Music Teacher’s Association of California

San Mateo County Branch


November 2018



  • President’s Pen
  • Branch Recital: Sunday, November 4th
  • Community Outreach Recital: Saturday, December 1st - San Carlos Elms
  • Certificate of Merit: Teacher's work aggreement to be mailed by November 13th
  • Reminder: ASCAP - Send your studio recital programs to the State Office
  • Teacher Spotlight: JoAnn Stenberg
  • Announcements: New procedures on posts and news
President’s Pen - Natalie Griffin, President

Dear Teachers:

I wish you all a happy fall! The cooler days and longer nights provide a wonderful time to stay in and practice, and also to reflect.
When I think about being a member of MTAC my favorite moments include sharing experiences and ideas with other teachers. With that in mind I’ve started a “Teacher Spotlight” in the newsletter to highlight some of our veteran teachers. Our branch is composed of so many wonderful, talented, experienced teachers (like you, dear reader!). And, it’s because of our long-term teachers that we have an ongoing branch with resources for growth and change. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing JoAnn Stenberg and hope that you take the time to read her ideas.

Coming up this weekend we have our first Branch Recital recital of the season. And, thanks to Olga Moudry the Community Outreach Recitals are back again this year! There are also several local competitions, festivals, and CM on the horizon. Wherever you are I hope that you enjoy your students and keep the music playing

Natalie Griffin
MTAC San Mateo Branch President
Branch Recitals - Angeline Branson 
Dear MTAC teachers,
This Sunday, November 4th, we have a set of two short back-to-back recital from 4:45-5:30 PM, and 5:45-6:30 PM in the Wind Room of the Foster City Community Center. These two recitals are already full, but keep an eye out for future Branch Recitals.

Looking forward to hearing all of your students!


Community Outreach Program - Olga Moudry

The next Community Outreach Recital will take place on: Saturday December 1st, 2018, 1:30 pm at the San Carlos Elms 707 Elm St, San Carlos.

Students of all ages, levels and instruments are welcome to participate.

Sign up procedure
1. Email Olga Moudry (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with name of student, age, level, piece, composer, and the length of time for each piece.
2. Deadline to sign up for the recital at San Carlos Elms is November 25. There is no participant fee.

General Guidelines :
1. Each teacher can submit up to 3 students.
2. The total amount of time allotted to each teacher’s students is 10-12 minutes.
3. Dress recommendation - girls: nice pants & top or dress/skirt, boys: nice pants & shirt. No tennis shoes.
4. Students performing a piece requiring an accompaniment may use our accompanist or provide their own. Please indicate if you will provide your own accompanist or will use ours. There will be 90 minutes before the recital when students can rehearse with the accompanist. The pianist fee is $70 per hour prorated for recital and rehearsal. It will be calculated and billed by the pianist. 5. Most styles are accepted. Try to avoid concertos as they can be lengthy.
6. Memorization is not required.
7. Please notify Olga Moudry if a student needs to cancel his/her performance. Email (see above) or phone: (408) 772 9834.
8. Seating is limited - we need to accommodate the residents of the retirement home first.
9. The recital will be approximately 60 minutes. Call time for performers is 15 minutes.

Certificate Of Merit - Benny Yu, CM Chair

Dear teachers,

Congratulations on completing your CM 2019 registration. We exceeded our previous year's enrollments! Thank you so much for your participation and trust in our program.

The next step is to mail your work agreement and the student list to me postmarked by November 13th. Please address it to:

Benny YU
153 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070

You can find the work agreement on our branch website:

I would also like to encourage everyone to go on our branch's Facebook page to keep up with the latest news:

Thank you again and please let me know anytime when you have questions or need any help!
Regards, Benny

ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers)

Please remember that all programs from Branch recitals, master classes, competitions, and private studio recitals of MTAC members , are to be mailed to:
MTAC State Office , Attn: ASCAP
833 Market St., Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103
Programs may also be emailed to Maria Mercado at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Yes, this includes all private studios recitals of MTAC members, regardless of the venue.
MTAC has an overall licensing agreement with ASCAP which assures that ASCAP member composers and arrangers will receive royalties from the music which MTAC students and members perform. But in order for ASCAP to know what is performed, they must have programs. There is no charge to the Branches for this service, except for your mailing cost. The State will take care of mailing all programs directly to ASCAP. Should you have any questions about ASCAP, you may access their website at .

Teacher Spolight

Below is an interview from October 2018 with one of our teachers, JoAnn Stenberg.

Why/how did you become a piano teacher?

JS: My mother taught piano in Burlingame after my father died to support our family of 3 young children during the depression. She was one of the founding members of MTAC San Mateo Branch in 1939. In 1951 when she was ready to retire I moved to Burlingame with my husband, singer and teacher Donald Stenberg, and we took over her studio of about 60 students. Since then, I have been living and teaching in the area. Don was head of the voice department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for many years. As members of MTAC we both held the office of President of our Branch.

How has the piano teaching field changed over the years?

JS: Two things happened that made a big change.

Certificate of Merit brought the most change giving teachers goals, organization and structure in choices of repertoire, technique, theory and offering many opportunities for performance and competition.

The other important factor was in 1988 when MTAC acquired our own pianos and a lovely space to hold recitals at the Foster City Council Chambers thanks to member Ann Williams who spearheaded the project. If you look inside our 7’ Yamaha piano you can see the plaque which was presented upon its dedication with the names of all the donors, most are our MTAC members.

How have students changed over the last few decades?

JS: Homework was not nearly as demanding 30 years ago. And, school sports were not as competitive. The students today are overworked and at a disadvantage put on them by teachers, coaches, and parents. I think kids these days are really too pressured. I also have noticed the lack of pianos in most young family homes. It used to be that every family had an upright piano. Not anymore.

What are some of your most memorable teaching experiences?

JS: Competition winners are always exciting and many good competitions are offered locally here in San Mateo County like Jr. Bach, Burlingame Music Club, Concerto soloists with orchestras, San Mateo County Fair, MTAC Conventions, etc. One particularly exciting time was when my student coached with Darius Milhaud at Mills College preparing to perform his 2nd piano concerto with the San Francisco Youth Orchestra.

What advice would you give to a new teacher?

JS: Do everything you can do to make a good sight-reader. Students who can sight read will always be in demand. One of the best ways to teach sight-reading is to play duets and 2 piano music with your students with the “keep going” rule no matter what happens! It works.

Concerning CM, I think that Level 10 is sometimes pushed too early in HS. I don’t feel that they should do Level 10 until they are a Junior. But, also recognize when a student is eager and ready for more difficult repertoire. It can be a wonderful surprise when your student suddenly shows that she can do more than you thought possible!

I would also encourage students to explore improv, jazz chords, their own musical ideas. It is exciting to see what students can do when they explore on their own without the written score. It opens up a new world of possibility!

In closing, being a piano teacher is a great and exciting profession and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have!

Announcements - Elisabeth Fourtanier, Recording Secretary

Dear Teachers,
We welcome announcements useful to membership such as pedagogical events, competitions, master-classes and concerts of our teachers. We will also take posts on personal instruments for sale. We cannot advertise for businesses or studios. Please keep your posts brief, with no photos.

Send your posts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. which may be reviewed by the board before including them in the newsletter.

You will still continue to receive individual emails regarding CM, branch events, recital hall reservation notices, and branch recitals. But, in order to save your inbox from multiple emails, all other announcements will arrive in a monthly newsletter format. 

Local Competitions/Concerts

  • In January 2019, KAMSA will hold its 5th competition for instrumentalists: Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, Wind, Brass, and Ensemble. It will be at the Santa Clara University with awards announced on January 12 and 13, 2019. See for more information.

  • ‚óŹ On Saturday November 17th, 8:00pm (pre-concert lecture at 7:00pm) at Canada College- Redwood Symphony: Haydn Symphony no. 103 and Mahler’s Song of the Earth. Visit for more details. Tickets: $35/30/10 (adults, senior, student), children are free with a paying adult.


Do you have a change of address, phone or email? Please edit the changes in your teacher information at, and send them to Irina Behrendt, our Branch Membership Secretary at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to Kevin Imbimbo, our Web Administrator at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we can keep our records and your teacher profile on our website up to date. 

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