Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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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

We are so excited for the new year! We have several new members and we would like to spotlight them at meetings and in the newsletter.

We would like to introduce Cherri Reynolds. She has been teaching for 45 years and has lived in the valley for 17 years. She is currently teaching piano and flute privately and also teaches at Augusta Ranch Elementary School. She loves to read, any type of hand working, sewing and almost everything else. Her favorite food is stuff you shouldn't have and any kind of chocolate! Yum! Her favorite thing about teaching is seeing the moment the student gets it and everything clicks. She loves watching them play and they understand it.

We can't wait to introduce our new members to you!
-Membership Committee

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 2017


Happy New Year DVMTA Members!  Warmest greetings to you, I hope your holidays have been eventful and joyous.  Celebrating a new year brings reflection, resolve and optimism, along with the hope of fulfilled wishes and goals.  As my students have returned from the winter break, I’ve thought of what each is in need of most.  For some, it’s a review of their note reading and sight reading skills, for others it’s a renewed effort to finish their Cavalcade pieces and think of new recital pieces.  Some students were just in need of telling me every little detail of their time away over the holidays.  I love how every student is different and special. As teachers we have the opportunity to find out what makes each so unique, and to challenge ourselves to bring out the best in every student.  
November’s general meeting was wonderful.  The panel discussion on Preparing Students for Competition was so valuable, each teacher had so much to contribute, thank you to all those who shared their wisdom, tips and experience: Fei Xu, Kathy Rood, Lori Weidemann, Charles Newton, and Claire Westlake.  I loved a quote given by Charles, “Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” (I have much more practicing to do).  DVMTA is privileged to have such fabulous members!  
Thank you to Lisa Hunt for organizing our December Luncheon at Jalapeno Buck’s, it was great fun.  The food was amazing, and the company was wonderful.  I’m so glad we get to spend a few moments every now and then just relaxing and visiting.  Now that the holidays are over we get to focus on our spring events: Cavalcade, Awards in Excellence and Achievement Day.  There are many students already preparing, and it’s sure to be an exciting and rewarding season.  Good luck as you prepare your students for these upcoming events, see you there!  

-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

Website Update:
The website is still undergoing changes, and will be for a while as we organize, streamline and improve the way we communicate with you.  We appreciate your patience and flexibility as the process continues.  We owe many thanks to John Gardner and the team at Intermountain Retail Solutions, they are so gracious with their time and talent.  
The teacher locator map on the website is functioning, and those who have indicated on their registration that they would like to be part of the online referrals are listed on the map.  Currently only the general location and studio name is listed.  We will soon be providing email addresses and phone numbers as well, so that potential students and families will be able to contact you directly.  Also in the planning is displaying studio and teacher bios that have been submitted.  

Social Media:
Just a reminder for you, especially if you are a new member, to check out our DVMTA Facebook page, and “like”, so that you can receive helpful teaching and student information.  Also look for us on Pinterest and Instagram.  Thanks to Claire Westlake for keeping us informed and inspired!

“Magical Melodies”

It’s almost time to make some music together! We have 7 teachers (need more) and 409 students registered for Cavalcade, practicing and getting their pieces ready to perform! Rehearsals begin on Monday, February 6th at My First Piano located at 1818 E. Southern Ave. #5, Mesa. Many groups are full, but we’re looking for some teachers to play in groups B, M, and N. 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 the performances will be held at Mesquite High School on February 25th. The schedule is on the documents section of our website if you need to know times now. Students in Groups A-H will play in only one of the shows; Groups I-N will play in both. Please make sure parents are aware of this. Tickets and DVDs will be sold at rehearsals, online, and the night of the show.

Forms for the business ads/congratulations grams are already 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!

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 fabulous and magical 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 are 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, M, and N could use more players.
  • Are you planning on attending the first week of rehearsals?  Not required, but very helpful.

Abracadabra!  Volunteer assignment instructions will be arriving soon via email. 

Achievement Day May 13, 2017 – Choosing Repertoire

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.

NEW LOCATION THIS YEAR!  We will still be at Mesa Community College, but we will be in the Performing Arts Center.  Maps are still being finalized and will be available for printing closer to Achievement Day.  
REVISED DOCUMENTS!  Because of a few changes being made this year for ear training and sight-reading, current documents are under revision.  Please do not print a document until you see a 2017 revision date.  I anticipate that these documents will be available no later than January 15th.
Questions?  Contact Carolyn Rooder 602-527-1721 or

We have a record-breaking number of award recipients this year: a possible total of 17 Devoted Performers and 6 Senior Scholars! Thank you, teachers, for your hard work in preparing students for over 100 DVMTA events! 

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 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.

Would you like your students to compose music
and participate in the Original Composition Festival in November,
but are unsure HOW to pull it all together?
Claire Westlake will share her experience in teaching composition
at our March 31st General Meeting.
You will be inspired to give it a try!

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