Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association Newsletter

May 12, 2013

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In This Issue
Note from the President
AIMy Advice
High School Music Camp
Editor's Note
Job Opportunity
Festival of Pianos
AIM Workbooks
Piano/String Workshop
Practice Apps
Awards Competition
Job Opportunity
April Minutes
For the March minutes, please click here.
Upcoming Events


May 20 - Luncheon at La Tasca


May 21 - Certification Coffee at Jennifer Cohen's


June 3 - Board Meeting

  A Note from Our President
Maureen Flood
Dear Members,

What a whirlwind year this has been!  Thank you to all of our members who have served NWSMTA this past year.    Whether you have been a chairperson, committee member, monitor or timekeeper, your help is greatly appreciated, and YOU are what makes our organization a great one.   
I am looking forward to our May Luncheon -- please RSVP to Justyna Krafft-Weirich if you plan on attending!    This is our last business meeting of the year, and a time to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.
Brenda Buchanan has been nominated for the position of recording secretary.   This happened after our April meeting, so we were unable to vote her in.  We will take a vote at the luncheon, and then swear her in.  Other new executive board members are Suzanne Murray as 2nd Vice-President and Membership Chair, and Chieko Garling as Treasurer.  Congratulations!
Don't forget to send in your membership renewal forms as soon as possible.   We are so fortunate to have so many activities for our students, as well as professional development and the relationships with our colleagues.   The deadline is June 30.   MTNA writes:

It has been said by Ken Blanchard that "None of us is as smart as all of us." Through membership in MTNA, we are made better by our networking and interaction with each other, we become a stronger voice for music in our communities and nation, and our teaching and musical lives are enriched beyond measure. Let's encourage everyone to renew their MTNA membership and continue our mission together.
I hope to see everyone at the luncheon!   Let's celebrate our 50th anniversary as an organization and our "Local Association of the Year" award!  
Maureen Flood, President
 NWSMTA Member Questions AIMy


Dear AIMyDear AIMy,

I am at my wits end!  Although we created a plan of attack and selected songs last May, my level XII AIM student (a very busy high-school junior) has missed more than half her lessons this year and has done poorly on her theory and technique exams.  I gave her the option of playing her level XIIconcert next year.  But, she insists she will be ready to play next weekShe also told me that next year isn't an option, since she will have no time for piano lessons.  As it is, this student has never learned her repertoire as well as I think she has the ability to do.  While she can play the notes to tempo, she is often lacking musicality.  Yet, she has always wowed people at recitals.   But now with her memory lapses, we could have a trainwreck.  Everyone tells me it has to be her decision when she plays her concert, but won't a bad performance make me look bad as a teacher?


Dear Derailed,

Yes, your student is at the age where she has to make the final decision, and yes, it may result in a trainwreck.  However, experience has shown me that that might not be a bad result.

About ten years ago, I had a very promising student who insisted on playing at our local awards competition.  I asked her to cancel, because memorization was causing a problem.  Her mother, a professional pianist, assured me her daughter would be ready.  The day of the competition, my student had a breakdown,couldn't remember much of anything, and ended up using the music.  Obviously she didn't get a score, and I think the judges were slightly offended that she even played.  I was very embarrassed.

However, what was the lasting result of this incident?  Turns out, this student had a psychological illness that hadn't been diagnosed.  She ended up in counseling, was put on a mild medication to balance her body chemistry, and continued to take lessons.  She became a piano performance major in college and is now a working musician.  And, her mother still sends students my way!

Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it shows thata trainwreck might just direct someone onto the right track.

As for your reputation as a teacher, a poorly-performed concert is a one-time event.  Those who know you will be sympathetic and understand the situation for what the underlying issue is - basically, a time-management issue on the part of the student.  We have to remember that proper time management is one of the most important life lessons we can teach, but sometimes the student has to learn the hard way.


 Dear AIMy,

I am fairly new to the AIM program, but I have students in the higher levels.  I have been asked to judge those levels but am afraid I won't know the repertoire as well as I should.  The repertoire is so extensive!  Help!


Dear Overwhelmed,

Yes, the repertoire list is very long, but you aren't alone in feeling overwhelmed.  Ask your performance chairperson to give you a list ahead of time of the songs you will be judging.  If you don't already have CDs, there are so many videos on the web that you should be able to find performances by professional pianists as well as students for each song. 
 It is best if you have a copy of music to read along as you are listening.  Just remember that not all videos are equal. A famous name doesn't necessarily mean a good performance.

Also, through judging, you might be introduced to/reminded of composers and compositionsyou hadn't previously considered using that would be perfect for that 'problem' student.  I think we can get in a rut with the songs we assign for AIM, and we tend to use the 'tried and true'.  But we need to move from our comfort zones and explore all the literature.  In fact, this year one judge thanked one of my students for playing a sonata movement that is seldom selected!

High School Piano Camp


Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois will be hosting a high school piano camp this summer.  Students in grades 9-12 who are at the intermediate/advanced level are invited to join the week of July 7 - 13.  This year's camp will have a special focus on jazz.  Cost is $520 for residents, $370 for commuters.    See the website for more details:    


If you would like postcards to hand out to your students, you may request them of Dr. Chung-Ha Kim at


Note from the Editor 
When my students feel they have learned their piece sufficiently, I test their memory by having them scramble the phrases, play with one hand only using one finger, and with their eyes closed.  If they pass my detectives, I give them a small achievement card.  On it I write the name of the piece, whether they passed the right hand, left hand or both hands, and also the composer's name.  I always ask the student to give me the name of the composer. 
My student, Ethan, had passed the left hand of Happy Farmer, so I asked him for the composer's name.  His face lit up as he came up with the answer.  "Sockman," he responded.  Ethan may not remember Schumann's name, but I think I'll remember "Sockman" for many years.
I have been trying to make my students responsible for their own practice goals.  At the end of the lesson I ask them what their goal will be for the coming week.  To help them get used to this, I offer possible options.  My student, Richie, was having his lesson working on the C minor Little Prelude by Bach.  At the conclusion of his lesson I asked if he would prefer his goal for the next week be; Option 1 - to be able to play the chord progression with solid chords in the right hand, or Option 2 - to be able to play half the piece hands together slowly?  He came back with a blank look on his face and answered, "I don't know.  Option 3?"
HIs mother responded, "Welcome to my world."
Deb Lynch, Editor
Church Accompanist Position Available
grand piano


JOB POSTING: Staff Pianist/Accompanist (Part-time)


Christ Church of Oak Brook (Oak Brook, IL)

Reports to Director of Classic Worship and Music

Schedule (approximately 8-9 hours each week on-site):

Thursdays 6:15-9:45pm (3.5 hours)

Rehearsals with Chamber Singers, Chancel Choir, additional soloists as needed

Sundays 8:00am-12:00pm (4.0 hours)

Pre-service rehearsal with choir and soloists; two services at 9:00 and 10:45am

Sundays 5:30-7:00pm (1.5 hours twice per month)

Accompany cantor; provide solo piano for the Vespers Evening Communion Service at 6:00pm

Additional Responsibilities:

Must be available for major holidays, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and special Advent and Lenten concert events with extra rehearsal times. May be called on infrequently to play in Contemporary Worship services as needed.


Experience Required:

Bachelor's Degree or higher in piano performance, pedagogy, accompanying or music education

Experience working in a ministry or educational setting with amateur and professional musicians


Skills Required:

Accompany a variety of choral repertoire from jazz to gospel to classical to contemporary

Follow the conductor and anticipate the choirs' needs with little verbal direction during rehearsal

Sightread accompaniments with little to no preparation time on occasion

Embellish and improvise hymn accompaniments (i.e. more than block chords in hymnal)

Outstanding interpersonal skills; ability to work as a team player/collaborator

Initiative and creativity; integrity, punctuality and reliability; a heart for Ministry

Capabilities at the organ are a plus, but not required

Competitive Salary with the option of a 401K

(Please note that this is a year-round salaried position, and is not paid by call or hour.)


Resumes to Noelle Combs, 31st Street & York Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523 / / fax 630.654.1380

Christ Church of Oak Brook is a very large church with an average weekend Worship attendance of 2500. We have six regular services each weekend, three of which are traditional in nature. We also maintain a very vital and active Contemporary Worship Ministry. The full-time Music Staff consists of the Director of Classic Worship and Music, the Director of Contemporary Worship & Music and the Master Organist. The part-time Music Staff consists of seven Section Leaders and the Staff Accompanist. Our Senior Pastor is Rev. Dr. Daniel Meyer.


More information is available at

Festival of Pianos                   
multiple pianos
  Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  Calling all the teachers!  

NWSMTA's 20th FESTIVAL OF PIANOS  deadline is June 30th.

You can download the festival forms by going to our website
Look for Festival of Pianos at the bottom of the link and pull up the forms to fill out.
Over 350 students, parents and teachers play duets on six Steinway pianos in eight programs from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm throughout the day. This is one of our major public performances and is held at Northbrook Court  in front of Lord & Taylor on  Saturday, Sept. 28th (Rehearsal) and Sunday, Sept. 29th(Performance).

Anyone who has participated comes back year after year to enjoy our "piano orchestra" conducted by Fran Evens, Bev Modlin, and Robin Meredith-Kramer.

Come and join us and if it's your first time, enter several students at the elementary of intermediate level.

Looking forward to seeing you there.
Marcia Mally, co-chair with Sandy Lebowitz, Festival of Pianos

AIM Workbooks

AIM WORKBOOKS are back in stock! 
However, after these copies are sold, there will be no more workbooks available from NWSMTA for at least a year!
You will need to place an order with the Central Office and pay postage and sales tax (after July 1) which is the procedure most ISMTA members use.   
Plan ahead for next year.  Get your copies now!
Note:  It is very possible that after July 1, NWSMTA will need to charge sales tax so it may be cheaper NOW!
I can bring your order to the NWSMTA FREE LUNCH at La Tasco on May 20 or to the NWSMTA board meeting on June 3. 
Otherwise, you can pick up your order at my home. 


Email your orders (or call) to Helen Grosshans.
Rock Valley College Piano Pedagogy and String Coaching Workshop                   


Rock Valley College, 3301 N. Mulford Rd., Rockford, is sponsoring a two day piano pedagogy and string coaching workshop on Monday and Tuesday, June 24 -25 in the Performing Arts Room at the College. The workshop schedule, co-sponsored by the Stateline Music Foundation of Freeport, includes these clinicians and sessions: 


Dr. Ludmila Lazar from Roosevelt University (Debussy for the Intermediate Student, Dance Steps for the Polonaise and Mazurka - with audience participation, also amaster class)


Dr. Mary Scanlon formerly of Roosevelt (Preparing the High School Student for College Auditions, and with Dr.Lazar  Four-Hand Repertoire)


Anne Marie Olson (Suzuki Teaching)


Beverly Grace Joy of Lynchburg, Virginia, presenting her Piano ABC's series of beginning piano and theory books for students of all ages 


Kenneth Drake (What the Fortepiano Teaches Us to Apply to the Modern Piano, a "hands-on" presentation for teachers and students)


Performances include a trio and solo concert with Michael Beert, Rachel Handlin and Kenneth Drake, a four-hand recital with Ludmila Lazar and Mary Scanlon, a student ensemble recital, and an evening of two Mozart concertos with a chamber orchestra.


Ludmila Lazar received her Master of Music degree from the Chicago Musical College (now the Chicago College of Perfonning Arts at Roosevelt University), studying with Rudolph Ganz. She subsequently earned her DMA at Northwestern. For twenty years Dr. Lazar chaired the keyboard departnent at Roosevelt and continues to perform, present lecture recitals, workshops and master classes. Her honors include the Master Teacher Certificate from MTNA, the title of Master Teacher by the American Musical Scholarship Association, and "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" by Roosevelt University.


Mary Scanlon received her doctorate in piano pedagory from the University of Illinois. She has taught at Roosevelt University and, prior to her retirement in 2008, was Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Grand Rapids Community College. She has been the recipient of grants for study of music by women composers, American Piano Music (National Endowment for the Humanities), and for lecture/recitals of American piano music in Budapest with her collaborator Ludmila Lazar, in addition to being named "Teacher of the Year'' (1997 and 1998, MTNA). She continues to perform as an accompanist and chamber musician.


Anne Marie Olson teaches piano at The Music Academy in Rockford, as well as piano and chamber music at the Kankakee Valley Piano Camp in Bourbonnais. She has been guest clinician and teacher for the Columbia Talent education Association in Missouri, MacPhail Suzuki Institute in Minneapolis, Blue Lake Suzuki Institute in Michigan, Green Mountain Suzuki Institute in Vermont, and the Suzuki program at NIU.


Beverly Grace Joy, who maintains an independent studio in Lynchburg, is author and composer of the Piano ABC's series, a new beginner method for students of all ages that has been endorsed by James Lyke, Gail Berenson, Barbara Lister-sink, Suzanne Guy, Pat Brady, and Reid Alexander. Beverly has taught piano and/or theory at Drake University, Liberty University, Sweet Briar College, and Randolph-Macon College. In 1991 she was a national winner in the first composition contest sponsored by the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy.


Fee for the two-day workshop is $100. For further information:

iPractice: Using Smartphones and Mobile Devices

for Fun and Interactive Instruction


Music Teachers Nationol Association National Convention

Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA - Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Presented by the University of South Carolina MTNA Collegiate Chapter

Yewon Kerr, MM Candidate in Piano Performance

Ka-Young Lee, DMA Candidate in Piano Pedagogy

Lindsey Vickers, MM Candidate in Piano Pedagogy


List of Apps Discussed in Presentation


Music Theory/Ear Training

- Android: Music Flashcard; Music for Little Mozarts; Music Tutor; Musical Notes Memory Game; Piano Interval Trainer; Piano Rhythm Cards; Pocket Brooks

- Apple: Flashnote Derby; Music Reading Essentials; Music Theory for Beginners; Music Theory and Practice by Musicopoulos; My Note Game; Nota; Notebrainer;

Piano Dust Buster; Playpad


Writing Music

- Android.' Music Composition; Prelude Composer

- Apple: Notability


Rhythm Exercise

- Android: Rhythm Sheep

- Apple: Rhythm Cat; Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer


Studio Management

- Android: Music Teacher's Companion; Ututti Mobile

- Apple: Music Teacher's Helper



- Android: Coach's Eye; Musical lite; Practice Makes Perfect

- Apple: insTuner; Steinway Metronome


Additional Website for teacher login)

Awards Competition
Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Awards Competition.  A list of the winners is below.  The recitals at Steinway were lovely!     A sincere thank you to Galina Kostukovsky and her committee for all their hard work in organizing the competition and recitals.    And congratulations to all the teachers (names in parentheses) who prepared their students for this event. 


Primary -I:
1st place: Richard Bai ( Huang), 
2nd place: Frank Gao ( Huang), Ryan Zou ( Huang),
3rd place: Jennifer An ( Huang), Rebecca Li ( Kee),
H.M.: Dustin Zhao ( Bornovalova), Vivian Zhu ( Kostukovsky), Jaden Chen (Huang), Alicia Xin ( Huang), Jonathon Tian ( Huang), Jasmine Sun ( Kostukovsky).
Primary -II:
1st place: Kevin Chlastawa ( Huang),
2nd place:Peter Zhang ( Ulitsky),
3rd place: Maggie Peng ( Metz), Hanna Oyasu (Kim),
H.M.: Richelle Shi ( Huang), Annette Lee ( Kee).

Elementary Division:
1st place: Ethan Blankenship ( Huang), Sarah Huang ( Kee).
 2nd place: Tomas Filipiuk ( Razaq), Haoming Song ( Huang).
3rd place: Emily Cho ( Huang), Yfan Zhao ( Ulitsky),
H.M.: Brianna Cheung ( Kee), Kelly Wang ( Razaq), Joy Qu ( Huang), Angelina Chan( Huang), Lilian Xu
( Metz),Caren Cai (Ulitsky).
Junior Division:
1st place: Thomas Huang ( Kee),
2nd place: Amy Zhang ( Krafft-Weirich),
3rd place: Futo Wada (Kim),
H.M.: Kimberly Han( Huang), Joseph Shin( Metz), Kristen Cai ( Ulitsky), Jack Shao( Metz),Cecilia Gao( Ulitsky).
Intermediate Division:
1st place: Alice Zhang ( Huang),
2nd place: William Tong ( Kee),
3rd place: Monique Hsu ( Bornovalova),
H.M.:  Kelly Zhang ( Bornovalova), Amy Lian ( Razaq).
Senior Division:
1st place: Nathan Metz ( Bornovalova),
2nd place:Tony Fu( Huang),
3rd place:Daniel Nussbaum ( Ulitsky),
H.M.: Neil Krzevski ( Meredith- Kramer).


Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association
Maureen Flood, President
Joan James, Webmaster

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter