The Advocate

A newsletter for the music education community of Western PA

Message from the President

Since its inception as a repair service in 1982, Johnstonbaugh’s has seen its primary role as serving the music education community. Through the years, sales, lessons and rentals were added, and today JMC continues striving to evolve and provide our community with new and helpful offerings. To this end, the goal for this newsletter is to advocate for music education by sharing information useful to both educators and students/families. I hope you find this, the first in this new monthly series, achieves that goal.

-Bob Johnstonbaugh

Teaching Resource: Virtual Concert

Want to host a virtual concert but don't know where to start? This is a turn-key resource for any teacher to host a virtual beginning band performance! Students learn their parts and perform at home along with a video on YouTube. Download all materials for free here. All materials are provided by the NAMM Foundation.
Get Ready for Your First Performance!

Calling All Composers

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at composing but didn't know where to begin? The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) is once again sponsoring their annual composition program. Details are located below. If you have any questions please contact

2021 PMEA Composition Program

PMEA is pleased to once again sponsor a composition program for PMEA members and their students in conjunction with the 2021 Virtual PMEA Annual Conference. There are four categories for students and, new this year, two categories for members. Selected compositions will be featured during the virtual annual conference. The purpose of the composition program is to promote and encourage composers of all ages to create music and to explore the way sounds are put together in an appropriate way. Many future composers are today’s music students and PMEA members, and we are striving to encourage everyone to try their hand at composing.

PMEA is also pleased to offer a second option in its composition program – an Open Track with no pre-requisites for submissions. (*Please note that this is a new category in PMEA’s Composition Program and is separate from the traditional format with minimum submission requirements categorized by level.) All submissions will receive feedback; some may be asked to participate in a session/webinar on composition.

The deadline to submit a composition to either program is 11:59 p.m. Monday, February 1, 2021. There is a $10 application fee for all submissions. Late submissions will not be considered. Program rules and procedures, along with the application links, can be found below. All PMEA members and/or their students are encouraged to submit compositions.


Please contact

Teacher Feature: Valerie Stipcak

Valerie has been a star example of adapting to the hurdles of 2020. In a time when many of us were hesitant to change lesson formats, she jumped in and embraced the technology, setting up a virtual teaching studio in her basement. She transitioned all of her students to virtual lessons in March, and continues to grow her studio by taking on new virtual students, including beginners. Her warm and encouraging personality still shines through from behind the screen!

Valerie has also continued to provide multiple performance opportunities for her students. She has hosted regular studio recitals since she started teaching at Johnstonbaugh's in 2016, and this year was no exception. Currently her students are preparing for their second virtual recital! Additionally, she worked with multiple students to prepare them for the Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival. Four of her students were selected as winners to perform in a state-wide showcase.

Even with all of these wonderful virtual opportunities, students still miss in-person interactions a great deal. Valerie is very sympathetic of this and has offered multiple no-contact care package pickups to give her students the opportunity for safe visits (and stickers)!

Valerie is currently taking on new piano students. If you are interested in taking lessons with her, please submit an online referral. And if you have any questions about virtual teaching or recitals, reach out to us at Johnstonbaugh's!

Upcoming Event!

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Saturday, Dec. 19th, 3:30pm

140 Sandune Drive

Pittsburgh, PA

Tell us what you think.

This newsletter is for you! If there is something that you wish to know more about or have questions about, please let us know. We will do our best to get you the information you need.
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Issued December 1, 2020

Newsletter by Dennis Emert and Allyson Huneycutt