Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association Newsletter

November 18, 2013

Quick Links...
In This Issue
Note from the President
Awards Committee Info
Editor's Note
November Program
Emilio del Rosario Competition
College Scholarship
Keyboards Wanted
October Minutes
For the October minutes, please click here.
Upcoming Events


Nov 18 - Meeting at Arlington Height Library


Nov 23 - Gold Medal Recital

Vernon Area Library



A Welcome from Our President
Maureen Flood
Greetings, Members!


This autumn has flown by for me -- how about you?  I've barely gotten used to my fall schedule, and it's time to start Christmas music already!  I know the time between now and Christmas will also fly!


I am so grateful to NWSMTA for all of its activities -- they certainly keep my students working and motivated -- especially in the fall!     Since I only give two recitals per year, my students look forward to all the events we offer. 


The Sonata-Sonatina Festival went so well -- our co-chairpersons, Michelle Ryder and Mary Hough said they did not remember a time when everything ran so smoothly!  I'm sure it was because of their years of faithful service to this event, and to so many volunteers who help out.   Thank you so much, Michelle and Mary!    It is a very long day for you, but it is so rewarding to see all that this experience does for our students. 


We had a wonderful new member coffee -- and we have lots of new members, thanks to our own members spreading the word!    Please try to get to know them and make them feel welcome.   


Remember that our meeting on Monday is at the Arlington Heights Library, at 500 N. Dunton, in the Hendrickson Room.


Please make your plans to attend the MTNA Conference in Chicago -- If you register before December 2, the rate is the same as last year's -- $295.  After that it goes up.   Make this your Christmas present to yourself!


Our ISMTA Conference was wonderful, though I was only able to attend one day.   
I attended a very informative workshop on teaching students with reading difficulties, and another on how to pedal while playing Mozart's works.    Thank you to Dr. Janice Razaq, our state president, and everyone involved in planning this conference!


Please try to come to our Holiday Party on Monday, December 9, at Mary Anne Block's home.  This is a great chance to mingle and get to know new members, as well as visit with old friends.   Oh, and there are lots of goodies to eat!


I hope to see you all at the meeting on Monday!
Maureen Flood, President
Awards Clarification


Dear Colleagues!
I'd like to point out to all the members, who will be choosing the selections for their students participating in the Awards Competition in April: the correct piece of R. Schumann, Album Leaves Op. 99, No.5 is in B Minor.  In some editions it is marked as No.2. This is the only piece written in B minor in this set. It is shaped in 4 groups of 16th note triplets per measure throughout. It can be printed out from ( music library), or can be purchased from the Sam Ash store. I have it in my brown R. Schumann Piano Works collection, edited by J. Banowetz ( Warner Bros. Publications)


Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the repertoire and competition.


Galina Kostukovsky

Note from the Editor 

What did I learn at the state conference this month? 

From Dr. Susan Tang, I learned to explain pedaling to a student in terms of the sound you wish to produce, instead of the functional depth needed; quarter, half pedal, etc.  In the past, I found it helpful to talk to my students about just using the "skin" of the pedal, meaning a very thin, shallow pedal.  I think it would be much more effective to teach them to use a "shimmer" pedal for a run.  Now they can use their ear intelligently to determine if what they're doing is effective.  It's an engaging lesson to explore a "reverb" pedal to round the tone or a "color" pedal to darken the minor sections.  Other examples are an "articulation pedal" for two note slurs, a "crescendo pedal" to create the illusion of a crescendo and a "rhythmic pedal" to emphasize the harmony or the pulse. 

And all of this was demonstrated clearly, in a Mozart Sonata.  Every piano's pedal is unique and sounds different depending upon what the acoustics are in the room.  How much more we teach our students, when we teach them what sound to listen for.  Ultimately, it gives them more control over their performances.

It was pure joy to watch Steven Michael Glaser teach students to be intentional in how to play a motive and the possibilities for varying it according to the harmony.  It was like watching him breathe life into the student's performance.  I preach to my students, "If you can say it, you can play it."  By having the student speak it, you can hear what they're thinking; or not thinking.  Glaser took this even further by having the student sing words to the motives, in the manner he wanted to play it. 

By focusing on the smallest segments of the piece, it improved one group of notes at a time.  But by the end of the session, the music was communicating so much more.  I remember working on a Mozart Sonata with Katherine Glaser.  When I finished playing it, she suggested that I change the way I played two notes in the middle of a run.  At first, I was surprised that she bothered with such a minute detail, when the rest was very good.  Then I learned the bigger lesson; Mozart didn't write any notes that were not important.

Deb Lynch, Editor


A sympathy card was sent to Vonnie Mrozinski on the passing of her grandmother.  Unfortunately, Vonnie had to be out of the town during the Member of the Year recognition banquet at the state conference.  Our thoughts were with Vonnie, as she honored her grandmother by playing at the funeral.  Vonnie's grandmother must have been doubly proud of her.


Our sympathy has been extended to the family of Margaret Lindegard's due to her husband passing away.

This thank you note was received from Marilyn Tesmer's family.

Dear Members of NWSMTA & Janice, Thanks so much for your beautiful card and thoughts and prayers.  It's been very difficult, but we have peace and comfort hearing Julie had a beautiful life and best of care at Misericordia for 34 years. We miss her so, but know she is now dancing with Angels in Heaven and doing things she never could. (Maybe playing piano!)


God Bless You,

Ted & Marilyn Tesmer & family. 



Janice Wilkans

November Program

"Jazz Harmonies and how they can apply to your teaching" presented by Eric Sutz.

 Did you ever wonder what Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel, Brahms have to do with Jazz harmonies? Learn how the giants of Jazz Piano used their voicings! How about simple ways to teach them? Your students will get more out of playing scales then you ever thought possible and you will both have tons of fun!


Eric Sutz graduated with a Bachelor of Music from DePaul University. He has been a working musician, arranger, conductor and teacher for over thirty five years and supported his DePaul studies through playing a wide variety of engagements and teaching piano and guitar. In addition to playing for singers, production companies and local groups, he also worked as a musical director and conductor for Chicago area theaters and choirs. For fifteen years Eric took part-time and full time jobs as a rehearsal and audition pianist for the Candlelight, Marriot Lincolnshire, Wisdom Bridge and Goodman Theater.  Eric taught at Carmel HS as the associate and primary choral director and was the accompanist, rehearsal and solo pianist for the European tour of their concert choir. He has studied classical piano with Eloise Niwa, conducting with Dr.William Huber and Kevin Stites, and jazz piano with Judy Roberts, Howard Levy, Larry Novak, Willie Pickens, John Campbell, Joel Daley, Mike Kocour, and Joan Hickey. He studied the great Chicago boogie and blues artists with Erwin Helfer. He has been an active member of the NSMTA (serving as president from 2006-2008) since 1978. His book: "How to Play and Teach Popular Music Creatively" was published in 1986.  Eric is also on the Music Institute of Chicago faculty where he teaches Piano and Guitar.


$1000 College Scholarship
If you have a high school student graduating this year and majoring in music, any instrument, now is the time to start preparing your student for our college scholarship.  The $1000 will go to only 1 student and will be payable in 2 installments.  This is a great scholarship to help with additional expenses.  The deadline is April 1, 2014.  The teacher must have been a member of NWSMTA for at least 3 years.  Complete rules are on the website along with the application form.  If you have any questions, please call or email.
Pat Borchardt
Whitman Wonders


Wanted:  Dusty Keyboards That Still Work!

As you may know, NWSMTA works with School District 21 in an early morning keyboard program for third and fourth grade students at Whitman School in Wheeling.  Fran Evens and/or Helen Grosshans are currently teaching groups from 8:00-8:30 a.m. every morning except Tuesdays.  The purpose of these classes is to introduce piano study to students (who can come to school early and will commit to practicing) to help prepare them for greater success in the orchestra and band programs.  Many of the students would not have the opportunity to explore piano otherwise due to family finances and no instrument at home.  The program is very appreciative to NWSMTA for funding the teaching materials each year as well as member donations of some keyboards for home practice and additional very easy sight reading music.  NOW we are in desperate need of additional keyboards to loan out for home practice.  Although preference would be given to keyboards with 61 fullsized keys, we will take almost anything above the category of toy piano.  Small keyboards fit better in some homes.  Please look under beds and in closets (and check with your students or friends?) for any abandoned, but working, keyboards that could be donated to this program.  If you have any questions, please contact Helen Grosshans by email: or phone: 847-259-2125.  Pickup service may be available!



Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association
Maureen Flood, President
Chieko Garling, Webmaster

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter