Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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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 - 11:00 a.m.
December luncheon
(Jalapeno Buck's)

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

November 2016


Fall greetings to you!  The holidays are just around the corner, and with them come the anticipation of sharing wonderful moments with family and friends, making special memories, and enjoying great holiday music!   We are so fortunate to be able to share the gift of music with so many.  Music soothes the soul, speaks peace and unity in troubled times, and elicits excitement and joy.   My students love holiday music, and especially love to be able to share the holiday music they learn with family and friends.  Wonderful moments for them, indeed!
I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am grateful for the power of music, it truly is a blessing in my life.  I am grateful to be a part of DVMTA, and for all of you who give so much time and effort to help with our events and organization, you are amazing!  Many thanks to Tamara Pew and Meredith Ferrin for organizing Music Marathon, we had a lot of enthusiastic participation, great job!  I am also grateful for the friendships and feelings of camaraderie that we are able to build with one another as we teach and learn together.  I look forward to our December Luncheon, to share a few moments together in friendship as we prepare for the busy holidays.  

-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

Member News:
I’m sure you all have heard about the passing of our friend, Ede Yarter.  What a wonderful legacy she has left behind.  She is loved and cherished by so many, and we send our heartfelt condolences to her family.  We will miss her deeply, she has cared for so many in our organization, and given so much of herself in all she has done.  Here is a link to her obituary, which also contains a guest book to sign.

Edith Mary Yarter (1929 - 2016)
WATERLOO/TEMPE, Ariz. - Edith Mary Yarter, 86, of Tempe, Ariz., passed away on October 21, 2016. 
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on November 12, 2016, at University Presbyterian Church, 139 E. Alameda, Tempe, AZ 85282. 
In lieu of flowers, those who wish, may make memorial donations to either University Presbyterian Church or to the Lyric Opera Theater Guild at Arizona State University.
She was born December 15, 1929, in Seneca, N.Y., to Hillman Schooler Fisk and Florence Irene (Fisk) Covert Ganoung. A 1946 graduate of Waterloo High School in Waterloo, N.Y., she earned her music degree at Ithaca College, in 1950. She married Donald E. Yarter, in 1950 and had a daughter and three sons. She taught piano in her home studio for well over 60 years and was a founding member of the Desert Valley Music Teachers Association and an active part of the Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theater Guild. She was an active member of University Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder and was the communion preparation chairperson, for more than 40 years. She was an active volunteer for Tempe Meals on Wheels and maintained her participation in all these things, including her piano studio, right up until the last day of her life. 
She is survived by three children Gayle S. (John) Stever, Jeffery A. (Mary) Yarter and Victor A. Yarter; eight grandchildren Erik and Alisha Yarter, Paul and Scott Stever, Cathie Mancini, Paul Fitzsimons, Dane and Max Yarter; four great-grandchildren Keeton Yarter, Demi Gagnon, Peyton Weaver and Emily Stever. 
She was predeceased by her husband, Donald and her oldest son, Donald A. Yarter.

Bastien Workshop Opportunity
The Music Store is looking into hosting a workshop with Lori Bastien on the subject of the Bastien New Tradition Method. 
 The dates we are looking at are:
Monday, January 23rd
Tuesday, January 24th or
Saturday, January 28th
Would the Saturday date be better for those teachers that work/teach during the week?  
Please let me know at
 -Charles Newton

Our General Meeting for November will be a panel discussion on Preparing Students for Competition. The panel will consist of 5 of our own members Fei Xu, Kathryn Rood, Lori Weidemann, Charles Newton and Claire Westlake.  Please plan to join us. The information presented there will be AWESOME!

November 18th
9:30 am
My First Piano    Lori Weidemann's Profile Photo
 Fei Xu                            Kathryn Rood           
Lori Weidemann Claire Westlake

   Charles Newton               Claire Westlake

FYI –for those who knew and loved her, my mother-in-law Wanda West Palmer passed away last Monday night October 31st. Wanda was a well-known composer and musician. Her funeral services will be a musical event! They will be held on November 19th at 11:00 am.  For more information please visit the website
Bren Palmer

Congratulations DVMTA teachers and students! Another successful Music Marathon is on the books. We had 44 teachers and 560 students participate at 5 locations this year. Marathon day is the biggest fund raising event of the year and your participation is vital to the continued success of our great organization. Thank you for making it a special day for each student, parent and fellow teacher. We would also like to thank the staff at AZ Piano, Brookdale Park Regency, Citadel Retirement, My First Piano and Superstition Springs Mall for their fabulous hospitality.
My group was at the Citadel where we were warmly greeted by staff and residents. They provided refreshments and such a great audience! As I checked back throughout the day, I noticed that many residents stayed for a good portion of the day to enjoy the kids. What a positive experience!
Due to rising costs and the declining numbers of students registering in DVMTA events, the Marathon committee made the tough call to cut costs in two areas; chair rentals and participation ribbons. This saved our organization around $400. Meredith was able to round up (borrow), deliver and set up chairs at the mall, which of course, included tear down, and delivery back to the individuals who were gracious enough to lend them to us. After receiving some negative feedback, participation ribbons are in the process of being ordered. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please send an email to by noon on Friday, November 18 if you would like ribbons purchased for your studio.

Original Composition Recitals
Right Around the Corner!
Compositions from 96 students representing 16 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 and inspired!

“Magical Melodies”
Those were some magical tunes played at our October meeting.  Thanks to all our directors for sharing their talents!  Registration for Cavalcade is underway, closing November 18 at our general meeting.  Turn in registrations to Heidi Morris.  As of November 1, several groups are close to being full, so don’t delay.  Every registration should include a cover sheet listing when you are available to help.  It’s all hands on deck with an event this large!

The music is available at the Music Store for all groups except Groups A/B and M which should be purchased from Heidi Morris.  Please read the directors’ notes BEFORE teaching the pieces to your students. (Some groups may add a repeat or an introduction, and the tempi and specific directions are invaluable.)  Double-check that you’re teaching your students the correct part; it will eliminate the awkwardness at the first rehearsal when two partners show up having learned Primo on the same song!

It’s a busy time of year, but we recommend starting the music early with your students, particularly if they have to memorize the music.  Rehearsals begin February 6 and they’re expected to have it memorized at the first rehearsal.  We want this to be a fantastic experience for all involved, so let’s work hard to prepare our pianists for a magical good time!

Achievement Day May 13, 2017 – Prepare for a New Look!

Based on teacher feedback and some of my own ideas as well, I decided to try a few changes this year for Achievement Day.   Before I could make a decision on what changes made sense for this year, I got the unsettling news that the Mesa Community College Music Building, which has hosted this event for years, is going to be under renovation on May 13th!  The events coordinator graciously offered us the use of the new Performing Arts Center, but obviously, tremendous adjustments will have to be made.  At this point in time, the plan is to use these facilities unless I am able to find something that better suits our needs.  Consequently, some of the changes I was hoping to pilot will need to be put on hold for this year.  Below are the changes for this year.  Please read all information carefully and check the website regularly for updates from this point forward so that you can best prepare yourself and your students for this year’s Achievement Day.

    Changes for 2017:

  1. Students will now be able to choose Sight-Reading OR Ear-Training for their required option for Expanded.  Rationale - Primer and Level One students typically struggle with Sight-Reading due to inexperience with rhythm and note reading, however, ear-training is quite manageable for students at these levels.  
  2. Sight-Reading selections for Achievement Day testing will be undergoing some revisions.  Rationale – Lower level selections need to be simplified for inexperienced students who still choose Sight-Reading as an option.  
  3. The Sight-Reading evaluation form will now be a rubric.  Students will need to perform at 75% accuracy or above in 2 out of the 3 areas of proficiency (Note Accuracy, Rhythm Accuracy and Observation of Musical Details) in order to pass their sight-reading evaluation.  Rationale – The former evaluation sheet required a lot of extra writing which was cumbersome for evaluators and there were no standard criteria for student success making the form too subjective in nature.
  4. Ear-Training Testing at Level 4 and 5 will be done live instead of having students test independently using CD players.  Rationale – Limited space this year and unreliability of CD equipment necessitates minimal numbers of students needing to test independently.  Levels P-5 will now be scheduled once per hour, so it will be critical that you help your students plan their Achievement Day schedule to include BOTH their evaluation time AND their Ear-Training test time, if applicable.
  5. If the budget allows, evaluators will be able to add an “Honors” sticker to student certificates when a student presents an all-around outstanding performance for the evaluator.  Rationale – Students come to Achievement Day with various levels of preparation.  The majority pass, but some barely so possibly due to memory issues, insecurity with technique requirements, trouble sight-reading, etc.  In the role as an evaluator for the past several years, I have usually had 3 or 4 students come through my evaluation room that really dazzle me with practically perfect musical performances, flawless scales and spot-on sight-reading.  I have wished for a way to commend their extra effort, to set them apart from the students that are just squeaking by.  I thought maybe something as simple as a gold sticker might give them that extra little boost to set them apart from students that should have probably worked a little harder!

There will be some document revisions necessitated by these changes.  As mentioned earlier, please check the website frequently.  Except for the map, all documents available on the website will be revised by January 1st for your planning purposes!  Questions?  Contact Carolyn Rooder

If you have students that may be eligible for the Devoted Performer or Senior Scholar awards next spring, remember a letter of intent is due by December 1. A simple email will suffice; nothing formal is required. This just helps us to plan and prepare.
Now that registration for three of our five events is done, remember to keep track of what students participated this year. Good record-keeping is vital in our studios.
If you have any questions about Awards Plus, please contact Lorri McHardy.

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