May 18th, 2015

Quick Links...
In This Issue
President's Prelude
College Scholarship Recipient
Ruth Peterson
Piano for Sale
A Note from the Editor
Clavier Magazine Discount
April Minutes
Click here for the April meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


May 18, 2015


Francesca's Tavola

208 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights

10:45 A.M. General Meeting followed by lunch  

May 20, 2015


9:30 A.M.  Home of 


13 Old Barn Road, Hawthorn Woods


June 1, 2015 


Rolling Meadows Library, 9:45 A.M.

June 30, 2015
Deadline: Festival of Pianos

A Prelude from Our President


Dear Music -lovers, Teachers and Lovers of Life,


Today I write as your friend along the road through this life. There can be much to look forward to, as we feel that we have our path set, our directions are good, and we're ready to set off down the road. Each day we make adjustments and try to travel a little freer, a little happier, a little less encumbered. We learn from our walking partners - our families, our students, our friends...and sometimes from the people or those events that rub up against us the wrong way! Those may be the hardest and most surprising lessons; the difficult ones, but they can help point us in a new and sometimes better direction as we go.


One of the things I am learning on my path, as I have wrestled with illness the last few months, is that I am not very good at relaxing. I realized, as I went through many treatments, that they were creating for me each day, a place where I could come, let my worries go, and just be, for twenty minutes out of my day. I lay down, they wrapped me in a warm blanket, I popped my ear buds in, and chose some healing and inspiring music to listen to, and for that time all I did was breathe and rest and recharge my "batteries."  This was wonderful! Almost every day for nine weeks! I began to think that all my rushing around, all these years,  to do everything I felt I needed to do, even though it was important, it was missing this piece, that I didn't know I needed to give myself. I have wanted to share it with you because you may need to give yourself this gift too. Maybe it might be a small time during your busy day to dig in the garden, or to sit and read, or just have a cup of tea and do nothing but enjoy it! But I am convinced that as much as we require of ourselves to accomplish every day, and it is usually quite a long list, we owe it to ourselves to replenish that energy that we have called on to help us do all our important tasks! As I finish my treatments, and work on regaining my strength, throughout the summer, I will be building this recharging time into my daily schedule. I can't wait to see what happens!


Best of all my wishes to all of you throughout the summer. I hope to hear of concerts and trips and all sorts of wonderful and fun activities that all of you are doing! If you think that something needs to be shared with our group please let me know, and we will send out a group email.


Don't forget that we have a Board meeting coming up for all Board Chairpersons, on June 1st, at the Rolling Meadows Library, at 9:45 a.m. I would like people to send me their end-of-year reports a week earlier, by May 24th. Any last minute checks to turn in, or check requests - please get these to Chieko as soon as possible, so she can prepare a tentative budget for 2015-2016, before she retires from her post as Treasurer.


Also, please remember to bring your Library materials to return tomorrow! Otherwise, you may find yourself making a trip to Suzanne Fleer's home to get those back to her.


Still to come - a Certification Coffee at Jennifer Cohen's home on May 20th, at 9:30 a.m. Come and see how much you already have completed towards being certified! Jennifer explains it so you will feel it is doable. This will remind you of why you love to teach, and help you update your whole teaching studio in a fun and interesting way.


Thanks to all the members who had events in April - it was such a busy month, with our AIM Performance Exams, Classical and Pop & Jazz Recitals, our own members performing in our Teacher's Musicale, and our Awards Competition and Recital. Kudos to all of you for the amazing and massive amount of work you did running and/or participating in these events!


We had one winner for our Senior College Scholarship -Nathaniel Lindstrom - a student of Vonnie Mrozinski. Congratulations to this young man! We also had a tie - two winners for 1st place, for the camp scholarships that the judge deemed equally deserving - one, this same student of Vonnie Mrozinski, Nathaniel Lindstrom, and one was my student - Ashley Boldt. Congratulations to students and teachers alike!


Be sure to congratulate Sandy Leibowitz, our Member of the Year! Take some time to thank Mi-Young Kim, for her work as Vice President this year, and wish her well as she moves to the East Coast June 1st. We will miss you Mi-Young! Tomorrow at our luncheon/meeting, we will install four new members to the Board - Maureen Flood will step up to take over for Mi-Young's second year as 1st Vice President of Programs, Sue Ioriatti will become our new 2nd Vice President and Membership Chair, accepting the position from Suzanne Murray, Lori Sorman will become our new Recording Secretary, taking the reins from Brenda Buchanan, and Chyi-Ling Evans will become our new Treasurer, accepting the position from Chieko Garling.  Huge thank yous to all our members retiring their positions, and congratulations to our new Board Members!


Thank you to all of you who continue to make my job much easier. I hope you know how appreciated you are, for the all the things you do, above and beyond the call of "Piano Teacher"!




Robin Meredith-Kramer

NWSMTA - President 

College Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations go to Nathaniel Lindstrom and his teacher Vonnie Mrozinski!  Nathaniel is the winner of the $1000 college scholarship this year. 

It is never too early to start getting your students ready for next year's (2016) scholarship.
Pat Borchardt
Scholarship Chair

Ruth Peterson

Ruth Petersen, longtime active member of NWSMTA, moved from Palatine where she taught many years to McHenry after retiring.  
Ruth has had health highs and lows in recent years, but has been determined to get home - and she did.  Now she is back in the hospital and not eating, and tired; without the same fighting spirit.  She has always appreciated receiving cards and notes from NWSMTA members so just sending something now might bring cheer for those times she is awake and alert.  Please send them to her home address:  2002 Orchard Beach Road in McHenry, IL  60050.

A sympathy card was sent to Susan Payne on the loss of her husband in December.   

Janice Wilkans
Hospitality Chair
Piano for Sale

  Kawaii Serial #802T - $2200  or best offer.

The piano is located in Palatine.  If you would like to make an appointment to see the piano please email  It was purchased in 1984 and has been tuned twice a year.  

Jim Peterson of Hofmann Piano Service has been the technician used to tune the piano.  He said the piano is in excellent condition.  He is willing to answer questions about it.  His email is
A Note from the Editor


I recently read the book, Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools by Mary Cay Ricci.  It deals with a growth mindset; a belief that intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence, effort, and a focus on learning, as opposed to a fixed mindset; a belief that a person has a predetermined amount of intelligence, skills, or talents.  The word "gifted" is replaced with "potential."  

Brain research has demonstrated the brain's ability to change and rewire itself throughout our entire life.  Ricci advocates a teacher responding to the needs of each student, so they are challenged at an appropriate level.  To do that, a teacher has to find out what the student knows about a particular skill or concept before teaching it to the student.  Once the assessment is made, the teacher may decide to "compact" the teaching by eliminating content the student has previously learned.  Or if the student has a partial understanding, the gaps can be worked on.  Instead of repeating what the student knows, the curriculum can be accelerated and/or enriched.


How does this apply to music lessons?  A teacher would want to discontinue furthering the idea that raw talent is responsible for the student's accomplishments.  Rather, focus on the mindset that with hard work and critical thinking all students can demonstrate growth.   

We want parents to know that music lessons are not just for those labeled talented.  In fact, they can be a vehicle for discovering that success comes from motivation, perseverance and the right strategies.


When praising a student, "You are so smart or talented" is equal to "You are so tall."  That attributes their accomplishment to a genetic trait.  When we praise what a child does, we are attributing success to the child's effort.  


There is also the factor of a highly able student believing that success should come to them easily, or it is a sign of weakness.  David Sousa. of How the Gifted Brain Learns, states that "children who are praised for their intelligence learn to value performance, while children praised for their effort and hard work value opporunities to learn."  Successful people attribute their success to effort, while unsuccessful people tend to attribute failure to bad luck or external factors.


Using a growth mindset reframes failures.  I love to share Michael Jordan's Nike commercial with my students.  He missed more than 9000 shots in his career and lost 300 games.  Twenty-six times he tried for and missed the game winning shot.  He said he failed in his life over and over again.  And that is why he succeeds.


I explain to my students that the brain needs to feel that difficult spot over and over, so it can make a new connection among the neurons.  I have them "feel" a short passage a few times and then ask them if they think a connection was made, or would they like to do it again.  Most often they respond, "One more time, please."  Now that's a piano teacher's dream.  


When introducing a new piece, I like to point out the most difficult places to the student.  Evan's mother remarked, "When you point out one of those spots to Evan, he goes home and works with such determination on it."  He takes special pleasure in his mastery of each problem, because he owns each of these successes.  I have noticed a number of students perking up at the mention of a tough spot.  I also notice they often return eager to demonstrate their accomplishments.  I remember to ask them what they did to get such great results, so they have the opportunity to examine their success.  I want them to acknowledge their effort and the results.  


I find it motivating to do the same with my own studies. It is empowering to think I still have the potential to grow as a musician and a teacher.  I'm looking forward to a summer of growth!


Deb Lynch  

Newsletter Editor 

Clavier Magazine Discount


As you may have heard in the media in recent years, print publication is an increasingly difficult business. Productions costs continue to rise, and younger generations are much less likely to subscribe to magazines.


I'm writing today to ask for your help in spreading the word about Clavier Companion. We are a small, non-profit organization with virtually no budget for advertising. We know, however, that word-of-mouth advertising is the most powerful and effective means of letting people know about our publication.


Anyone who subscribes or renews with this offer will receive a special discounted rate that is lower than our regular renewal discounts and usually reserved only for conference attendees.


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With your help in spreading the word and signing up new subscribers, Clavier Companion can continue to provide you with the articles and ideas you've come to know and trust. I thank you for your time and your support.


With best wishes,

Pete Jutras
Editor-in-Chief, Clavier Companion


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

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter