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) 
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 $45 for new members and $50 for renewing members! 

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Teacher Spotlight

We have 3 new DVMTA members and we would like to spotlight them.

Kelly Nurenberg has been teaching for 20 years. She has 3 children and 1 Grandson and lives in Gilbert. She started teaching on the side while working another job. But when she had her son she didn’t want to leave him alone and so she built her studio and was able to teach/work from home. And now 20 years later she still loves teaching and now that her youngest is graduating high school this year she is building up her studio again. Her favorite thing about teaching is seeing her students get excited about learning something she loves so much. And her students are just so cute! She loves seeing their enthusiasm and understanding grow!

Corrine Walker has been teaching voice lessons for 30+ years. She lives in Mesa but recently returned from a mission for her church in the France, Lyon Mission. She has 4 children and 15 grandchildren. She teaches classical and musical theatre. She studied with Ellen Faull (who taught Audra McDonald and other opera singers). She also studied with Seth Riggs and Todd Gordon. She is a member of NASH, MTNA and ETA. Her favorite thing about teaching is making them successful and have confidence. Also teaching technique that allows them to be successful.

Brandon Seil has been teaching piano and voice for 15 years. He has a studio in Scottsdale and teaches with his wife. They have 2 kids, a daughter who is 4 and a son who is 2. His favorite thing about teaching is seeing how students start to evolve in their musical ability. Also watching their focus and drive to learn new material. He studied in Japan with the founder of the Suzuki method.

We are so excited to welcome these new members to DVMTA!!

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

February 2018

Greetings everyone! February is an exciting month for DVMTA, and we look forward to the upcoming adventures of Cavalcade, Awards in Excellence and Achievement Day. This is the time to shine for many students, who have prepared this past year for these wonderful events. Thank you so much to teachers for their direction and guidance in preparing these students. And thank you to all members who are so willing to help plan and organize these events, we could not do it without you! 
One of my daughter’s favorite series of books is “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, which describes the adventures of the orphaned Baudelaire children. In “The Ersatz Elevator” the author observes, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” That is a great thing to consider, both for students and teachers. Often we feel not quite prepared, or that there’s always something more that we can do to improve or be better. And usually there is, but when we take that leap of faith and move forward, even when unsure, we can find a great sense of accomplishment and wonder at how far we’ve come. There is definitely adventure in the journey! Thank you, again, for all your help and support for DVMTA and best wishes to you and your students as you participate in our DVMTA events!
-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

General Meetings:
We have some wonderful upcoming topics!
We look forward to February’s General Meeting on Friday, Feb. 23rd, 9:30 a.m. at My First Piano, Recital Hall location (1818 E. Southern Ave. Mesa). Our presenter is Nicci Lovell who will discuss “Networking and Marketing Basics with Social Media”. 
March’s General meeting on Friday, March 23rd will be presented by Corinne Walker, “How to Engage Piano Students in Singing & How to Quickly Improve your Own Voice”.  
Cavalcade Video Contest: 

With Cavalcade so close we’re excited to see the sharing of some amazing videos of Cavalcade pieces. Be sure to let your students know another Cavalcade Video Contest is happening this year, and they can share their videos anytime through the Cavalcade performance on Feb. 24th. 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. We’d love to see some creative video use of the “Sounds of the Circus” theme!
Awards in Excellence: 
Audition applications for Awards in Excellence are due by the General Meeting on Feb. 23rd. Please make sure to check the website Awards in Excellence Teacher Information to understand the requirements for teachers to enter their students. Please contact Alayne Favreau with questions. Auditions are Sat. April 14th, and the Winners’ Recital is Sat. April 21st. 
For any teachers needing additional service hours Cavalcade is a great opportunity to serve. Please contact Kelli Riding for volunteer information. 
Applications for the Janeen Noble Outstanding Music Student Award are also due by Feb. 23rd. Find information under Awards in Excellence on the website. 


Our Cavalcade performances are in full swing! If you’ve never participated in Cavalcade before, we suggest you attend one of the shows and see what fun it is!  We’ll entertain you at Mesquite High School (500 S. McQueen Rd. in Gilbert) on Saturday, February 24th at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. 

All students were given a performance day schedule with the Saturday morning rehearsal times, performance dress requirements, ticket information, etc. Please review that with your students. It’s available at if you didn’t get one. Make sure they understand when to be there, what to wear, how they should behave, etc. The Saturday morning rehearsal is mostly logistical, making sure students know where they sit in the auditorium, how to get onstage, which piano is theirs, how to bow, and how to get back to their seats. Parents have the opportunity to see where their children will be on stage and can choose a seat during the performance accordingly. 

Students in groups A-H need to have their music completely memorized by now. Make sure they and their parents know which performance they will be in. Groups A, C, E and G will be in the 5:00 show and groups B, D, F and H will perform at 7:00. Students in groups I-M will perform in both shows. We will take them to a snack room in between performances and give them a chance to use the restroom, etc. Please make sure that parents understand that if they want to attend both shows, they will need to buy a ticket for each show. We will be checking the auditorium between shows. Also, parents of those students should not try to meet up with their children in between shows. Wait until after the 7:00 show to give congratulations. 

Thanks again to all our directors and volunteers who have been and will be helping, and to My First Piano for all their help. You’ve helped to make this year’s Cavalcade a spectacular success!

On with the show!

Awards in Excellence registration is due this Friday. We are so tickled to have many teachers participating for the FIRST TIME this year! Good for You!! Pat yourself on the back and then pat your students on the back as well!! 
Registration forms can be turned it at the General Meeting this Friday or you can bring them to my home - 2949 E. Palm St., Mesa - near Gilbert Rd. and McDowell. If I'm not home, leave them in the basket on the front porch. Please include just one check with the registration made out to DVMTA. We hope to have the schedule out by March 10 - so stay tuned!!
Awards in Excellence auditions will be held on April 14th at AZ Piano. The Winner's Recital will be held on April 28th. 

Achievement Day, May 12, 2018 – Determining Levels and Options

Reminder – Registration for this event may be turned in at the General Meeting on March 23rd.  Final deadline for mail-in registrations is March 30th.

All of my students prepare for Achievement Day, even if student schedules prevent them from participating in the actual event.  To me, Achievement Day is like a “final exam” for the year.  It celebrates nearly every aspect of a student’s piano education – performance, memorization, technique, theory, sight-reading, ear training, music history, ensemble playing and composition.  It holds me, as the teacher, accountable for addressing each of these areas in some way throughout the year to assure that I am offering my students a well-rounded piano curriculum.  

At this point in the year, I examine each of my students’ progress to determine their Achievement Day levels.  I encourage students who are ready to pass a level to prepare the Expanded Requirements.  Occasionally, I have students who have difficulty getting three pieces memorized in time.   It is very easy to change a student’s requirements to Standard all the way up to Achievement Day.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to prepare the evaluation forms and check sheets that the student takes to Achievement Day, so changing a student’s requirements is simply a matter of filling out the paperwork accordingly.  Sometimes students do not adequately cover a full level from the year before, and are therefore not ready to test at a higher level.  In this case, I allow students to have a review year in which they prepare the Standard Requirements at the previous year’s level.   In this way, I am able to include all students and keep them accountable for the skills they are learning.

Once I have determined each student’s Achievement Day level for the year, I help them choose repertoire, which was the focus of last month’s news article, and I help them choose their options.  A detailed list of options and skill requirements for each level are clearly spelled out in the Achievement Day Requirements Packet which can be found on the website –   If you have not viewed this document this year, please do.  It has been revised to include an in-depth description of each option and what to expect for each on Achievement Day.

Achievement Day may seem a bit overwhelming, however, it is usually a very rewarding experience for the students who have been well prepared.  Evaluators are instructed to give mostly positive feedback, and I guarantee that the students will pass their theory and ear training tests as long as they know the handful of objectives listed for their level.  If I can help you in any way, please let me know!
Carolyn Rooder – 

Next month is the application deadline for Awards Plus. All Devoted Performer and Senior Scholarship Award applications need to be turned in to Lorri McHardy by March 23, the same day that Achievement Day registrations are due. Forms are available on our website. All participation will be carefully checked against our records to ensure accuracy. 

The Senior Scholarship application also requires a list of all DVMTA events participated in over the years. Students receive 2 points for each event and need a minimum of 24 points to even be considered. Students must also show additional musical commitment such as orchestra, band or choir. Students will need to write a letter to the Awards Plus committee asking for their consideration in be selected and giving reasons why. Letters of recommendation from other teachers or music directors may be included with the application. Do not wait until late March to begin this application!

If you have any questions about Awards Plus, please contact Lorri McHardy.

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