs.

See additional pictures and full specification sheet in the PDF file contained in the following link:

Piano can easily be disassembled for transport. We could discuss local delivery and setup for an additional fee, however, I would prefer that the buyer pick it up. Piano is located in Arlington Heights, IL 60005.

Mike Crowe demonstrates a Technics Piano PX201 (sample of how the SX-PX201 can sound is on youtube at:

If interested, please contact Dan Wilkans at (847) 593-5488 or email at


College Scholarship

The deadline for the $1000 college scholarship is April 15.  If you have a student graduating this year and pursuing a degree in music, any instrument, at a college or university, check out our website for the application form and rules.  There have been some changes since last year.  The $1000 scholarship will go to 1 student payable in 2 installments.  The scholarship has been a great help to student with their added expenses. If you have any questions, please call or email with college scholarship listed in the subject line.

AIM Needs Your Help!

The AIM committee needs volunteers for the AIM Theory Exam on Sunday, January 25th, at Harper College. Volunteers are needed for the front desk, hall monitors and aural skills monitors. Training for aural skills monitors is available before the exam or on the day of the exam, but if you know how to operate an iPod, you are already proficient at this task! We especially need help in the morning, but afternoon help is also appreciated. Please contact Joan James or Helen Chang if you can help out.

$29 Tickets to the Lyric Opera



Thank you for signing up for DEAL, our Discount for Educators and Administrators at Lyric! As a thank you for the important work that you do in our education community every day, Lyric is pleased to offer you $29 tickets to a selection of season performances when you use promo code DEAL1415.

You can check our website to see what dates are available for your $29 ticket offer. We will also send you periodic emails to keep you in the loop. 

Current DEAL dates:

Porgy and Bess
12/2 7:30
12/8 7:30
12/16 7:30
12/18 2:00



Anna Bolena 
12/6 7:30
12/9 7:30
12/15 7:30



1/27 7:30
2/2 7:30
3/3 7:30


2/9 6:00
2/26 6:00



The Passenger 
2/24 7:30

3/4 7:30



4/10 1:30
4/11 7:00
4/12 1:30
4/16 1:30
4/16 7:00


November AIM Exam Report

We had 139 students complete the November AIM exam held on Sunday, November 16, 2014 at Harper College.  The exam consisted of Level I and II theory and performance and Level III and IV theory only.  29 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.    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 8, 2015 at Harper College. Those entries are now past due. Please remember the technique requirements for that exam will be based on the new 2014 Syllabus. Please contact Mary Anne Block if you have any questions regarding either of these exams.  We look forward to more entries next year!


A Note from the Editor


New Year's Resolutions for Music Teachers


1.  I will continue to develop my own talents this year by practicing, taking lessons and/or attending a workshop or class.


2.  I resolve to collaborate with other musicians.  Music is experienced differently when it is created with another musician who has musical ideas of their own.


3.  I resolve to try new ideas in my teaching.  I will check out music teaching blogs and/or discuss ideas with colleagues.


4.  I resolve to view myself as a professional and expect that others will do the same.


5.  I will read books (from our own NWSMTA library) to inspire my life with music and/or as a teacher.


6.  I will de-clutter all areas of my life; physical or mental.


7.  I will try a new app to use in my teaching.


8.  I will make the effort to relax by attending a concert, spending time with friends, take time to enjoy nature and/or just get enough sleep.


9.  I will let go of anything that interferes with my life's purpose.  This includes things that are too small to worry about, being able to say "no" to things that put my life out of balance and/or keeping things simple.


10.  I will nourish myself to be as healthy as possible, to have energy and avoid the stress of illness.


Next year, I will work on eliminating procrastination.  I just can't do it all at once.  Could someone remind me?


Deb Lynch

Newsletter Editor



I sent a card to Maureen Flood to cheer her, after having knee surgery.

Hospitality Chairperson,
Janice Wilkans

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

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter