November 27, 2017


Quick Links...
In This Issue
A Note From Our President
Eric Sutz
AIM Exam
Camp Scholarship
College Scholarship
Article Headline
Article Headline
Note from the Editor
October Minutes
Click here for the October 16 General Meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


Eric Sutz
"Myofascia Release for Arms and Shoulders"
Monday, 11/27/17
Rolling Meadows Library
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting


Monday, 12/4/17
Home of  Brenda Huang
1305 N. Deer Ave., Palatine
10:00 A.M.-11:30 A.M.

Thursday, 12/14/17   Deadline: AIM Levels 5-12 Theory Exams
All AIM registrations are now online. 
Mail check by December 14, 2017 to Helen Chang


Monday, 1/15/18   Deadline:  To request permission to use non-Syllabus repertoire
All repertoire through Level 11 that is not on the AIM Piano Syllabus Repertoire List must be approved by Illinois Repertoire Substitution Chair Stephanie Myers at

Wendy Unwrath
 "Yoga for Pianists"
Monday, 1/15/18
Rolling Meadows Library
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
9:45 A.M. Meeting

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Before the holiday NWSMTA wrapped up a busy fall lineup of student events, including the Festival of Pianos, Classical and Pop-Jazz recitals, the Sonata-Sonatina Festival, Gold Medal recitals, and the first AIM exams. Wow! Is it any wonder that we all forward to a break over the holidays? 

I want to express my thanks on behalf of all the members of NWSMTA to the chairpersons and committees who organize and run these events as well as to all the teachers who volunteer to work at them. It is no small task to organize and schedule hundreds of students, find and schedule both judges and workers, order and distribute medals, ribbons, pins, and certificates, make programs, handle payments, and solve the last minute problems that inevitably occur. I am very proud of the true professionalism which NWSMTA members exhibit at all of our events. There is no better way to show our dedication to music education than through providing these opportunities to our students. 

Earlier this month I attended the ISMTA conference at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. One of the first items on the agenda was a vote on the revised by-laws. I want to thank Deb Lynch for her careful analysis of the proposed changes, which I asked her to send out to our membership via Constant Contact. We were very concerned that some of the proposed changes were not in the best interests of our members. 

After discussion at the ISMTA Board meeting some of the more problematic proposals were modified. However, one of the biggest changes, which was to greatly reduce the size of the Board by eliminating some positions and removing the local association presidents, was passed. The presidents will now be part of an advisory board but will no longer have a direct vote. We will be better able to review all of the changes and consider their possible impact after the state office distributes the updated bylaws. 

I would like to recognize and thank two of our members for their service on the ISMTA Board. Deb Lynch was the Vice President for Local Associations and Helen Grosshans was both the AIM chair and Past President. Their replacements will find that they have very big shoes to fill. Two of our members, Jennifer Cohen and Carol Walgren-Georgas, continue to serve on the Board. 

As I think about the recent conference as well as others I have attended, my best memories are not necessarily of the sessions I attended but rather of the time I got to spend with fellow teachers. I encourage you to attend the NWSMTA Holiday party which will be held on Monday, December 4, at the home of Brenda Huang in Palatine. We spend so much time and energy doing things for our students and families that we often forget to set aside time for ourselves. This party gives us an opportunity to get together with other teachers in a fun social setting. I hope to see you there!

Suzanne Murray


Eric Sutz graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Music and has been at the Music Institute of Chicago since 2009, teaching private and group piano, jazz studies, and adult lessons. 

Most of Mr. Sutz' achievements are connected to local projects. 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, he took part-time and full-time jobs as a rehearsal and audition pianist for the Candlelight, Marriot Lincolnshire, Wisdom Bridge, and Goodman Theater. He was president of NSMTA from 2006-2008, and received an award as Member of the Year for NSMTA in 2008 and 2011. He has received his Arts in Action certification for 15 straight years in Northbrook, and also published a book, "How to Play and Teach Popular Music Creatively," in 1986.

Beyond accompanying theater groups and various choirs, Eric also taught at Carmel High School as the associate and primary choral director. He was also the accompanist, rehearsal, and solo pianist for the European tour of their concert choir. Currently, he is a faculty member of the Music Institute of Chicago along with being a piano and guitar teacher at Stevenson High School.

When not teaching, performing, or accompanying, Eric enjoys history, travel, yoga, scuba diving and martial arts. In the martial art world he is a Sifu/Guro under Dan Inosanto, Ron Balicki, Rick Faye, Grand Master Atillo, Marc Halleck, Hoch Hochheim and Master Shim. His favorite composers to play include Bach, Chopin, Gershwin, Ellington, and Debussy.

Myofascia Release for your Arms and Shoulders
Fascia is the term used to describe the connective tissues of the body. Dysfunction in this tissue can occur time and causes a great deal of movement restriction and pain. Learning how to release those adhesions and knots will give you the opportunity to create the correct movement patterns and range of motion. Learn the correct way to use these important techniques to create movement efficiency.  If you have rollers, bands,yoga straps, baseballs, yoga tuneup balls, or lacrosse balls please bring them to the program.. No special clothing needed.


109 students from 24 teachers participated in the November AIM exam on Sunday, November 12th at Harper College.

Low Average Median High # Students Judged
Overall 52.25 94.12 95.75 100.25 109
L04 81.00 93.91 95.00 100.25 25
L03 52.25 93.82 96.25 100.00 26
L02 68.50 92.44 95.00 99.00 31
L01C 93.00 96.32 96.75 99.75 7
L01B 91.00 96.78 98.00 100.00 15
L01A 90.50 96.10 96.00 99.50 5


NWSMTA  offers a camp scholarship to a camp of the student's choosing.  The scholarship money will be sent directly to the camp.  We provide a $300 scholarship to 1st place winners in each division, junior (up to 8th grade) and senior (9th through 12th grade).  We also provide a $200 scholarship to 2nd place winners in each division.  The deadline is  April 15.  Complete rules & application form are on the website.  If you have any questions, please call or send an email.

Pat Borchardt


NWSMTA offers a college scholarship in the amount of $1000 which goes to 1 winner.  The first installment is $500 and is sent directly to the school the student will be attending and the 2nd installment of $500 will be sent to the school after the student has shown a copy of acceptable grades to the chairperson after the 1st semester.  Complete rules & application form are on the website.  If you have any question, please call or email.

Pat Borchardt


A card was sent to Joan Drolet in the loss of her brother. 
A card was sent to Marcia Mally in the loss of her cousin. 
A card was sent to Rachel Wojcicki in the loss of her grandma.
A check was sent to Kathlyn Sbarboro to be used for her sons' college fund.


Donated by Marilyn L. Crosland and Rachel Wojcicki

The Art of Practicing, a Guide to Making Music from the Heart      
Madeline Bruser
Famous Pianists & Their Technique 
Reginald R. Gerig
Form in Music                                                                                         Wallace Berry           
Great Lessons from Great Pianists Pianists  
St uart Isacoff, ed.
Great Pianists on Piano Playing
James Francis Cooke
Intelligent Music Teaching
Robert A. Duke
Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music 
Sandra P. Rosenblum
The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling  
Joseph Banowetz
A Symposium for Pianists and Teachers:  Strategies to Develop the Mind and Body for Optimal Performance
Kris Kropff, ed.
With Your Own Two Hands
Seymour Bernstein

Monday, December 4, 2017   
Home of  Brenda Huang
1305 N. Deer Ave., Palatine
10:00 A.M.-11:30  A.M.


I just spent a week with my eight-year-old twin grandsons from California.  We had our second "in person" lesson on the duet, "Canon in D" by Pachelbel.  They are getting ready to audition for their school talent show.  Because I skype their piano lessons, it's crucial that I hold their attention and imaginations with imagery and creating expressive sounds at the piano.  After a week of them falling in love with Burgmuller's Arabesque, in which the A section represents little elves running to hide from the ogre while whispering, "Gotta get away," and the B section which represents the ogre chanting, "Gonna getcha now!" my brother-in-law suggested it was time to teach them a new song.  We made the elves and ogre move in different ways, depending on if the elves had just eaten a whole turkey, or if the ogre was getting "hangry" because he had had nothing to eat for a very long time, resulting in a demonstration of a variety of touches at the piano.  We reversed the major and minor of each section, transposed up and down an octave, and tried multiple tempi, just to experience what it would sound like. 
Once a student has command of the notes, fingerings and rhythms, it's time to take advantage of their comfort level and explore any direction they may wish to go with it.

During the week, we often found them lost in the music as they played; sometimes both playing pianos in different rooms.  The sounds merged together, sometimes contrasting, and sometimes melting into the piece the other one was playing.  It's a rare opportunity to be in the background as your students practice.  When we teach music, we touch the future through our students as they are encouraged to grow and develop their humanness, through music.

Deb Lynch
Newsletter Editor

PS  If you plan to enter students in AIM, you may wish to do a preliminary registration for the repertoire portion of the exam, even though it's months away.  The OPERA program (under AIM on the NWSMTA website) will let you know if all the repertoire you're planning meets the criteria.  You are always free to make changes, or delete the registration. 

Deborah Lynch