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December 2016





f you ask someone on the street if they know what ORMTA is, I’m certain the answer would be, “No.” I’m afraid it’s possible that some of our students and their families might not even understand what ORMTA is. For an organization with 8o years of history providing excellent teaching and programs, this is a problem. We have created a FIND A TEACHER poster to raise awareness of our organization and to connect potential students to our teachers. This is a project that started in May of this year and has taken a lot time, research, and discussion amongst the Executive Committee. We began by looking for a graphic artist. I suggested local artist, Jenn Kitagawa. The executive reviewed her work and voted to hire her. Her bio: Jenn Kitagawa's work shows the thinning of the line that has separated illustration and design by paring it down to basics such as pattern, shape and colour. After graduating from the graphic design program at ACAD in Calgary, Canada, Jenn moved to New York where she interned for illustrator and designer Mike Perry and Nylon Magazine. Currently Jenn lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Ms. Kitagawa created a project timeline and sent us three layouts to choose from. From there we went through several stages of editing until we reached the final product. The result is a poster that balances history with modernity and elegance with playfulness. I asked two friends to comment on the poster. Both are trained artists and have no musical training.


Stephanie Berec, BFA - Film and TV Content and Program Developer (CBC and Corus) and Puppet Fabricator.


“This new poster design for ORMTA is a fresh and dynamic work that is both functional and fun. The cool blue colour is in line with ORMTA's other promotional materials, and works to compliment the association's existing marketing nicely. The grey geometrical background adds a clean yet visually intriguing base that catches the eye without being overwhelming. In keeping with that theme, the graphics are simple yet informative. The piano lining the right vertical side along with the singer on the left side work to anchor the piece, while also providing cues to viewers about the content of the poster and drawing them in further. The playful use of wavy lines adds a bit of fun, and lightens the tone of the poster. It's a strong, clean, and cheerful design that is both functional and visually appealing.”

“The shapes of the figure and piano nicely echo those found in the logos to subtly unify the composition and recall the professional organizations with which the teachers are associated. The orientation of the piano is eye catching and it's diagonal spacing opposite the figure singing (which is an unusual shape, therefore also eye catching) sets up a good visual dialogue. The 3-tone shapes in background create a great sense of movement and depth. They also make me think of percussive sounds/physical effects.” Sarah Kinsey BFA, BSc, Bed - Artist and ROM/TDSB Teacher The last step is getting these posters out into the world, via our members. These posters are tools to benefit you and you may have as many as you wish. HOW TO GET POSTERS -

Posters will be distributed at our Holiday Luncheon on Sunday December 4; Contact Avila Lotoski at OR 416-485-6562.


City of Toronto Public Message Boards. A City of Toronto map of message board locations can be found via the QR code to the right; Toronto Public Library branches; Community centres; Local schools. At libraries, community centres, and schools, ASK PERMISSION FIRST.

I hope these posters bring more attention to this great organization and the truly amazing teachers that set the standard for music making and education in this community. In other news, don’t forget to keep your address and profile up to date. If you offer the always popular in-home service, be sure your profile says so! Performers, please consider taking the stage in our next Teachers in Concert. More details on page 13. And keep reading to find two articles written by members, one about effective practicing strategies and the other about accent in Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 14, No. 2. Enjoy!


Avila Lotoski Central Toronto Branch, President


All the best,

In This Issue


3 6 13 15 20 21


President’s Message Event Reports Upcoming Events Bright Ideas Members The Year Ahead



PR Workshop and Photo Session AVILA LOTOSKI his autumn, Central Toronto Branch worked together with one of our branch members, music teacher and PR specialist Liz Parker, to offer an affordable but highquality solution to self-promotion and to give our teachers a photograph for their PR package that best represents their teaching style and professionalism.

This project started with a PR workshop at our Fall General Meeting, at The Merchant Tavern downtown, with topics including the differences between marketing and advertising; using social media; and what you should and shouldn’t include in your website. The latter part of Liz’s workshop was dedicated to image and PR photography, to prepare us specifically for our headshot photo session that would follow a few weeks later. If you haven’t met Liz, I can tell you that she has a great sense of humour and is also a very kind and supportive person. At the workshop, she told us that she believes ”in the very serious art of teaching music but this [images and self-promotion] is the shallow, superficial side of your career. I am in touch with my superficial side and I’m okay with it! But I know that some people are uncomfortable with image and how you present yourself when networking.” And so she walked us through a sampling of different outfits and why they would or would not work on film. We also talked about how to connect your image to your personality and teaching style and the importance of angle and positioning in relation to the camera. Member Alexandra Weiss caught it all on video and posted it on our new YouTube channel, to make it available to all of our members and other non-members who had signed up for the photo session.



Upon arrival, each teacher would hang up their outfits for Liz to check over and choose what would work best. If a teacher’s wardrobe was lacking in some way, they may have ended up with something that Liz brought along, including the jacket or pants she was currently wearing! That’s dedication. Properly suited up, the teacher would then move on to see Ivy, who didn’t just make us look great but also doled out skincare and beauty product advice about what works well and saves you money. Finally, our teachers would face the camera. Liz would manipulate and direct poses to bring out their personality. After a round of shots, teachers could review their photos on Shayne’s computer. Our photo team was working hard but keeping it fun. I personally had a great time and my session felt akin to a


Photo day arrived on Monday November 7. We were booked in at the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) all day. The CMC’s Karen Hildebrandt arrived at 7:15 a.m. to let in our team: stylist Liz Parker, photographer Shayne Gray, and hair and makeup artist Ivy Lam. Shayne worked out lighting and Ivy set up her vast array of tools on the big wooden table in the reception area. Liz prepped the statement necklaces and other accessories that she brought along.

spa day; people fussing over me and me not working at all. I left on cloud nine and was beaming the rest of the day.

Clockwise from top right: Monique de Marjorie posing; Avila posing and reviewing photos with Shayne; Shayne and Ann Edwards; Judith Lebane Kane posing. Photos by Liz Parker.


Judith Lebane Kane


“Thank you so much for arranging the photo shoot. Shayne, Ivy and Liz were terrific and really know their craft!�


This was our first time running this event and we did not sell out the available spaces. Besides our branch members, we also invited University of Toronto Music Faculty students, CMC associate composers, and members of the GTA zone branches. Those who signed up were from our branch and from the zone branches, mostly pianists and singers but also a flautist and a composer. I received a message from one member who had worked with this team before, wanted to sign up but couldn’t because of a scheduling conflict. Those who came out were glad they did. Below is some feedback I received:

"Liz, Ivy and Shayne were lovely to work with. While being wonderfully professional, Shayne's friendly and easy personality behind the camera made me feel so comfortable. I feel that Shayne really got "me" in his photographs. He and Liz know exactly what to do to bring out who "you" are in the pictures. Several times through the session Shayne would stop the process and show me the pictures just taken. That helped me to continue doing what worked and to stop doing what didn't. It was also encouraging because the pictures looked great. LIz has a great eye for tweaking clothing, wrinkles, adjusting jewelry, and for the best positioning. They work really well together which creates a nice atmosphere. I can't recommend them highly enough. I am looking forward to getting the proofs and choosing the best pictures of the bunch. Many thanks to Avila for her work in setting the session up." -

Ann Edwards

In our busy work schedules, self-promotion can easily end up at the bottom of a to-do list. Even so, getting the word out there about your skills and services is time well spent and this project helped us along that route.

Children’s Halloween Recital



Students, teachers, and parents after one of five Halloween Recitals; Teachers Liz Craig, Natasha Finlay, and Judith deHaney.



n Sunday October 30, 2016, ORMTA CTB hosted their annual Children's Halloween recital. With over 120 students and five recitals, it was their largest Halloween recital ever! There were many elaborate and creative costumes, and even parents and teachers got dressed up. This is also a fundraising opportunity, and we collected over $1000.00! This goes back to our students in the form of scholarships, which we give out twice a year in our spring and fall scholarship recitals. Students enjoyed the opportunity to perform in a fun, relaxed environment, and we look forward to this growing event each fall.

Composition Master Class AVILA LOTOSKI


n an extremely blustery November day, just a few blocks east of the 112 th Santa Claus Parade, our Central Toronto Branch hosted a composition master class at the Canadian Music Centre (CMC). To celebrate, encounter, and create Canadian music, this Canada Music Week event included a chance to peruse and borrow scores, a tour of the facilities, and a 3-hour composition master class with Dr. John Burge of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. We began with a casual browse of scores, set up in the reception area. To prepare for the event, I had chosen around forty scores, based on the styles and instrumentation of the participant entries and including a few composed by branch members Susan Griesdale, William Beauvais, and Karen Rymal. Andrea Ayotte had pulled them from the on-site library and had them ready for us. Participants and auditors borrowed works for wind ensemble; SATB; electric guitar; and piano. We then gathered in the Chalmers Performance Space, a modern and warm recital hall, just the right size for this kind of event. The CMC’s Will Callaghan took over and guided us through all the nooks and crannies of the building. A highlight for one auditor, my 6-year-old daughter Helia, was learning about a special feature of the library holding master scores; a device in this room can significantly decrease the concentration of oxygen in the air to prevent a fire. Left to right:


Following the tour we took a short break and then returned to the Chalmers Space to settle in for the master class with coffee, tea, fruits and sweets in hand. Everyone had a program and the participants each had a copy of all the compositions and a Canada Music Week pencil with which to annotate the scores. The composers ranged widely in age and


CMC tour with Will Callaghan; Helia perusing master score stacks with Matthew Todd.

composing experience. We had students, adults, a teacher, and a musician from outside of our branch. Their works were all quite different, there were several piano pieces but also a work for SATB and piano, one for wind ensemble, and another for piano with rhythm section. Dr. Burge gave brief opening remarks, setting a humorous and supportive tone (“I might sound like I think I’m God! But you don’t have to do everything I say---I won’t be calling you to make sure you took my suggestions…”), and then began working with each participant in turn. Some composers performed their pieces live on the piano. For those that sent in recordings and, in one case, a YouTube video link, we used the CMC’s Mondopad, a 57” touchscreen PC, and sound system to listen to their works. Dr. Burge thoughtfully turned down the lights for the video and sound recordings. Before the master class, Dr. Burge had studied each score carefully and made a lot of “red marks”. He selected a few unique issues to discuss with each composer, making excellent use of everyone’s allotted time and, in this way, covering plenty of ground. Going the extra mile, Dr. Burge also created written-out solutions to some of the trouble spots. We heard many suggestions including how to create effective endings using existing material; how to refine materials to create stronger coherence; and we learned about the great difficulty of setting iambic pentameter (don’t try this at home). I was impressed with Dr. Burge’s quality of instruction and interaction with these different age groups and musical genres and styles. This Canada Music Week event was a lovely and enriching way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We filled all the available participants spots but could have fit at least thirty more auditors. It was a success that should be repeated and a real celebration of Canadian music; we were creating and performing Canadian music, exploring Canadian music scores, working with a Canadian composer, and senior participant Eric Shaw’s choral work even used the poetry of Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. We are honoured to win a CFMTA William Andrews Award for an innovative Canada Music Week event and appreciate the support of the CFMTA in bringing excellent programming to our music community. Back row (L-R): Stephanie Davidson, Dr. John Burge, Phillip Christoffersen, Benn McGregor. Front row (L-R): Melody Mansoori, Daniaal Amlani, Micah Weekes.



(Participants Eric Shaw and Angela Greenwell not pictured here.)



UPCOMING EVENTS See our website for more details and payment links.

Winter General Meeting Yoga & Meditation for Musicians Workshop with the expert Sheila Miller! Sheila will use yoga to address concerns specific to musicians: posture, breath awareness and freedom, sensitive wrists and shoulders, followed by an introduction to Mindfulness Meditation. A perfectly healthy way to start the new year! Friday, January 13, 2017 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Workshop 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Meeting REGISTRATION

Avila Lotoski

Christ Church Deer Park 1570 Yonge St. (TTC St. Clair Stn.)

WORKSHOP WEEKEND: Two workshops, back-to-back, same day, same location. Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tapestry New Opera 9 Trinity Street, Studio 316 (Distillery District)

1. Baroque Dance for Pianists Put it all together with pianist and dance notator Natasha Finlay!

Two sessions: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. OR 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. REGISTRATION Deadline: February 1, 2017 Contact: Natasha Finlay

ORMTA Members $25.00 Non-ORMTA Members $30.00 Young participants may bring one caregiver.



Play a Baroque dance to accompany a Baroque dancer in costume, cultivating interpretation and technique; Learn a group dance from the palace courts to develop rhythm and artistry; Embody your approach to music.



2. Popular Selections Create arrangements of popular works with event pianist Liz Craig! 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

ORMTA Members – Price TBA Non-ORMTA Members – Price TBA Young participants may bring one caregiver.

REGISTRATION Deadline: February 17, 2017 Contact: Liz Craig

Voice and Piano Master Class With pianist, chamber player, opera conductor, & vocal coach, Leslie De’Ath. Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Canadian Music Centre 20 St. Joseph St. (TTC Wellesly Stn.)

ORMTA Members - Participants $75.00 - Auditors $15.00

Non-ORMTA Members - Participants $90.00 - Auditors $25.00

REGISTRATION Early Bird: January 31, 2017, $65.00 Deadline: March ??, 2017 Contact: Elaine Lau

Teachers in Concert Calling all performers!

The Music Gallery 197 John St. (TTC Osgoode Stn.)


Denise Williams


Sunday, April 2, 2017 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.


We have a plenitude of skilled musicians in this branch. Share your wealth and sign up to perform at our annual fundraiser!


CANADA: 150 YEARS – 150 VIDEOS ORMTA CTB Students & Teachers Toronto, Ontario

What do you love about Canada? What excites you about Canadian music? Share your voice! Submit your music videos to via Teachers, this is an opportunity to talk about voice and cultural appropriation.


Any duration.


1/1 – 5/23, 2017

BRIGHT IDEAS Here’s a spot for all the little brainstorms we have. Feel free to send yours in! ROUND TABLE – STUDIO POLICY Do you have a studio policy? Does yours need an update? If you would like to have an informal discussion on this topic with other interested Central Toronto Branch members, please contact Avila Lotoski at and we’ll set up a meeting time and some resources. ONLINE AD SESSION – KIJIJI Some of our members are less tech-savvy than others. Is anyone interested in helping a few of our members set up a Kijiji ad for their private music lessons? Please contact Avila Lotoski at if you’re a willing helper or need some help!

16 Practicing Strategies that Work LIZ CRAIG


he goal of practicing is to make what is a new challenge relatively easy by the following week. Teachers are experts at knowing exactly what to introduce next in the student’s musical development. Through focused practice, there can be new concepts learned and mastered each week. This tangible sense of progress is very rewarding. Here are a few ideas and attitudes to adopt as family learning the wonderful art of music:


2. Treat practice less like a chore and more like a time to play. Music is inherently enjoyable and kids naturally view instruments as toys that make exciting sounds. Give them permission to explore these sounds by creating their own pieces and improvising as part of their playing time (even if it sounds bad!). As they learn new things in lessons they will naturally incorporate these concepts into their exploration time. The attitude of the parents towards music making can have a big impact.


1. Practicing should be integrated into your families’ daily schedule like brushing teeth. Missing a day brushing your teeth would be pretty gross...

3. It is very important that the student have a proper, in-tune instrument and space in which to practice. Make sure that during practice time electronic devices are away and turned off. Siblings shouldn’t be allowed to interfere. Sometimes changing the location of practice or the time of day can make all the difference. 4. Take every opportunity to experience great music in Toronto with your family by attending concerts at various venues, musicals, ballet, opera and more! Seeing and hearing world-class performers in action can really inspire students of any age and level. 5. Parents should be actively involved in both setting the schedule for practice and more importantly overseeing what is being accomplished, especially with very young students. This is true even if parents aren’t musicians or don’t read music – they can still motivate and make sure that their child is staying on task. 6. Students should keep a practice journal to show how often and what they practiced each week. There should be a spot for the teacher to write down the assignment as well as a place for the student to record their progress and any questions they have. 7. Never hesitate to ask for more detailed practice instructions from the teacher. There should be specific goals given as part of the weekly assignment, for example things like “be able to play the g minor scale accurately hands separately at 80 bpm” or “play the A section of the minuet slowly with correct notes, rhythms and articulations.” In other words, it should be easy to measure when a task has been completed. When there are clear goals given and met, it creates a sense of accomplishment and encourages more focused practice time. 8. Practicing should always be more focused on meeting goals rather than filling time. It is very possible for a student to practice 30 minutes every day and accomplish nothing – they could even be reinforcing bad habits and getting worse. Students are much more productive when a goal needs to be met, rather than a time limit. Have you ever heard your boss say, “Please work on your report for 30 minutes a day this week and then hand it in on Friday?” Of course not! Your boss, like your child’s music teacher, wants quality work done regardless of the time it takes.


10. There are four basic considerations when practicing: playing effortlessly, playing up to tempo, playing accurately and playing the entire example. The student should always aim to play effortlessly and then choose two other considerations to focus on, sacrificing one consideration from the list. In order to play effortlessly and fast and perfectly, you may not be able to play the entire piece, or even the entire section! To play the entire example effortlessly and accurately, you may not be able to play fast. (This tip comes from the excellent book Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner)


9. While teachers usually set weekly goals - daily goals are also important. Having the student set their own daily goals can be a powerful step towards musical independence. Students who are preparing for exams or auditions may also want to make monthly or even yearly goals.

11. MindFUL repetitions are useful, mindLESS repetitions are not. When aiming to correct a mistake, play it correctly more times than you played it incorrectly. For example, if the note is an F# and you’ve played F now 5 times, you need to play F# as least 6 times to counteract your previous attempts. If you stop at one correct play through, you will be more likely to play the incorrect note of F as that is what you practiced more. Not doing this leads to the oft uttered “but I got it right at home!” 12. Don’t forget to listen! The student should be always be working towards developing a beautiful tone at their instrument as well as their own unique voice. Encourage them to record their practice sessions so that they can listen to them afterwards with a different perspective. 13. Share practice performances on YouTube and through social media. The internet is chock full of videos of aspiring musicians – students should be encouraged to watch videos of others as well as share their own videos showcasing their best and brightest moments. Having to record a video of a piece will inherently lead to lots of good practice as students aim for the perfect “take.” 14. Parents and teachers should read and implement the ideas found in the book The Practice Revolution by Australian piano teacher and composer Philip Johnston – it is highly entertaining and full of practice “games” to try! 15. Bribing isn’t the best motivator. Student who are often bribed to practice or attend lessons may be more focused on the reward they are getting afterword instead of on what they are playing and the inherent musical rewards. These students try to get away with practicing as little as possible to get their reward which fosters the wrong kind of attitude in the student. If you must bribe, make it goal based and musically relevant. For example, once the student can play an excerpt fluently at a certain tempo, then they can play a music game on a device or watch a YouTube video of their favourite song. 16. If at the end of the week the student has practiced well and completed all the assignments, they deserve praise. Tell your child that you are proud of them for working so hard!

Read more articles here:


Happy Practicing.


If these kinds of strategies are put into place, students will experience success and enjoy their lessons much more. They will experience the addictive feeling of progressing to new challenges and more exciting pieces. They will be much more engaged in the lessons as they will be eager to show off what they did that week as well as listening carefully for instructions for the next week. They will also take ownership of their new skills and want to hone them further. Each week will bring well-earned praise from their teacher and parents as well as the pride that comes from having achieved something after working hard. The parents of these students notice that over time their involvement is less and less necessary they can sit back and enjoy the beautiful music!

Accentuation in Beethoven: The Opening of Opus 14, No. 2 DR. STEPHEN SATORY


n early little masterpiece, Beethoven's Sonata in G Major, Op. 14, No. 2 has long been a favourite examination selection for Grade (Level) Ten piano students. It was my first Beethoven sonata and I played it at the Kiwanis Festival as a teenager. Unfortunately the question of accentuation never came up during my piano lessons.

Beethoven's slurring together of the six notes of the opening theme calls for an even touch, but this is incredibly difficult to accomplish. Almost instinctually, one accents the second, fourth and sixth notes, which are all in relatively strong metrical positions. I try hard to fight against this by practicing with cross-accentuation, that is, by accenting the first, third and fifth notes.



Composers and theorists of the eighteenth and nineteenth century stated that in a slurred group of notes, the last note is the least likely to be accented; in fact, it should be the quietest of the lot. On the other hand, a teaching colleague of mine has maintained in no uncertain terms that the strongest note is the fourth (which happens to be on the downbeat). I tried to counter this by telling him that accenting the downbeat unabashedly is like walking over the music with hobnailed boots. My own preference is to assign a tiny accent to the very first note and then to maintain the intensity until the delicate ending. In any case, by beginning the treble's phrase on the third-last sixteenth-note of the measure, an "offbeat" moment, Beethoven creates a good deal of confusion and instability, as he does in countless ways. This confusion is dispelled or "corrected" by the arrival of the first firm downbeat in measure 8.

Returning to the opening, the left hand provides harmonic stability in the form of a broken tonic triad. It begins on the second half of the first beat; this makes it more solid metrically, less offbeat, than the treble. Sadly, most performers ignore the bass completely, thus missing a crucial, contrasting ingredient, the bottom half of the texture.



Excerpted from Dr. Satory’s upcoming “Beethoven Sonatas� course at the Royal Conservatory of Music, beginning January 9, 2017.

MEMBERS Executive Committee President I Avila Lotoski I 416-485-6562

Vice-President I Liz Craig I 647-466-4198

Treasurer I Sheila Miller I 416-964-9829

Secretary I Andrea Yau I 416-617-2321

Newsletter Editor I Anita Beaty I 416-652-7373

Webmaster I Liz Craig I 647-466-4198

Directory I Mary Mexis Lumsden I 416-693-5099

Scholarships I Hannah Greiner Auditions & Recitals I 647-966-0937

Scholarships I Lucy Tonoyan Assistant I 416-932-2002

Scholarships I Judith DeHaney Programs & Certificates I 416-660-1664

Teachers in Concert I Denise Williams I 416-588-5845

Master Classes I Elaine Lau I 416-532-1539

Young Artist Recital I Joseph Ferretti I 416-532-1539

Composition Master Class I Avila Lotoski I 416-485-6562

20 I 647-966-0937


Hallowe’en Recital I Hannah Greiner



December 9 Dec. 24 – Jan. 8

Executive Meeting TDSB Winter Break



January 13

Winter GM & Workshop “Yoga & Meditation for Musicians” with Sheila Miller


Monday Saturday

February 20 February 25

Family Day AM: Workshop with Liz Craig – “Popular Selections” PM: Workshop with Natasha Finlay – “Baroque Dance for Pianists”


Friday Sunday

March 10 Mar. 13 – 17 March 26

Executive Meeting TDSB March Break Piano Master Class with Leslie De’Ath


Sunday Sat & Sun Friday Monday Sunday

April 2 April 8 & 9 April 14 April 16 April 23

Teachers in Concert Spring Scholarship Auditions Good Friday Easter Monday Spring Scholarship Recitals


Saturday Friday Monday Friday

May 6 May 5 May 22 May 26

Adult Student Recital Executive Meeting Victoria Day AGM & Workshop “Don’t be Afraid to Teach Your Students Composition” with Susan Griesdale



June 2

Executive Meeting – 2016-17 Planning






Thanks for reading!

ORMTA Central Toronto Branch  

Newsletter of the Central Toronto Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.

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