January 2021 Newsletter

2020 was a year we will never forget — perhaps the most challenging year most of us have ever faced. I was inspired by the creativity, innovation and determination of DVMTA members like you to keep moving forward, buoyed by the resilience of our students and their families. If we’ve learned anything in this past year, it’s how interconnected we are - how much we all depend on each other. For that, I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful organization, DVMTA. Now we look ahead to 2021 with profound optimism, confident that we will reach new heights together. I’m expectantly looking forward to what’s next!

Lori Weidemann, DVMTA President

Our Upcoming General Meeting

January 29th at 9:30am My First Piano 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa Zoom Meeting ID: 966 655 6826, Passcode: knox111

Making Music Theory a Priority in your Studio Lori Kaye Faler & Lacy Range

Lori Kaye Faler is passionate about teaching music theory, and her students have benefitted by having a theory foundation in their music education. Come get inspired as she shares how she does group theory classes, key theory concepts to teach, and the activities, resources, and games she utilizes. Then Lacy Range will share some great ideas on how to use our old theory tools in a new way. She will also save us time and make our lives easier by sharing the latest online theory resources available to help us teach theory in our lessons. Make a goal to join us! The Zoom link will be emailed the week before the meeting.

Original Composition Festival

Happy New Year! Each new year brings new goals and resolutions in our studios. Teaching composition or improvisation is a great goal to add. It keeps things fresh, fun and creative!

One new compositional technique you could try this month is improvising with the bass clef. Some fun things you can do with your left hand is to try going from the tonic to the dominant note, using open 5ths, broken chord bass, Waltz bass, Boogie Bass, Western Bass, Alberti Bass, Tango Bass, Octaves and Pandiatonicism.Try a new one each week with your students. Have fun creating!

Claire Westlake, Chair

Cavalcade of Rhythm

Please see email sent to DVMTA members on January 7th for up-to-date info.

Sara Pratt, Chair

Awards in Excellence

Registration for Awards in Excellence is due at the February General Meeting (Feb 26). All forms and information is on our website. If you have a student you are considering for the Janeen Noble Outstanding Music Student Award, that registration is due at the same time. Please read the qualifications carefully, both for the student and the teacher. Your 10 hours of service and 4 general meetings (or 15 hours and school/work verification) must be completed by the end of February.

We are still planning on holding our event in-person at Hammer & Strings Conservatory. All students and volunteers working the event will need to wear masks. There is an outdoor waiting area so we can keep students distanced properly. Hand sanitizer and restrooms will be available.

If you are planning to have students participate, you should already be thinking about (or hopefully working on) repertoire. The approved repertoire list is on the website, so triple check that the pieces you are choosing:

  • are on the approved DVMTA 2020-2021 repertoire list

  • are at the correct level for your student

  • are both from the same level

  • are from two contrasting musical periods (or contrasting styles for levels 1-3)

  • do not exceed the time limits given for each level

I use this repertoire list not just for Awards in Excellence, but in regular teaching. The pieces all have pedagogical value and I know they will be worth my student’s time. This is an invaluable resource for all registered DVMTA teachers; make the most of it!

Lorri McHardy, Chair

Achievement Day

Now that it's January, it's time to start making a list for each student who will enter Achievement Day:

1. Review scales, chords and arpeggios to make sure the students has enough ready for their level.

2. Pick out pieces. Make sure to pick some easy ones if you've already been working on 1-2 harder ones.

Standard Level: 1 with music, 1 memorized

Expanded Level: 3 pieces memorized

3. Focus on sight-reading or ear training (where is your student the strongest?)

4. Start talking about additional options that they can choose. We'll discuss those more in upcoming newsletters.

We are not sure if this event will take place in-person, or if it will be virtual again this year. Either way, your student will grow through the preparation experience and be able to perform for a judge.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Toni Tetreau, chair 602-614-2374

Awards Plus

This year we will be recognizing 12 Devoted Performers and 2 Senior Scholars. Thank you, teachers, for your hard work in preparing students!

Awards Plus is DVMTA’s way of recognizing those students who have gone above and beyond the average student, participating in 4 of the 5 DVMTA events in three years (within a 5-year period). These students will receive a cash award but they will also be recognized in front of the group as their teacher talks about them for a moment. What a great boost to their confidence and their desire to continue practicing! Seeing the displays about each of our Senior Scholars may motivate students to keep going and find time for piano when life gets busy.

Even if you do not plan to put students in Awards Plus, we strongly recommend that you keep track of all students who participate in DVMTA events every year. You can use whatever system works for you, but make sure you’re keeping accurate records. Who knows, five years from now this could be one of your students receiving this award.

If you have any questions about Awards Plus, please contact Wendi Heslop at

Wendi Heslop, Chair



29 General Meeting 9:30am, on Zoom and at My First Piano: 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa


1 Deadline: Cavalcade video recordings due

26 General Meeting 9:30am, on Zoom and at My First Piano: 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa

26 Deadline: Awards in Excellence applications final day of acceptance

27 Event: Cavalcade performance on YouTube!


26 General Meeting 9:30am, on Zoom and at My First Piano: 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa

26 Deadline: Awards Plus applications due


10 Awards in Excellence Auditions, Hammer and Strings Conservatory in Gilbert, 610 N Gilbert Rd #400, Gilbert

24 Awards in Excellence Winners Recital, Hammer and Strings Conservatory in Gilbert, 610 N Gilbert Rd #400, Gilbert

30 April Brunch 9:30am, location TBA


15 Event: Achievement Day 7:00am-12:00pm, possibly at Mesa Community College

17 Awards Plus awards presented 7:00pm, location TBA

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