September 20th, 2015

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In This Issue
President's Prelude
George Radosavljevic
Piano and Bassoon Recital
Festival of Pianos
College Scholarship
CAMTA Workshop
Robert Vandall
A Note from the Editor
Free Concert
Janice Wilkans
New Library Materials
September Minutes
Click here for the September Board Meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events

September 21, 2015
George Radosavljevik
"The Music of Franz Liszt"
Rolling Meadows Library   9:45 A.M. Meeting

September 26, 2015
Rehearsal -  Northbrook Court Shopping Center  

September 27, 2015  
Performance -  Northbrook Court Shopping Center

September 28, 2015   Deadline: Checks must be mailed for Classical & Pop-Jazz Recital


Tuesday, October 6, 2015   Postmark Deadline
AIM: Levels 1-2 (Complete) Exams and Levels 3-4 Theory Exams  Send entries to Mary Anne Block

October 6, 2015
9:45-11:15 A.M.  
"Solving the Mysteries of AIM!"
Corner Bakery,  470 E. Rand Road , Arlington Hts. (In the Northpoint Shopping Center at the far east end)
BRING 2014 AIM SYLLABUS and QUESTIONS!  Wi-Fi tablets and phones optional

October 11, 2015   
Deadline (Online Registration): Classical & Pop-Jazz Recital

October 12, 2015   
Deadline (email): Sonata-Sonatina Festival
Check must be received by deadline; mail early

October 12, 2015
9:45 A.M.   Home of Susan Ioriatti,  1520 N. Lincoln Ct., Arlington Heights

October 19, 2015
PROGRAM: Robert Vandall, " Helping the Student Make the Piece Come Alive
Rolling Meadows Library   9:15 A.M. IMT Chat 
NWSMTA Library Sale
9:45 A.M. Meeting
A Prelude from Our President

Dear Colleagues,
Are you ready for autumn? Cooler breezes, leaves changing color, the structure coming back into your daily schedule, more focused work each day. It is probable that you have already, in the last month, had to pick up and put on the mantle of researcher, innovator, muse, taskmaster and organizer, as well as digging in to your role as teacher. It feels good doesn't it? I find that I welcome the extra mental energy that I call forth to shake off that summer "ease" and get back to being fully engaged with music and my students.
We also come back together to share ideas with each other. Our first NWSMTA meeting of the year is Monday, September 21st, at the Rolling Meadows Library. Oh my - that is tomorrow! I must apologize right here. The reason your newsletter is coming so late is due to my slowness in writing this note. Our fantastic editor, Deb Lynch, has everything ready to go, and just chose to wait patiently for me. A reminder to us all - our deadline is the 5th of the month to get articles in.  Start your articles for October now! So, to continue, our business meeting begins at 9:45 am, and our first program of the year, presented by George Radosavljevic, on the music of Franz Liszt, will begin about 10:30 am. Board members, please come early, by 9:30, so we can vote on this year's budget, before we begin our business meeting. Thanks to all committees for getting in your info this week, and a big thanks to Chyi-Ling Evans, our Treasurer, for putting it all together! Tomorrow is also the day to pick up your new Yearbook - another great reason to come if you can.
Our first special event of the year is coming up quickly - the 22nd Festival of Pianos will be held next weekend at Northbrook Court, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, in front of Lord & Taylor. Six grand pianos, arranged in a semi-circle, will be played throughout the day, by twelve people at a time, led by a conductor. We have eight programs of wonderful music. This year around 330 students, and 27 teachers will be participating, accompanied by parents, siblings, grandparents or friends.  Saturday, September 26th is the rehearsal day, and Sunday, September 27th,  is the Performance day. Please come and support us, especially if you have never been. This is a great event to enter your students of all ages and abilities! Maybe next year you will join us. Be sure to invite family and friends.
Once you receive your Yearbook, take some time to look over our programs and events that are coming up, so you can mark your own calendars. The possibilities are numerous. We have a Classical Recital and a Pop & Jazz Recital, twice a year, that your students can perform in. The first one is in October. The AIM Exams, our statewide educational program that supports our students' musical knowledge, have four exam dates, spread throughout the year, beginning in November. An AIM informational coffee will be held on October 6th, at the Corner Bakery in Arlington Heights. On October 12th is our new member coffee, hosted by our membership chairwoman, Sue Ioriatti. Board members are expected to attend, to highlight their committee's projects and welcome our new members. Another event is the Sonata-Sonatina Festival, held in November, where students play for judges and receive medals and written comments for their efforts.
Start thinking about some outside events to boost your inspiration and teaching skills - classes, workshops, concerts, visits to other groups programs.

We have a weekend of what we are loosely dubbing "the Robert Vandall Crawl" in October. From Friday, October 16th through Monday, October 19th, Robert Vandall, well-known and respected composer from Ohio, will be making the rounds to four local ISMTA groups, including a visit to us for our October meeting's presentation. We want to encourage our members to visit these other groups' programs, as well as inspiring them to visit ours. 

Friday is the CAMTA workshop ( 
Saturday, October 17th, is the Naperville MTA Vandall Festival ( 
Sunday, October 18th, is the Salt Vreek MTA Music of Robert Vandall Festival ( 
Monday, October 19th will be our chance to host Mr. Vandall, at 10:30 am, to share his expertise and entertaining, educational music. More details to follow.

One other event I want you to start thinking about now is our ISMTA State Conference. This year it is being held at MBI - Moody Bible Institute, in downtown Chicago, on Friday & Saturday, November 6th & 7th. The State Board has decided to invite any members who have never attended a state conference to come for free. The double incentive of being close and attending at no cost will hopefully inspire many of you to go. These conferences are always interesting and inspirational, and give us another opportunity to connect with our colleagues across the state. Give yourself the gift of a day or two of nothing but music, music , music! Check the ISMTA website to register. It is very reasonable, and well worth it!

Please remember to use our website as a resource for information, and links to all our committees. It is a cornucopia full of surprises aplenty -

To wrap this up, I just want to thank everyone that has worked incredibly hard this summer, to get this year of programs and events ready for you. I also want to thank each of you for being part of this wonderful group of educators and musicians! I value each of your efforts and input. If you have any questions, concerns or ideas pertaining to anything NWSMTA-related throughout the year, please feel free to contact me and share them. I will do my best to address them with you.
Looking forward to working with you in this new year in teaching, learning and music-making,
Robin Meredith-Kramer
NWSMTA - President

George Radosavljevic "The Music of Franz Liszt"

We are very fortunate to have George Radosavljevic as our first speaker of the year.     "The Music of Franz Liszt" will be the topic on  September 21st .  Don't miss it!

Pianist George Radosavljevic has appeared on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series, and in many solo and ensemble concerts broadcast live on WFMT Radio. His playing has been called "polished and elegantly shaped" by the Chicago Tribune and "consistently enchanting" by the Pioneer Press. Mr. Radosavljevic appears as orchestral pianist with the Lake Forest Symphony and is currently on the faculty of the DePaul University School of Music, Community Music Division. He is the director of the RMU Chamber Ensemble (Ensemble in Residence at Robert Morris University) which provides educational concerts in a variety of venues and a founding member of the piano trio Trio Capriccio.  Mr. Radosavljevic holds the degree Master of Music in piano performance from DePaul University as a scholarship student of Dmitry Paperno.

Piano and Bassoon Recital

Pianist Yukiko Fujimura and bassoonist Eric Heidbreder will perform jazz-influenced works by several contemporary American composers in a joint recital on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Thulin Performance Hall in the Thompson Center (1151 N. State St., Elgin).

Additionally, the duo will premiere a new work by composer Christoph Nils Thompson (who is scheduled to be in attendance). Thompson is currently an assistant professor of music at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. His piece, entitled "Permutatis," will showcase an original composition technique wherein themes morph into each other or into permutations of themselves.  

Fujimura, a native of Japan, actively plays recitals of solo and chamber music as well as concerti with orchestra. She has won prizes at numerous competitions and earned her doctorate in Piano Performance at Ball State University, where she held a full teaching assistantship.

Heidbreder, a graduate of both Ball State University and DePaul University, is currently the bassoonist and educational programs coordinator with Fifth House Ensemble in Chicago. He has performed as a substitute musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has held positions with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Tickets for this recital are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and will be available at the door. (No entry fee for students.)

Festival of Pianos

Come to Northbrook Court on Sunday, September 27th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm to hear the six piano ensemble at the  22nd Festival of Pianos.

The rehearsal is on Saturday, September 26th at the same times in which the six Steinway grand pianos from Steinway Gallery of Northbrook will be arranged in a semi-circle in front of Lord & Taylor. 

Over 330 students, 27 teachers and parents will be playing in the programs,

The three conductors sharing in the eight programs are Fran Evens, Bev Modlin, and Robin Meredith-Kramer. This annual event is to provide an opportunity for our students to play lovely duet music from classical to popular selections for family, friends, and the community throughout the day. 

Come, sit down, and enjoy the wonderful music filling the mall. 

We also take pride in knowing we are the only group in the ISMTA and MTNA who have been doing this service for the community for 22 years.

We are grateful to Northbrook Mall for hosting this event, to Steinway Gallery of Northbrook for the six grand pianos, and to Gand Sound of Elk Grove Village for our sound system and most of all to our great committee of which we couldn't do it without everyone working together.

Co-chairs: Sandy Leibowitz and Marcia Mally
College Scholarship

If you have a  student graduating from high school this year and planning to major in music, don't forget about our $1000 college scholarship.  It is a great help for the student, and student and parents have been very appreciative for the scholarship.  The money is directly deposited to their account at the school they will be attending.  The deadline for the application is  April 15 .  Complete rules and the application form are on our website.  The only change we have this year will be:  NO DVD, ONLY PERFORMANCE VIA YOUTUBE.  This is due to the complications arising from trying to open the dvd on different computers and trying to format the dvd so it can be opened.  If you have any questions, please call or send an email.

Pat Borchardt

CAMTA Workshop - Robert Vandall, clinician

When: Friday, October 16, 2015, 8:30 am - 3 pm
Where: PianoForte, 1335 S Michigan Ave, Chicago
Fee: $50 advance registration, $25 students
Deadline: October 12, 2015
Please note: Registration on the day of the event is an additional $10 at the door

Online registration will be available soon at

Business Meeting
Toccatas, Tarantellas and Technique
Composing Music for Students
The More the Merrier
Robert Vandall and his wife, Karen, teach in their independent piano studio in New Philadelphia, Ohio.   Vandall earned his B.M. in Piano Performance from Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio and his M.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Illinois. He has appeared at multiple MTNA national and state conventions, and has also presented at workshops in thirty states. Vandall has written and arranged many educational piano pieces, and associations of piano teachers in nearly twenty states have commissioned pieces by him. He publications are available from Alfred. He was recently commissioned by Salt Creek MTA to write the duet suite Chicagoland. He will be making presentations at other local associations on  October 17 , 18 and 19.

NWSMTA Program: Robert Vandall - "Helping the Student Make the Piece Come Alive"

Monday, October 19, 2015
Rolling Meadows Library
9:45 A.M. Meeting

Robert Vandall and his wife, Karen, teach about 20 students in their independent piano studio at home in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Before this, he taught group piano, music theory, and music literature and listening for nine years at community colleges in Springfield, IL and Flat River, MO.

Vandall earned his B.M. in Piano Performance in 1966 from Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio and his M.M. in Piano Performance in 1968 from the University of Illinois. He holds Permanent Professional Certification from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and has appeared at multiple MTNA national and state conventions. He has also presented at workshops in thirty states and in the District of Columbia, and has directed piano ensembles across the nation. He was a faculty member of the International Workshop in Biarritz, France.

Additionally, Vandall has written and arranged many piano education materials, and associations of piano teachers in nearly twenty states have commissioned solos and duets from Mr. Vandall for their students. Vandall received the University of Illinois School of Music Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1990 and, with his wife, the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music Achievement Award in 1991.

His hobbies take him outdoors, as him and his wife both enjoy gardening, walking and hiking. He Is an active member of the Ohio Music Teachers Association and the Fortnightly Music Club of New Philadelphia, affiliated with the National Federation of Music Clubs, as well. He is father to two grown sons-Chris, a professional percussionist and music teacher, and Bruce, a landscape designer-and has five grandchildren.
A Note from the Editor

And they're off!  The students are back, with dreams of making enjoyable music.  Their parents bring their own hopes to the lesson, that their child will be well rounded and have music to take away the stresses in their life.  And the teachers are anticipating a journey that will lead their students to love music.  That's a lot of dreaming, hoping and anticipating.  What can we do as teachers to give our students a world made better because they create music?  What can make their performances rewarding for themselves and the audience?
It doesn't take long for the student to discover that practicing and playing an instrument are two very different things.  We could help our students by getting them to accept everything about their performance.   Let go of the performance itself.  Developing focus in one's practice leads to mastery.  Then when it's time to perform, just play.  Don't worry about the correctness of the performance.  Lives are not ruined by how one plays.  The performance, depends upon how easy the piece has become.  One cannot give an inspired performance, without practice. 

Ken Werner, a jazz pianist, describes why we practice with the following story...

Practice like a monk reads scriptures.  He doesn't read them because he hasn't read them before.  He reads them because he has a message to pass on.  A great performance can't be faked.  One needs to love what they're doing.  Only then can someone play without criticizing themselves.  What anyone else feels about the performance doesn't matter. 

Music is not powered by the music, but by the musician.  When the musician feels the music, so does the audience, because it's communicated to them.  When the audience doesn't get it, it's the performer's fault.  A well done performance radiates humanity, because the music has already touched the performer. 

We all need musicians that  get lost in the sound.  Today, we're numb with technological miracles.  Our inner self is dying for expression.  When there is a connection to the music, we become relevant again. 
How do we get our students to get to their practicing in the first place?  It's hard because there's so much to practice and the student doesn't know where to start.  If the student feels they need a long time to practice, they won't start.  What if the student felt they could practice something in five minutes?  They know they have that much time.  What if they had five minutes twenty times a day?  If they can narrow down what they're going to work on, they can change their playing.  Work on one thing and master it.  Keeping their focus on one thing means they'll never forget what they're working on.  They will hear their playing change in one day.  One day will lead to weeks of practice.  Focused  practiced will lead to a performance that is free to express the inner self.

Ken Werner wrote the book, Effortless Mastery.

Deb Lynch  
Newsletter Editor 

Free Concert  Piano  Duet & Collaborative Music with Flute, Percussion, and Koto

Tango Tano performed by K&J Piano Duet
Sunday 10/4/2015
Door opens at  1:30pm
Starts at  2:00-4:00pm
Location: Assembly Hall at Friendship Village
350 W Schaumburg Rd.
Schaumburg IL


A get well card was  sent to Vivian Pintacura due to her broken arm.  We all understand how difficult it is for a pianist to deal with a broken arm.

Janice Wilkans, Hospitality

Janice Wilkans Describes Her Stroke Experience

My stroke began in the parking lot of the Wellness  Center as I got out of my car. My left arm and hand were tingling. I went to the pool instructor to ask for a nurse because something was not right and I couldn't walk back to the front desk. The nurses came and my blood pressure was 200. In emergency, I could not feel my left hand or foot. I was bleeding on the right side of my brain and they gave me platelets to stop the bleeding. The neurologist said because I had music in my life I would heal faster. There was a doctor talking to me and I could not see him because he was talking from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago via camera technology. Another piece of technology was a blue machine which would lift me and take me to a commode or to the sink to brush my teeth. I felt like Christopher Reeves. The machine would make me stand when I could not stand. A nurse was helping me from the bed and I fell on the floor because my left foot was not strong enough. In the beginning, my foot felt like a heavy brick. It was hard to move.
I was transferred to Alexian Brothers Rehab for stroke survivors. I met a lot of stroke survivors, such as Fay who was in my Friday pool class a long time ago. She bled on the left side of her brain had trouble getting her words out. I felt like I was on vacation there. I ate very well and
made some men smile in the dining room. There was no stress and pressure. I was happy. I loved my occupational therapist! When I first met her, I could not get the peg in the hole like the game at Cracker Barrel. I was very upset. Today, I can get the screws and pegs in the hole. There were many times I had a second person in my speech class. It was another way for me to learn about the person. I talked fine. The speech therapists were helping me to focus and stay on track. In physical therapy, I had to step sideways and I had to drag my left foot. Today, I can step over a curb and walk a flight of stairs. My son bought me a rolled up keyboard years ago and I was too busy to explore it. In the beginning, my left pointer would not cooperate. Then, I put a rhythm section on and improvised and all the patients looked around. The two ladies I met now say, "my buddy the piano teacher." It was fun meeting so many different therapists and stroke survivors. At the support group on Thursdays, I met Sheila, the wife of a stroke survivor. Their daughter studied with Verna Dean Roberts.
I had a machine that would move my legs in bed. I layed in bed, creatively thinking.  Instead of "The Circle of Life," I called it the "Rhythm of Life."  I was breathing as my legs moved.  Before my friend, Fay, was discharged from rehab, I made rhythm cards and had her clap and say, "Fay is okay." I met Abraham who worked behind the desk. I clapped his name from Faber Level 1 "Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus". I told him about the song I was teaching and he smiled when I clapped his name.
In July, at the support group, I met David who told me about the stroke camp. So, I went to a stroke camp at Elmhurst College. My husband drove me there and picked me up. I met the music therapist, Jamie, who knew Mark Miller. I got excited because one year my husband and I went to hear him play at the Wyndam Hotel. We went to meet Mark in Barrington recently and we found out he moved to Lake in the Hills. I wanted to observe his teaching on line. He teaches people in England and New Zealand. At the camp, I sat in a drum circle and every one had a percussion instrument whether they new music or not. There were three people who had aphasia and they could not talk. One man could only laugh or cry.
I go to Alexian Brothers Rehab three times a week; Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 to 12 noon. During this time, I have seen a stroke survivor who uses sign language.  I recently met a man named Jan (same as my name) who is Polish like me. The therapist uses an interpreter via technology that they hear through an earpiece.
Having a stroke has been quite a learning experience for me. It is opening up a whole new world for me. When I read the word, "stroke" in an email, I did not pay attention to it or care about it. Now, when I see the word "stroke", It means so much to me.  I appreciated all the cards and prayers I received. Please keep praying so my tingling goes away. I have only eight students due to all my past physical traumas at this time. I lost only one student. I am very fortunate that these eight students have stayed with me. 

Thank you, 
Janice Wilkans

Editor's note: Janice is a rare role model to all of us.  She finds something to learn in even tough life experiences.  Not only does she not stop growing herself, but she also encourages others to continue learning.  She's a true life teacher.

New Library Materials 2014-2015
  • At the Piano, Interviews with 21st-Century Pianists - Caroline Benser
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua
  • Chopin's Letters - Frédéric Chopin
  • How I Made $100,000 My First Year as a Piano Teacher - Kristin K. Yost
  • Not Until You've Done Your Practice! - Philip Johnston and David Sutton
  • The Success Factor in Piano Teaching:  Making Practice Perfect - Elvina Truman Pearce
  • Learning and Teaching Healthy Piano Technique:  Training as an Instructor in the Taubman Approach - Therese Milanovic
  • The Pianist's Guide to Practical Technique:  111 Technical Studies from Music You Want to Play - Neil Stannard
  • Piano Technique Demystified :  Insights into Problem Solving - Neil Stannard

  • DVD 14.  Menachem Pressler in Recital at Cité de la Musique.  Beethoven Sonata in Ab Major,  op. 110;  Chopin Mazurkas, op. 71, no, 1; op. 7, no. 3, op. 17, no. 4;  Schubert Sonata in Bb Major, D 960;  Chopin Nocturne No. 20 in c# minor (posth.)
  • DVD 15.  Mozart Piano Concerto No. 9 in Eb Major, K. 271, "Jeunehomme" Mitsuko Uchida, p., Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Jeffrey Tate, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 41 Vladimir Ashkenzay, p. & conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 26 in D Major, K. 537 "Coronation" Homero Francesch, p., Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Gerd Albrecht, conductor
  • DVD 16.  Mozart Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Major, K. 37 Heidrun Holtmann, p., Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana, Marc Andreae, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, K. 41 Heidrun Holtmann, p., Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana, Marc Andreae, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488 Zoltán Kocsis, p., Virtuosi di Praga, Jiří Bělohlávek, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491 André Previn, p. & conductor, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • DVD 17.  Mozart Piano Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, K. 238 Christian Zacharias, p., Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Gianluigi    Gelmetti, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K. 459 Radu Lupu, p., Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, David Zinman, conductor
    • Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 Ivan Klánský, p. and cadenzas, Virtuosi di Praga, Jiří Bělohlávek,  conductor
  • DVD 18.  Mozart Piano Concerto No. 5 in D major, K. 175 Malcolm Frager, Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana, Marc Andreae, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 8 in C major, K. 246 Christian Zacharias, p., Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Gianluigi  Gelmetti, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453 Dezsó Ránki, English Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Tate, conductor
    • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595 Aleksandar Madzar, p., Royal Philarmonic Orchestra, André Previn, conductor
  • DVD. 19  TAKE A BOW, The Ingrid Clarfield Story The life story of a respected piano professor who suffered a severe stroke at age 60 that paralyzed the left side of her body.

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

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter