November 17, 2014

Quick Links...
In This Issue
President's Prelude
MTNA Grant Applications
Messiah Concert
Christmas Concert
Holiday Party
AIM Exams
AIM - Syllabus Revisions
AIM Registration
A Studio Crawl
Note from the Editor
Music for a Lifetime
ISMTA Conference
Lyric Opera Tickets
October Minutes
For the October minutes, please click here.
Upcoming Events


Nov 17 - PROGRAM:  Jennifer Cohen, Helen Grosshans, Vonnie Mrozinski & Beverly Taylor, "Start a Studio Crawl!"
Barrington Area Library   

9:15 A.M. AIM Chat  

9:45 A.M. Meeting 


Dec 8, 10-11:30 AM


Home of Mary Anne Block, 749 Oak Rd, Barrington


Jan 2 -


AIM Levels V-XII Theory Exams

Send entries to Helen Chang


Jan 8 -


AIM Levels III-IV Performance Exams

Send entries to 

Mary Anne Block


Jan 19 - 9 A.M.

AIM Judges Meeting

Rolling Meadows Library


Jan 19 -


Janice Razaq "Adjudication Tips for Effective and Successful Critiquing"

Rolling Meadows Library  

9:15 A.M. IMT Chat  9:45 A.M. Meeting


Jan 25 -


Harper College, Music Instruction Center

A Prelude from Our President

Dear friends and colleagues,


As the days get much shorter, and colder, I am thinking of our lives and how they seem to go in cycles too...there are times when our focus is concentrated and we feel effective and inspired in our teaching, and there are times when we are tired or overwhelmed and are just struggling to be present in each of our situations...our lessons, our work, our concerts, our classes; our relationships. Life is so full.

And then I get to thinking about how lucky we are to work (and play!) in the medium of music. Each day is different, and brings new challenges and new gifts. Our students each interact with us in a unique way, through the language of music. We constantly get the opportunity to look at something from another's point of view, and also to help our students to see other ways of doing things. It can be as simple as how you lift your arm, wrist and hand to release a note...or as complex as how, when, and how much to pedal through a phrase, and how far down should the pedal be depressed! There are so many variations.

Last weekend was our State Music Conference, at Millikin University. There were many different offerings each day. I enjoyed the talk Eric Sutz did about the Great Chicago Boogie Woogie Pianists. He played and described their styles as he spoke, and gave us perspective on what kind of hardships they went through, and how they developed their signature sounds.

Another talk was by Samuel Gingher, a Doctoral student at U of I, that was called "Preluding at the Piano." He has done some fascinating research and found examples of music written in the 18th and 19th centuries to teach improvisation in a classical style.


"What Ever Happened to Beauty?" - The title of this talk, by Michael Luxner, conductor of the Millikin -Decatur Orchestra, intrigued me. Yet his talk itself was extremely esoteric, and a little hard to follow, and Luxner himself summed it up by saying "All I really want to say to you is - read the books of Susanne Langer!" Susanne Langer is author of "Feeling and Form" (1953) and "Philosophy in a New Key" (1942). He felt that her ideas on music-making as Art were transformative for him, and that they would be for others too.


My favorite offering at the conference was a Pedagogy session with Logan Skelton, titled "The Brotherhood of Peoples: Folk Styles in the Music of Bela Bartok." I learned so much in this session, about the incredibly different polyrhythmic patterns that Bartok heard and recorded in his wide travels, through not just his own Hungary, but throughout Eastern Europe, Russia and some of the Arabic lands. As he collected, recorded, studied and then composed in the style of these different cultures, he came to believe that his purpose as a composer was to show "the brotherhood of peoples" through music. It was a fantastic session, well-documented, with many specific examples - both recorded and played live - to highlight each style that Skelton was speaking of. Wow!


So I have come back from the conference refreshed, and ready to jump back into my daily musical life. I hope that you have some great moments of your own to share that you experienced there, or maybe you have been a little bit inspired to consider attending our State Conference yourself next year in November. It was announced that it will be held at Moody Institute in Chicago - much closer!


Meanwhile, here at home, our own fantastic members, Helen, Bev, Jennifer and Vonnie, will be presenting to us a session this Monday, November 17th, on sharing your studio ideas with your colleagues, called "Start a Studio Crawl." Be sure not to miss this! And remember it is at the Barrington Library, 505 N. Northwest Hwy, in Barrington, at 9:45. If you have been busy over the weekend, with the Gold Medal Recitals Saturday, and the AIM Exams Sunday, you may need the grounding presence of a normal meeting.


Next month we have no official meeting but our Holiday party on December 8th, at Mary Anne Block's home! What a fun way to get into the spirit of the holidays with a little informal get-together. Put this date on your calendar and come get to know at least one other person a little better. Who knows? Maybe you can relax a little!

As you begin to prepare for your Thanksgiving celebrations, take a little time to reflect on what and who you are grateful for in your lives. I am so thankful to know all of you, and to be part of this community of music!

"In a circle of a circle of sound; all our voices will blend when we touch common ground."     (from Judy Roberts' CD - "Common Ground")


Robin Meredith-Kramer


 MTNA - Grant Applications


Applications for the Affiliate, Teacher and Program Enrichment Grants are now available.


Applications must be received by January 5, 2015, to be considered by the selection committees.All applications and supporting materials must be submitted online through the MTNA FOUNDATION website.

Program Enrichment Grants are provided to organizations seeking "seed funds" to assist with the creation of grant application materials that can lead to more funding from other organizations.


Teacher Enrichment Grants are provided to music teachers for private study, specific college-level course work or other projects that will enhance the performing and teaching skills of the applicant.


Affiliate Matching Grants are available to MTNA-affiliated Local Associations and State Affiliates. These matching grants provide assistance for projects and programs that provide professional and educational development, as well as promotion of music in the state and community.


Local Association Start-Up Grants are awarded to newly forming MTNA-affiliated local associations for projects that provide educational opportunities for students and teachers. Grants are also given for projects that support the promotion of music in the immediate community.


OF SPECIAL NOTE: The Loran Olsen Endowment provides grant funds for projects that pertain to the traditional music and/or dance of American subcultures including those of Canada and Mexico, and for projects that pertain to the expansion of knowledge of the traditional music and/or dance of other cultures worldwide.


To apply or to find out more about these grants, visit the Grants Page on the MTNA FOUNDATIONwebsite.




Holiday Party
Our Holiday party will be held on December 8th at Mary Anne Block's home.  You will receive an invitation shortly.

AIM Exams/NWSMTA Theory 5-12

As an additional resource, you may click here to view LeAnn Halvorson's comparison of the 2003 and 2014 AIM Exam Revisions.  It is done in an outline form and quite user friendly.  Or you may refer back to October's newsletter.

AIM - News about the ISMTA Syllabus Revisions


NWSMTA AIM Dates include:

Date               Deadline      Old/New          Exam

1/25/2015      1/2/2015      New Syllabus    Theory Levels 5-12

2/9/2015        1/9/2015      New Syllabus    Performance Levels 3-4

3/15/2015      2/14/2015     New Syllabus    Performance Levels 5-12

4/12/2015      2/14/2015     New Syllabus    Performance Levels 10-12                                                                   (2nd date option)


1.  The technic skills and keys are very similar in both syllabi.


2.  During AIM performance testing in 2014-2015, music may be selected using either the 2003 or 2014 syllabus editions. If a selected piece is not found in either syllabus, please request permission to use the piece for this testing year from Stephanie Myers ( . In your email request, include the syllabus level and list ABCD plus an attached scan of the first and last pages of the piece. After receiving approval, attach a copy of that email to the NWSMTA repertoire form for that the student.


3. Tests for the November exams for Levels 1 and 2 complete plus Theory Levels 3 and 4 will be based on the OLD syllabus (2003). All exams after November will be using the newly revised syllabus (2014). This includes the Performance Exams for Levels 3 and 4 in February.


4.  Using the old workbooks after checking them against the new syllabus for changes will certainly work. A student may also be able to cover two units in one lesson if time is limited after receiving the new workbooks.


5.  Included are also 2 lists pertaining to the theory revisions that you may find helpful especially if you are waiting for the new syllabus. Thanks to Jenny Cohen for preparing them.


Reminder: NWSMTA Schedule Changes for 

AIM Levels 10, 11, 12


Students entering Level 10 will now have the option of playing the performance exam in either March OR April. Levels 11 and 12 will continue to have the same option of choosing one of these dates for their performance exam. Level 12 recitals may be scheduled any time after passing the Level 12 theory exam. (Their technic exams may be taken on either the March or April testing dates.)


It is hoped that allowing Level 10 students to choose between the two dates will help students and teachers with additional preparation time and will help the committee with space/time concerns for the March performance exam. A separate student enrollment form is used for these exams so that the date of preference can be listed. Teachers entering students on either date will be expected to help on those dates. Teachers judging Level 12 recitals will be paid $25 per recital by NWSMTA after their evaluations are received. Payment is because this judging requires travel to different locations and is in addition to judging on the exam dates.


Harmonizations in New Syllabus

Listed below are the harmonizations in the new syllabus.


Level 5:           1 New Harmonization, 1 Key Change of Same


New:    Sarasponda (moved from level 4, revised)

The Bear Went Over the Mountain (change key from 

Eb to D)

Same: My White Horse (renamed - same as Chilean Song)


Level 6:           1 New Harmonization, 1 Key Change of Same


New:    Simple Gifts (replaces The Riddle Song)

Auld Lang Syne (change key from F to G)

Same: Saint James Infirmary


Level 7:          No Change


Level 8:          No Change


Level 9:          No Change


Level 10:         No Change in Harmonizations

New:    Annie Laurie - Roman numeral symbols are given


Level 11:         No Change in Harmonizations

New:    Passing By - Roman numeral symbols are given


Level 12:         No Change - Student chooses harmonization in exam to play at sight




The Theory Exams for Levels 5-12 are Sunday, January 25th at Harper College, Music Instruction Center.  The postmark deadline for entries is January 2nd. Please send entries and one check for all your students to Helen Chang at 60 E. Emma Ct. Palatine, IL 60067.  Please mark clearly when you are able to work, as all teachers are expected to help.  


The Theory Judges meeting is January 19th at 9:00AM, just before the general meeting.  


The Levels 5-12 Theory Exams will be from the new 2014 Syllabus, so if your students are using old workbooks, be sure to check the Aural Skills, Keyboard Skills, and Written Exam requirements.  Levels 11-12 does not have updated workbooks available at this point, but will also be tested on the new syllabus.  


Aural Skills will be tested using pre-recorded tracks on i-Pods.  Students may wish to bring their own earbuds if they are not comfortable using the ones provided.  You may direct questions about the Theory exams to Helen Chang at or 815-793-3367.


November Program - A Studio Crawl (No drinks will be served)


Beverly Taylor is a native of Charleston, West Virginia. She earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from West Virginia University in Piano Performance as a student of Dr. James Miltenberger. She is a past president of both NWSMTA and Fox Hills MTA, and has been honored as a Member of the Year in both associations. She maintains a thriving private studio in Crystal Lake. Currently, in addition to her studio teaching, she teaches a Recreational Music Making adult piano class for Encore Music Academy in Crystal Lake, where she also accompanies two children's choirs. She is also the accompanist for the Prairie Ridge High School choirs.


Beverly is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) through Music Teachers National Association. She lives in Crystal Lake with her husband, Tim, and has three grown children and a beautiful one-year-old granddaughter.


Jennifer Cohen is an active member of both NSMTA and NWSMTA, having held positions as past president, Sonata-Sonatina Festival chair and is the current AIM chair for NSMTA. She is also Certification Chair for both NSMTA and NWSMTA, as well as Illinois Competitions Chair for ISMTA and MTNA competitions. Recently, she served as the East Central Division National Commissioner for MTNA Certification and enjoys mentoring members pursuing National Certification. Jennifer has been a nationally certified teacher since 2005. Jennifer holds a BM degree in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory, and an MM degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University

Jennifer has participated in local and national music conferences, and stays active as an adjudicator for various piano festivals and competitions in the area. Her students have been award winners in local piano festivals and competitions, and have been invited to perform at local conferences and area winners recitals. Jennifer's teaching career began in high school, under the tutelage of her piano teacher, Elvina Pearce, who she gives much credit for giving her the guidance and mentorship to pursue a career in the teaching field. Jennifer has been teaching piano in the north and northwest suburbs for over 30 years. She currently maintains a large home studio in Hawthorn Woods.        


Incoming president Marcia Mally and outgoing president Vonnie Mrozinski

Levonne Mrozinski has taught piano at Harper College since 1989. She has taught class piano, music appreciation and credit piano lessons. Additionally, she has taught class and private piano through the Community Music Center.

She has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. She has also done post-graduate work at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. Her teachers have included Francis Whang, Jane Magrath, and Kenneth Drake. She has studied pedagogy with Duke Miles, Jane Magrath, and E.L. Lancaster.

Mrs. Mrozinski is a past president of the NWSMTA . For NWSMTA, she has also served as first vice-president and program chair and Awards Competition committee chair. Beginning in 2010 she is the co-chair of the AIM Performance Exams.

Mrs. Mrozinski maintains an independent piano studio in Arlington Heights, IL. The Mrozinski Piano Studio website is

Mrs. Mrozinski is married to Mark Mrozinski, dean of continuing education at Harper College and co-author of Celebrate Piano!, a beginning piano method. Mark and Levonne have two children, Benjamin, 17 and Emma, 14.


After spending her childhood in South Dakota, Helen Grosshans, nationally certified by MTNA, received the Bachelor of Music degree in Piano from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and the Master of Music degree in Piano from Northwestern University.  Since then, she has maintained a private studio with varying numbers of students ranging in age from five to eighty-five years old.  Helen has also been an adjunct teacher at Aurora University, Harper University and Concordia University-Chicago teaching college students in piano classes and private lessons.  For over twenty years, she has been the director of different children and youth choirs at her church. Along the way, Helen also obtained the Master of Church Music degree from Concordia University.  Helen has been active in different positions and committees at the local and state levels of MTNA and has now finally learned that in order to teach the 8:00 A.M. student groups at Whitman School, it is important to go to bed before midnight.  Helen lives in Arlington Heights with her husband, Neal, and has two married sons, one daughter and 2.5 grandsons!


A Note from the Editor

We are born and our mothers sing lullabies that influence our dreams.  

As small children, we learn our language with the ABC song and The Wheels of the Bus.

We feel the rhythms that make us move and dance.

In churches we discover that it helps us pray.

When we find our first love, it puts sound to what we feel in our hearts.

It keeps us company even when we drive alone.

It's the gift others give us every birthday.

It makes our work easier,

And it makes our workouts faster.

It makes our meals more enjoyable,

And our wines taste more divine.

It celebrates our graduations, weddings and even our sports.

It comforts us in our grief as we bury our dead.

It is a gift from God, placed inside us at our creation.

How grateful I am to be able to nurture and share it with so many.


Deb Lynch

Newsletter Editor


Music for a Lifetime

Recently, I was walking on the track at the Wellness Center in Arlington Heights and I saw an elderly lady with a music vest on. It was the same design as on my piano bench cover. I was excited to see her and asked her if she was a piano teacher. She said she was just someone who enjoyed music. During the depression, people did not have jobs and her dad let a piano teacher live with them.  As a reslut, this elderly lady got piano lessons. She would rather play baseball, she told me. As time went forward, she obtained a Baldwin Acrosonic. It was wonderful to meet her! Music was something she enjoyed for a lifetime....

Janice Wilkans


The conference was fun and inspiring.  We all came home wanting to delve into Bartok.  We were only sad that you were not with us.  We missed you!



DISCOUNTED LYRIC OPERA TICKETS! Available to Music Educators for our entire 2014-2015 Opera Season! 

This year Music Educators receive a 20% discount to over 40 opera performances Monday - Friday.  Upper Balcony seats start at just $27 ($39 Friday evenings), First Balcony starts at just $48 ($60 Friday evenings) and Main Floor seats start at just $55 ($64 on Friday evenings). 

Verdi's Il Trovatore - Featuring Verdi's epic Anvil Chorus!  

Gershwin's Porgy and Bess - "Summertime" and the livin' is easy. 

Donizetti's Anna Bolena - Doomed Queen, tour-de-force drama, and bel canto opera at its finest. 

Puccini's Tosca - The classic opera that asks "What price is too high to save someone you love?"

Wagner's Tannh�user - A monumental vocal, choral, and orchestral feast! 

Weinberg's The Passenger - The Midwest Premiere of a haunting tale of the Holocaust, explored from the perspectives of victim and perpetrator. 


*BONUS: Your code also gives you 10% off for the Lang Lang piano recital on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 7:30 PM!  Don't miss his only 2015 Chicago appearance! 


To redeem the online-only special individual ticket discount offer please visit our website and enter thepromotion code MTNALYRIC in the "Have a Promotion Code?" field before selecting your seat.  There is no minimum purchase required to receive this discount.  

Please note: Occasionally, we may offer deeper discounts closer to performances. There are no refunds if you have already used your discount, which is designed to allow you to purchase early and choose more desirable seats.  All discount offers are subject to availability.  There may be additional service fees when ordering.  


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

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter