September 22, 2014

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In This Issue
Note from the President
September Program
CSO Discounted Tickets
Awards Repertoire
College Scholarship
Rick Lowe's Recital
AIM - Syllabus Revisions
AIM Coffee
Baby Grand for Sale
Note from the Editor
November AIM Exams
Beyond the Score Group Tickets
May Minutes
For the May minutes, please click here.
Upcoming Events


May 20  - Certification Coffee, Home of Jennifer Cohen, 3 Old Barn Rd., Hawthorn Woods


June 2 - Board Mtg.

Rolling Meadows Library


A Welcome from Our President

Dear Fellow Members: 

Greetings and welcome to a new year in the NWSMTA. Many members of our group have been working hard over the summer to set up an instructive, interesting and fun year of events and programs for us and our students. I am so delighted and proud to step into the shoes of "President" for the NWSMTA, and look forward to getting to know all of you better this year. I am finding, as I look at our group with a fresh pair of eyes, what an active, creative and well-rounded group we are, and how much we have much to offer, to our students and to each other, as we travel along this musical road.


Our first meeting, on Monday, September 22nd, will be a great time to catch up with your colleagues after the summer, pick up your Yearbooks, hear reports from the committees, and then enjoy a terrific program given by Eric Sutz, titled "How to Promote Great Posture at the Piano: Release Pain and Tightness." Please look at your schedule and find some time to join us, and recharge your inner batteries! Our first meeting is at the Rolling Meadows Library. The business meeting will start promptly at 9:45 a.m., with Mr. Sutz's program directly after.


Our first special event is our 21st Festival of Pianos. It takes place at Northbrook Court the last weekend of September, from 11:00 a.m. till about 5:30 p.m., both days, and features over 350 students and their teachers playing duets on six lovely grand pianos simultaneously. There are eight different programs, each a little over a half hour in length. If you have never attended, please come and visit anytime that weekend for an unusual musical experience! Next year you may be entering your own students.


Two meetings for teachers that are so helpful are our AIM workshop and coffee on October 6th, at Helen Grosshan's home, and our New Member Coffee, on October 27th, at Suzanne Murray's home. These are both excellent chances to meet more friends and learn more about our group, and where you might like to be involved.


Our next events, that have changed locales, are our two fall recitals, on Sunday, October 19th. This year the Classical Recital and the Pop & Jazz Recital will be held at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. This is a great opportunity to enter your students that have pieces ready for performing early in the year. We can't wait to play that beautiful grand piano that some of our members helped the library choose some years ago.


Coming up quickly after that are, in succession, our Sonata-Sonatina Festival at Harper College on November 2nd, the ISMTA State Conference at Millikin University on November 7-9th, the Gold Medal Recital at the Vernon Area Public Library on November 15th, and the AIM Exams at Harper on November 16th. Each of these activities challenges and strengthens our students and can inspire us with new insights and teaching strategies.


Every year I look forward to the beginning of the school year, and the return of all my students. They have grown so much during the summer, and even though many of them continue lessons in the summer, with the fall comes a new schedule and a new outlook for each of them. It gives me a chance to reevaluate our relationship, and consider what new things I want to bring to their lessons, what I want to shore up in their skills, and what I want to celebrate with them that they have learned and remember!


If you are new to the NWSMTA, please don't hesitate to ask any of our members any questions. If one of us can't answer your question, we will guide you towards someone who can.


Thank you. I hope to see many of you at our first meeting!


Robin Meredith-Kramer  
President, NWSMTA
September Program - Eric Sutz


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 a faculty member of the Music Institute of Chicago and Stevenson HS where he teaches Piano and Guitar.
How to Promote Great Posture at the Piano : Release Pain and Tightness
"This program is the result of my many years of searching for ways to release back pain that I had personally since I was a teenager. I will dispel the common conceptions that pianist have about posture and the common misconceptions about finding a solution. A number of modalities will be presented along with the pros and cons of each approach. The group should wear comfortable clothing if possible."

Mi-Young Kim,
Vice-President, Programs


CSO - Discounted Tickets - Piano Concerts

We can purchase tickets for all of the piano recitals at the CSO for $20.  I you are interested, you need to call Genya Kantorovich.  If you want tickets to the Kissin recital, call before the September meeting, because they are almost gone.  You can give your written order, and money for tickets you would like to order at the September meeting.

All concerts are on 3 P.M.

November 9 - M. Pollini
January 25 - P. Aimard
February 22 - G. Ohlssohn
March 8 - O. Mustonen
March 22 - A. Schiff
April 19 - E. Kissin

Thank you.
Genya Kantrovich

Awards Repertoire 2015



List A

Linda Niamath: Masquerade (Fancy Free/Linda Niamath Frederick Harris HPA9)

Telemann: Gigue (EKR Vol. 5)

T�rk: Never a Dull Moment (EKR Vol. 1)


List B

Tansman: "The Doll" (Celebration Series/Etudes 3)

Maykapar: Scherzino (EKR Vol 1)

LeCouppey: Sonatina in G Major, II. Andantino (Lyrical Sonatinas/Alfred, Bk. 2)



List A

Cimarosa: Sonata in G major (EKR Vol. 5)

Tchaikovsky: "Witch" (Album for the Young)

Kabalevsky: "In the Gymnasium" or "Holiday" Op. 14 No. 3in A minor (EKR Vol.5, p. 146).


List B

J.S. Bach: Prelude in A minor, BWV 942 (18 Short Preludes)

Haydn: Minuet in C Minor (Classics to Moderns Music for Millions Vol. 37, p.62)

Prokofiev: Waltz Op. 65, No. 6 (From Children's music).



List A

Persichetti: Toccatina No. 3 (3 Toccatinas/Theodore Presser)

Shostakovich: Springtime Waltz (Easy Pieces for Piano, No.15/ Schirmer's HL 50262590

J.S. Bach: Rondeau from Partita No. 2 in C Minor


List B

Smetana: Souvenir Sketch Op. 4 No. 3 (Alfred/Hinson: Anthology of Romantic Piano Music, p.234).

Chopin: Nocturne in C minor Op. Post.

Mozart: Sonata in C major, K. 545, 2nd mvt.



List A

Haydn: Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI/34, 1st mvt.

Schubert: Impromptu in E-flat Op. 90 No. 2

MacDowell: "Hungarian" Etude Op. 39 No. 12(Alfred/Olson Applause!, Book Two, p.58)


List B

Schubert: Moment Musical Op. 94 No. 4

Grieg: "Poet's Heart" Op. 52 No. 3

Prokofiev: Gavotte Op. 32 No. 3


SENIOR (~18)

List A

Clara Schumann: Caprice a la Bolero

Scriabin: Etude Op. 8 No. 2

De Falla: Andaluza (Four Spanish Dances/Kalmus)


List B

Rachmaninoff: Prelude Op. 32 No. 5

Debussy: Prelude from Suite Bergamasque

Mozart: Sonata in F Major K. 332, 2nd mvt.


Dear colleagues,

I would be happy to help each of you to get a copy of the music you need. Please contact me.

Galina Kostukovsky, AC coordinator.


College Scholarship

The winner of the $1000 college scholarship for 2014 was Shelley Liu, student of Hsiu Chen Hicks.  Congratulations to both teacher and student.


Now is the time to start planning for your student's repertoire for the 2015 college scholarship, if you have a high school student graduating this year and majoring in music in a college/university that will prepare her/him for a career in music.  There a few changes for the requirements for this scholarship:


1 piece each from the Baroque and Classical periods and choose 1 piece from either the Romatic or Impressionistic Periods.  All pieces need to be memorized and be advanced level or equivalent to level 10 or higher from the AIM repertoire.  Deadline is April 15.


If you have any questions, please call or email with college scholarship stated in the subject line.


Pat Borchardt



Recital Invitation

I grand piano would like to let our membership know that I will being performing a piano concert on Saturday, October 4th at 7pm. The concert will be held at the David Adler Music and Arts Center in Libertyville. The program includes a tribute to classical, jazz and popular music from the past and present. Proceeds from the concert will benefit scholarship programs at Adler.

Rick Lowe


 Sympathy cards were sent to Robin Meredith-Kramer on the passing of her brother, Tyler, and to Verna Dean Roberts daughter, when Verna Dean passed away.

Janice Wilkans

AIM - News about the ISMTA Syllabus Revisions


NWSMTA will not offer workbooks for sale. To order any new, revised workbooks, use the ISMTA online order form on the website. Levels 11 and 12 workbooks are not available yet as of 9/14/2014 so until the new ones are ready, old editions will be sent. If you need the old workbooks for Levels 2, 3 and 4 to prepare for November 2014 exams, email your order NOW for only old workbooks to Justin in the Central Office ( and copy Sarah ( Do not delay!


NWSMTA AIM Dates include:

Date                 Deadline        Old/New         Exam

11/16/2014      10/16/2014     Old Syllabus    Levels 1 & 2 complete;                                                                             Theory Levels 3 & 4

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.


4.  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.


Also Announcing: 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.

Terms and Signs and Glossary Changes in New Syllabus

Level 2:

Changed: interval - moved from level 4


Level 3:

Changed: decrescendo - moved from level 4 (replaces diminuendo)

Added:    ledger line: A short line added for notes above or below the                      staff.


Level 4:

Changed: interval - moved to level 2

diminuendo - moved from level 3 (replaces decrescendo)


Level 5:

Added:     upbeat: Note or notes played before the first full measure.

    con spirito: With spirit.

Took Out: andantino, three eighths


Level 6:

Added:     diminished triad: A triad consisting of a minor 3rd and             

diminished 5th (two consecutive minor thirds)

augmented triad: A triad consisting of a major 3rd and augmented 5th (two consecutive major thirds)

agitato: Agitated

Took Out: giocoso


Level 7:

Added:     lead sheet: Pop chord symbols indicated above a single 

line melody.


Level 8:

Added:     polyphony (polyphonic/polyphony) - same definition as


               homophony (homophonic/homophony) - same definition as



Level 9:

Added:     contrapuntal (counterpoint/contrapuntal) - same definition 

as counterpoint

               non-harmonic tone: A note that is not part of the harmony.


Level 10:

Added:      atonality, bitonality, tonal center - moved from level 12

sonata-allegro form: A form often used for first movements of sonatas and other works. It includes three main sections: exposition, development, and recapitulation.

ornament: A note or notes added to embellish a melody. Examples are mordents,

appoggiaturas, trills and turns.

Took Out: scherzo, polytonality


Level 11:

Added:      invention: A short contrapuntal work (i.e. 2 and 3-part

 inventions of J.S. Bach)

Took Out: canon


Level 12:

Took Out: atonality, bitonality, tonal center - moved to level 10,

anticipation, suspension


Harmonizations in New Syllabus

Listed below are the harmonizations in the new syllabus.

Level 1C:        1 Harmonization added

New:    Bow, Wow, Wow


Level 2:           Only 2 harmonizations at level 2

New:    Took out The Nightingale

Same: The Cuckoo

Sweetly Sings the Donkey


Level 3:           No new harmonizations

Same: The Golden Ring (renamed - same as German Folk Tune)

Skip to My Lou

Air (same as Basque Air)


Level 4:           2 New Harmonizations

New:    How They Dance, Dance, Dance (replaces He's Got the

    Whole World in His Hands)

Lavender's Blue (replaces Sarasponda)

Same: Zum Gali Gali


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


AIM Coffee

null Come to the AIM Coffee Workshop on Monday, October 6, in the home of Helen Grosshans (310 W Hintz Rd in Arlington Heights, IL 60004). Gather at 9:30 or after with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. promptly. The focus will be on preparation for: January theory exams in levels V - XII, November/February exams for III - IV; March and April performance exams V - XII. Bring your old and new syllabus copies if possible. Your RSVP to Helen Grosshans ( or 847-259-2125) helps in planning, but it is not required. Intended for all teachers! Do come and join us!

Piano for Sale

Yamaha C1 Grand Piano

Baby Grand Concert Level

(Bought New in 2002)

Call   312-720-5802

$11,000 (ref 'The Piano Book')

(includes cost of moving within Illinois and one tuning after receipt)

This piano has not been played much.  It needs a home where someone will make music with it.  It is located in Palatine.

Original Value $21,000


Advanced scale design
Solid spruce soundboard and ribs
Complete tone collector system
Dovetail joints
Solid maple bridge and caps
Duplex scaling
Solid copper wound bass strings
Aluminum alloy action rails
Yamaha balanced action
Spruce keys with hardwood buttons
Premium Yamaha designed hammers with T-fasteners
Specially designed hammer shanks
Reinforced keyframe pin with adjustable guide
Hardwood reinforced keyframe
Full Sostenuto
Patented Humid-A-Seal pinblock™
Cut thread tuning pins
Polyester finish
Resin sheet foundation
Soft-Close™ fallboard
Lid prop stopper
Locking fallboard and top
Solid brass casters
Vacuum Shield Mold Process (V-Pro) plate
Seasoned for destination
Yamaha ServiceBondSM Assurance Program


Note from the Editor

At last year's national convention in Chicago, I learned about the Joy Tunes app, Piano Maestro.  It is the only sight reading app that also works with an acoustic piano.  My students love the app.  The games approach to it, is motivating and even addicting.  Hmmm, an addiction to practicing.  The parents are thrilled to see their children exceed their former practice times.  In fact, it was so successful, many parents had to limit the time they spent on it.  

The app was developed by two brothers.  One is an oboist and the other is a software engineer.  They are committed to continue improving the game, based on feedback and suggestions from teachers using the app with their students.

After sending an email to them, I received a phone call from a Joy Tunes representative, who was interested in my experience using the app with my students.  

The app used to be by subscription, but is now free to teachers and their connected students.  

It's also great for lessons, when the students come less prepared than they wish.

Since starting my students on the app, the creator has continued to add new features.  They added ways to help students break a song down into easier steps.  The app now allows the students to repeat difficult sections of a piece.   And it now has the ability to record their performance with the accompaniment to send to others.  Being able to hear themselves play allows them to concentrate on the sound of what they are playing.  

Students who have trouble staying focused are absolutely glued to the music.  They concentrate so much on the music, they never look at their hands.  

I had a parent who emailed me that her son had practiced for 75 minutes for the first time.  He's only six years old.   I feel if a student learns to practice consistently and increase the amount of time they spend at the piano, they will develop habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Here are a coupld of videos of two of my favorite students, that happen also to be my grandsons in California.  Even Bogie, the cat, loves Piano Maestro.  

Video Sep 12, Piano Maestro Andrew
Video Sep 12, Piano Maestro Andrew

Video Aug 29 Piano Maestro Nathan
Video Aug 29 Piano Maestro Nathan

November AIM Exams


The AIM exams testing the complete levels of I and II plus the theory portions of levels III and IV will be given at Harper College on Sunday, November 16.  These exams will be based on the OLD syllabus (2003 edition).  Repertoire may be selected from either the old or new syllabus.  Pieces not listed in either syllabus may be submitted for approval to Stephanie Myers ( along with the AIM level and list A, B or C.  Please attach the email giving her approval to the student's repertoire sheet.  Entry forms online are not current, but will be soon.  They may be submitted to Mary Anne Block ( or 749 Oak Rd., Barrington, IL  60010) by October 16 or earlier (preferred). 

Student times will not be released until judging assignments have been made and accepted by teachers.  Teachers are expected to volunteer their time in order to make these exams possible so must be sure to keep calendars open for that Sunday between 8:30 - 1:00 or 1:00 - 5:30.  Attending the AIM Coffee Workshop is recommended on Monday, October 6, for a review of these exam requirements.  As students are prepared for levels 3 and 4d, remember that the OLD syllabus is used for their theory exams, but the NEW syllabus with technic from the NEW syllabus and repertoire from either the OLD or NEW syllabus will be heard on February 9, 2015.  Questions?  Contact the November/February Exam Chairs:  Mary Anne Block ( and Fran Onley (


Helen Grosshans

AIM PIano Coordinator


Beyond the Score - CSO Group tickets


Telling the Stories of Music

Beyond the Score is a musical experience like no other. Using live theater, stunning visual projections and orchestral excerpts played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, each installment will immerse you in the compelling stories behind symphonic music.

Enjoy three brand-new productions this season as the CSO transports you to the worlds of composers Pierre Boulez, Johannes Brahms and Maurice Ravel, bringing their music, passion, humor and joy vividly to life! 


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

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter