NWSMTA sponsors a number of activities each year that provide students with performance opportunities. All student activities require an entrance fee. Many of the events give awards such as ribbons or medals.
- FESTIVAL OF PIANOS The Festival of Pianos is an annual multi-piano performance for NWSMTA members and their students. It takes place on a Sunday afternoon in November. Students learn their parts during the summer or early fall, and then attend a rehearsal on the day before the performance. Recent Festivals have taken place at Northbrook Court. Performers receive a medal.
- STUDENT RECITALS NWSMTA sponsors two Student Recitals each year. The Recitals take place on a Sunday afternoon in October and April. Each performer receives a personalized certificate.
- SONATA-SONATINA FESTIVAL The Sonata-Sonatina Festival takes place at Harper College each November. Students perform one or two movements of a sonata or sonatina, depending upon the level of the piece. All students receive a ribbon, and high scores also receive a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Students who receive a gold medal are eligible to participate in a Gold Medal Recital the following weekend.
- ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC (AIM)
Achievement in Music (AIM) is a program developed by the Illinois State Music Teachers Association that focuses on developing musicianship skills for students of piano, organ, voice, and strings. AIM exams take place at Harper College in January, March and April, depending on the level. Students meet requirements in areas of technique, performance, harmonization, transposition, sight reading, aural skills, and written theory. Students receive personalized certificates, a unique pin each year, and a medal the first year of participation. Upper levels also receive other awards, such as music dictionaries, plaques, and cash prizes.
- MIDWEST KEYBOARD PERFORMERS CHALLENGE Replacing the Awards Competition, the Midwest Keyboard Performers Challenge is a new way of looking at ways to motivate and encourage budding pianists in the art of piano performance. Taking a decidedly different pathway to “judging”, students are grouped together in small recitals 15-25 minutes long. Each recital has a theme or category. The students will present themselves and interact with their peers and the judge. The performances will be awarded points according to the piece level and the quality of the playing. Students can enter as many categories as they wish and the accumulated points can be exchanged for a trophy.
- SUMMER MUSIC CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS Summer scholarships are awarded in two divisions, junior and senior, for students to attend a summer music camp of the student's choice. Applicants submit a recording of at least three contrasting styles and an essay stating why they want to attend a camp. A summary of participation in musical activities through NWSMTA and in school, church and community is also submitted. The scholarships are in the amount of at least $150.
- COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS A $1000 College Scholarship is awarded in 2 payments of $500 each. The student must be a graduating high school senior planning on majoring in a career in music. Students need to submit an essay, performance via youtube and confirmation of acceptance at a college of their choice.
- JAZZ COMBO EXPERIENCE The Jazz Combo Experience is an annual event hosted by NWSMTA where students have an opportunity to perform with professional musicians on stage at Durty Nellies! Students select and prepare a jazz, pop or rock tune to play, on the day of the event students get the experience of announcing the song and leading the band with a strong count off! This event provides a group ensemble experience for solo piano students who may not have the opportunity to play with other musicians.