September 19, 2016 

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In This Issue
A Note From Our President
Fall Recitals
Piano Instructor Position
AIM Information
AIM Registration
Jeanie Carter Honored
Oakton Six Piano Ensemble
Note from the Editor
May Minutes
Click here for the May General Meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


George Radoslavjevic
"Wind and Water: Debussy and motion"
Monday, September 19, 2016   Rolling Meadows Library  9:45 A.M. Meeting

Saturday, September 24, 2016 Rehearsal - Northbrook Court Shopping Center 
Sunday, September 25, 2016   Performance - Northbrook Court Shopping Center 

Friday, September 30, 2016   AIM Informational Coffee 9:45A.M.
Home of Mary Anne Block
749 Oak Rd., Barrington
Bring Questions and AIM teaching tips!


Monday, October 2, 2016   Online registration: Classical & Pop-Jazz Recital
Checks must be mailed by October 2, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016   9:45 A.M. Home of Susan Ioriatti
1520 N. Lincoln Ct., Arlington Heights
Sunday, October 9, 2016   Deadline: AIM: Levels 1-2 Exams (Complete)
and Levels 3-4 Theory Exams
All AIM registrations are now online. 
Mail check by October 9, 2016 to Mary Anne Block

Monday, October 10, 2016   email Deadline: Sonata-Sonatina Festival
Check must be received by deadline: mail early

Sunday, October 16, 2016   Barrington Area Library, 505 N. Northwest Hwy, Barrington
1:30 P.M. Classical 3:30 P.M. Pop and Jazz

Svetlana Belsky
"Awards Competition Repertoire"
Monday, October 17, 2016 Rolling Meadows Library
9:15 A.M. IMT (Independent Music Teachers) Chat
NWSMTA Library Sale 9:45 A.M. Meeting


  Happy new teaching year! As a piano teacher I have always felt that we should observe September as the start of the new year rather than January. There is always a feeling of excitement and anticipation as students return to school and activities and as the cooler days of fall begin. It is a pleasure to reconnect with students that we may not have seen as often during the summer and to welcome new faces into our studios.

I hope that you were able to take some time off during the summer to travel, relax, or just change your doily routine. It is amazing how refreshing and energizing even a small break can feel! A fellow teacher commented to me that a family vacation in a remote area without internet and other electronics forced her to slow down from her usual hectic life and to just enjoy the peace and natural beauty of her surroundings. I was fortunate this summer to visit the national parks of Utah where the stunning landscapes seemed a world away from our ordinary suburban neighborhoods.

Even though most of us are not heading back to school this fall, we can still make a resolution to continue learning. As NWSMTA members we have so many opportunities available to us. We have monthly programs featuring excellent speakers and a workshop with Peter Mack in March. There is also the ISMTA Convention in Bloomington from November 4-6, where the sessions, performances, and the chance to connect with teachers from around the state are so rewarding. For learning and study at home we can request books and DVD's from our NWSMTA library. The webinars available on the MTNA website are another great resource.

Best wishes for a great new year of teaching and personal growth!
Suzanne Murray


The Classical and Pop and Jazz Recitals will be held at the Barrington Area Library on Sunday, October 16th . The Classical Recital will start at 1:30 and the Pop and Jazz Recital will be at 3:30. 

Register on-line through by Sunday October 2nd . Payments should be mailed to the specified Recital coordinator by Monday, October 10th . Come see our bright, new and spacious recital venue! Please check the guidelines for the performances posted on the NWSMTA website before registering. 

For any questions, please contact Yoko Amano (Classical), Mary Anne Block or Fran Onley (Pop and Jazz). Recital entries may be limited, so register soon!


ELMHURST MUSIC ACADEMY is looking for a private piano instructor to assume existing teaching studio. 

We are looking for a dedicated and passionate piano instructor to join our talented staff of teachers this fall. We have an immediate position available to take over for a teacher who is moving. This is a great opportunity to start out with an existing student base. This is for our location in Elmhurst.  We also have locations available throughout Chicago. 

Qualified applicants must have formal musical training, teaching experience, and references, if requested. We are looking for an energetic and inspiring personality who can motivate students and provide an enriching musical mentorship for budding students. We need someone who is gifted at working with and inspiring children. 

About Us 
We have been a leading brand name is music education for 18 years. We have powerful marketing positioning and a quality reputation with locations in Elmhurst and Chicago. We provide an artistically inspiriting environment to inspire students' learning. Our philosophy is that music can be enriching and made accessible to anyone. 

Skills and Qualifications 
Attention to detail, passion for motivating young artistic minds, consistent punctuality, inspirational role model, ability to draw on different techniques for motivating students, minimum of 4 year professional degree in Piano, minimum of 2 years teaching experience. 

To Apply 
Please email a copy of your resume to Please include references, as well as a one page cover letter telling us something unique about yourself and why you think you might be a good fit for teaching with us. Please include your specific availability and the date you are available to start. 

Contact information 
Contact Email: Contact Phone Number: (312) 416-0622, ext. 214 Link:

If you are considering entering students in AIM this coming year, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with some of the details. 

September 30th: An AIM informational coffee will be held for all members. Please arrive at Mary Anne Block's home, 749 Oak Rd, Barrington, by 9:45 with your questions and/or any AIM teaching tips you want to share. 

October 9th: The first registration deadline, for Levels 1 and 2 complete exams and Levels 3 and 4 theory, is midnight October 9th. Please check the NWSMTA Yearbook for additional registration deadlines and exam dates. Remember that all AIM registrations are online now. You must mail the registration fee within the following week.

January 15, 2017: Deadline for additional repertoire check. All repertoire through Level 11 that is not on the AIM Piano Syllabus Performance Repertoire List must be approved by Illinois Repertoire Substitution Chair Stephanie Myers at 

To continue running the AIM program efficiently, teachers are required to help at each exam in which they have students entered.

Students must bring original music, with measures numbered, plus a photocopy for the judge of any music not memorized.

Music purchased online may be used only if it specifies it is for the use of the student being tested.

Dear AIMy,

I am new to the AIM program and am confused by what songs to assign. My students are weak on the theory but play more advanced songs. Can they sign up for different levels for the theory and the performance? If so, which technique do they learn?

Perplexed in Palatine

Dear Perplexed,

This is a common question. You should sign up for the highest theory level that the student understands. The technique will be at the same level. You can then select repertoire at that level or higher.

If your student passes the theory and performance exams this year (passing is 65), then next year you will sign up for the next theory level. Again, the repertoire will be at that level or higher. Thus, it is possible to be playing different songs from the same level repertoire more than one year.

Dear AIMy,
I have never been strong in theory, so I have my own set of workbooks that I have studied and filled in. However, I must admit that I am not sure that my Levels 10-12 are totally correct. Is there a completed set of workbooks with all the answers for teacher reference? Other testing programs do this.

Confused and Overworked

Dear Confused,

Yes! You may now purchase an answer key for Levels 10-11-12 (one publication) for $5.00 from the ISMTA website. This should enable many teachers like you to confidently teach the upper levels of AIM.


The online registration process for AIM has been improved for this year with many new features.

All teachers entering students last year have been pre-registered  using their last name (beginning with a capital letter) as their login  Username and the Password they used for online registration last year.
If you do not recall your password, just click on Forgot Login on the  login page, enter your email address when prompted and your login Username and Password will be emailed
to you. You can change the Username and/or Password after logging in.

The new registration is currently on the website and being tested. Feel free to try it out click on the feedback button at the bottom of the page with suggestions or issues. All 'test' inputs will be erased on October 1st so registrations for the upcoming exams can begin.

The new registration can be found on the NWSMTA website under For Members / Student Event Information / Achievement In Music / OPERA AIM Registration

HELP is available on the login page.

Here are some of the changes-

- CODA, the syllabus repertoire search tool, is now integrated into
the registration form so after searching for a piece you can click the
select button and the piece is automatically entered into the form.
(Manual entry is still available)

- All previously separated functions (student entry, student search,
teacher entry, teacher search, judging repertoire, password help) are
now combined and available on the same page.

- All exams (for the same year) are now available on the same page, so  a teacher can easily review which students were entered in a previous  exam.

- Previously entered students (for the past year) are automatically
prompted in a dropdown list when a teacher is entering a student. (This feature is not available in some browsers.)

- New Teacher registration only has to be done once, and is valid for all  exams. Only the teacher work time request needs to be entered prior to  entering students.

- All Student and Teacher information can be reviewed and updated by  the teacher up to the exam registration deadline.

- If cookies are enabled on your computer, you can choose to have your  login information saved and automatically entered during login.

- If cookies are enabled on your computer, the last new student update  or entry that you were working on (prior to submitting) will be saved  and put back into the form the next time you log in.


The National Association of Teachers of Singing and the NATS Foundation recently chose Jeanie Carter as this year's Central Region winner of the Joan Frey Boytim Award for Independent Teachers. Several voice teachers from across the country were selected based on their education, performing and teaching experience, as well as the overall success of their private studio. A professional recommendation was also required. The fellowship defrayed expenses associated with this summer's national conference held at the Marriott on Michigan Avenue. This has also been an exciting year for a very special Bel Canto alum. Phillipa Soo studied with Jeanie for several years before her successful run as the leading lady in "Hamilton"!


Oakton Six Piano Ensemble

Auditions for this internationally acclaimed touring group were held on Wednesday, September 14 and Thursday, September 15.

The group performs repertoire from the classical, ragtime, jazz, and popular periods that are transcribed for the six pianos by the ensemble's founder and conductor, Glenna Sprague, Professor and Coordinator of Music at Oakton, where she also teaches piano. Performing with a conductor, the rich layered sound of the Six Piano Ensemble is comparable to that of an orchestra, with each member playing a different part of a composition as the melody transfers from pianist to pianist. The ensemble provides an excellent opportunity for those pianists who do not want to perform as soloists, but want to keep up their playing skills and be part of an ensemble situation.

The only six-piano international touring ensemble, recently returned from a triumphant performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow for the 32nd World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME).

Critics hail the Oakton Six Piano Ensemble as "extraordinary, innovative, technically superb and musical." The group has performed both internationally and throughout the United States, including the College Music Society International Conference in Vienna, Austria; Hawaii Music Teachers Association in Honolulu; MTNA National Conferences in Atlanta and Spokane, numerous MTNA state conferences; Music Teachers' Association of California State Convention in Los Angeles; GP3 National Conference at University of Oklahoma; Steinway of Chicago Community Concert Series, Harold Washington Library, Navy Pier, Civic Opera House, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago.


We are starting a new year, and I feel as excited as the students.  I can hardly believe I have been doing this for so many years.   But then I think back to when I began.  I remember being  "cutting edge," because my students listened to endless loop casette tapes of their pieces in order to train their inner ear.  Those were replaced by CDs, and then by iPods. 

It was unique for a student to have more than one recording of a piece.  Now the student has access to countless Youtube videos. 
It was unique to expect parents to attend the lessons so they would know how to encourage their children. My own parents never attended a single one of my lessons. Now the students are often brought by nanny chauffeurs, because working parents are not available.  Some parents and nanny chauffeurs now take videos with their phones of important things to be remembered. 

Teaching piano was something done behind closed doors.  Then there were local chapters of MTNA to provide support, ideas and friendships among teachers.  That has grown into a sharing of ideas through the internet (videos, blogs, facebook).  Now we are challenged to find the best available and to find time to weed through all that is out there to find ideas that apply to our teaching.

When I started, piano theory was taught using a workbook that coordinated with whatever method was used.  Mine was called Pencil Play.  As a younger teacher, I loved that I offered my students group lessons, so they could learn theory with a games approach along with their friends.  Now we have AIM and apps to provide structure and enticement. 

My piano teacher had one recital a year.  It was a scary milestone.  I began giving small recitals frequently during the year.  Seeing how motivated the students were by the recitals, I began adding performance opportunities at nursing homes, the Cuneo museum, churches, and NWSMTA recitals, festivals and competitions.

As teachers we seize whatever is available to open our students to the world of music.  Our box of tools, tricks and technology continuously changes, but our goal of teaching students to paint with sound the emotion, character or story unique to each piece has never altered.  That's what excites me for a new year, every year.
Deb Lynch