October 11, 2021
President’s Message
Games People Play
I occasionally use games as part of my teaching. We all know that most children enjoy games. When I
play a game with a student, we have a goal, a test for both of us that maybe results in a small prize or

Sometimes, I notice that I’m trying to teach a student the same skill or correcting the same spot in the music week after week. I’m sure that we’ve all experienced this. And, to be fair, some skills do take time
and patience to develop. However, there will come a time when the teacher realizes that he or she needs
to take a different approach. That’s when game playing becomes part of the process.

There are a few specific games in my teaching repertoire I’ve used throughout my career because they work reliably. But sometimes, I have to make up a new game that I tailor to the student’s needs.
For example, Sam (not his real name) is my young chatterbox. He continuously peppers me with questions. If there has been a change in my teaching studio, no matter how minor, he feels compelled to remark about it. Distractions dominate his thinking process and it is challenging to keep him on task. A
couple of weeks ago, I proposed to him a new game: I put two stacks of pennies on the table – one in front of each of us – and told him that both of us would refrain from speaking during the lesson. If I uttered even a single word, he could take a penny from my stack, and vice versa. At the end, the one with
the most pennies would win them. But if he was able to refrain from speaking, he would win both stacks.
We proceeded with the lesson – which required him to listen and observe and me to demonstrate wordlessly. Imagine my surprise when, at the end of the 30-minute lesson, not a word had been spoken!

Some may label this bribery, and it is, in a way. However, the beauty of game playing is knowing when to
use it so that the student succeeds in gaining the deeper prize of knowing they have the ability that the
teacher is seeking to elicit.

At the end of Sam’s lesson, we bowed in the traditional Suzuki way and I told him how proud I was of his
concentration and attentiveness. I offered him both stacks of pennies but he didn’t want them. He seemed
to be happy in the moment – a moment of successful teaching.

—Laurel Ann Maurer
VMTA Calendar

Fall Ensemble Festival &
BBVMTA Recital
November 14
Richmond Library

Mall Event
January 28-30, 2022
University Mall

BBVMTA Recital
February 13
St. Paul's Cathedral

Spring Festival
March 26, 2022
Trinity Baptist Church

Quad State Fall Conference

The 2021 Quad State Conference is now history. It was the first conference for many of us to attend in person in almost two years. This may have been the best part of the whole day. Of course Peter Mack was outstanding as a pianist and lecturer. 

His solo recital consisted of many short pieces by relatively unknown composers, such as Boulanger, Mompou, Trénet and Guastavino. One session involved the discussion and performance of “Marvelous Moderns and their Needlessly Neglected Mid-Level Masterpieces”. Along with this session was a related topic: “ Not Only Für Elise: Gorgeous Unknown Compositions by Well-Known Composers”. His session on Saturday involved numerous teaching techniques, including practicing, how to exaggerate dynamics for balance and excitement, memorization techniques, phrasing, how to balance melody and accompaniment and basic performance ideas.. In the master class in the afternoon he used his teaching techniques with the three students who performed.

The commissioned Composers concert was outstanding with a great variety of compositions from all four states. It was an awesome day!

~Carleen Graff

Vermont's Commissioned Composer

As part of MTNA’s composer commissioning program, VMTA commissioned Vermont composer Noah Marconi to write a new work that was presented at the Quad State (ME, MA, NH, VT) Conference last weekend. The entire concert, which includes new works by composers commissioned by each state listed above can be viewed by clicking the button below.

NOAH MARCONI was born in the Bronx and raised in Vermont. A post-stylist composer of concert and incidental music headed for a career in multi-media and film, he is also a gifted cellist and improviser, conductor, and social-activist. His large and varied catalogue includes incidental music for the Hartt Theater Division’s Picture of Dorian Gray and Subsequently, Here for choreographer Daniella Parisot. He conducted the Burlington Civic Orchestra in Cataclysmic Lament, winner of the Vermont Youth Orchestra’s 2012 Young Composers Competition.

A student of Robert Carl, David Macbride, Gilda Lyons, Larry Alan Smith, and Ken Steen at the Hartt School, he also studies privately with composer-director Daron Hagen. Along with stints at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Wintergreen Music Festival, Connecticut Summerfest Contemporary Music Festival, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, New England Music Festival, Vermont All-State Festival, and the Kinhaven Music Camp, he has studied with Vermont Symphony Orchestra principal cellist John Dunlop and with accomplished performer and educator Mehai Tetel at the Hartt School. He has served as principal cellist of the Hartt Orchestra and as assistant to conductor Jeffrey Domoto.

~Laurel Maurer
VMTA Board Members
Laurel Maurer

Immediate Past President:
Marie Johnson


Samantha Angstman

Sarah Williams
Conference Chair:
Patty Bergeron (interim)

Non-Competitive Auditions:
Lilly C. Ramsey

Competitive Auditions:
Linda Buermeyer

Jina Smith

Patricia Cleary Bergeron

Web Publicist:
Sarah Williams &
Patty Bergeron

Composer Commissioning:
Michael Sitton

Fall Ensemble Festival

The first Fall Ensemble Festival was held in 2019. VMTA is again offering this performance opportunity for students. Pianists are often asked to accompany singers or instrumentalists. Collaboration between musicians is both fun and educational opening up a new dimension in music making. The next Fall Ensemble Festival is scheduled for November 14 (late afternoon) at the Richmond Library.  The Ensemble Festival is a great way to build skills for accompanying. 
Friends and family members of a student who studies with a VMTA member are invited to join in. Music to be performed should be chamber music, solo instrumentalists accompanied by students, piano duets, and piano trios are example of music to be performed at the FestivalMemorization for this concert is not required.
Teachers may enter 15 minutes of music for the performance but can add more if time allows. A fee of $5 per student or $10 per family will be charged. 
The deadline for registration is October 18th.
The VMTA Board is excited to continue this new venture.
Students who participated in 2019 enjoyed the challenge of a different experience. If you have students interested in performing, please contact Marie Johnson at
879-8863 or mdjkiln@gmail.com.

WANTED: West Dover Congregational Church Music Director

The West Dover Congregational Church is opening its doors to find a music director to lead the worship music ministry for the church in consultation with the pastor and deacons. If any of your members would be interested, potential candidates should contact Pastor Jeremy Kirk for more information at pastorjeremykirk@gamil.com"
"Music is the shorthand of emotion." ~Leo Tolstoy
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. 

Volunteers are needed to serve on the VMTA board! We currently need to fill the following positions:

President-Elect, Conference Chair, and Certification chair.

Come and join our wonderful group of board members and see how your organization works!

(Burlington Branch of the Vermont Music Teacher's Association)
On August 19, BBVMTA members gathered at my home for the BBVMTA Annual Meeting and picnic. It was an enjoyable get together after so many months of COVID restrictions.  We elected BBVMTA leadership for the coming year, heard the Treasurer's Report, and planned activities for the coming months.

  • BBVMTA leadership for the two- year term 2021-2023: Patty Bergeron, President; Lilly Ramsey, Treasurer; Ed Darling, Recital Chair.
  • The Treasurer's report, dated June 1, 2021, reported a balance of $5558.74.
  • Planned activities are as follows (may change because of COVID):
  1. Recitals scheduled for November 14 (2pm) at the Richmond Library and February 13 at St. Paul's.
  2. The next Monster Concert will be held in 2023.

Happy teaching,

Marie Johnson
Past President


BB Weathers the Covid Storm with Music

As coordinator of the annual fall and winter Burlington Branch student recitals, I’m happy to report that we sponsored two virtual recitals, in November 2020 and February 2021. This
would not have been possible without the generosity of Patty Bergeron and Sarah Williams who,
as our tech experts, generously shared their expertise and hours and hours of preparation time.

On top of that, throughout the recitals, they served as hosts to help us stay coordinated and to get over any glitches. It was a pleasure to work with them on all aspects of the programs and presentations. I also want to thank Tom Bergeron and Sam Whitesell for their technical

Six of our teachers prepared 22 students to participate in these two events. Three
teachers had students participating in both recitals, and two students played in both. I want us to give ourselves a pat on the back for continuing to provide our students with one of the greatest benefits we can offer: the opportunity to play for an audience.
It was a steep learning curve for all of us, and we come out of this experience with
enhanced knowledge about future possibilities. As we know, making a recording is different from playing live, and both experiences are part of a musician’s life in our time. This past year
has given us a chance to make this a reality for many of our students, and I have no doubt many of us will continue to make both ways of performing part of our teaching as we go forward
with what is--for many of us--a new skill-set.

Ed Darling, BB recital coordinator/chair
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. sarah5432@gmail.com
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 ( pcberg86@gmail.com ).
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...
I’m planning to give my first solo concert in two years for a live audience, a faculty recital at UVM, Sunday, October 31 at 3:00 PM in the newly renovated Recital Hall. 
I’m featuring the complete 24 Preludes, Op. 11 by Alexander Scriabin, along with shorter pieces by Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Mendelssohn. Free Admission, (masks required).

Carleen Graff...
Two students of mine have started their college careers as music majors:
Connie Kim is a piano major at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL studying music education.
Thomas Santore is a piano major at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN studying composition.

Recently I have given several workshops for teachers in Maine, NH and Germany, covering topics of Contemporary Piano Music, Performing and Performances and The Young Beethoven and His Early Sonatas before Op. 2. 
Sara Huff has some recently-added titles for piano solo on sheetmusicplus.com

"The Old Treasure" - original composition for intermediate level piano
"Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor - intermediate level arrangement - great for adults!
"Sheet May Safely Graze" by J.S. Bach - intermediate level arrangement 
Elaine Greenfield...
Since the last Newsletter, things have changed and in some ways stayed the same. The pandemic has kept us on alert the whole time, and it continues to do so, never really letting us know we are truly safe from it. So, although teaching and classes have resumed in person, there continues to be teaching on line as well. Also, the problem of knowing how to schedule into the future, with everything realistically tentative. For me, this means planning concert dates into next year, which may have to be revised; also, continuing monthly Greenfield Piano Associates meetings on line. In October we begin meeting in person as well, with members across the country, and world, joining virtually. Lessons are mostly one-on-one now, with on-line lessons for those at a distance and those choosing that option. Recitals remain virtual, using videos, until it is safe to resume in person. The one blessing of the pandemic is that lessons and classes have opened up to include people all over the world. This shall remain!  Happily, the Adamant Music School is slated to reopen next summer.  My one big news item is my Ravel recording project, “Ravel Compared.” I am excited to announce that it has been taken up by Parma Recordings, with a release date set for this coming January, 2022. There will be a formal announcement from Parma coming soon. The double disc recording features seven Ravel piano works, performed on two contrasting pianos. The pianos are an 1893 French Erard like Ravel’s model, which displays the music as he heard it, and a rare 20th century Ivers and Pond grand, with distinctive, rich, more modern sound. It was a pleasure to record this music on these two lovely instruments. Release concerts are being tentatively scheduled for late second semester and into summer 2022, bowing to the pandemic. One other happy bit, five of my six grandchildren are now playing sports, and I get to attend MANY games! That’s it for now. I hope all my fellow teachers are thriving, and I look forward to reading everyone’s news. Here’s to music! ~Elaine 
Please Note:
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VMTA Website: vermontmta.net

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

Geoghegan Company
Michael Geoghegan, owner
396 Howes Rd.
Moretown, VT 05660

Rose Kinnick Piano Service
Roselyn Kinnick, RPT