Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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February 24

Cavalcade of Rhythm
(Mesquite High School)

April 14 
Awards in Excellence Auditions
(AZ Piano)

April 21 
Awards in Excellence Recitals
(AZ Piano)

April 27
April Brunch
(location TBD)

May 12
Achievement Day

May 14 
Awards Plus
(Legacy Retirement Residence) 
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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

January 2018

Happy New Year DVMTA members, I hope your holiday season was wonderful. The new year brings the promise of much adventure, and there is always excitement at the prospect of progress and improvement as we seek to become better. I hope our students have the same excitement. There is much to do in the next few months as students prepare for Cavalcade, Awards in Excellence and Achievement Day. I find one of the challenges facing my students is that some become disheartened because they may not be as advanced as other students they participate with at these events. Each student has his or her own journey, with many adventures of discovery along the way. As a teacher I want each student to feel they have unique strengths and qualities, and to feel they have accomplished something great each time they participate. I love the quote in the movie “The Greatest Showman” where P.T. Barnum says, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” The adventure begins for students when they find fulfillment in what they do well, and have a desire to share that. I wish you all the best in this new year!

-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

January General Meeting:
Once again we welcome Dr. Barbara Russell for our Master Class on Friday, Jan. 26th, 9:30 a.m. at My First Piano, Recital Hall location (1818 E. Southern Ave. Mesa.). We love Dr. Russell’s enthusiasm and insight as she instructs a few of our wonderful students. 

Original Composition:
Thank you so much to Lori Weidemann, Debbie Engelsman and Yukari Lowery for a wonderful Original Composition Festival. Such a great group of gifted and motivated students! A special thank you to Penni Scott, our Composition Evaluator. She does such an amazing job praising and giving helpful advice to these students. And thank you to all the teachers who helped these students along as they composed, revised, edited, recorded and performed these wonderful pieces. 

December Luncheon:
We had a wonderful time visiting at the December Luncheon. Thank you so much to Lisa Hunt for organizing, and for the great location at Panera Bread!
Cavalcade is right around the corner, and students are busy preparing those Sounds of the Circus! Be sure to let your students know there will be another Cavalcade Video Contest this year. Students can upload videos of them rehearsing their songs to Facebook or Instagram. They can tag DVMTA, and then receive points for the most "likes" and "shares" for their videos. Prizes will be awarded so be sure to let your students know! Look for more details and dates coming up.

Hear ye, Hear ye, singers needed for the Arizona Renaissance Festival.
The Arizona Renaissance Festival is looking for singers to entertain guests at the popular "Mermaids's Grotto". Ability to read music is helpful but not essential. Singers must be able to harmonize.
Singers will be responsible for their own costumes but support is available.
Singers must be able to commit to most of an 8-weekend Festival schedule.
A stipend will be paid. If interested, call Charles at 480-560-2952 and leave a message.


Hey Music Teachers! Looking for a space to hold group lessons?
We have a spacious new group lesson room equipped with 5 digital pianos for keyboard classes and open space for your other music class needs.
Call THE MUSIC STORE at (480) 831-9691 and ask for JP (co-owner).


Original Compositions -- Always a Hit!
Congratulations to the 96 students
(and their teachers – Amelia A, Hillary B, Beth C, Heidi D, Michelle D, Carolyn E, Karen G, Taylor H, Yukari L, Heidi M, Shannon P, Carolyn R, Tammy S, Toni T, Sandy W, Lori W, and Claire W )
who showcased their creative compositions at the November recitals!
Penni Scott, once again, did an amazing job evaluating them, and the students received a medal and certificate for their fine effort.
Give it a try  –- start with one and join the fun!


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s almost time for the magic and wonder to begin! We have over 30 teachers and almost 400 students who have joined the circus, practicing and getting their pieces ready to perform! Rehearsals begin on Monday, February 5th.
*Please take note:  Cavalcade rehearsals will be held at the new My First Piano showroom :
1166 S Gilbert Rd Suite 113, Gilbert, AZ 85296 (near Bounce U & Regal Theater)
Many groups are full, but we’re looking for more teachers to play in groups B (secondo part), F, J (secondo part) and L. Please let Heidi Morris know if you’re interested. Remind your students to check in a few minutes early. Parents may wait in the lobby. Please be patient as we learn to juggle it all at rehearsals.  
The Saturday morning rehearsal and performances will be held at Mesquite High School on February 24th. The schedule is on our website and will be handed out at rehearsals. Students in Groups A-H will play in only one of the shows; Groups I-M will play in both. Please make sure parents are aware of this. Tickets will be sold at rehearsals and the night of the show.
Forms for the business ads/congratulations grams are also on our website if you’d like to give them to your students’ parents now. We will have copies at our January general meeting and at the first rehearsal and need help soliciting. Please help spread the word by advertising our event to the community through your studios, family, friends, and the community using social media so we can have sold out shows and grow our dynamic organization! (Note: No DVDs for sale.)
Thanks to all teachers who are helping us with this balancing act! Cavalcade requires a lot of volunteers, and we appreciate your help. This will be a spectacular event for all involved!

Teacher’s Checklist

  • Do your students have their names on their music and measures numbered?
  • Have you checked the director’s notes and are students learning the correct part?
  • Will the music be memorized by the first rehearsal? (GROUPS A-H)
  • Have students played their parts with someone playing the duet? (Teacher or partner)
  • Are YOU playing in a group? Groups B, F, J, and L could use more players.
  • Are you planning on attending the first week of rehearsals?  Not required, but helpful!
  • Volunteer assignment instructions will be arriving soon via email. It’s almost show time!

Achievement Day May 13, 2018 – Choosing Repertoire
Location – Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center
If you have not already done so, you should probably be making preliminary repertoire decisions with your students.  Even a Primer Level student can potentially take longer than you think to learn and memorize a piece.   Most students choose the Expanded Option for Achievement Day.  These students are required to perform three memorized pieces.  Some students choose the Standard Option which requires one piece performed for memory and one piece performed with music.  Although, the number of pieces a student plans to perform needs to be decided at the time of registration, you will have up to the actual Achievement Day to finalize repertoire.  
You have a great deal of freedom in choosing pieces to perform.  There is only a stated length requirement as follows:
Primer level—a minimum of 8 measures 
Level 1—a minimum of 12 measures
Level 2 and above—a minimum of 16 measures
Note:  At Level 3 and above, no repeats should be taken.  In addition, it is important to note that a longer piece may not be listened to in its entirety on Achievement Day to keep auditions within the recommended time allotments.
There are, however, some unstated recommendations about music choice that will allow your students to get the most out of their evaluation experience.  It is a good idea to choose musical pieces that will demonstrate technical skills, highlight contrasts in dynamics and articulation and allow for appropriate musical interpretation of tempo, mood and phrasing.   It is also a good idea to have students perform contrasting pieces.  For example, more advanced students can choose pieces from different musical periods for a contrast in style.  Choosing pieces that have contrasting tempos, articulations and/or tonality is also a good idea.  An excellent resource for appropriate pieces is the repertoire list used for Awards in Excellence which can be found on the website.  Sheet music and supplemental repertoire for methods books can also be good options.  In choosing repertoire, the most important consideration is to select pieces that provide opportunities for the evaluators to successfully judge a student’s skills and musicality.
Along with thinking about repertoire choices, now is a good time to focus on at least one extra skill each week – a scale, a chord inversion progression, an ear training objective, a theory objective, etc.  Remember, regular, repeated practice of skills is far superior to “cramming” a few weeks prior to the event.  Doing a little bit every week will make reviewing during those last few weeks a snap.  It will also boost the students’ confidence when they feel they have really mastered concepts well.  Questions?  Contact Carolyn Rooder 

This year we will be recognizing 17 Devoted Performers and one Senior Scholar. That represents more than 80 DVMTA events over the last few years. 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, I 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 Lorri McHardy.

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