January 15, 2018


Quick Links...
In This Issue
A Note From Our President
Wendy Unrath Program
New Date for Spring Recitals
Camp Scholarship
College Scholarship
Missouri Western
MTNA Member Survey
Solo Sheet Music Sale
Dr. William Kinderman Workshop
NWSMTA Scrapbook
Note from the Editor
November Minutes
Click here for the November General Meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


Monday 1/15/2018   Deadline to request 
permission  to use non-Syllabus repertoire.
All repertoire through Level 11 that is not on the AIM Piano Syllabus Repertoire List must be approved by Illinois Repertoire Substitution Chair Stephanie Myers at

Wendy Unwrath
 "Yoga for Pianists"
Monday, 1/15/2018
Rolling Meadows Library
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting
Sunday, 1/28/2018
Harper College, Music Instruction Center (Building P)


Wednesday, 2/7/2018   Deadline: AIM Levels 3-9 Performance Exams 
All AIM registrations are now online

Svetlana Belsky
"Ferruccio-Busoni's Bach: the birth of modern performance practice"
Monday, 2/19/018 
Rolling Meadows Library  
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting

Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed the holiday season and have recovered from the added demands of holiday recitals, church services, school programs, shopping, decorating, cooking, parties, etc. The month of December can be fun, but also exhausting! 

Although I usually try to avoid taking on extra projects during the holiday season, this year I made an exception. Last year my husband's elderly aunt had suggested that I record some piano music for her. I totally forgot about it until two weeks before this Christmas. I decided to put together a short program of Christmas music as a gift for her. Since it is hard for her to get out we took a keyboard to her house and her daughter recorded the pieces on her I-Pad. Aunt Barbara enjoyed it so much that it made the extra time and effort totally worthwhile. 

My point in mentioning this is not to polish my halo. Rather, it is to show how satisfying it can be to set a small goal even during such a busy time and follow through on it. 

I don't like to make New Years' resolutions because they are so easily broken and because it usually takes all my energy just to get through the winter months. However, I do have some modest goals for myself and my students as we begin 2018. 

The first goal is not to be upset if my students did not practice much over the holiday break. After all, they may have been out of town or busy with family activities. I will try to gently ease them back into regular lessons and assignments. We can do some sightreading and theory in the first lessons, or pick out a fun new piece for the New Year. 

Another thing I would like to try is varying the lesson routine. After so many years of teaching I am a creature of habit. Lesson time is so short that I worry that I will not cover everything, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to change the order sometimes. I once heard a clinician suggest letting students spin a spinner to select what they would play first at the lesson. Another idea might be to spend a few minutes on a fun game or app during the lesson rather than waiting until the end when we are almost out of time. 

Since I found that accomplishing a short term goal was so rewarding, I will try to break up some tasks into smaller parts. Rather than letting my professional journals pile up unread or putting off checking out a piano blog I could read one article or blog post a day. I could also play through a couple pieces daily from supplementary music books that I have bought and never gone through. For students I might try giving them incentives for completing smaller assignments rather than waiting until an entire piece is finished. 

I just came across a really intriguing idea that I want to try. The standard advice is usually to tackle the hardest and least pleasant item on your to-do list first each day. The author of the article I read found that by starting with the task he enjoyed the most or was most excited about he accomplished everything else more quickly and easily. He strongly advocates aiming for joy and fun even as we work hard. I am going to ask students to start their practice with their favorite piece, old or new, and see what happens! After all, isn't the joy of playing music we love the reason we put in the work of practicing? 

I wish you a joyful and musical 2018!

Suzanne Murray


January 15th Program -

Wendy Unrath is a Chicago-based teacher, performer, adjudicator, and clinician.   She specializes in musician's workshops that help performers use their body and mind more effectively.  At Elmhurst College, Ms. Unrath currently teaches piano, piano pedagogy, and music history. In the past, she has also taught at Roosevelt University and Triton College.  Ms. Unrath received her Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance and Master's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University.  She studied piano with Pawel Checinski, organ with David Schrader, and harpsichord with Robert Conant.  Ms. Unrath has performed throughout the United States, as well as in England and France.  She studied anatomy and yoga with physical therapist, Julie Gudmestad.  She received her yoga certification from the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy.  Ms. Unrath is also the organist/pianist at St. James Lutheran Church in Lake Forest.  

The NWSMTA Spring Classical and Pop and Jazz Recitals, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 29th has been changed to Sunday, April 15th, still at the Rolling Meadows Library.  The deadline for registering is now Thursday, April 5th. 

For teachers enrolling your students in the AIM Performance exams on Sunday, April 22nd (for levels 10-12), this is a perfect opportunity to perform one of the AIM pieces before the exam date. For those performing in the March performance exams, students may have another chance to share their accomplishments following significant efforts to prepare for exams.  Remember acceptable AIM repertoire might include original Jazz pieces, including some works by Martha Mier, Catherine Rollin, Gershwin, Joplin and others! (If not listed in the AIM Syllabus, there is still time-until January 15th-to get repertoire approved.)

The NWSMTA Recitals offer another performance opportunity for those students who choose not to participate in AIM or Awards Competition.  The Pop and Jazz Recital offers students an opportunity to explore different genres of music, including pop arrangements, Broadway Musical Themes, Jazz, Blues and Ragtime selections. Both recitals provide for a broad selection of repertoire, often sparking the interest of students in attendance with new repertoire ideas and performance goals.

Registration deadline: April 5th. 
NWSMTA Recitals:  April 15th at Rolling Meadows Library
1:30     Classical Recital
3:30     Pop and Jazz Recital

Online Registration via the NWSMTA Website.  Don't forget to view the Recital Guidelines on the website for helpful information on repertoire selection, memorization requirements, fees and limited number of student entries. 


If you have students that will be attending a music camp this summer, look into our camp scholarship requirements.  The student can apply for the scholarship performing on any instrument taught by an NWSMTA teacher even if that is not the instrument they will be attending camp for.   There are 2 divisions:  Junior - up to 8th grade and Senior - 9th through 12 grades.  1st place winners in each division will each receive $300 and 2nd place winners will each receive $200.  For more information and application form look on our website at If you have any questions, please contact me.  If sending an email, please state camp scholarship in the subject line.  Deadline is  April 15.

Pat Borchardt


If you have a high school senior graduating this year and will be attending a college or university majoring in music, remember about our college scholarship.  There will be 1 winner receiving $1000 payable to the school in 2 installments.  All pieces must be memorized. They must apply on the instrument taught by a NWSMTA teacher and majoring on that instrument.  Application form and rules and requirements are listed on our website at  If you have more questions, please contact me.  If sending an email, please state college scholarship in the subject line.  Deadline is  April 15 .

Pat Borchardt


I have a schedule conflict with most Monday meetings starting in January.  I told Suzanne Murray I am happy to continue as Treasurer, but would need to do transactions by email and snail mail.   We agreed to give this a try. 

If you have a lot of checks that need to be deposited and do not wish to entrust them to the USPS, you can drop them at my house at 4461 Dawngate Lane, Rolling Meadows.  I live about five minutes west of the Rolling Meadows Library.  Just know that my mailbox is a slot to the left of the front door.  I mention this because substitute mail carriers sometimes can't find it! 

I will be available for Board Meetings and an occasional monthly meeting.  Please keep us posted as to how you feel this is working! 

Nancy Dempsey


If you have high school pianists considering a career in music, I hope you might take a moment to consider all that Missouri Western has to offer:
   * in-state tuition for residents of AK, IA, IL, KS, KY, NE, OK, TN
   * substantial music scholarships available
   * $1,000s available for students with ACT scores of 20+

In addition, our piano program prepares students for successful careers: 
   * our students have received fellowships at Eastman, Indiana, Manhattan, others
   * extensive training in pedagogy and entrepreneurship
   * teach and earn money through our Community Program, while in school
   * funding for student national/international performances & presentations 

I would be happy to answer any questions, and am available for free lessons on campus visits. 

Students interested in university scholarships should apply before  February 1st:

Our audition days are listed here:

Nathanael May, DMA 
Associate Professor, Piano/Pedagogy 
Missouri Western State University 


Click here for the MTNA member survey.


From Maureen Flood

I will be at the January meeting with lots of the music left over from the Crosland family's sale.   I am bringing solo sheet music - just in time for picking recital pieces!    $1.00 apiece.  The money will go to the fund established by the Crosland family.

Dr. William A. Kinderman Workshop


Click on the link below to read a description summary of scrapbook #3.


There seems to be a growth in interest in politics in America.  No matter where you stand on our current leaders, it's a good thing when people take an active role in seeking out good leadership.  Hopefully, there will be more candidates with the qualities we need.

There is also an opportunity to select the leadership within our own professional organization.  The East Central Division Director is to be voted on beginning in February.  You may vote online through MTNA's website.  You just need to take the opportunity to speak with your vote.

Dr. Garik Pedersen, has been active in MTNA, beginning as a student and continuing in local, state and national capacities in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Michigan, where he has served as president and received the Distinguished Service Award. A professor of piano at Eastern Michigan University, Pedersen holds degrees from the Universities of Central Missouri and Iowa. " I appreciated the hard work of MTNA leaders during the years when i was raising my family and balancing a teaching and performance career.  Now that my children are "launched" I am ready to devote myself to serving our members if I am chosen."

Gary was the president of Michigan, which received the State Affiliate of the Year from MTNA, the same year that NWSMTA received their award as Local Chapter of the Year. 

He has recently been involved in a project he calls "Victory Vertical Project."  Did you know that during World War II, Steinway was prohibited from making pianos, because they required brass and copper?  Steinway came up with the idea of sending pianos to soldiers in the field.  Pedersen explains, "A typical upright piano has up to about 300 pounds of metal in it, and these pianos had to be made with about 33 pounds of metal."  They were transported by trucks, sometimes parachuted in, and placed in some submarines.  I am including a link to an article and interview based on this project.  "A war is a war of ideas and values.  It's not just a war of military might" - Garik Pedersen.

The shipments included the piano, sheet music and directions for tuning and repairing.  Gary learned about this war effort in 2010 from Henry Steinway, the last member of the Steinway family involved with the company.

I am so impressed with Gary as a teacher of so many successful students, his humbleness in giving back to MTNA and other music teachers, and his leadership wherever he has resided in the Midwest.  His project came about because he took the time to listen, and understood the story needed to be shared.  What we need from our leadership is someone who listens and then does. 

Deborah Lynch