January 16, 2017 

Quick Links...
In This Issue
A Note From Our President
College Scholarship
Festival of Pianos
Note from the Editor
November Minutes
Click here for the November General Meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


Dr. Bruce Berr
 "Seminar on Requested Topics"
Monday, January 16
Rolling Meadows Library
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting
AIM JUDGES' MEETING for January Exam
Monday, January 23
9:45 A.M.
Rolling Meadows Library

Sunday, January 29
Harper College, Music Instruction Center (Building P)


Wednesday, February 8, Deadline: AIM Levels 3-9 Performance Exams 
All AIM registrations are now online

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


Happy New Year 2017! I hope that you had a joyful holiday season and were able to take a break to recover from the hectic rounds of shopping, rehearsals, recitals, concerts, and church services which fill the month of December. 

During November and December I like to assign Christmas music for sight reading. Students enjoy learning the pieces and some even play through an entire book. However, in the past few years I have discovered that many students are not familiar with traditional carols.This is because public schools do not allow religious carols to be included on holiday programs out of respect for the diversity of religious beliefs and cultures within the student population. Of course, all my young students know and want to play Jingle Bells and at this point I would be happy never to teach it again! I do try to gently encourage them to play other Christmas songs even if they have never heard them. 

As we ring in the New Year there is often a call for "out with the old, in with the new." As piano teachers we are very open to exploring new music and new ideas to motivate our students. However, we feel strongly that it is our responsibility to share our knowledge and love of the music of the great western European classical composers with our students. We assign them easier pieces by the great composers as soon as they achieve enough proficiency. We may also have them play piano arrangements of famous orchestral works, ballets, or operas. We don't automatically assume that students have been exposed to this music at home or in school. 

In light of my observation that students do not know traditional Christmas music, I believe that perhaps we as music educators should make it our goal to introduce students to the rich heritage of folk music from this country and Europe which many of us grew up hearing and singing. This could extend to the folk music of other cultures as well. We can also teach students pieces written in various jazz or popular styles from previous eras. There are many excellent easy piano arrangements of music from these genres. Students may discover that they do recognize some of this music, though perhaps with different titles or lyrics, and will genuinely enjoy playing it. 

We live in a culture which often embraces novelty at the expense of anything older or out of style. As music educators we must try to ensure that our students have both a solid foundation in and an appreciation of music that has stood the test of time. Let us resolve to respect our musical legacy even as we embrace the future in the New Year.

Suzanne Murray


The deadline for the college scholarship is  April 15 .  The instrument the student is performing on must be the instrument the student is majoring in.  The teacher of this instrument must have been a member of NWSMTA for at least 3 years.  The student must perform 3 pieces by memory, one from the Baroque Period, one from the Classical Period and chooses one piece from either the Romantic or Impressionistic Periods.  For voice majors:  One piece in English, two pieces in different languages.  The pieces must be advanced-equal to Aim Level 10 or higher.

Complete rules and the application form are on the website.  Both pages on the website have been updated.  I do apologize to everyone,  I did not catch that the information (rules & regulations) page was not updated previously.  I am very, very sorry for all the confusion.

Pat Borchardt


The committee for 24th Festival of Pianos met and selected the repertoire for next falls festival including some new duets.   We are looking forward to more teachers participating in this "piano orchestra" the end of September.

Students who have played in it return each year to enjoy playing the duet with others at the six grand pianos Steinway Gallery of Northbrook provides for us each year. The sound equipment from Gand Sound in Elk Grove Village extends the wonderful music throughout Northbrook Court where the event is held each year.

If you haven't participated, do try it this year and enter your students at the Elementary, Intermediate or Advanced groups. You have to see the great turnout of family and friends who come to enjoy the music.

Marcia Mally, co-chair with Sandy Lebowitz 


A get well card was sent to Carol Ekblad because she hurt her leg.

A card was sent to Marcia Mally due to her medical problem. 

NWSMTA received a thank you note: Thank you for your donation to Our Saviour Lutheran Church in memory of our mother. Your gift is truly appreciated. Your organization was such a big part of her life! Peace-The Family of Ruth Petersen.

Ruth Petersen was our Past President.

Janice Wilkans, Hospitality


It's January.  The students are back to lessons.  We're off and the race is on.  With AIM looming on the horizon, we help our students set goals, encourage them to pace themselves, and push them to complete their commitments.  AIM is such a strong, steady program.  It is a way for our students to achieve tangible success.  Completing an AIM level guarantees that the student we teach next year will be more capable, confident and knowledgeable. 

The most difficult thing is to cover everything in the time allotted for lessons.  It's easier if the student actually practices and works at home, but we still feel like the road is all uphill.

Every idea and trick we can use to make it feel more like coasting to our students is worth the effort we put in.  Recently I discovered BULLETPROOFMUSICIAN.  It's a tremendous resource for us as teachers and musicians.  Noa Kageyama is on the faculty of The Juilliard School in NYC and the New World Symphony in Miami, FL where he helps talented musicians prepare for orchestra job auditions. He conducts workshops and "webinars" on performance enhancement and overcoming performance anxiety.  He's been a speaker at seminars such as Music Teachers' National Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  He has a blog you can follow.

Whether you participate in AIM with your students or not, check out the following website and get familiar with what he has to offer.  Do it for your students.  Do it for yourself. 
Deborah Lynch