Just a quick reminder there are no lessons scheduled from Monday, August 6th – Saturday, August 25th. We’ll see everyone the week of Monday, August 27th. Have a wonderful rest of your summer and great school year!

Click here to view the August 2018 newsletter!

  1. Lesson dates are listed for months of July, August and September. There are no lessons July 21-23 and August 6-25. 
  2. If the porch light is turned on students may enter without knocking or ringing the bell. This is especially helpful if another student’s lesson is in session ahead of your child’s.
  3. Student’s should complete written assignments in pencil. No pen! Colored pencils are fine if the assignment requires. Keep both near the piano at all times.
  4. Student’s should wear their glasses while playing the piano – both at home and lessons.
  5. If you use online billpay I recommend adding me to your Payee list. When invoices arrive, log in to your online account and type in the amount due and the due date. Most banks will mail me a paper check free of charge. My mailing address is at the top of the newsletter. I will let you know when I receive.
  6. A $10 late fee will be charged for payments not received within 7 days after due date. Late fee amounts/dates will appear on August invoices. For QuickPay and Zelle use my telephone number 630-363-7513. I am open to using Venmo if anyone is interested. Make your check payable to “Diane Lindsay Piano & Voice” and insert in the front pocket of your child’s binder. 
  7. Fall lesson information will be mailed the week of August 13th.

The following children have expressed interest in receiving September 2018-2019 (10 issues) of “Piano Explorer” magazine (Aidan W., Elena L., Emily M., Lauren M., Lena P., Lilly P., Lucas H., Lucas L., Mira M., Sofia H., and Tommy G.). The $9.00 subscription fee will appear on August invoices. No family sharing please! Children will be given short reading assignments from each issue when it arrives.

“Piano Explorer” is a short, monthly magazine written by and for piano students and teachers. Each issue profiles a well-known composer, music history, piano technique, instruments, theory, composition, games, puzzles and jokes.For more information about the magazine check out or stop by to view past issues.

Be reminded we have no lessons this week, July 2-7 to celebrate Independence Day. 

3 Piano Items:

  1. I am looking for a few medium or light blue milk bottle caps to complete a composer matching game. See the photograph below for example! Please wash and send with your child next week.bottlecaps.jpg
  2. Students are reminded to complete written assignments in pencil. NO PEN! Colored pencils may be used if the assignment requires. Keep both at the piano for ready use.
  3. My porch light is turned on when I’m ready for your lesson. There is no need to knock or ring the bell. You may wait at the table and chairs in the front.

Be reminded we have no lessons this week, July 2-7 to celebrate Independence Day. Have wonderful and safe 4th of July!

Students and I were regularly discuss how a grand piano works. Attached are 3 YouTube links to short videos for your pianist to watch. It’s fascinating to know that every acoustic piano key has about 100 moving parts and a grand piano takes up to a year to assemble! These videos are sweet tributes to our beloved instrument. Enjoy!

The first link is “Key Action”

The second is about “Foot Pedals”

And the third covers how Steinway pianos are assembled

Please let me know by the 20th of the month your upcoming absence dates. Invoices and the studio’s budget are set based on information received by this date. It is difficult to adjust invoices once they are issued. If you anticipate any lesson absences you may let me know up to a year in advance. 


Achievement in Music Theory Examinations (Levels 3 and above) will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Wheaton College’s Armerding Center. 

Achievement in Music Performance Examinations (All Levels) will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Wheaton College’s Armerding Center. Upper level AIM students started preparing the Technique portion of their exam earlier this month.

I hope everyone is having a great summer. Attend a music concert this summer! A few are listed in the newsletter. Other local events are planned but too numerous to list here! Enjoy!

July invoices will be sent the week of June 18th. There are no lessons first full week of July 2-7. Happy 4th to all! I will be also off Sat. July 21st and Monday, July 23rd to attend a family reunion in Wisconsin.

Fall lessons begin the week of Monday, August 27th. Registration packets will be mailed mid-August.

Safe travels to all and Happy Father’s Day too!

“Piano Explorer” is a short, monthly magazine written by and for piano students and teachers. Each 15 page issue profiles a famous composer, music history item, piano technique, musical theory, composition, games, puzzles and jokes. 

Our group subscription is distributed at lessons with a short reading assignment. To facilitate assignment completion each student receives their own copy (no family sharing, please!). Those interested will receive 10 issues covering the months of September 2018-August 2019.  I am asking children whether they are interested this coming week. If they are, a $9.00 fee will appear on either your July or August invoice. If you do not want your child to receive this magazine please reply to this email.

Sample copies of this magazine are available at lessons or online at  

Please see pictures below of a digital piano available to rent. This could be an excellent option for those who have older keyboards but aren’t ready to purchase a new keyboard or piano. I’ve known and recommended Lynette Zelis for years. Her $25 per month rental fee is a tremendous bargain. It is full size with 2 pedals. Easy to move and has weighted keys.

You may contact Lynette directly at or 630-456-1804.

Be reminded our last group lessons for the school year are today – Monday, June 4th at 6:00-7:00 pm and Tuesday, June 5th at either 3:30-4:30 pm or 6:00-7:00 pm. Please double-check your June invoice email for your day/time. 

As I plan future group lessons I welcome your comments, concerns, and suggestions for 2018-2019. The Piano Maestro app we play at group lessons is wonderful but very expensive. The kids love playing and want to keep it. We will share the overall costs to keep using the app. If we keep Piano Maestro I anticipate the group lesson fee to increase to $15. What to you think?  

I am implementing a half tuition “holding fee” for students planning to take a month off (or more) during summer months.  It’s my desire to motivate students to continue lessons and not regress! Charges will appear on June, July and August invoices.

Be reminded group lesson students! Your group lesson will occur next week either on Monday 7th at 6:00-7:00 pmTuesday, May 8th at 3:30-4:30 and 6:00-7:00 pm. Check schedules for your specific time!  Parents – please ask your child to bring a piece that is a “work in progress” to play for the group.

Would anyone like to pay via Venmo? If so, I will make arrangements for this. Please let me know!

Below is our piano concert newsletter edition! Included are schedules for the Saturday, March 17th practice, and list of performers for each Sunday, March 18th program at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. I am delighted with student’s diligent preparation. You are in for a wonderful treat hearing these young people. 

I’m excited to introduce our Guest Artist. Her name is Rachel Bridges. Rachel is a Sophomore at Wheaton Warrenville South High School. She will be performing “Etude Op. 10, No. 12 (Revolutionary)” by Chopin and “Arabesque” by Debussy. 

Free admission and everyone is welcome!
Piano Concert Newsletter

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 1.51.29 PM

I’m delighted to share a photograph of a mailing I received this morning from State Representative Peter Breen congratulating us on the recent Lombardian/Villa Park Review article and support of DuPage PADS!


Click here to view the February’s piano/voice newsletter! The month of January is flying by! Here are some newsletter highlights:
  1. Our 2017 fall fundraiser for DuPage PADS was profiled in the Jan. 18th newspapers “Lombardian” and “Villa Park Review”. A reprint of this article appears on page 2. Congratulations to all and enjoy!
  2. Achievement in Music Performance students are hard at work preparing and memorizing their 2 pieces and technique for Sat. March 10th exams. Unpaid book and registration fees will be invoiced in February.
  3. February invoices will be emailed in upcoming week. Due dates are located on the lower RH corner of the invoice and appear within the body of the email. Make your checks payable to “Diane Lindsay Piano & Voice” and insert them in the front pocket of student binders.
  4. Every minute of your child’s lesson is important to me! We only have 30 minutes to cover 7 days worth of practicing material! Please ask your child to use the restroom before their lesson.
  5. Our next group lessons are scheduled for week of April 2-7th.
  6. Piano Explorer magazine is holding their 2018 Composition Contest. The theme is the Desert. Let me know if you are interested in participating. The deadline is March 9, 2018

I recently received a call and interviewed with staff from the Lombardian/Villa Park Review office to discuss our October 2017 DuPage PADS fundraiser. You may recall Wheaton-based DuPage PADS provides meals, shelter, and job assistance to local families in need. Our photograph and an article are scheduled to appear in the Thursday, January 18th Lombardian/Villa Park Review issues! Newspapers are sold at most 7-Elevens, Lombard-location West Suburban Banks, Lombard Pharmacy, and Lombardian office. 

Many thanks to everyone for your excellent participation, tracking the practicing minutes, those who took time to appear in this photograph, and families who generously gave donations over and above their child’s practice. By doing the ORDINARY (piano practicing) we are doing EXTRAORDINARY things for our communities and neighbors in need!

Congratulations to Hope E. on completing Piano Adventures Level 2A and starting Level 2B. Way to go Hope!!

Congratulations to Megan A. who completed Piano Adventures Level 2A this afternoon. Great job, Megan — you rock!

Click here to see October’s newsletter! Here are a few reminders:

  • Our DuPage PADS Fundraiser continues through Sat. Sept. 30th. If you are unfamiliar with DuPage PADS their website is We support their Share the Fare program which provides train passes, bus passes, and cab fare for PADS families.  Our fundraising goal is $1200.00. We have raised $375.00 so far
  • Individual weekly playing minutes  are currently tabulated at lessons. The final total is multiplied by 2 cents per minute and donated by me
  • Consider making a personal donation to DuPage PADS! Cash is accepted. Make checks payable to “DuPage PADS”. Send donations with your child to lessons or to the group photograph. Deadline is Sat. Sept. 30th
  • Plan on attending the DuPage PADS group photograph on Sat. Sept. 30th at 11:00 am! Students will receive a FREE t-shirt to wear in the photo
  • October Group Week lessons will be the week of October 2- 6. Group families will be contacted in the next few days with schedule and general information
  • October invoices will be also be sent this week and due at lessons the week of September 25th
  • Are you running late to lessons? Text (not call) me!
  • There are no lessons on Tuesday, October 31st due to the Halloween holiday

Ever wonder what piano teachers do on their summer vacation? Refinish their oak floors with their husbands! Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

Would you like to choose a prize from my BRAND NEW prize bucket? You can IF you practice 5-days a week, for 4 weeks, and ask your parents to initial your practice sheet. The practice sheet has been included in the fall mailing and will be given to you at lessons the week of August 28th. More prizes are also available! Practicing is absolutely essential to any musical study! If you haven’t already, resume playing piano or singing today! You’ll see yourself improve, and be rewarded for your hard work.

Here is a link to the Hamilton “My Shot” talent show performance that my students, Sam Maercklein and Aidan Walsh, were both in. They did such a good job!

MANY of my students LOVE Harry Potter. Below is a piano book and event that might be of interest!
5-Finger Harry Potter: Magical Music from the First Five Years at Hogwarts. $16.95. Must have good note reading ability and familiarity reading sharps and flats! Piano Adventures Level 1, Unit 5 and above. Contains: Double Trouble Dumbledore’s Army, Fireworks, Hagrid the Professor, Harry in Winter, Harry’s Wondrous World, Hedwig’s Theme, Hogwarts Forever!, Hogwarts’ Hymn, Hogwarts’ March, Neville’s Waltz, Nimbus 2000, Potter Waltz, The Quidditch World Cup (The Irish), & Voldemort.
HARRY POTTER 20TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY. (from Chicago Tribune Life + Style Sunday, July 23rd) The series that never dies celebrates its 20th anniversary at this magical party, naturally hosted in a bookstore. For four hours, visit a spells class, play chess, engage in Pottermania trivia, shop for designer wants and more. Saturday, July 29th at 3:00-7:00 pm Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Avenue, Naperville. Free to attend.


Below is photograph of a simple tote bag I recently purchased at the Villa Park Dollar Tree. It’s the perfect size to help transport everything to and from lessons, and makes it less likely lose books and forget assignments. It comes in multiple colors and it’s inexpensive. While purchasing this fall’s school supplies, consider replacing large backpacks and clumsy string bags with one of these totes or something similar.

Below is a picture of a FREE piano available from Wheaton! It’s been well maintained, an Everett upright. Please call Fred Puzon at 630-624-5691 if interested.

The following students have expressed interest in receiving Clavier’s “Piano Explorer” magazine from September 2017-2018 (10 issues).

  • Aidan
  • Alex
  • Kate
  • Lauren
  • Lena
  • Liam
  • Linaea
  • Liron
  • Lucas
  • Mathis
  • Matthew
  • Raegan
  • Sofia

The $8.00 subscription cost will appear on August invoices. Magazines are distributed at lessons and short assignments are given from each issue. To facilitate assignment completion each student receives their own copy (no family sharing, please!). For students who wish to keep past issues, they are filed under the “Piano Explorer” tab in their binders.

If you have any reservations about this subscription, check out the “Piano Explorer” website!

Be reminded there are no lessons next week for the July 4th holiday. Group and private lessons will meet the following week of July 10th as scheduled.

Shyan identified the 3 black key groups using silver pipe cleaners. He will use them  to play “Wendy the Whale”. Great job, Shyan!!

Adrianna is doing a great job identifying her 2 and 3 black key groups. The pompoms are on the 2 black keys and the pipe cleaners are across the 3 black key groups. Great job Adrianna!!

Check out Logan’s beautiful rainbow piano keys! He knows them well! Great job Logan!!

Congratulations to Ethan N. for last week earning a Certificate of Awesomeness at piano. Ethan is working very hard on his technique and has improved tremendously! Way to go Ethan!!

Congratulations to Liron Ebema for playing a beautiful offertory “Above All” on Sunday May 14, 2017 at Lombard Bible Church. Enjoy!

Be reminded that next week are group lessons! Students are reminded to choose a piece that is a work in progress to play for their group.

REMINDER: There are no lessons Wednesday May 24th to Monday, May 29th. Tuesday students will have lessons as scheduled.

This Starck piano is FREE to a good home! This piano has been tested by a musician and found to provide excellent resonance (just needs a bit of tuning). Contact Steve Buher at if you are interested!

Now that winter is over, and the air is changing from cold and dry to warm and humid, your piano might need to be tuned – especially if you notice any problems like sticking keys, strange clunking noises, or out-of-tune notes. Usually pianos should be tuned twice a year. A piano tuner will give your instrument a careful checkup and make sure it sounds its best! 

If you need a tuner, contact John Esposito, Esposito Piano Service – 630-773-0695.

Hope you had a great Easter last weekend. The children are counting-down the remaining number of days of schools this year. Click here to see May’s newsletter! Congratulations to all performers for wonderful concerts this spring. I am delighted to see their progress and enjoyment of this instrument.

You can click here to listen to recordings of both concerts are available on the studio websiteCDs are also available upon request.

CD recordings from our recent Piano Concerts are available upon request. The same recordings will be available on the studio website here!

Please consider attending the Oakton Six Piano Ensemble in concert at Oakton Community College on Saturday, April 29 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, April 30th at 3:00 pm. These concerts are a wonderful time of music making. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Many thanks to the families who sent me their photographs from our recent concerts. If you have photos you’d like included on the studio website please send them to me via text of email!

Below is a list of performers by time for Saturday’s practice. Everyone has been given 5 minutes to run-through their pieces and find their seat for Sunday’s concert. Please note that the 1:00, 1:05, 1:10, 1:35, 1:40, and 2:45 times are now available. If you are interested in changing your time to one of these open slots please email or text me at 630-363-7513 as soon as you can. First come-first serve availability!

1:00   OPEN
1:05    OPEN
1:10    OPEN
1:15    Sam Maercklein
1:20    Matthew Maercklein
1:25    Lena Pinto
1:30    Saajan Ray
1:35    OPEN
1:40    OPEN
1:45    Analise Burns
1:50    Zach Poling
1:55    Kate Nairn
2:00    Sean Nairn   
2:05    Luke Schoff
2:10    Ethan Noellsch   
2:15    Raegan Noellsch   
2:20    Hope Ebema   
2:25    Liron Ebema   
2:30    Jayden Wong   
2:35    Adrianna Wong   
2:40    Christian George
2:45    OPEN
2:50    Alaina Petiprin
2:55    Sofia Logacho
3:00    Alyssa McKenna
3:05    Natalie McKenna
3:10    Emily Maher
3:15    Lauren Maher
3:20    Kaitlyn Griffith
3:25    Mehervaan Heneghan
3:30    Mathis Carneiro
3:35    Liam McNulty
3:40    Logan Nguyen
3:45    Ty Nguyen
3:50    Mia Falduto
3:55    Sara Falduto
4:00    Oliver Grabowski
4:05    Samantha Stacy
4:10    Alex Becker

A colleague of mine, Ruth Oberg, has an old upright Steinway that she is wanting to give away. It is located in a house near Wheaton college. Ruth’s daughter Julie Hentz can text a picture of the piano to you at 630-836-0332. If you are interested in purchasing the piano, please call Ruth at 630-446-1793.

It’s my pleasure to let everyone know the West Suburban ISMTA (Illinois State Music Teachers Association), or piano teacher club as my students know it, recently selected me as their 2017 Teacher of the Year. This acknowledges many contributions the recipient has made to the organization. This is especially remarkable considering there are more than 65 teachers in this chapter who are college professors and private studio musicians. I am indeed humbled and grateful for their support.

To my studio families – I can only begin to express my gratitude to you for sharing your amazing children with me, supporting the value of music education,  and our many wonderful friendships that have developed over the years. I simply cannot do this without you and am grateful beyond words!

Please click here to view important information regarding our upcoming 2017 Piano Concerts. This includes the schedule of Saturday practices the day before and the performer list for the concert the day of. Double check your child’s name for correct spelling! 

Be reminded that tomorrow is AIM Performance Exams! Click here to view the 2017 AIM Schedule I sent a couple weeks ago to reiterate the details. A hard copy is in your child’s binder. I am delighted and very proud of your children. They have worked very hard for this day and will be successful!

  1. Students MUST bring their books for their AIM pieces. No exceptions. If they forget them they will be given an incomplete and have to schedule a makeup exam. There is an additional $20 fee for makeup exams.
  2. Arrive 20 minutes before your scheduled time in the event there are parking difficulties.
  3. If your child is unable to attend, please let me know as soon as possible so I can let the event coordinators know.
  4. After their time with the judge, Level 2 Students (Lauren, Sean & Saajan only) will proceed to Blanchard Hall Room 139 to complete the written portion of their exam. Thirty minutes is allowed for completion but many finish sooner. Students may leave after this.
  5. The exam length for all other levels is approximately 30 minutes provided the judge is on time.
  6. Exam rooms are very small. Parents should plan to wait outside the exam door. Depending on the hallway noise level you should be able to hear at least a portion of their performance.

What else can I do for you? You can contact me at 630-363-7513 until tomorrow at 11:30 am. After that, stop in the exam office – Blanchard Hall Room 139 for assistance.

CareNet is the first step for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. They welcome women with unconditional love, counsel, and resources that offer the light of truth – changing hearts and saving lives. Join us as we help to resupply CareNet with diapers! There will be a collection box in the lobby at Lombard Bible Church at the Sunday, March 19th Piano Concerts or bring your donation to lessons. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Click here to see the AIM 2017 Schedule and Information for your child’s AIM Performance Exams set for Saturday, March 4th at Wheaton College’s McAlister Hall. Copies of this schedule will appear in student binders.

Click here to view the March 2017 Newsletter, containing schedule, lesson, and piano concert information for our concerts on Sunday, March 19th – 1:30-4:00 pm. Please read this carefully and let me know if you have any questions. Copies will also appear in student binders. A few highlights:

  • Program order will be available mid-March.
  • Parents interested in a CD recording of the concerts should let me know by March 15th.
  • I will post photographs from the concerts on the studio website soon after the event. Families who wish to include their photographs should email or text them to me by March 25th.

I’m pleased to offer 1 additional group lesson to this year’s school calendar in July 2017. The additional group lesson will occur the second week of Monday, July 10th and will be held for group students in place of their regular private lesson day and time.  This does not affect students who take only private lessons. 

Below is a list of the groups by date/time and student name. You may add this information to your July calendar. It will also appear in upcoming newsletter issues.

GROUP #1 (Monday, July 10 at 6:00-7:00): Analise, Mehervaan, Oliver, Natalie, Alex

GROUP #2: (Tuesday, July 11 at 3:30-4:30): Liron, Corinne, Sean, Sam

GROUP #3: (Tuesday, July 11 at 6:00-7:00): Lauren, Alyssa, Samantha, Kaitlyn, Linaea

GROUP #4: (Thursday, July 13 at 3:30-4:30): Alaina, Christian, Saajan

 If you have any questions please let me know.

Wow! Sometimes we think playing a piece on 1 piano is difficult! Take a look at the video below to view Hazel Scott’s amazing talent.

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice.” -Vladimir Horowitz (Russian-born American classical pianist and composer)

img_1658There is some truth to this quote!

Hi Everyone! Frances Clark, the author of the quote below, was a marvelous piano teacher and author of “The Music Tree” piano method used by many students in this studio. She had a marvelous way of encouraging and enabling her students. Enjoy!


Enjoy this excellent resource that ou. While it is written to the piano teacher I think it’s an interesting perspective for parents too.

Be reminded your November schedule includes a private lesson scheduled this week for AIM students. They are taking an AIM practice test in place of group lessons. AIM Theory exams are this Saturday, November 12th at Wheaton College. I apologize for this late reminder!

Click here to view an article that describes in detail the process of painting a piano black.

It is with pleasure I can announce we raised $955.00 this fall for DuPage PADS in support of their efforts to end homelessness in DuPage County. Thirty-eight students and I participated by playing a total of 14,500 minutes – which multiplied by 3 cents per minute – raised $435.00. Families donated an additional and very generous $520.00.

Click on the following links to see my 2016 PADS Letter to PADS’ Director of Development Janelle Barcellona and the 2016 PADS Certificate acknowledging our donation and support. You can see our group photograph again below. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated!

PADS 2016 Photo

The kids are doing well in their preparation for AIM Theory exams. Most students have 3 more lessons until exams. Please remind them to learn their harmonizations, go over Lesson chapters, practice sight reading, transposition, and rhythm. They have been getting a jump on some technique scales and patterns for the Spring AIM Performance exams. They are NOT responsible for technique on November 12th.

Click here to view the AIM Theory 2016 Schedule and Information. Copies will be inserted in student binders. No time changes are available. If makeup judging is needed please let me know as soon as you can.

Click here to see the November newsletter! Please note a couple of schedule changes that affect Friday and Saturday students. There will be lessons on Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th. There will not be lessons on Friday, November 18th.

Every minute of your child’s lesson is precious to me! Please remind them to use the restroom before their lesson.

Something I should have instituted a long time ago is a policy for instances when students forget books and materials for lessons. We can usually work around this by focusing on the books and materials they have with them. However, when students arrive empty-handed I will ask parents to return home to retrieve materials. We will complete the lesson with the remaining time available.

The attached photograph was posted on Facebook by another piano teacher. The student wore a big floppy black hat to lessons recently and declared she was a half rest. I’ve attached an image of a real half rest for comparison. Kids are wonderful!
Half Rest

I am delighted to report we have practiced 14,230 minutes and raised $946.90 with donations. This is a remarkable effort from so many and is greatly appreciated by DuPage PADS. The last few practicing minutes are being tabulated at this time. Final counts will be reported next week. Congratulations and thanks to everyone!

Music Theory - Rocket Science

A few students are taking regular and consistent bathroom breaks during their lessons. While it’s necessary and fine, this consistency takes up a lot of valuable lesson time. Please ask your child to use the restroom before their lesson or monitor the amount of liquid they consume prior to lessons.  A few sips of water before a lesson might be enough to alleviate thirst. Thank you for your support in this area!

Check out the video below from the series “When Professional Pianists Plays on the Street Part 4”. You can search YouTube for the other 5 parts to this 6 part series.

I’m very happy to share our week 4 totals! Students have practiced over 11,100 minutes which raises our total, with donations received, to $523.30! I will collect remaining minutes and distribute t-shirts at this week’s lessons. Don’t forget to complete your minutes charts in binders prior to lessons. Many thanks to the parents and their families who appear in the photograph below. I will post our final totals next week!

Parents, please consider making a small donation to PADS. Janelle Barcelona, PAD’s Director of Development, tells me they have been able to place 30% of PADS families in permanent housing thanks to donations just like ours. Permanent housing means kids sleep in their own beds every night. We are truly making a difference in our communities! 100% of donations go directly to PADS. Make your checks out to “DuPage PADS” and send them with your child to lessons, drop them off, or send them through the mail.

PADS 2016 Photo

We’ve practiced over 8,325 minutes and raised close to $270.00 for during our third week of fundraising for PADS! Great job everyone and very exciting!

BE REMINDED! The PADS’ photograph is this Saturday, October 1st at 10:45-10:55 am. Students are given PADS t-shirts to wear and pose for a quick photo. I hope everyone can share a few minutes to show our support for PADS.

Consider a donation to DuPage PADS. Make your checks payable to “DuPage PADS”. 100% of the monies collected goes directly to PADS. We support PADS’ “Share the Fare” program which buys bus, train, and taxi passes for PADS families. This is a very worthy cause, especially during cold winter months!

I hope everyone is having a great week! See the funny comic below:
Family Circus Comic

Glad to share that week 2 gives our PADS fundraiser a big boost! Students practiced 2,730 minutes, raising an additional $81.90. Totals for both weeks 1 and 2 are 4,615 minutes and $138.45. Students are reminded that all reading, writing, and playing assignment times may be included in their PADS totals. Fantastic job!

The group lesson schedule and information for 2016-2017 is available! Click here to view the “Group Lessons” tab and see all information related to group lessons.

Opening night of the Wheaton College Artist Series is on Friday, September 30, 2016 with The 5 Browns: 5 siblings, 10 hands, and 50 fingers playing 5 Steinway Grand pianos on Edman Chapel stage! Opening night festivities and food begin at 6pm on the Edman Plaza. Adult tickets and $10 student tickets are available online or at 630-752-5010. This should be very exciting evening!

Visit their website by clicking here.

The 5 Browns at Steinway Hall

Thank you for the privilege of teaching your teaching! Click here to see the October 2016 Newsletter.

Students are taught to hold a rounded hand shape at their first lessons with me. The purposes are to relax the hand and wrists and make it possible for all their fingers to be approximately the same length while playing over the keys, rather than from under them. It is more difficult to hold this shape while pressing the keys. Fingers and hands tend to flatten out and move out of place. Wrists and thumbs sag, and shoulders rise. Over time, all sorts of muscle injury and tendonitis can set in from poor technique.

All students receive multiple illustrations to achieve and use a rounded hand shape. Many students are naturally gifted at holding the rounded shape while others need a little bit more help. I recently added the ladybug squeezie to our toolbox. Students hold the ladybug, feet down, in the palm of one hand and lay the open opposite hand over the back of the ladybug. The ladybug is pulled away leaving the open hand in a rounded hand shape.

Ladybug squeezies are to be used diligently at home practice and brought to lessons. This helps us monitor the rounded shape, height of wrists, and relaxation of neck, arms, and shoulders. For many students using the squeezies has helped them consistently achieve and use a rounded shape – in some cases, for the first time.

The ladybugs are tools, not toys. They are to stay in student piano bags when not in use, kept out of the reach of younger siblings, and not leave your homes. Lost or replacement ladybugs are available for $3.00 each.

Due to date conflicts at our concert venue, our piano concerts and related practices and vacation days will be held on the originally planned dates. I sincerely apologize for all the recent changes!

  • Saturday, March 18 from 1:00-4:00 pm (held at 5 minute intervals)
  • Sunday, March 19 at 1:30 & 3:00 pm (2:15 photograph & 2:30 reception)
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 20-21: VACATION DAYS (no lessons)

Please also note that the new date recently announced for AIM Performance Exams is Saturday, March 4th. Makeup sessions with judges are available if anyone has conflicts with the new date.

Click here to see a copy of the latest calendar. This calendar also appears on binder covers. Please make sure the above information is correctly entered into family calendars.

Glad to report student’s practiced 1,740 minutes last week and raised $52.20 for DuPage PADS! Students are reminded that all reading, writing, and playing assignment times may be included in their PADS totals. Keep up the good work!

Due to a schedule conflict at Wheaton College, the date of spring AIM Performance exams is now Saturday, March 4th, 2017. This means our Spring Concert practices have been moved to Saturday, March 11th from 1:00-4:00 pm (at 5 minute intervals), and the Spring Concerts will now be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Please update your calendars!

Parents should be aware there is an epidemic of students who aren’t opening binders and reading their assignment pages regularly between lessons – some not enough, and some not at all.  As a result, assignments are forgotten. I had a couple of students recently say they practiced 15 minutes a day last week – yet forgot to do half their assignments. I’m wondering what they are practicing! Most students are given practice plans to follow throughout the week. If binders aren’t opened and read, plans aren’t followed. Please follow-up with your children prior to their next lesson to investigate whether assignments are completed. If there are questions please let me know.

I received these beautiful flowers from a piano family today as a thank you! It is a joy to teach for my wonderful families.


This video will bring a smile to you and your child!

Group lesson students have enjoyed the Piano Maestro app at group lessons for the last 2 years. Students love it and those with iPads at home are able to access the studio’s account free of charge. (If you have an iPad and are interested in home use please let me know!)  Unfortunately, Piano Maestro (JoyTunes Company) recently extended a very large price increase to continue using this app. All eligible group lesson students will have a $10.00 software charge appear on September invoices. The $10.00 software fee is an annual fee that covers all group lesson and at-home app use.

Hi Everyone! A few reminders as we transition into fall:

  • Our last summer lessons are scheduled for August 1st-6th
  • Students have a 3 week break from August 8th-27th
  • Fall lessons begin on Monday, August 29th
  • Watch your mail for information relative to fall activities. There will be a couple of forms to complete and return with your child at their lesson the week of August 29th.

If you have any questions please let me know!

Your child or children have expressed interest in receiving “Piano Explorer” magazine from September 2016 – August 2017 (10 issues). See student list below. Piano Explorer is a short, monthly magazine written by and for piano students and teachers. Each issue profiles a famous composer, music history, piano technique, music theory, composition, contests, games, puzzles, and jokes. Our group subscription is distributed at lessons. Short assignments are given from each issue. To facilitate assignment completion, students receive their own copy (no family sharing, please!). The $6.00 subscription cost will appear on September invoices.

If you’d like more information about “Piano Explorer” check out the link:

Families enjoy a wonderful array of activities! Family conversations about various after-lesson activities BEFORE the lesson create a BIG lesson distraction for students already struggling to concentrate. All they can think about it that wonderful, exciting upcoming activity scheduled later that day and have a very difficult time staying on task! While I want parents to talk with their children about all family  activities – I caution mentioning it right before their lesson. I want your child to have the opportunity to focus 100% at their lesson, draw its benefits, AND enjoy the rest of their day. Thanks for your kind understanding!

This is a piano for sale from a relative of one of my teachers at Noteable Notes, Wheaton.  If you are interested please contact Bob at the email below.  Here’s the information and pictures:
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“The Piano is a Maeari 4’9″ Baby Grand, Mahogany high gloss, Brass trim pedals with socks, Brass trim feet, Gold color interior & hinges, Upholstered bench. We got it new in 1999 but by the Serial # (ISCG0195) it appears to be a 1995 model. Excellent condition, no scratches and hardly used. The estimates we have gotten are between $5000.00 and $6000.00. Negotiable.”


Please view the slideshow to see photos of a piano for sale from a former student of a friend of mine. They want $500 OBO as it needs tuning and has to be moved. You may contact my friend using the email below if interested!

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Click here to read an article concerning the uniqueness of a pianist’s brain!

Be reminded we have no lessons from Wednesday, June 29 to Monday, July 4. Have a great Fourth of July!

Enjoy this article on Piano Factory Tours! You are able to virtually tour the Sauter Piano factory in Spaichingen, Germany, the Hailun Piano Factory in Washington state, and the Petrof Piano Factory in the Czech Republic. 

Please ask your child whether they are interested in receiving a discounted subscription to “Piano Explorer” magazine – starting September 2016 – and let me know by June 25th. Those currently receiving the magazine will be asked at lessons whether they would like to continue. Copies are sent to me and distributed at lessons. Cost is $6.00 per copy for 9 issues.

Piano Explorer is written by and for pianists. Each issue contains articles about composers and music history, beginner’s corner, instruments, composing ideas and concerts, theory/technique, puzzles, games, riddles and more. For more information you can go online to Thank you for considering!

Click here to find the July and August newsletter! I hope you’re enjoying a great summer so far and I look forward to seeing everyone at lessons.

Piano lessons on Thursday June 16th are cancelled. I will be out of town. A refund for your lesson payment will be appear on July’s invoice. This information will also be text to you.

Thank you for your kind consideration and I apologize for the inconvenience.

Reminder: there are no lessons or office hours on Monday, May 30th. Happy Memorial Day!

Click here to view the June 2016 Newsletter! Please review the schedule and lesson information carefully and let me know if you have any questions.

My sincere thanks to all of you for your kind wishes and flexibility with my parent’s recent illnesses. They continue to progress well.

Please email me with the summer dates you will not be at lessons. This helps keep my schedule current and offer makeups to those requesting them.

I strongly recommend attending a FREE Classical Piano Concert that Wheaton College will be hosting this Saturday, May 21st. Find more information by clicking here!

Katelyn composed a special piece for Mother’s Day. Enjoy!

I will be out of town on Wednesday, May 11th. All lessons are cancelled. We will resume the following week on Wednesday, May 18th at regularly scheduled times. A credit will appear on June’s lesson invoice refunding your earlier payment.

Be aware that an audio equipment problem was discovered when preparing our concert recordings for website and CD burn. I will post the recordings as usual but be aware there is a lot of static and the recordings are rather hard to hear. This problem has since been repaired but, unfortunately, not in time for our concerts. My apologies to everyone.

There has been a recent epidemic of students forgetting to complete all their assignments and bring all their books to lessons. Both halt progress! Please encourage your child to double-check their current binder assignment page throughout the week, ask them to show you when assignments are completed, and pack piano bags the night before when they aren’t rushed. Thank you for your help!

Click here to view the May 2016 newsletter. May invoices and schedules will be emailed to families later this week. Many thanks for your kind wishes for my parents and your flexibility with lesson cancellations the week of April 11th!

I look forward to resuming piano on Monday, April 18th as scheduled.  If you haven’t heard, my 83 year old parents fell together in their apartment bathroom late on Sunday, April 10th. My father is fine and currently living in assisted living. Mom broke her left hip, had surgery to repair the break on Monday, and is receiving therapy at a local rehabilitation center in Wisconsin. Both are settling into their new surroundings and progressing well.

May’s newsletter and invoices will be sent out this week. Thank you to everyone for your kind support and good wishes!

Due to a family medical emergency, lessons on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week are cancelled. My mother fell Sunday evening and broke her hip. Today’s surgery went well and we are praying for her good recovery.

Please send your photographs from our recent piano concerts to post on the studio website. The kids love seeing them!

Group Lesson Families, please be reminded that we are on the group lesson schedule this upcoming week. Please see April’s invoice for your schedule dates and times.

Heartiest congratulations to everyone for a wonderful concert last Sunday, March 20th. Everyone played beautifully!

Below please find the group photograph which will hang on my studio wall (click to enlarge). Please email me your photographs from that day. I would especially like copies from the reception and with your child. Unless you tell me otherwise, your photographs will be posted on the studio’s Facebook account and website. No names are shared.

Our Guest Artist Alex Zebutis was amazing!  Here is a link to a Youtube recording of Alex playing the “Harry Potter” medley he performed for us:

I’m in process of posting concert recordings on the studio website. I will let everyone know when they are available. If you would like a CD of the concerts please let me know.


“Pianists breathe with their wrists.” -Dr. Daniel Paul Horn, Wheaton College Conservatory of Music.

This is a reminder about Saturday’s practice and Sunday’s concert schedule! Both events are held in the sanctuary at Lombard Bible Church, 111 S. Park Avenue, Lombard. On Saturday, entrance is Door #5 at Park & Parkside Avenues. On Sunday, you may enter at Door #1 Main Entrance off the shared parking lot with Elmhurst Clinic. Click here to see the special edition March 2016 Concert Newsletter for additional information, including the schedule for rehearsal Saturday and the concert orders on Sunday. I’m looking forward to enjoying these special afternoons with all of you!

Click this link to find April’s newsletter! Best of luck to those participating in Achievement in Music this Saturday (March 12th)! Everyone has worked very hard and sound tremendous. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our concerts on Sunday, March 20th!

The Community School of Arts at Wheaton college will present two Monster Concerts on Sat., March 12, 4:30 and & 7:00p.m. in Pierce Chapel. The tickets are $7 at the door. This will be an exciting event for your students to experience! There will be 6 pianos on stage at once and a wide variety of patriotic, jazz, rags and classical duets. Hope you are able to attend!

Monster Concerts

Click here to find a special edition March 2016 newsletter containing information relative to our upcoming piano concerts. Please read this carefully and let me know if you have questions. Copies will also appear in students binders.

The program orders will be available mid-March and parents interested in a CD recordings of the programs should let me know by March 21st. I will post photographs from the concerts on the website soon after the events. Families who wish to include their photographs should send them to me via email or text by March 25th.

Click here to find an article from the Chicago Tribune profiling our March 20th concert Guest Artist Alex Zebutis! Alex is a student of a colleague, Dr. Alex Djordjevic. Zebutis will be performing the “Harry Potter Medley” mentioned in the article and a second piece yet to be determined.

The AIM Performance exams schedules and information can be found below! Please review carefully. Copies of the attachment will be inserted into student binders.

Student Schedules and Information

Click here to find the March newsletter! Copies are also available on the studio website and Facebook pages. I recommend reading this for pertinent lesson information!

A few reminders:

  • LESSON DROP-OFFS: Wait for your child to safely enter my home BEFORE leaving the area in ensure their safety.

Please be reminded that we WILL be having lessons on Monday, February 15th (Presidents Day). Looking forward to seeing you then!

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful music your children are playing! Please follow-up with them over the next few days to ask them how it’s going and if they feel ready for the exam. Most students are preparing well and starting and/or completing their piece memorization. Others are a bit behind. Students have 4 teaching lessons left until AIM exams. We will hold mock exams the week of March 7th.

1) In order to pass their assigned level, students are required to memorize 2 assigned pieces. If students do not have them  memorized at the event (Saturday, March 12th) they will receive an “incomplete”.  Makeup exams are available but are held on a separate day and time from their piano lessons and with another teacher. The cost for a makeup exam is $20, paid to the judge at the time of the exam.

2) I’ve set a March 1st deadline for piece memorization. Memorization isn’t perfection BUT students need to able to play their pieces without music, applying the technical aspects we discuss at lessons, and are printed in the music. Original copies of the music are brought to the exam for the judge to follow.

3) Your child’s exam level may be a bit challenging for them, and every level has a lot of material to cover! Make sure student’s are practicing daily, if they aren’t already doing so. In order to be well-prepared, all students must complete every assignment given to them each week. (You know who you are!)

4)  AIM students will be playing all or some of their AIM music on the upcoming Piano Concerts scheduled for Sun. March 20th.

5)  Specific exam times and room numbers will be available and communicated after March 10th.

6)  A version of the chart below (click to enlarge) is in the back of student binders, after the favorites list. While I will be giving students a copy of this chart over the next week, I’m including it here for parents to read and encourage their child’s progress.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 3.25.24 PM

I’m glad to help anyway I can! Thank you for all you are doing for your children.

SEVERE WEATHER NOTE: Due to inconvenient school and lesson cancellations during February and March, the severe weather policy is updated to include the option of lessons over FaceTime and telephone. I will be in touch individually should this be necessary.

As a member of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association, the ISMTA State Office asked me to submit an article describing our fall fundraisers for DuPage PADS, a local homeless association based in Wheaton, IL. The article currently appears on the website and describes how we hold the fundraisers with the hope other studios are inspired to do the same. Click this link to read the article and view the photograph from our 2015 PADS Fundraiser. My friend and State President Lynette Zelis and her students are also profiled.

Click the link to find February’s newsletter, containing articles concerning upcoming events, schedules, and important information. Please review this with your calendars and let me know if you have any conflicts or questions.

Below please find an interesting article from last Friday’s “Lombard Suburban Life” Community Voice column (click to enlarge). Written by Superintendent David F. Larson, Glenbard Township High School District 87, this article lists the benefits of studying the arts. I hope you enjoy it.


Please find an article from this morning’s Tribune below (click to enlarge)! The writer states, “Often, we find ourselves looking back woefully at all of the great things we set out to do in the past year but never accomplished. And we set ourselves up for failure once again by making more mundane promises such as going to the gym, saving more money or eating less chocolate. That has been the pattern for most of my adult life. So this year, I’ve decided to take a different approach. Instead of promising to do the things I hate, I’m going to do the thing I love most: I will learn to play the piano again.” I hope you enjoy.


Just a reminder that private lessons have resumed starting yesterday, Monday, January 4th at your regularly scheduled time. There are no group lessons scheduled in January, February and March.

For all Star Wars fans… Enjoy! (You must be logged in to Facebook to view the video.)

Consider giving your child the gift of music for the holidays this year! Below are some great ideas from piano teacher Wendy Stevens:

Click here for a link to Amazon for CD or mp3 files for many of these piecesBest wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

The “Lombardian” newspaper has graciously published our PADS fundraiser photograph in today’s issue. They have supported our fundraising efforts since 2010. Attached please find a copy of a thank you note to them. Students will have the opportunity to sign their names on the thank you card when they attend  lessons until Saturday, December 19th.

Lombardian PADS Photograph

Click here to find an invitation for the child(ren) who were eligible to participate in this spring’s Achievement in Music Performance exams at Wheaton College on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Preparation for the exam takes place during lessons starting the week of January 4th. Please read the detailed attachment carefully for more information. Registration deadline is Saturday, December 19th. Congratulations to your child(ren) for their participation!

Click here to find January’s newsletter containing schedule information for January and February lessons, important dates, concert dates, and openings update. Please remember when you drop your child off for lessons, please wait for them to safely enter BEFORE you leave the area. Even if you see me teaching or the porch light is on. I want to insure your child is safe.

Included in this issue is information concerning Piano Maestro, an interactive app for iPad we have been playing at group lessons. One of the features I love is its availability for home use. If you are a group lesson family – and have an iPad – PLEASE EMAIL ME your approval so I can send an invitation to play at home. Once we are connected I can view student scores and assign individual lessons. The best part is the full program is completely FREE to students connected with my account.

We Need iPads!  Please let me know if you are selling an old iPad. We are currently sharing 1 iPad at group lessons and we could use a couple more. Sharing is fine but it takes up quite a bit of lesson time and limits what we can accomplish.

Thank you for everything in 2015! Have a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Student composers from Friday group lessons. Great job!


Here are some pictures and a video of a few student composers from this week’s group lessons! They came up with fun sing-a-long with the Piano Maestro app. 

Below is a list of group lessons and students attending this week’s group lessons. Be reminded that Monday, December 7th is part of this month’s group schedule. Except for Monday students (see email from last week or your December invoice), there are no private lessons during group week.

Group #1: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1 at 3:30-4:30 pm. Students: Sam, Kaitlyn, Liron, Linaea
Group #2: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1 at 5:30-6:30 pm. Students: Analise, Alyssa, Alex, Mehervaan
Group #3: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3 at 3:30-4:30 pm. Students: Oliver, Sophia, Saajan
Group #4: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3 at 5:00-6:00 pm. Students: Katelyn, Samantha, Lauren, Corinne
Group #5: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4 at 3:30-4:30 pm. Students: Sean, Natalie, Alaina

Below please find 2 music-related newspaper articles I hope you find interesting.

The first is “Girl Gets Piano of Her dreams” details how Oak Lawn cancer patient Liliano Cordova receives the gift of a baby grand piano from Cortland’s Pianoland in Geneva, her piano teacher Nichols, and her lessons. It’s quite heartwarming.

(click to enlarge) (click to enlarge)

The second article, written by a parent of a young violist, identifies their practicing frustrations as a child and recognizing a parent’s helplessness in getting their child to love playing an instrument. Addison Trail Band Director Mark Corey is interviewed and gives suggestions. I hope this is helpful and encouraging you.

EncouragingAChildToPractice (click to enlarge)

Group lesson families are reminded to attend GROUP lessons this week, instead of private lessons. See November invoices for your particular schedule. Group students will start Christmas music the week of November 9th. Our December group lessons will be held the first FULL week  – Tuesday, December 1st to Monday, December 7th.

Students not enrolled in group lessons are reminded to bring suitable Christmas music to this week’s lesson. Suitable means not too easy and not too hard. If you don’t have a book from last year with this description we can look for one.

DuPage PADS has included us in their newsletter for our Fall 2015 Fundraiser! Congratulations everyone! 

Below is the student schedule for AIM Theory Exam occurring on November 14, 2015. Find your student’s name for all of the information needed for exam day! Click to enlarge.

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As a reminder, Group Lessons will be the week of November 2-7 next month. The Lesson Schedule for November is as follows:

Mondays – 5 Lessons
Tuesdays  4 Lessons
Wednesdays3 Lessons (off 11/25)
Thursdays – 3 Lessons (off 11/26)
Fridays2 Lessons (off 11/6 & 11/27)
Saturdays2 Lessons (off 11/14 & 11/28)

DuPage PADS Fundraiser Update!

Congratulations to everyone for a wonderful fundraiser this year. We conclude this year with some impressive numbers! We practiced 11,340 minutes, and with donations, raised $940.00 for their “Share the Fare” program. Our donation will provide 33 free taxi rides; 1 bus pass and 1 train pass for needy families.

Even more impressive is we have supported DUPAGE PADS’ “Share the Fare” since 2010, or 6 years. By playing and asking our friends and family for donations we have…

  • Played a total 75,998 minutes
  • Raised a total of $6,718 in donations
  • Provided 230 free taxi rides; 6 bus & 6 train passes.

Thank you to everyone who has participated over the years!

This beautiful photo was shared with me by a piano parent. Photography credit goes to Rosie Clayton.
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Just a reminder that there will be piano lessons tomorrow, Monday, October 12th, at the regularly scheduled lesson times. 

Congratulations to everyone for participating in playing for DUPAGE PADS from September 8th – October 3rd! As of this writing, we have played 10,250 minutes, and with donations raised $422.50. Stop by TOMORROW, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD at 11:15-11:20 a.m. at my home to take our photograph for The Lombardian. Kids will receive a FREE t-shirt as a thank you from DUPAGE PADS for participating. Please turn in any donations to me at this time. I will continue to collect remaining playing minutes and donations through Saturday, October 10th.

Hello everyone! A few notes as we head into this week:

  • DuPage PADS fundraiser is going well. We’ve practiced 5,045 minutes and raised $151.35 as of 9/19/15 toward our $1,200 goal. Please have a daily practice time scheduled for your child following the practice plan listed on their current assignment sheet. Count the number of minutes practiced and list it on days-of-week chart stamped on the assignment sheet. Consider asking friends and family to make a donation to DuPage PADS. Make checks out to “DuPage PADS” and send them with your child to lessons starting today.
  • I’m waiting for Group Lesson time charts from 2 families. I have contacted them and should have our Group Lesson Schedule by the end of the week.
  • Halloween solo and collections music is available for interested students. Book charges will NOT be listed on your October invoices but listed in student binders when students receive their music. Payment at next student’s lesson is appreciated.

Hi Everyone! One of my goals this fall is to keep you better informed about some of the continuing education events I attend. Everyone benefits to learn more about how we learn the piano and the styles of learning students possess. This presentation focused primarily on how to teach students with dyslexia how to read music and play the piano. You may or may not have a child with dyslexia but all students benefit from learning memory techniques (called “hooks”). It was great to know that I already use many of the techniques today to help all learning levels.

Dyslexia is fairly prevalent  6-7% of school population have been diagnosed with some form of dyslexia. Fifteen-twenty percent of the total population has some form of reading difficulty. Dyslexia is a language based learning challenge. Some students have whole word reading difficulties while others have some degree of trouble connecting and remembering letters and their sounds. Dyslexia is not a lack of intelligence or motivation. Most dyslexics work very hard to learn multiple ways to compensate.

Reading music requires the musician to connect the symbols they are reading on the page, listen to its sound, and press the keys. This can be quite challenging! Dyslexics follow their hands much easier than the page. In the beginning, students follow the music by a pattern of intervals (2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc) and key patterns. These are written as symbols in student’s music. Since many dyslexic students have problems with working and short term memory, associating new material with something they know is essential. The association, or “Hook” creates an image making it easier for the student to understand and remember the concept.

In lessons, students play very slowly singing the counting. Teacher helps by tapping the beat.  Then, teachers point to the intervals and notes as the student plays so they don’t lose their place in the music. Before student plays hands together the student plays the LH while the teacher plays the RH. They switch parts. This teaches how the music sounds. When ready, the student plays hands together, slowly “singing” the counting. Rapping and chanting is fine if the student doesn’t like to sing. Students with dyslexia need extra time to learn. Sometimes expanding the lesson to 45 minutes allows more time to master concepts. It’s critical for teachers to be patient, understanding, empathetic yet maintain high expectations for all students. Students, and their needs, are always are top priority.

Lastly, some feel that students with learning disabilities don’t really belong at the piano and will probably bring down other students. Poppycock! The repertoire for the piano is so vast that there is room for almost everyone. A child with a learning disability can love the piano just as much or sometimes more than a child who is “normal”. Learning to use the intervention techniques will lead to better teaching and learning for all students.

Enjoy the attached article by Editor Pete Jutras defending the value of music study.


I miss all of you! Please view September’s newsletter at your convenience. Important reminders below:

  1. Please mark your calendars with the Important Dates, Holiday Schedule, and Group Lesson Weeks (group students only).
  2. Fall registration mailings were sent late last week. If you haven’t received your copy please let me know. The entire fall mailing is available under the Forms tab.
  3. Fall Registrations forms, Lesson Policies & Information and Group Time Charts (eligible students only) are due at student’s first September Lesson.

The following article appears on the front page of today’s Chicago Tribune. It profiles a very musical family: their extraordinary size, and commitments to music and lessons. A few additional photographs of the children, which appear with the original article, had to be omitted here due to space constraints. I encourage all of you to read the full article in the newspaper. I hope you enjoy!

I attended almost a dozen meetings last week about piano lessons and teaching that I want to share with you.

Last Tuesday, July 28th, about 50 piano teachers and I met with Randall Faber, one of the composers of the Piano Adventures series. We discussed the new editions of the 3A and 3B Lesson and Technique books. I learned how important it is for students to continue their technique learning into the Intermediate levels.  We also learned proper technique for playing arpeggios.  The “over and under” using a circular wrist motion. Tonic-dominant alternating accompaniment patterns can be played using a “tossing” wrist motion.  Dr. Faber is dedicated to providing the best learning materials available for piano students today.

On Wednesday, July 29th, I attended the pre-conference sessions at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedgogy (NCKP) at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. NCKP is a biennial meeting of keyboard music educations, researchers, and industry leaders representing all 50 states and over a dozen other nations. The mission of NCKP is to enhance the quality of music-making and educate teachers dedicated to music-making at all levels.

I attended sessions given by teachers who work with autistic and dyslexic students.  Autistic students benefit from ways to decrease anxiety. Teachers of special needs students show adaptability, patience, and compassion while keeping a sense of humor in their work.  Dyslexic students can have a wide variety of reading difficulties.  Teaching using key patterns, instead of following the music is helpful. Lessons include lots of music theory, memorization, and identifying musical form. These sessions opened my eyes to learning styles of all students and identified ways I can help everyone learn music.

The Technology track included numerous ways we can use apps on the iPad, setting up and running a music lab, and using software for calendars and bookkeeping. We are such a technology driven society!  I hope to add many new items and ideas to both private and group lessons to support student learning.

Hope you are enjoying a good summer!

There are no lessons on Wednesday, July 29th because I’m attending a piano pedagogy conference. Several Wednesday students rescheduled their lessons for Thursday, 7/30 and Friday, 7/31. Below is my lesson schedule as it stands:

Thursday, July 30th
3:00-3:30 – Liron E.
3:30-4:00 – OPEN
4:00-4:30 – Sean N.
4:30-5:00 – Mehervaan
5:00-5:30 – Sophia P.
5:30-6:00 – Sam M.
6:00-6:30 – Nick O.
6:30-7:00 – Sofia L.
7:00-7:30 – Mia F.

Friday, July 31
3:30-4:00 – Zach
4:00-4:30 – Keshena
4:30-6:15 – OPEN
6:15-6:45 – Aarav

Watch your mail in late August for fall packets containing scheduling, group, and private lesson information!

A neighbor of a good friend is giving away their Casio keyboard, pedal, stand, and seat. The instrument is about 10 years old and works fine. The keys are not weighted (the harder you press them the keys do not get louder) but it is a suitable home instrument for someone interest in its MIDI and recording capabilities. It would also be good for someone who wants a basic, portable second instrument.

Below is an ebay link from another seller for your information:

You may contact the seller Tom Treemont directly at 630-334-2323. He lives in Glen Ellyn.

I will be taking Wednesday, July 1st to Saturday, July 4th off for Independence Day Weekend. Please plan your schedule accordingly.

Thank you to the families who shared your concert photographs with me!  I recently had a desk calendar made using these photographs, and it is on the table behind the couch in my home studio. Come on in and take a look at all the great musicians! The same photographs appear on the Images tab.

I will be taking Saturday, May 23rd and Monday, May 25th off for Memorial Day Weekend. Please plan your schedule accordingly.

Effective today through 8/31/15, my set office hours for families and students will be Mondays and Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. This doesn’t mean I am unavailable other days and times, it just means that you may more reliably contact me during this time.  I will published updated office hours in the fall. 

The most-requested piece to learn from this month’s concerts is McCartney/Lennon’s “Let it Be” performed by Dakota Clower on the 3:00 program. I have obtained a couple copies of Dakota’s arrangement that are available! Please let me know if your child is interested. Be aware this arrangement is for Level 2B/3A. I am currently looking for an easier arrangement for those in Levels 1 & 2A.

A friend is helping her neighbor sell their piano. Please see the picture below (click on it to enlarge) for a photograph of the piano and pertinent information about the instrument. Unfortunately I am not familiar with this instrument nor do I know anything of its condition. If you are interested, please contact the owner directly – he is Tom Tremont at 630-334-2323.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 2.51.55 PM4/27/15
Would you like a CD recording of our concerts? If you replied “YES” to this question in March your CDs are ready and will be in the front pocket of your child’s assignment binder at this week. Recordings will be available on the Discography tab by May 1st.

Lots of photographs were taken by all of us at last Sunday’s concerts.  Please share them with me for posting on the studio’s website and Facebook page. If there are any concerns please be reminded that policies state:

“Occasional studio group photographs are taken for event acknowledgement and advertising purposes.  No monetary gain is received, expected, or paid to anyone.  No student names are released.  Participation is optional.”

It was a delightful afternoon and everyone played beautifully!

Congratulations to all performers for our wonderful concerts last Sunday. I’m very proud of their hard work and appreciate the kind support from their friends and families in attendance. After the concert, a round, black Master-Key Chromatic pitch pipe was found in the church gym after the event. If it is yours, please let me know.

Below is the final practice schedule for our piano concerts. Please double-check the time and let me know via text or email if you have any questions. This practice is not mandatory but encouraged, especially for those who have not performed in concerts before. I must apologize for the later practice times this year.  The church is hosting a rather large women’s conference earlier that day and 5:00 is the earliest we are able to use the building.

*Parking is available in the seniors parking lot at Park & Parkside Avenues, which is located across the street from Lombard’s train station.  Enter through door #5. 

*If this lot is full parking is also available in the shared slot with the Elmhurst Health Clinic.  Please walk around the building and enter through door #5.  The church’s main entrance will be open on Sunday.

*Each performer has 5 minutes to run-through their pieces and locate their seats for Sunday. You may leave when you are finished.

5:00 Sam M.

6:30 Aubrey W.

5:05 Oliver G.

6:35 Graham W.

5:10 Mehervaan

6:40 Emma E.

5:15 Saajan R.

6:45 Alex B.

5:20 Abby G.

6:50 Alaina P.

5:25 Tessa P.

6:55 Corinne P.

5:30 Sophia P.

7:00 Zach P.

5:35 Julia P.

7:05 Lydia G.

5:40 Liron E. & Hope E.

7:10 Kala T.

5:45 Kathryn N.

7:15 Lauren M.

5:50 Sean N.

7:20 Mira K.

5:55 Kaitlyn G.

7:25 Analise B.

6:00 Madison N.

7:30 ____________

6:05 Melissa C.

7:35 Azra Y.

6:10 Alyssa M.

7:40 ____________

6:15 Natalie M.

7:45 ____________

6:20 Aarav S.

7:50 ____________

6:25 Dakota C.

7:55 ____________

Everyone sounds great.  This will be a wonderful weekend and memory for performers and their families. Leave comment below with any questions. Thank you!

Students are reminded to bring their concert music to group lessons this week.  We will be playing our pieces for each other, giving encouragement, and discussing concert etiquette. Have a good week and thanks!

Be reminded that we do not have lessons this week. We will resume the week of April 6th with group lesson schedules. Please see your April statement for individual days and times. Have a relaxing vacation and happy Easter to all!


April 18th practice and April 19th Concert Information appears in the April 2015 Newsletter.  Please read it carefully and let me know if you have any questions.

I have burned CDs of our concerts for many years.  Last summer’s website upgrade makes audio files available online.  Based on your responses, I’m considering two options: If I provided CDs do you want them, and if I provide the audio files online would you listen to them? Let me know by Wednesday, April 1st.

Our piano/voice concerts are Sunday, April 19th. I am decreasing the number of pieces each student is playing by one, due to the limited amount of preparation time available. This change affects most of the students participating this year. I will discuss the revised lists with students next week.

If your child received new music for the concert, please hold off payment at this time. I will include books charges in April’s tuition statements, which are scheduled to be emailed next week. The April newsletter will also be sent to families next week. This newsletter will contain information relative to your child’s participation concert day.

Every so often an article comes my way that I MUST share because it speaks volumes about the craft of learning a musical instrument.  The article, Why Students Really Quit Their Musical Instrument (and How Parents Can Prevent It) beautifully continues my newsletter article “Lesson Parent Involvement” in March’s studio newsletter.  Please take 5 minutes to read this. – YES – YOU – THE MUSIC PARENT – are a major force in your child’s learning a musical instrument!

Parents regularly mention they attend their child’s music concerts to support their kid’s activities.  Sports too!  This is vitally important and I don’t want to minimize this in the least.  They, however, disconnect when it comes to home musical instrument practice because they do not know how to play the instrument and so they back off and let their child figure things out.  WRONG!  The best things you can do for your child’s day-to-day music learning is to LISTEN TO THEM PLAY and ENCOURAGE THEIR PROGRESS.  A few examples of things to say are: 

  • “Wow, Sammy.  You played those notes beautifully today.” 
  • “What is the name of this piece?  I want to remember it so I can ask you to play it again sometime.”
  • “What’s this right foot pedal all about?”
  • “How was your music lesson today?”

And the cool thing is – IT DOESN’T TAKE A LOT OF TIME to ask a question or 2.  Just a moment, that leads to a minute, which influences their learning for a lifetime.

My response to each point is listed below:

  2. Ask your kids if you don’t know what to do!  Their response might be helpful.

  3. Life often makes choices for us.  The cool part of playing an instrument is that it can be learned along with other school subjects, sports, and activities.  For example, my husband majored in vocal music performance while on a football scholarship. 

  4. It’s great to have some down-time over the summer but many FALL DOWN when it comes to playing outside of lessons.  Just a little playing over the summer goes a LONG way. 

  5. Okay, Mom and Dad – this is an important time to tell you – YOUR PIANO NEEDS TUNING AND SOME OF THE KEYS DO NOT WORK.  Kids regularly tell me how much they enjoy hearing their pieces at lessons because they can’t hear them at home because their instrument sounds bad and/or some keys do not work.  Annual tunings are a must to keep your instrument in top performance and keep it playing for generations.  Please call your tuner TODAY and if you need a recommendation let me know.

  6. I hear about your home performances!  Parents, grandparents, cousins etc. LOVE hearing your child play, and your child loves hearing their praise.  Students in my studio have performing opportunities at lessons!  Our annual concerts (coming up on Sun. April 19th!), Achievement in Music (for select students in 8 days on March 7th!), and group lessons. 

  7. I periodically ask students for titles of their favorite pieces and can accommodate most requests with the actual piece (if it is available) or something close to it.  Please ask your child and let me know if I can help. 

  8. I watch your child blossom at their music lessons with me.  This is an amazing privilege I do not take for granted.  Thank you! 

I hope everyone is keeping warm in this cold weather.  Please review the March 2015 Newsletter and let me know if you have any questions.  Watch for your March invoice later this week!

Please reference the AIM Performance tab for all information referencing the AIM performances on March 7. This tab includes information regarding student’s performance times and room numbers!

We are still waiting for specific times and room numbers for AIM. Information will be available mid-February and will be communicated to families via email as soon as I receive it.

Reality Check! After this week:
MONDAY & SATURDAY students have 3 more lessons until AIM. TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY & FRIDAY students have 4 lessons. We have been slammed by holidays, snow days, and illness. Makeups are available upon request. I may request your child have an extra lesson if I feel they are falling behind. In addition to learning their pieces, students should go over their technique and sightreading examples at home and work up to and including #9 even if they feel they know the material well. A little extra review never hurts.

I’m opening up Monday, February 16th (President’s Day) as a “catch-up day” for AIM students. Please consider attending and get back to me if you are interested. Other days are also available. Enjoy your week and thank you very much!

Science Just Discovered Something Amazing About What Childhood Piano Lessons Did to You
By Tom Barnes

If your parents forced you to practice your scales by saying it would “build character,” they were onto something. The Washington Post reports that one of the largest scientific studies into music’s effect on the brain has found something striking: Musical training doesn’t just affect your musical ability – it provides tremendous benefits to children’s emotional and behavioral maturation.

The study by the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that even those who never made it past nursery rhyme songs and do-re-mi’s likely received some major developmental benefits just from playing. The study provides even more evidence as to why providing children with high-quality music education may be one of the most effective ways to ensure their success in life.

The study: James Hudziak and his colleagues analyzed the brain scans of 232 children ages 6 to 18, looking for relationships between cortical thickness and musical training. Previous studies the team had performed revealed that anxiety, depression, attention problems and aggression correspond with changes to cortical thickness. Hudziak and his team sought to discover whether a “positive activity” like musical training could affect the opposite changes in young minds.

“What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument,” Hudziak told the Washington Post, “it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.”

The study found increased thickness in parts of the brain responsible for executive functioning, which includes working memory, attentional control and organizational skills. In short, music actually helped kids become more well-rounded. Not only that, they believe that musical training could serve as a powerful treatment of cognitive disorders like ADHD.

We need this sort of proof now more than ever. In presenting their findings, the authors reveal a terrifying truth about the American education system: Three-quarters of high school students “rarely or never” receive extracurricular lessons in the music or the arts. And that’s depriving kids of way more than just knowing an instrument.

School systems that don’t dedicate adequate time and resources to musical training are robbing their kids of so much. Prior research proves that learning music can help children develop spatiotemporal faculties, which then aid their ability to solve complex math. It can also help children improve their reading comprehension and verbal abilities, especially for those who speak English as a second language.

In these ways music can be a powerful tool in helping to close the achievement gaps that have plagued American schools for so long. It’s even been shown that children who receive musical training in school also tend to be more civically engaged and maintain higher grade-point averages than children who don’t. In short, musical education can address many of the systemic problems in American education.

Hudziak’s research is an important addition to the field because it shows that music helps us become better people, too. One thing is clear: Learning music is one of the best things a person can do. Who knows – running scales may have changed your life. And it could change the lives of future generations too.

FEBRUARY AND MARCH GROUP LESSONS have been cancelled to allow additional preparation time for Achievement in Music (AIM) students.  Please adjust your schedules accordingly. 

February emails will be sent in the next few days indicating your upcoming schedule and amounts due.  Let me know if you have any questions.

This is a reminder to Monday students that there are no lessons scheduled today for the Martin Luther King Holiday.  All AIM students should continue to work on their current assignments and work ahead as far as they can.  If there are any questions please let me know at 630-363-7513. Have a great day off!

Due to this week’s lesson cancellations many students were unable to pick up their AIM music before next week’s lesson.  If you want to pick up your AIM music soon please comment below, call, or text to arrange pick up.  Plan to bring the piano bag and binder with you so I can write the total in the binder. 

All Lessons are cancelled on Thurs. Jan. 8th due to extreme cold weather and school closures. Stay safe and warm!

All group and private lessons are cancelled for Wednesday, January 7th due to the very cold weather and school cancellations. Stay safe!

Be reminded that we have group lessons this week.  AIM students who take group lessons have the option to pick up their AIM music at group this week IF, (1) they bring their piano bags with them to group lessons, AND (2) promise to bring their AIM music  to next week’s private lesson.  We, unfortunately, will not have time to go over AIM music but at least they can get started learning their pieces.  The cost of music will be written on their assignment pages in the front of the binders. 

Congratulations to the students who appear on page 12 of today’s “Lombardian” and “Villa Park Review”.  Great job to all and many thanks from PADS for our wonderful donation of $1132.85.  You can purchase a copy at area 7-Eleven stores and other small businesses within Lombard and Villa Park.  Have a great thanksgiving!

Singers start Solfege patterns at their second lesson.  We start learning 5-Finger scales when students are in the Piano Adventures Level 1 – Unit 5 and progress to 2-octave minor kids.  My goal is for all students to have a functioning (not memorized) level in all 12 keys.

Below are some top reasons why students learn and practice scales:

  1. Because they appear in music. It makes learning passages and patterns a lot easier if one can identify the scale that the passage is based on and vice versa.
  2. They help develop coordination and fingering between the hands. It’s not easy to get those hands and fingers working together!  Practicing scales is a great time to focus on developing coordination which will then transfer over to repertoire pieces.
  3. Develops an aural sense of a key / tonal center. Practicing scales helps develop the student’s ear so that they begin to hear how each note of the scale functions within a key — e.g., hearing that the leading tone’s pull to the tonic (ti-do).  They will also begin to be able to aurally recognize major versus minor pieces and patterns they might be learning.  Singers do the same thing by singing Solfeg (Do-Re-Mi) exercises.
  4. Helps build a theoretical understanding of key / tonal center. Knowing about scales and key signatures is the basis of understanding how music theory works.  Once the student understands what it means to be “in a key”, they can better understand how chords are formed, key patterns, which chords usually progress to other certain chords, how to transpose, which keys are closely related, etc.  It also allows for better interpretation of repertoire.

At first, scales can be tedious to students.  Once they understand how they are constructed and can identify them in their repertoire students begin to understand the importance of learning scales and appreciate them.

For more information, read the following link –

Many thanks to a piano family for sharing this interesting video on how playing an instrument can benefit your brain!

Good work to everyone who participated in this Fall’s PADS fundraiser! T-shirts and student totals were shared with students last week and will be completed this week. We logged a total of 13,775 minutes raising an amazing $1132.85! Thank you to all for participating and donating to this awesome organization.

Please see the picture below regarding $200 lesson scholarships from Yamaha Corporation!

Check out the photograph for our PADS Fundraiser this year under the Images tab! Thank you to all families who participated!

Congratulations to everyone for playing and singing for PADS September 2, 2014 through October 4, 2014!  Please be reminded that our PADS photograph is Sat. Oct. 4th at 11:30-11:40 a.m. in my home.  The kids will receive a FREE PADS t-shirt to wear in the photograph.  Please bring any donations with you or bring it to next week’s lesson if you are unable to attend.

Just a reminder that group lessons will be in held instead of the student’s regularly scheduled lesson during the first week of the month. 

I will confirm October’s private lesson schedule and payment information via email to families later this week. 

Just a reminder that I need about 3 dozen plastic milk caps to serve as game pieces for a composer game I want to play with students this month. Will you please save and bring them to lessons? Thanks a lot!

We are once again raising money for DuPage PADS’ “Get on the Bus Program”.  This is an excellent way for all of us to get back into the practicing routine AND raise funds for an excellent organization!  The group photograph will be taken on Saturday, October 4th at 11:30-11:45 a.m. While students will be given a hard copy of the pledge sheet during lessons next week, please visit the forms page if you need a new copy!

Early this week I am mailing everyone a letter outlining the next several months of piano activities and an updated policy form.  Please read, sign, and return the policy form to me either before or sent with your child at their first lesson in September.

Eligible students will also receive a chart to complete with your child’s availability so I can schedule group lessons.  This chart should also be completed and returned to me before or sent with your child at their first lesson.

Thank you and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in September!

Parents often ask me for practicing suggestions for their child. While there are many fun games and suggestions available on the internet and in books – the single most important thing for successful practice is their PARENTS setting a daily structured time for them to play at home (approximately 5-10 or more minutes depending on the level of the student) and for PARENTS to encourage their progress. Make the practice time sacred. Do not hold doctor’s appointments, playdates, or anything avoidable during practice times! I also recommend that practice times be held before a favorite activity such as watching television or playing video games. Remember to take in consideration your child’s personality, temperament, and learning styles in your planning.

I’m looking forward to welcoming back all of my students to lessons in September!

Please take a moment to wait for your child to enter my home BEFORE you leave the area!  Even if you see me teaching or the porch light is on.  It is very important to me that your child is safe. Thanks a lot!

I am replacing the spiral notebooks and green folders with black 1/2″ view binders in September.  My plan is to use them to better communicate important dates and information to everyone, and help students consolidate their lesson materials into one place rather than separate locations.  Over the last week I’ve shown a sample binder to students with good reviews.  With the exception of 1 student, the binders will be distributed at the first lesson in September.  The cost is $5.00 for the binder and its contents.  This will be added to your September total. If you have any questions or want to see the sample please let me know.  Your input is appreciated!

I’m working on a composer music matching game for private and group lessons that uses about 3 dozen plastic milk caps to serve as game pieces. Will you please save your milk caps and bring them to your next lesson for me? I look forward to sharing this game in September!

Sometimes it can be difficult to pick up a new hobby, especially one like piano which requires a bit of discipline. You should never stop doing something you love just because it becomes too frustrating! All it takes is finding the way you practice best. Follow the PDF link below to read up on a few tips and tricks you can employ to help get yourself on the right track.

How to Play Piano

How do you find the right music teacher? If you’re looking for the perfect match, sometimes the search can feel exhausting. The West Suburban Music Teachers Association agreed, and put together an aide to help you on your way to meeting someone who truly has your best interest in mind and wants to see you succeed!

How to Find the Right Teacher

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