Catherine Kautsky, on “Music in Context: The Arts That Surround the Music You Play”

The Forum had the great pleasure of hosting Catherine Kautsky, Chair of Keyboard at Lawrence University, for our April meeting. From Baroque to Impressionism, Catherine connected the music we love to the visual arts, literature, and culture of the period. Her knowledge, skills as a pianist, photos, and vivid and enthusiastic speaking style immersed us in the composer’s worlds, as though she had been there herself. For a too short hour, we could live those times too. Thank you Catherine!

…An author also!

2019 All Star Festival

The Forum recently held the annual All Star Festival! There were 73 students performing solos, as well as 13 duets and a trio. A fun feature of the event is our Music Fair, with art projects on composers and other music topics. In addition, 26 students tested their knowledge of theory. Although the Wisconsin weather put a stop to the Honor Festival for the students who earned 5 stars at their performance, all who participated in the Festival grew musically from their practice and dedication.


The NEWPTF recently participated in the first Gathering. This event was a gathering of interested piano teacher groups, businesses, and institutions, assembled for the purpose of developing communication and creating a network to mutually benefit issues of improving the status of the teaching and learning of piano in Northeast Wisconsin. An annual newsletter will be published in August, 2019. The Gatherings are sponsored by NEWPTF, and the second Gathering will take place in January of 2020. New participants are always welcome. For more information or to be included in the Gathering, please contact Maggie Charnon at

Welcome to a new Forum season!

Dear Teachers,

Spring is traditionally the season to think of new and fresh beginnings, but as I view this fall for the Forum, I see so many ways to bring that sense of spring “newness” into our group and our events.

First of all – our new website! New graphics, new format, a new step forward. I’m excited to let you know when it is ready to unveil. Secondly, our new locations! This year we will enjoy our meetings at St Anne’s, and partner with UWGB for the Classical Recital at Fort Howard Hall. Another new event joining us together are the October presentations by two UWGB music students.

Here’s a question for you…what can you bring that’s new to your lessons? If you are like me, too many of the notes from our excellent Forum programs and Shares last year are still waiting to be organized and incorporated into new best practices at my studio. Now I plan to take time to look them over again, and use these new ideas and knowledge to grow as a teacher.

Bringing that question to our organization, what can you bring that is new to the Forum? Is there a committee you haven’t worked on? Is there a leadership position you have never volunteered for? Do you have an interesting new idea to offer at our Share meetings?  Last year, there was discussion about “partnering up” – the idea of encouraging any teachers you know to join you for a Forum meeting.  Can you partner up and bring a new teacher, or a member we haven’t seen in a while?

If we all stop and think for a moment, there is one thing we would all realize for certain – every year our connection to the Forum brings each one of us something new. It may have a small impact on our teaching, or it may be large. It could be just a few ideas, or it could be an eye-opening new concept or technology. But one thing that isn’t new – being a member of the Forum makes teaching piano a whole lot easier.

See you soon!

Your president,

Deb Teegarden