Music Teacher’s Association of California

San Mateo County Branch


February 2019



  • President’s Pen
  • Branch Program Review
  • Branch Recitals: Sunday, February 24th
  • Membership News: members survey
  • Teacher Spotlight: Marjorie Lin
  • Announcements: Piano Competition, local concerts
President’s Pen - Natalie Griffin, President
I hope that your spring semester is off to a great start! Please take a moment to read this newsletter as your Board of Directors has been very busy organizing our many programs. We also have a new “Teacher Spotlight’ interview that I hope you will enjoy.

Sadly, I also have some challenging news and need your help. The Foster City Community Center will be undergoing renovations at the end of this year and to prepare, they have asked us to move our 2 grand pianos out of the Wind Room after our December 2019 recitals. We need to find a new home for our pianos and for your recitals. So, I’m asking you, (yes you!) to think deeply about another room/hall/community center on the mid-Peninsula where we could potentially store and use our pianos. We have less than 10 months to find this space, but ideally we should have this lined up by September. Please get in touch with me or any of the Board Members if you have a lead on a new place. This is an urgent concern for all of us and I hope you will take it to heart.

Branch Programs - Millie Lee Siu, Vice President
Dear Teachers,

We had a very inspiring workshop on January 25th. I would like to extend a warm thank you to the many of you who came to hear Marilyn Lowe present her new new non-traditional piano method, Music Moves for Piano , an audiation based approach to piano instruction, based on the music theory of Edwin E. Gordon.

Branch Recitals - Angeline Branson
Dear fellow teachers,

Our next set of Branch Recitals is coming up soon: Sunday February 24th, 2:30-3:30, and 3:30-4:30 at the Foster City Community Center. Once again we will have two back-to-back recitals to allow more students to participate. It was wonderful having a variety of instrumentalists at our last recitals, so I'm hoping that we will have again a variety of performers: voice, piano, violin, flute, cello...Students of all levels are welcome. Be sure to sign up early and reserve a spot for your students! These recitals fill up quickly, especially when CM is around the corner.

Looking forward to seeing you all and hearing your students!

Membership Secretary - Irina Behrendt

Dear Teachers,

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!
I’d like to welcome a new member to our branch: Jeffrey Huspek is a piano teacher residing in Burlingame. He just joined our branch in January.

As a board of directors, we are constantly looking for ways to serve our branch members in the best manner possible. We always welcome comments and feedback, we’d love to have a two-way communication open at all times. For that reason, would you take a few minutes and complete this survey:
Your responses are highly appreciated! See you at our next event!
Teacher Spotlight: Marjorie Lin
How did you become a violin teacher?

ML: I started teaching violin in High School. One summer my teacher went away and I took over for her. I continued to teach throughout high school and college. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and a Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance and was fortunate enough to study with the famous pedagogue, Paul Rolland. I also received extensive training in the Suzuki Method and have taught at many workshops and institutes around the country. All this has shaped my love of violin and teaching. In 1968, I moved to CA and joined MTAC around 1970 and have enjoyed the camaraderie and programs since. I became involved in CM when Helen Beyer started the string program in the early 70’s.

How has the teaching field changed over the years?

ML: There is a more pressure on kids to excel. With the year round beautiful CA weather, involvement in competitive sports is continuous. Because of the growth of technology modern students are accustomed to instant gratification. When it comes to learning a musical instrument it takes time and slow, steady practice. Many students find this tedious.
On the other hand, because there is a lot of interest in music and private lessons in the Bay Area, parents with high educational standards place music at a priority. They are constantly looking for an edge and, for some parents, the answer is private music lessons.

What are your tips for retaining students?

ML: Encourage and offer many opportunities for the students to play together, and provide parents social opportunities to get to know each other so that it’s more like a family rather than an isolated experience. I have a lot of recitals: solo recitals, duet recitals, group classes. CM, and home recitals. On average I have 8-10 recitals per year. I enjoy putting these on and it makes a big difference in retention. But, mostly, it develops confidence in students.

How do you decide who to work with?

First, I interview the parents. Get the parents involved so that they know their role at home and at the lesson. It makes a big difference in long-term success

What are some of your memorable teaching experiences?

ML: I had a student many years ago who drove down from Crescent City several times per year for lessons. And, now she’s a very active violinist in the SF Ballet Orchestra. The rewards are turning these kids onto music and even making it an avocation for their life.

How do you help students who are challenged with performance anxiety?

ML: I have hosted informal workshops on this topic. I tell students that music is meant to be shared; it’s a language and a communication for their feelings.

What advice would you give to a new teacher?

ML: Get involved with our local branch. Go to workshops, master classes, state conventions, and talk to other teachers. I still go to workshops and visit with fellow teachers whenever possible. I would love to see more opportunities to visit with other teachers.
Announcements - Elisabeth Fourtanier, Recording Secretary
We welcome announcements useful to membership such as pedagogical events, competitions, master-classes and concerts of our teachers, and posts on personal instruments for sale. We cannot advertise for businesses or studios. Please keep your posts brief, with no photos. Announcements will go out once a month. 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.
Piano Competition
The 2019 San Mateo County Fair Classical Piano Youth Competition will be held on Tuesday, June 11 at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds in San Mateo (Cypress Hall). The application deadline is May 20. In order to participate, both students and teachers must be residents of San Mateo County. The application forms can be found under “Classical Piano” on the website: For more information please contact Sumi Nagasawa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Local Concerts/Play-in
On Saturday, February 9th, at 8:00 pm , in the Main Theater at Cañada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City, Redwood Symphony will perform Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello with soloists Miranda Liu and Jonah Kim. Tickets $35/30 (adults). Discounts for students and seniors. Kids under 18 are free with a ticketed senior or adult. For more information visit Redwood Symphony.

On Sunday March 3rd, at 5:00 pm ., at Carlmont Theater in Belmont, concert by the Peninsula Youth Orchestra . Including young winners of the PYO concerto competition: Natalie Dalton, Viola (Walton’s Viola Concerto), Blake Williams, Vibraphone (Rey Rosauro - Concerto for Vibraphone) and Juwon Park (Krommer - Clarinet Concerto). Tickets: $15 adults/ $5 students, seniors. For more information visit Peninsula Youth Orchestra

On Monday, March 4th, 7:00-9:30 pm at Kohl Mansion, 2750 Adeline Drive, Burlingame, Sound Impact and Music at Kohl Mansion will host a chamber music reading party. Students, music hobbyists, and professional performing artists are encouraged to bring their instruments to join in the fun! Drinks and snacks will be served. RSVP is a must for this Free event. Reserve your spot by calling 650-762-1131.



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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