Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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April 22 - 1:30 and 2:45 p.m.

Awards in Excellence Recitals
(AZ Piano Company)

April 28 - 9:30 a.m.
April Brunch
(1415 E. Southern, Mesa)

May 13
Achievement Day

May 15 - 7:00 p.m.
Awards Plus
(Legacy Retirement) 
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2017 Awards in Excellence Winners

Level 1
Julia Chen - Zhu
Regan Smith - Westlake

Level 2
Hannah Ware - Westlake
Daxon Miller - Westlake
Luke Porter - Zhu
Kathleen Jensen - Xu

Level 3
Hailee Smith - Westlake
Chloe Stephens - Weidemann
Connor Brinson - Westlake
Mihira Karnik - Newton
Lindy Porter - Zhu

Level 4
Deborah He - Zhu
Cannon Hill - Westlake

Level 5  
Norah Ma - Zhu

Level 6
Kevin Li - Zhu

Level 8
Michelle Chen - Xu

Level 9
Chloe Zhan - Xu

Level 10
Isabelle Jensen - Xu

Level 11
Morgan Beckstead - Xu
Micah Porter - Zhu

Level 12
Angelina Zhang - Zhu

Level 13
Enoch Chou - Xu
Abbie Jin - Zhu

Level 14
Vivan Zhao - Xu

Honorable Mentions

Level 1
Peyton Hale - Westlake
Bryson Parker - Westlake

Level 2
Josie Vilkas - Westlake
Shaylee Hill - Westlake
Jason Ray - Westlake

Level 3
Michael Lane - Favreau
Ellie Bawden - Westlake
Tabitha Reimer - Westlake

Level 4
Tad Reimer - Westlake
Jada Lillo - Westlake

Level 5  
Arella Payne - Westlake
Carson Robles - Westlake

Level 6
Matthew Loughney - Westlake

Level 12
Christina Chang - Xu

Level 13
Ella Wang - Luo

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

April 2017


Greetings DVMTA friends! What a wonderful, though busy, time of year.  Spring recitals, DVMTA events, and the approaching end of the school year make for a lot of last minute preparations. But don’t we work best under pressure? Hopefully that pressure is resolved and replaced with relief and great feelings of success for each student that has accomplished so much this year. I love to celebrate the small victories, and my hope is that each teacher will find a few moments to recognize and congratulate each student for their efforts and accomplishments, no matter how small. 
March’s General Meeting was wonderful. Thank you to thank Claire Westlake for giving us an insightful presentation on teaching composition. So many useful, fun and creative ideas were given, along with some amazing examples of fantastic student compositions. I foresee some great summer composing!
Still to come this year is Awards in Excellence featuring some of DVMTA’s best students who have prepared all year to compete and to challenge themselves. Thanks to Alayne Favreau, Wendi Heslop, Fei Xu and Hong Zhu for all the planning and preparation for this amazing event. We love to end the year with Achievement Day, where students have the opportunity to show off what they’ve worked so hard to learn this year. Thank you to Carolyn Rooder, Beth Christensen and the committee for such detailed work this year!
I invite you to come to April Brunch on April 28th. The details are in this newsletter and on the DVMTA website. The brunch is a great time for members to take some moments to relax before the end of the DVMTA year. I can’t thank enough those who have served and volunteered and helped this year in any way to make our events and organization run so smoothly. You make DVMTA what it is, and every moment of time you give is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

April Brunch
April Brunch is Friday, April 28th at 9:30 a.m. at 1415 E. Southern Mesa, AZ  85204. Please park in the back and go in back door.  It is between Stapley and Harris on Southern. There will be a “Give and Take” area to drop off music no longer wanted, or to pick up some music you might like that others have donated. Gene and Jeanette Cline will be bringing several boxes of Ede Yarter’s music that has been donated. If you have any questions about Ede’s music please contact Jeanette.  There is a map on the DVMTA website under Member Events.

Membership Renewal
It’s hard to believe the year is coming to an end and it’s already time to start registering for another rewarding year as a DVMTA member!  DVMTA membership is current August 1st through July 31st each year. The earliest you can begin registering is April 28th at our brunch.  Registration involves BOTH filling out the registration form and making your payment.  The DVMTA registration form has been redesigned and you have several options to fill it out.  You can easily fill out the form directly on the website.  You can also download the form from the website, print it out, and mail or give the completed form directly to Tammy Shorts.  Registration forms will also be available for you at the brunch.  Your registration payment can be made directly online or you may write a check.  For your convenience, we will also have a card reader at the April Brunch for you to use a card for payment.  Hopefully you will find registration to be an easy process. 

To offset rising costs over the last many years, the Board recently voted to increase the cost of membership. The annual price for membership will be $50, but if your membership is renewed by July 1st there is a $5 discount, and the price will be $45. The fee for new members will be $45.

As a reminder, visitors may attend 3 DVMTA General Meetings, but are asked to pay the Membership fee to become members after that.  

The DVMTA website provides you with the opportunity to participate in the Online Referral System.  This system provides interested students and parents with your email and preferred phone number to contact you.  We are also providing the opportunity for you to include a personal biography about yourself and your studio to guide them as they choose a teacher.  If you fill out the registration form online, you will be able to submit your information automatically.  If you fill out the paper registration form, you will need to email your information to Tammy Shorts at, but this will not post immediately.

Website News
This has been a year of growth for the website, with many positive changes already implemented, and more to come. Thank you for your patience and direction, as we work to improve it for the members of DVMTA. 
One of the things we have working towards this year is having certain event documents only available to current members, and members are required to log in to access them. This is now complete, which means many Achievement Day documents you will need for your students will not be available without logging in. If you already set up your password in the last year you should be fine to log in using your existing password. You can reset the password if you have forgotten. Members who did not create a log in and password since the site changed last year, should have been sent an email within this last week with the link to set this up. If there are any problems please email the support link on the website. 
The documents that are now password protected include Achievement Day practice tests and evaluation forms, event registration forms and Awards in Excellence repertoire list. These are labeled “Member Documents” and can be found under the Member tab. Any documents that are useful to families and the public are still found on each Event page of the website.

Member News 
From Hong Zhu:
Anna Ortega, was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma Grade III inoperable, aggressive cancerous tumor. Anna is very talented and a wonderful 10 year old girl. Playing piano is her top priority, she enjoys it and has accomplished a lot for her young age. She has been participating in the ASP for the last 4 years, was a winner of the EVMTA Piano Competition and the Prize Recital, ASMTA Honors recital, and a participant in the EVMTA Masterclasses. Hong teaches her little sister.

Her parents are trying very hard to find the best treatments to cure this cancer. They are taking Anna to Texas this week for experimental treatments that worked for other kids. The treatments at these facilities must be paid up front and in cash. They are asking for any help you feel you can give to bless this little girl's life and help them as they embark on this emotional and financially stressful journey.

Congratulations to all who participated in Awards in Excellence. The lists of winners and honorable mentions are included in the sidebar of the newsletter. Everyone is invited to come to the Winners’ Recital on April 22nd, 1:30 and 2:45 p.m. at AZ Piano Company located at 4134 E. Woods St. Suite 200, Phoenix. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear some amazing pianists from some of our amazing teachers. If you’ve never participated in this event, it’s also an opportunity to see what it’s all about and to hear some fabulous repertoire pieces from the Awards in Excellence Repertoire List. 

ACHIEVEMENT DAY – May 13, 2017 at MCC Performing Arts Center

Can Achievement Day possibly be just around the corner?  Yes, indeed!  There are 215 students from 26 studios participating this year!  I was so excited to see some teachers trying it for the first time this year!  I hope you and your students each have a great experience!  Here are a few pointers to help make it a great day:

This Achievement Day will take place at the Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center.  The best way to access the Performing Arts Center is to enter the campus off of Longmore south of Southern.  You can see the building easily from Longmore.  All teacher volunteers need to arrive by 6:45 a.m.  Since our location is different, you may need some time to familiarize yourself with the building. Evaluations will start promptly at 7:00 a.m. Water bottles and snacks will be available to you throughout the morning in a small room inside the library/workroom on the second floor.  The room is to the right as you enter the library/workroom.

You will receive a packet at the August Brunch with instructions for the day, your volunteer assignment and a variety of nametags with evaluation times that you will distribute to students in whatever way works best for the students in your studio.  (You will get a couple of extra nametags to help alleviate scheduling problems).  You will also receive green option sheets and one copy of each of the evaluation forms.  It is up to you to copy and fill out the forms for each of your students. 


  • Copy all necessary forms for students
  • Fill out a green option sheet for each student.  Note:  If a student is doing Level Primer through Level 5 ear-training, write down a couple of possible times for the student to complete this option on their green option sheet taking the student’s evaluation time into consideration.  The testing times can be found on a special ear training information sheet in your packet.
  • Fill out everything in bold on all evaluation forms (name, titles, teacher #, etc.)
  • Make sure students have original copies of all music, even the memorized pieces
  • Review all expectations with students for every option they’re doing
  • Make sure parents understand where to be and what to bring


  • Make sure they have all necessary forms and nametag
  • Bring all original music with measures numbered.  It is also helpful to the evaluator if pieces are marked with post-its or paper clips.
  • Bring necessary option items:  music for duet, composer study sheet, written report, and/or original composition
  • Be there at least 10 minutes before their evaluation time (they can do their other events either before or after their assigned time)
  • Dress nicely – not required, but makes a nice impression and gives the students that “Look good, feel good” advantage!
  • Turn in their green option sheet at the information desk when finished


  • Wait until all filing is finished before leaving.
  • Double check your envelope—do you have all theory tests, evaluations, etc. for each of your students? Do you have any that do NOT belong to you?
  • Pick up your trophies and ribbons from the snack room. Please leave behind any trophies for students who did not show up or who chose to drop from expanded to standard requirements (or were forced to by lack of memorization, etc.) 
  • Grade the theory and ear training tests that day (a key is provided for ear training). Remember that to receive a trophy for expanded requirements, students MUST pass the theory, technique and sight-reading or ear training portions, as well as one additional option. If they do not pass, please return the trophy to Carolyn Rooder.

Thanks in advance for all your help that day and for your preparation of students. This is an excellent way to boost their confidence and help them realize just how much they have mastered over the year. If you have any questions or concerns at all about the event, please contact Carolyn Rooder .

The Awards Plus presentations will be held on Monday, May 15 at 7:00 pm in the multipurpose room of Legacy Retirement Residence of Mesa, 5625 E McKellips Rd. We will celebrate the achievements of these very devoted DVMTA students.  We anticipate recognizing 14 Devoted Performers and 2 Senior Scholars. A huge thank you is due to these students, their teachers, and their parents for their many years of support of DVMTA events. All are welcome to attend and help recognize these dedicated students. If you have questions, please contact Lorri McHardy.

David Syme, a world-renowned concert pianist,  is performing in Flagstaff on Sunday, June 25 as part of his American Tour, and is seeking to do a small-scale type of performance that is kind of “under the radar” in a home, church, or any other venue on the following day, Monday, June 26. He is a fantastic entertainer, infusing wit and anecdotes in between pieces, and he plays such a wide range of music, that he appeals to all audiences. It is a wonderful opportunity. You can find out more about him at . (Check out the concerts link and review his information about Living Room performances and private concerts.) He is also open to playing for a Senior Center or other types of venues as well.  

Copyright © 2017 Desert Valley Music Teachers Association, All rights reserved.

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