Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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October 22

Music Marathon

October 28 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting - Cavalcade music run through
(My First Piano)
Cavalcade registration opens

November 18 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)
Cavalcade registration due

November 19-20
Original Composition Festival

December 1
Awards Plus letters of intent due

December 2
December luncheon

January 27 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)

February 6
Cavalcade Rehearsals begin

February 24 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)

February 25
Cavalcade of Rhythm
(Mesquite High School)

March 31 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)
Achievement Day registration due

April 15 
Awards in Excellence Auditions

April 22 
Awards in Excellence Recitals

April 28
April Brunch

May 13
Achievement Day

May 15 
Awards Plus 
Click here to Join DVMTA
Click the button above to renew your DVMTA membership.  Not a member? Not a problem! DVMTA's annual membership fee is only $35! Renewing teachers pay a $5 late fee after July 31. 

Do you know someone who would be a fabulous member of the DVMTA community? Use the links below to share this newsletter via Facebook, twitter or email.

Teacher Spotlight

Recognizing the power of technology, we want to help YOU build your studio by featuring various DVMTA teachers on our blog! The spotlight would include a short biography and information about your unique studio.  Does your studio have it's own website, blog, Facebook page or YouTube channel?  We would love to include links as well!  This is a fabulous way for your studio to get additional publicity.  Please email a short bio and any links you would like to share to

Music Teacher Blogs:

Local Resources:

Know of any other good resources?  Please email us!  We would love to include their websites in our newsletters!

DVMTA teachers:

Does your studio have a website, blog or Facebook page?  We would love to include a link here!  It is always fun to see what other teachers are doing.  Please email us a link and we will add it right away! 
Official DVMTA Website
Facebook - connect with other DVMTA teachers
Pinterest - a great resource for ideas
Instagram - photos of DVMTA events

October 2016


Welcome to Fall!  October seems to signal the end of the scorching summer, and the excitement of upcoming holidays, family gatherings, and enjoying the cooler weather takes hold.  It also signals the coming of fantastic DVMTA Events.   Music Marathon on Oct. 22nd, and Original Composition Festival Nov. 19th and 20th kick off our season.  Your students are busy making final recital preparations, but you are probably already looking ahead to the end of the month when Cavalcade registration opens.  This is always an exciting time. 
 In all the busy moments that will follow, I hope you can take one or two moments to reflect on what these events mean to your students, and the growth that has occurred as they’ve participated.  For most, it’s about setting a goal and accomplishing it, and that’s a great thing.  Our wonderful Alayne Favreau inspired us at our last General Meeting, as she described recently climbing Sunrise Peak and looking over the valley at sunrise.  The climb is difficult, but once the top is reached, the amazing view gives a whole different perspective, and an appreciation of the process is gained.  I hope our students experience this, I know mine have as they’ve reached for something that seemed way too hard, but with determination and encouragement have accomplished something great.  Have a wonderful Music Marathon!
-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

Website Update:
You may have noticed that the Event Documents have been rearranged on the website.  This is being done in order to make Teacher Information documents available only to current DVMTA members.  The documents are no longer on the Event information pages.  You can access them by clicking on the “Events” Tab, then the “Docs” link at the bottom.  
We want to make sure all current members are able to log in to the website.  If you have not yet accessed your password for, or have forgotten your password, please go to the website to do so.  There is an option in Log-In to “Reset Password” that will help you do this.  If you have any problems please click on the link for “Website Help” at the bottom of the website.  

Storage Facilities:
DVMTA currently rents space at a Storage Facility to store much of our event “stuff”.  Due to cost increases we are looking for other options.  We are willing to pay a small stipend to an individual who could offer space (air conditioned) for DVMTA to store our belongings.  Please contact Shannon Payne for more details.

September General Meeting:
A big thanks to Rich and Kelly Lowry for giving us great Studio Finance and Tax Preparation advice at our meeting.   An overview of the discussion will be sent in a separate email.

Music Marathon is coming up on Saturday, October 22.  It is an early in the year performance opportunity for your students and a fundraiser for our organization.

We have 5 locations this year for DVMTA students to be able to share their talents with members of our community.  The Citadel and Brookdale Park Regency Retirement residents will come and go throughout the day and will be your most appreciative audience.  For a more traditional recital atmosphere, we have AZ Piano and My First Piano.  As always, the Superstition Springs Mall is a favorite.

This year, 43 teachers and 560 students are ready to participate.

Creative Compositions!
Compositions from 94 students representing 15 teachers
were submitted for the
DVMTA  Original Composition Festival
Recitals will be held at
AZ Piano in Phoenix
Saturday Nov. 19th at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.
and Sunday Nov. 20th at 3:00 p.m.
Plan to attend. You will be amazed!

Ready for some magic?  Registration for Cavalcade 2017 begins this month at the general meeting and continues until November 18th.  All information and registration materials are available at Note that you’ll need to turn in the registration form AND the cover sheet stating when you are available to help.  On the registration form, you’ll need the students’ ages AND heights.  This is crucial for placing the students where they can see the director best.  Please read over the forms carefully and make sure parents understand what they are committing to in February.  We suggest keeping a copy of your registration forms.  Unpartnered students will be matched up with students from other studios. You will be notified by Heidi Morris when the groups are set.  She will verify the parts for students with you.  Teachers are welcome and encouraged to play in Cavalcade as well (no fees for teachers, but please include yourself on your registration forms.) 

The music is already at the Music Store if you’d like to go down now and take a look prior to registering your students.  You can also attend our October 28th meeting and actually play through the songs. Remember that the goal is to help the students be successful in an ensemble experience, not to play in the highest group possible.  They must be able to play their songs well, listen to the group, and follow the director.  Please read the directors’ notes before teaching the songs to the students.  Some add introductions or repeats, and we don’t want the students to be confused.

If you have questions, feel free to contact Joni Walker or Hollie Lunt.  Don’t get left out, wishing you were part of the Cavalcade fun.  Join us for some “Magical Melodies!

Achievement Day 2017 – Preparing for Ear-Training and Sight-Reading

In addition to technique, two other skills that are important to emphasize on a regular basis are ear-training and sight-reading which are two of the options available at Achievement Day.  Unfortunately, we are not present during our students’ practice sessions.  Therefore, we need to help our students develop the reading skills necessary for figuring out new pieces and the listening skills necessary for recognizing and correcting mistakes along the way.  Many method book series contain sight-reading and ear-training exercises, there are a few series devoted solely to sight-reading instruction or ear-training instruction and there are many apps and on-line resources as well.   However, as good as many of these resources are, they don’t necessarily correlate 100% with our AD requirements.  For example, you could have a student complete a whole book on ear-training throughout the year only to have the student fail his test on Achievement Day!  Therefore, in regards to preparation for the ear-training test, I find it most beneficial to teach directly to each of the five or six required objectives listed for each student’s level.  I improvise many of the ear-training exercises I use with the students, and when needed, I pull a lot of examples from the Alfred Ear-Training books or other sources.  For example, to prepare students at the Primer Level, I improvise segments for students to identify high/low, going up/going down/repeating, steps/skips, and piano/forte.  Then I use select exercises from an ear-training book that has students choose the correct rhythm from two examples to practice the rhythm objective.  With these few simple activities, I have covered all five of the objectives that the student will be tested on!  Of course, it gets a little more difficult to find comparable exercises for some of the higher-level skills, but with a little effort and creativity, it can be done.  For example, when I had a Level Nine student that needed to be able to draw missing notes to complete a melody, I Xeroxed a few lines from a sight-singing book and whited out two or three notes when I couldn’t find a suitable published exercise. 

Preparing for the sight-reading option is mostly just a matter of helping students to develop a method for approaching new material and then using this method as often as possible with short musical segments – preferably about two levels below the student’s current level of study.  Students need to be trained to identify key signature, time signature, starting hand position, accidentals, tricky rhythms, dynamics and articulation of the selection before attempting to play it .  They should be encouraged to play slowly keeping a steady beat.  I also have students “ghost” play, or “play” without sound in order to locate sharps or flats, tricky intervals, or accidentals before playing aloud.   

The key to solid preparation in ear-training and sight-reading is frequent, distributed practice!  In other words, practice it often throughout the year!  Since lesson time is short, I designate weeks as sight-reading weeks or ear-training weeks so that I intentionally practice both skills on a regular basis with all of my students.  This keeps me from trying to cram all the skills into the students’ heads in March and April!  

Next month, I will focus on Theory preparation and inform you of some changes we will be trying out at Achievement Day this year!  Questions?  Contact Carolyn Rooder at 602-527-1721 or 

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