September 2016
In This Issue
September Meeting
Recitals & Competitions
NEPTA Dues Renewal
Presidential Luncheon
Member Spotlight
Submitting Member News
Awards and Grants
Donna's Apology
Looking Ahead
Music Sale
NEPTA Facebook Page

Monday, Sept. 28
Meeting 9:30AM


 "Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words: Interpretation and Technique"

"The Enigmatic Curved Line: Articulation? Slur? Phrase?"

The First Parish Watertown 

NEPTA Music Sale


Monday, October 24
Meeting 9:30AM


"Musicians Are Athletes Too: Lessons from Sport Psychology"

The First Parish Watertown

NEPTA Music Sale


Monday, November 14
Meeting 9:30AM

A Special Scholarship Event

New! No Admission Fee For Members This Year

Donations Accepted

The First Parish Watertown


Monday, December 12
Meeting 9:30AM


"Ask Your Colleagues"
Shann Wood
and Barbara Lierance

New Members!
This meeting is intended to introduce you to our membership.

All Members!
Share your expertise and experience.
We can all share
what we know and
learn from one another.

Refreshments Served
Committee Chair, Dianne Impallaria

Wellesley Free Library
530 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA



Congratulations to Eleanor Perrone on her recent marriage!

Eleanor Perrone and Chris Kintzing



Two of our members recently relocated.

We would like to wish
Ruth Shyu & Seni Igrec
all the best. 

If you would like to stay in touch with them, I'm sure they'd love to hear from you!

Ruth Shyu
575 Springbrook
N. Irvine, CA 92614

Seni Igrec
1134 Jensen Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543



We will NOT be doing backbends!

4 Free Sessions
Tuesdays 10-11:15

Wednesdays 11:30-12:30
(Nov. 23 - Dec. 14)

(January 5 - 26)

For more info contact: Donna Gross Javel
(Donna completed a 500 hour teacher training program in Iyengar yoga in June 2014)



Tanya Shrago would like thank NEPTA members Laura Teplitsky, Elena Aleksandrova and Niva Fried for their time and highly professional advice.

Ask Tanya about her recent performance in St Petersburg, Russia



Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It is my great pleasure to welcome each of you to NEPTA's exciting 2016-2017 season! I hope the summer months have enabled you to
Donna Gross Javel 
relax, refresh and renew yourselves so that you are beginning to feel ready to participate in the musical community that NEPTA members have been cultivating for so many years. It is a privilege to be part  
 of an organization that  provides so many opportunities for us to enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of our students and t heir families as well.   

Many many thanks to our devoted Program Committee Chair, Colleen Campbell,
Colleen Campbell
Colleen Campbell   
Program Committee Chair,   
Past President  
and her committed committee members Janna Bruene, Miriam Gargarian, Irina Gelman, Barbara Jones, Lydia  Reed-Guertin, and Shann Wood, for arranging such an exciting season for us.  For those of you who are not aware of this, the Program Committee is comprised of the current and past presidents of NEPTA  As the chair of this committee Colleen has put an extraordinary amount of time into making this season come to fruition. Thank you Colleen for EVERYTHING you do!

By now, everyone who renewed their dues by the May 31st deadline should have received the 2016-2017 Program Booklet and Directory. If you have not received your copies, please contact Janna Bruene, chair of membership.  If you are interested in reading more about how I feel about these publications you can read the Donna's Apology section of this newsletter.

Please read the 2016-2017 program booklet carefully. There have been many changes to the recitals and competitions so I encourage
you to read those sections very carefully
During the spring of 2016, the Recital and Competition Planning Committee voted to make some changes to the recitals.
Ranko Konishi-Houston Vice President
The meeting was led by Vice President Ranko Konishi-Houston and was attended by
Fried, Nina Grimaldi, Marianne Jensen, Elizabeth Landman, Kathryn Rosenbach, Victoria Suchodolski, Janice Zaganjori and myself.  Many thanks to everyone involved for the thoughtful consideration that took place during this meeting.  Special thanks to Ranko Konishi-Houston, our beloved Vice President, for organizing, leading and hosting this meeting.  

It was a busy spring. 
Another special committee met to review the NEPTA Awards and Grants which led to a revision of the competition rulesand requirements.  This meeting was organized and hosted by   Cindy Null and attended by Lydia Reed-Guertin, Ranko Konishi-Houston, Diana Tetzlaff, Colleen Campbell and myself.
Left to right: Cindy Null, Donna Gross Javel, Colleen Campbell, Lydia Reed-Guertin, Ranko Konishi-Houston.  
Photo taken by Diana Tetzlaff
  I greatly appreciate the
thoughtful consideration and the attention to detail   that was demonstrated throughout this meeting.  Those present were treated to a wonderful lunch which was beautifully prepared by Cindy. Many thanks to Cindy for everything she did to get this meeting to take place and for making it such an enjoyable event.
New recital and competition guidelines, as well as changes to the Awards and Grants, were submitted to the Board.  After some discussion a few changes were made. Please read these sections carefully in the Program Booklet.  The information is also available on the NEPTA website.  Many thanks to Caroline Ly and Susan Demb for uploading all the new information to our website. 

Many thanks to my dear Board of Directors.  This is the wonderful Board that greeted me when I became President:  Ranko Konishi-Houston (VP), Cindy Null (Executive Secretary), Natacha Rist (Recording Secretary), Bert Yocom (Treasurer), and Board Members Tina Liu, Marguerite Samoorian, David Tobin, Catherine Costello-Hirata, Victoria Suchodolski, Shann Wood, Barbara Engel, Caroline Ly and Jan Spillane (Interim Treasurer).  A new rotation started in June and already, I have a lot to be thankful for from this new Board of Directors.  Many thanks to Ranko Konishi-Houston (VP), Caroline Ly (Executive Secretary), Natacha Rist (Recording Secretary) Jan Spillane (Treasurer), and Board Members Catherine Costello-Hirata, Victoria Suchodolski, Shann Wood, Barbara Engel, Marianne Jensen, Barbara Lierance, Irina Baghdasaryan, Tong Liu and Elleanor Perrone.
I have learned a lot from each of these committed volunteers and greatly appreciate the service they have provided, and continue to  provide, for NEPTA
National and international events continue to challenge my faith in humanity - and perhaps yours as well.  Fortunately, we have music as well as our connection to one another to help us navigate our journey.  Music is a wonderful gift and this gift of music becomes a powerful tool when we are interconnected. I believe that through our connections to one another and the sharing of this wonderful gift of music, we have the potential to change lives. We have an extraordinary opportunity before us. Let's get started! 

I look forward to seeing many of you at our first meeting of the season, September 26, 2016.  I'm looking forward to seeing who our raffle winners will be this year (more on that in the next section).  
Donna Gross Javel
NEPTA President

Our first meeting of the season is scheduled for Monday, September 26, at 9:30AM at the The First Parish of Watertown and will feature Marvin Blickenstaff on "Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words: Interpretation and Technique" and "The Enigmatic Curved Line: Articulation? Slur? Phrase?".   

Marvin Blickenstaff is known among piano teachers throughout North America for his teaching, lecturing and performing. He has co-authored many books for beginning piano students entitled Music Pathways. He has served on the editorial board of the American Music Teacher and as an Associate Editor of Keyboard Campanion. He is past president of the Board of Trustees of the Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy and serves on the Executive Planning Committee for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.

Blickenstaff has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Goshen College. He currently teaches at The New School for Music Study in Princeton and also in his home studio.

In 2007, the on-line journal Piano Pedagogy published tributes to Marvin Blickenstaff honoring his contribution to piano teaching in America. In 2009, The Music Teachers  National Association selected him for their highest honor, the Achievement Award and in 2013, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Each year, during the first meeting, there is a raffle to give away the two contemporary music selections that were selected for the previous year's high school competitions.  Raffle tickets are given to each member who attends the meeting. These compositions were selected by the After 1950 committee chaired by Deborah Yardley Beers.  Many thanks to Debbie and her committee members. At the time that these compositions were selected, the committee was comprised of members Deborah Yardley Beers, Sivan Etegee, Shann Wood and myself.  We welcome Elaine Rombola who will be replacing Shann Wood. After many, many years Shann has decided to retire from this committee.  Shann is still very much involved in NEPTA -she is a current Board member and is on the Program Committee.

The meeting officially begins at 9:30.  The doors will open at 9:00 so plan to arrive early and take advantage of the opportunity to get to know our members -and don't forget that the NEPTA Music Sale begins at 9:00. Many thanks to Ruth Ross for organizing the music sales.

Welcome to yet another exciting year of NEPTA recitals and competitions! These recitals are available to students of NEPTA members who have joined or renewed their dues by September 30th. 

Many changes have been made this year to the NEPTA Recitals and Competitions.  Make sure you read the recital and competition sections of the program booklet so that you understand the changes that have been made. Many thanks to Caroline Ly Germeys and Sue Demb for making this information available on the NEPTA website.

Online applications will be available on the NEPTA website October 15. Please mark your calendars and make plans with your students accordingly.   

M. Steinert & Sons, Boston has moved to their new location at 28 Damrell Street in Boston and I'm excited to say that they have offered to host our competitions in this new space.  NEPTA has been fortunate to have shared a very special relationship with M Steinert & Sons over the years and I'm extremely pleased to say that this relationship will continue into the future.  They have graciously offered to host our competitions again this year and in future years.  How can we express our gratitude?  A simple 'thank you' is always appreciated.  In addition, if you happen to know someone who is looking to buy a piano, please refer them to M. Steinert & Sons - either the Boston or Natick store.  Develop a relationship with one of the wonderful sales representatives there and think of them the next time you have a student who needs an upgrade!   

The privilege of being able to present students in NEPTA recitals and competitions is a benefit for all members.  Many dedicated volunteers devote a considerable amount of their time to make these recitals and competitions run smoothly.  These volunteers are doing an extraordinary service for this organization. I hope you will join me in expressing gratitude for the work they are doing for us and for our students.  We will read more about them in future issues of the newsletter. 

Diana Tetzlaff has generously volunteered to help NEPTA members with the online registration process for the recitals and competitions.  If you have a question about the process, please contact Diana at 617-816-1777.   
Did you forget to pay your NEPTA dues last spring?  While the vast majority of NEPTA members have already paid annual membership dues (deadline was May 31 for inclusion in the directory), this is a reminder that members who want to enter students in the 2017 NEPTA recitals and/or competitions must pay their dues by
September 30, 2016.  A $20 late fee applies. 

1. NEPTA members may renew their annual dues online at, through the secure PayPal site with their credit card.

2. NEPTA members may download the registration
Janice Spillane Treasurer
form from the website and mail it with a check to:
Janice Spillane, NEPTA Treasurer
18 Mill Street
N. Reading, MA 01864  
Active and Associate Members:
$70 (this includes the $20 late fee) 
Seniors (over 65) and Student Members: 
$50 (this includes the $20 late fee) 

Two Members in One House
(same mailing address):
$90 (this includes the $20 late fee)

If you are not comfortable renewing your dues online and would like to learn how to do so, Diana Tetzlaff has generously volunteered to help guide you through the process on the phone.  If you would like Diana to help you, please contact her at 617-816-1777.  

Clockwise: Donna Gross Javel, Irina Gelman, Miriam Gargarian, Colleen Campbell, Janna Bruene, Jean Stackhouse, Ranko Konishi-Houston, Barbara Jones, Shann Wood, Lydia Reed-Guertin
Many thanks to NEPTA Vice President, Ranko Konishi-Houston for organizing the Presidential Luncheon which took place in June at The Cottage Chestnut Hill restuarant. All present had a wonderful time. I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with these wise and wonderful women: Irina Gelman (2013-2015), Colleen Campbell (2011-2013), Lydia Reed (2009-2011), Barbara Jones (2005-2007), Shann Wood (2003-2005), Miriam Gargarian (2001-2003), Janna Bruene (1999-2001), Jean Stackhouse (1983-1985) and our soon-to-be next President, Ranko Konishi-Houston. 

I was particularly pleased that Jean Stackhouse, who lives and teaches in the Berkshires, was able to attend the luncheon this year. For those of you who don't know Jean, she is an extraordinary woman, musician and teacher. You will have an opportunity to learn more about Jean Stackhouse (and 'from' her) at the Spring Teachers' Exchange where she will be presenting with two other extraordinary members: A Ram รณn Rivera and Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee. 

Many thanks to all the past presidents (including those of you who were unable to attend this time) for your support and words of encouragement!

I will be using this section of the newsletter to introduce you to some of our wonderful volunteers.  

This month I'd like to introduce you to Nina Grimaldi who has provided many years of devoted service to NEPTA: luncheon chair (2011-present), ensemble recital chair (current), ensemble recital co-chair (2015-2016), ensemble recital committee member (2014-2015), advertising chair (2011-2013).

Nina Grimaldi
Nina Grimaldi began her piano career as a student of NEPTA members, the late B. Garber and the late Ida Fine. She frequently performed in NEPTA recitals and student master classes from the age of 10. In 1983 she received her B.A. from Amherst College with honors in piano performance.

Returning to Boston, she studied piano with Seth Kimmelman and Lily Dumont, and began to give solo recitals both locally and abroad. Highlights of  her performing career were solo appearances on WGBH Radio and at Little Hall in Moscow. She  also performed in Kagyo Hall in Tokyo as accompanist to singer/painter Kaji Aso.

But performing wasn't really her cup of tea, and teaching became her passion. She found that teaching even beginners never tired her as long as she focused on the deep relationships that grew between her and her students. Helping students master technical and musical problems, leading them to hear the music more sensitively, and appreciate it more passionately, is now her life's work.

In addition to teaching private piano to children and adults, Nina formerly taught Dalcroze Eurhythmcis for many years, (see below), as well as group piano to adults at the Cambridge Center and the Senior Center in Belmont. She also co-founded and ran a summer music camp at Powers Music School for two decades, (where she also taught private lessons and mom and me classes to babies as young as 18 months.)

She is eager to share her Dalcroze training with NEPTA teachers, and occasionally leads Eurhythmics workshops at her Belmont studio. This past summer, she led workshops to train teachers in her step by step approach for piano improvisation for students.

Nina is always on the search for new and better training for herself and others, and recently discovered the Asher Zlotnik ear training method. This method was enhanced and finally published, (after 60 years of laying fallow,) by Jospeh Reiser, one of Asher's former students. It happens to be the method that trained many of the Big Band leaders. Nina plans to teach this method to interested NEPTA members and to the music community at large.

Currently, Nina runs a large and busy studio in Belmont which includes offerings such as numerous mini recitals, larger more formal performances, regular workshops, two yearly sing a longs (students play piano for families to sing), and carefully leveled theory, ear training, improvisation and composition units.
She loves entering her most talented and hardworking students in NEPTA recitals so they can be enriched by the finest young players in the area. She does not generally believe in competitions as a means to promote musical talent, and has never entered a young child in a competition.

Nina's piano teaching career took a major detour when she decided to retrain as a Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher in 1998 at Longy School of Music. She subsequently taught Eurhythmics at
NEC, Powers Music School, Winchester Community Music School and Concord Conservatory. She took nearly 11 years off from teaching piano to teach general music, PreK-4, at the Fayerweather Street School (FSS) in Cambridge. There she developed a passion for folk music and also a specialty in Brazilian song, drumming, and dance. Nina's decade at FSS also had a profound impact on her teaching style. Because the school is famed for it's child-centered approach, Nina learned to trust her student's instincts and to work with their talents in a more wholistic way.

Nina is indebted to many fine NEPTA teachers. In particular, Dianne Rahbee has inspired Nina to compose for her own students, and to teach with great passion. Elizabeth Reed has been a very generous colleague who mentored Nina on teaching practice and best materials and also on how to fine tune her studio organization. Ida Fine (who passed away in 2008,) gave Nina her early and thorough ear training and became a second mother. Without these three teachers as friends and colleagues, plus the many other generous and inspiring NEPTA friends she has made, Nina's teaching and musicianship would not be where it is today.
A guide for submitting member news for the newsletters is available on the website. Please include "NEPTA newsletter" in the subject heading of your email.

As members, you are also encouraged to post your news, pictures, videos and recordings on NEPTA's Facebook page.  Please visit the page, 'like' the page and see what your colleagues are doing. Your visits to the page help generate interest in NEPTA so consider 'sharing' posts, 'liking' posts and 'commenting' on posts.  

Miriam Pizer Award
The Miriam Pizer Award, created in memory of Miriam Pizer, was established for students in Grades K-5 who are in need of assistance for lesson tuition or other essential expenses.  The winner will be selected during the October NEPTA meeting.  The teacher will be notified but the student's name will be kept private.
Amount of Award: $250

Deadline: October 15, 2016
How to Apply:  Please send your name along with your student's name by email to Donna Gross Javel at Only submissions received by October 15th will be accepted.
Please note that this is the only reminder you will receive before the deadline so if you want to submit a student, please make note of the deadline.  

Eight awards in the amount of $125 are available to students in need.  To apply, a brief note from the teacher (email is acceptable) stating the family's need and reasons for financial assistance should be sent to Carol Chaffee, Scholarship Chair, at

NEPTA is extremely fortunate to have a very dedicated core of volunteers who devote a lot of time and energy to this wonderful organization.  In order to help facilitate the work that our volunteers are doing, we will be honoring all deadlines and rules very seriously.  This will enable our volunteers to work more effectively and efficiently to make it possible for all members to enjoy the benefits that NEPTA has to offer.  Thank you for your understanding.

It is with great regret that I must acknowledge that the 2016-2017 Program Booklet and Directory look so unprofessional. Please know that Jan Spillane was not involved with these publications this year.  I accept full responsibility. 

As disappointed as I am with the finished product, I do want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed working with the new administrative assistant.  She has excellent computer skills and was extremely patient during each of the many, many revisions of the publications.
I regret that I did not provide clear instructions regarding the printing of these publications.  The administrative assistant made a last minute judgement call to try to save us some money. I am certain that she now understands very clearly the degree of professionalism we expect to see in our future publications.

The good news is that there will not be nearly as many revisions next year.  That means that more time can be spent on the visual appeal rather than the content. Please accept my apologies and now...
focus on the future.  We have an exciting season ahead! 
NEPTA has an exciting speaker and event lineup for the fall! Please put these dates on your calendar.
October 24  Speaker Series Meeting  
Presenter: Patrick Gannon
Topic: "Musicians Are Athletes Too: Lessons from Sport Psychology"
Location: First Parish of Watertown
35 Church Street, Watertown, MA 02472

November 14 Masterclass for Members
Guest Teacher: Ya-Fei Chuang
A Scholarship Fundraising Event
New this year - no admission fee for members.
Donations are appreciated!
Location: First Parish of Watertown
35 Church Street, Watertown, MA 02472
December 14 Teachers' Exchange Meeting
"Ask Your Colleagues"
Moderators: Shann Wood and Barbara Lieurance
Location: The Wellesley Free Library
530 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482
Our Music Sale is back by popular demand, once again organized by Ruth Ross, Music Library and Donation Chair. Please join us prior to all regular meetings in September, October, January, February, March and May. Please note that the music sale takes place at The First Parish starting at 9AM. Members are asked to bring their checkbooks and any music that they are willing to donate that morning.

The sale serves three purposes:
  • Teachers have access to music that, perhaps, has gone out of print
  • Standard teaching methods and collections can be acquired at a very reasonable price
  • All proceeds go directly to the NEPTA Scholarship Fund

Please direct any questions to Ruth Ross at

Remember that you can post your own up-to-the-minute concert listings and other items of interest on NEPTA's Facebook page. Visit 
to see the latest news from your NEPTA friends! 
YouTube videos of your performances are especially welcome. 

Don't forget to 'Like' the page when you visit it!
car-sales-lot2.jpg The Watertown Savings Bank has strongly requested that NEPTA members do not park in the bank parking lot for NEPTA events. Please be respectful of this neighboring business and leave the free parking for its clients.

Please be aware that Watertown has restricted parking on the side streets immediately surrounding the First Parish and thus eliminating any "free parking." The metered spots in the parking lot adjacent to the church can accept coins up to a maximum of 8 hours (blue meters only), thereby removing the need to go feed the meter during our meeting breaks, offering instead an opportunity to socialize with NEPTA friends and colleagues.