October 5, 2020
President’s Message
The last time I addressed the VMTA membership, I wrote about how appreciative I am for being able to teach and work with each of my students. This appreciation has only been strengthened as I, and so many other music teachers, have had to quickly adapt to working with them remotely, online, for the past six months. Although differing social distancing policies are now in place – from being able to carefully
meet in person, exclusively online, or a hybridization of the two – I would like to talk about how we can better make use of our time. For most of us, traveling any great distance is simply not happening at present. Fortunately, attending conferences or other teaching events in person is no longer mandatory, as most of them have evolved into virtual events. But along with the absence of travel comes the absence of travel expenses as well as the time we typically waste just getting to our destination. So, until that dynamic changes, let’s take advantage of it. Many state music associations now offer access to their conferences to everyone, not only their members. This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn from skilled music pedagogues who may have ideas outside of your normal teaching environment. I encourage you to investigate the websites of other state associations for programs that may interest you. You can find them listed on the Music Teachers National Association
website, https://www.mtna.org/ under Connect/State Portal.

As you know, our virtual state conference will take place soon, on November 14. We are very
fortunate to have as our featured speaker MTNA President Martha Hilley, who will share her
teaching strategies with us via Zoom Conferencing. Had the conference been held in person, it is
unlikely a person of her stature could have found the time to come to Vermont. And please attend the brief general membership meeting and the teacher roundtable session. Both will be wonderful opportunities to share our experiences of how we’ve learned to teach online and, if need be, get some help. You’ll also learn what your VMTA is planning for next
year and connect with colleagues you may not have seen in half a year. Meanwhile, as we continue to follow the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” guidelines, I encourage each of you to spend some of that home time rejuvenating your teaching skills. If by
investigating various educational strategies you come up with an idea for a new training method, share it with others! Learning from one another during these socially-distanced days can help tie Vermont’s little music community together! I look forward to “seeing” you all soon!
VMTA Calendar

November 14, 2020
Virtual via ZOOM
(details below)

VMTA Board Members
Laurel Maurer


Samantha Angstman

Sarah Williams
Conference Chair:
Patty Bergeron (interim)

Non-Competitive Auditions:
Lilly C. Ramsey

Competitive Auditions:
Linda Duxbury

Jina Smith

Patricia Cleary Bergeron

Web Publicist:
Sarah Williams &
Patty Bergeron

Composer Commissioning:
Welcome to our new member, Michael Sitton!

I am very happy to join the membership of the Vermont Music Teachers’ Association and look forward to meeting many of you, soon in virtual ways, and eventually in person.  I have been a member of MTNA since undergraduate student days.  As a college and private teacher of piano and theory, I was active in several state associations, until I moved into administrative roles in higher education in the early 2000’s.  This summer I retired after eleven years as Dean of The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where my duties did not allow time for teaching, although I remained as active as I could as a pianist, and kept up my career-long interest in composition (primarily as a choral composer).  My partner and I purchased a home in Barre in 2018, with the intent to retire to Vermont, where he was born and which we have loved in frequent visits from northern New York.  I am very happy to be here full-time now, and hope to re-engage more fully with my former life as an active pianist and teacher.  Of course the current challenging circumstances limit what we are all able to do, but I am looking forward to being able to make music together with others in the not-too-distant future.

Join us on Facebook! Please check out the latest VMTA programs and news on the Vermont Music Teachers Association Facebook page!”
Do you patronize a music store? Piano tuner? Instrument maker? Are they a VMTA sponsor? (See ads in this newsletter). If not, could you mention our sponsor program to them and let a board member know about them? Sponsors receive publicity to the market they are trying to reach-teachers, students and their families. Their support of music education in Vermont will also help their business. 
Saturday, November 14

The VMTA Fall Conference will be held virtually on Saturday, November 14.
There will be two pre-recorded sessions presented by MTNA president, Martha Hilley. She will join in to introduce herself and answer questions briefly.

Please RSVP to Patty Bergeron to receive the Zoom link as well as hand outs that will accompany the sessions being presented. ([email protected])

The last session presented that day will be by YOU. Please let Patty know of
ideas you would like to share or talk about. This is a chance for us to help each other in these unprecedented times we are experiencing.
There is no registration being charged for this event. Hope you can join!

9:00    Theory: To Be or Not to Be? There Shouldn’t Be a Question! 

Are you worried that there is not enough time to include theory instruction into the already crowded piano lesson? Here are some ideas of what you might think about doing. (pre-recorded session)

10:15  5 minute stretch
10:30  Are Your Students Getting Their Money’s Worth Out of Repertoire? 

Your student has worked very hard on this particular piece. It is memorized and the recital is scheduled. Should that be the end of their involvement with the repertoire?  (pre-recorded session)

11:30  Meet our current MTNA president Martha Hilley

Question/Answer session

12:00 General VMTA Membership Meeting

12:15  Teacher round table- we can learn from each other.
  • Do you have some area of expertise you would like to share?
  • Have you read a book or article you would like to talk about?
  • Do you have a great new piece you have discovered and would like to share with the group?
  • Do you have something you would like to ask other members for their
   advice? (please keep in mind ethics)
  • Perhaps you’d like to share how you have been working thru this unprecedented time with the pandemic?
  • Other ideas? Please let Patty Bergeron know. 

1:00    Adjourn
Please RSVP to Patty Bergeron: [email protected]
Zoom link and handouts for the presentation will be sent to participants.


Martha Hilley joined the faculty of The University of Texas School of Music in 1982 as coordinator of group piano and a member of the piano pedagogy faculty. Over the next 36 years she served two years as head of the keyboard division, five years as Associate Director of the School of Music as well as two different five-year terms as Director of Undergraduate Studies. Hilley was twice Chair of the University of Texas Faculty Council and served on a multitude of committees and task forces university-wide. Martha retired from the Butler School of Music on August 31, 2019.
Over the last 49 years in higher education, Ms. Hilley has been an active participant in workshops, conferences and seminars on the international, national, state and local levels. She has been co-curriculum coordinator and presenter for the International Pedagogy Workshops in Italy, Belgium, Norway, Australia, Austria and Hawaii and served as pedagogy faculty for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska and Tunghai University's Summer Keyboard Institute in Taichung, Taiwan. She was keynote speaker and presenter for the 2013 Encontro Internacional de Piano ed Grupo in Goiania, Brazil. In September of 2014, Hilley was fortunate enough to be an attendee at the Polofonia Conference held at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. The theme of the conference was "The Musician as Creative Entrepreneur." In more recent years Martha has been a co-presenter at CEPROM, a pre-conference meeting to ISME and a co-presenter at the following ISME Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. She was also a keynote speaker at the 2018 SEMPRE Conference in London, England.
Professor Hilley's abilities as a teacher were recognized in 1983 when she received the Texas Excellence Teaching Award, and again in 1988 when she was awarded one of four Dad's Association Centennial Fellowships for excellence in undergraduate teaching. In 1992, Professor Hilley was recipient of the prestigious Orpheus Award presented by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in recognition of her contributions to the field of music. In 1997, she was awarded the Outstanding Collegiate Teacher Award by the Texas Music Teachers Association and in 1998, Hilley was awarded the William David Blunk Professorship in recognition of outstanding undergraduate teaching and research. In 2000, she was chosen for membership in Leadership Texas and was elected in September of 2000 to the Leadership Texas Alumni Board of Directors. Hilley was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UT Austin in 2005 and awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Music Teachers National Association in the spring of 2008. She was named recipient of the University of Texas at Austin Civitatis Award for 2011-2012 and named the 2014 MTNA Teacher of the Year. Martha is the 2019-2021 President of MTNA.
Articles by Professor Hilley have been published in Clavier, Piano Quarterly and Keyboard Companion and with anthologies published by Routledge Press. She is co-author of two college piano texts: "Piano for the Developing Musician " and "Piano for Pleasure." The texts were the first to embrace digital sequencer technology through disks furnished to teachers as well as the first to provide web-based computer tutorials, downloadable pdf and mp3 files and dedicated web sites for each text.    (http://www.pdmpiano.org and http://www.pfppiano.org )
Fall Ensemble Festival

Due to the COVID restrictions, we have canceled this event for 2020. Stay tuned for next year!
Music at the Mall
Thank you to all that participated and gave during the Music at the Mall event! See the note below:
Dear Lynn and the Vermont Music Teachers Association,

My deepest thanks for your generous donation of gas cards, Amazon gift cards, and VISA cards! Our pediatric oncology patients and their families face so much stress right now - dealing with layoffs, transportation costs, and frequent appointments and in-person hospitalizations their children require for treatment. Your generosity will allow them to worry a little less about filling their gas tanks and their refrigerators during this difficult time.
Thank you from all of us at the UVM Children's Hospital Pediatric Oncology team - We are so appreciative!

Julia Conner
Pediatric Oncology Social Worker
As a new member, or even a long term member, you may have questions regarding
events the VMTA/BBVMTA has. Please don’t hesitate to contact membership chair,
Patty Bergeron, with questions. She will be glad to answer questions, or direct you to the
person that can help you. Please get involved!


The Nominating Committee of the VMTA presents the following slate of officers for the term 2020-2022:
Bylaws of the Vermont Music Teachers Association, Article V- Election of Officers, Section 2:
The Active members of VMTA shall elect by a majority vote the officers of the Association.
Nominations from the floor shall be allowed, provided the nominee is eligible for election and has
consented to be a candidate. The consent must be given in writing or given in person at the meeting.
Election by the members must be by secret ballot, and each office shall be voted on separately. In the
event of only one nominee for an office, the President may recommend election by general consent. All
voted officers must be members of VMTA.&quote;

Volunteers are needed to serve on the VMTA board! We currently need to fill the positions of
President-Elect for 2020-2022, Conference Chair, Certification chair, and Composer Commissioning chair. Come and join our wonderful group
of board members and see how your organization works!
Membership Information

Did you know?
There is a "Find a Teacher" feature on the website to which teachers are welcome to have their name added if you have openings. Please email Sarah Williams if you wish to have your name listed there. [email protected]
Membership changes have been made to the website. Please double check to be sure your listing is to your liking. The VMTA website can be reached at
vermontmta.net . If you would like changes please email them to Patty Bergeron ( [email protected] ).
If you have not renewed your membership please do so now.
If you need help renewing or if you need the password for the members only section, please email Patty.
Member News
Paul Orgel Starting the fall entirely online with my private students, UVM students (most of whom I’ve never actually met in person),and adults is a, by now, a familiar, yet always strange experience. There’s the inevitable eye strain, the capricious sound distortions of FaceTime and Skype, the disruptions of an F35 overhead, or a windy day, but I also find something to cherish in the students’ commitment, their unwavering efforts and concentration in a time of deprivation, and their progress. 
I’ve assigned my private students the 12 pieces that make up Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” (more correctly, “The Months”). They’ll perform the full work in a recital on Zoom later on, and I hope it can be viewed publicly. 

Stuart Carter - Teaching online is different. Some students take to it adopting well. Others insist on in studio lessons, particularly voice students who want real time accompaniment. Altogether, I have openings for trombone, trumpet, piano, voice either in studio or online. Unfortunately, recitals must remain on hold. Instead, my studio turned to building repertoire, studying and assisting with learning styles, learning genres, and associated techniques. Anyone interested in a coffee sometime to brainstorm how these approaches can take shape, contact me. 

For the opera HURT, my latest composition effort, with a first draft complete at 2 hours and 45 minutes and four acts, I’m looking for volunteers to listen to all or part of it and give me their honest reactions. I remind any volunteer, I might want a passage to elicit anger, or dislike, maybe dreaminess, so an honest reaction is the most helpful. In addition, when musicians give feedback, this improves the over all technique and presentation. Thanks for considering and passing this along. My compositions can be heard and are available for purchase on Score Exchange  

Polly van der Linde – Sonatina Piano camps are the opposite of social distancing. Pianists share
rooms, meals, pianos, and group classes. As lockdown hit, we questioned the viability of virtual
camps. Did online conference services offer adequate audio for concerts, classes, and lessons?
Could we translate the camp camaraderie to an online setting? Would our loyal pianists
embrace this radical change? There was a mix of panic and creative excitement figuring out
how to save a business in its 51st year of operation. The spring and summer were incredibly
challenging and inspiring. I, personally, worked harder than ever, teaching online lessons and
creating online programs for children, teens, and adults.
Our first virtual camp was held for adult pianists way back in April (feels like much longer ago).
Many were rather tentative at first but those who participated loved the outcome and we are
forever grateful that they were our first virtual trailblazers.
Summer Sonatina International Piano Camps presented our biggest challenge as children were
craving in person time and tired of online learning. Frankly, they were zoomed out. However,
we were able to offer a one-week virtual camp instead of our usual five in-person weeks. Each
student received a musical care box through the mail with various goodies and supplies in
preparation for the week. With a faculty to student ratio of 1:2, we were able to provide an
extraordinarily rich program with fun creative communal activities like musical mad libs, jeopardy and trivia, drum circles and theatrical games in addition to all the virtual lessons. The young pianists who participated loved it. To compensate for some of our losses, Sonatina was able to access some government assistance and many of our campers were enthusiastically supportive, boosting the morale of
our devoted faculty and our bottom line. As we are heading into the fall, we are continuing to offer these virtual camps via Zoom which, thankfully, adapted its service to suit Sonatina’s audio needs. The online camps have successfully duplicated a camp feel and have added value
by offering greater access to teachers in discussion groups, extra concerts and masterclasses,
group music classes, and auditing the piano lessons of others within the group.
As of this writing, we are forging ahead with the next couple of virtual camps this year. I am full
of hope that Sonatina can make it through this excruciatingly challenging time and that in 2021
we might return to in-person camps again.

Marina Prikis, of South Burlington, won an honorable mention from Clavier’s Piano Explorer magazine for her piano composition, “Guided by the Northern Lights.”

Please Note:
There is a now a button on our website to donate! Spread the word to local businesses or individuals who may wish to support our organization.
Prikis’ piece was one of hundreds of entries received from students all across the country.
She is a rising senior at South Burlington High School, where she is a part of the Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir, Medical Club, Coalition for Community Service Club, co-leader of Music Club, and co-founder of the Culture and Geography Club. For the past two years, she has been selected to be a member of the Vermont All State Music Festival chorus and has played on the South Burlington High School Varsity Girls Volleyball team.
This summer Prikis participated in the Vermont Young Writers’ Conference for songwriting and worked and recording her own songs and compositions.
She began her piano studies at age 5 in Nicosia, Cyprus, and has studied with piano teacher Nancy Osborne of South Burlington since eighth grade.

VMTA Website: vermontmta.net

Allan H. Day, R.P.T. Piano Service
8 Lincoln Road
Williston, VT 05495
(802) 879-4338

Ellis Music Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 437
Bethel, VT 05032
(802) 234-6400

Hilbert Pianos
40 Pleasant Street
Bristol, VT 05443
(802) 453-3743

Piano Service by Rose Kinnick, RPT
(802) 598-3385

Steinway Pianos
One Steinway Place
Astoria, NY 11105

Vermont Piano Service
Ben Giroux
64 Paquette Road
St. Albans, VT 05478
(802) 343-1333
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."