Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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November 18-19

Original Composition Festival
(My First Piano)

December 1
December luncheon
(Panera located at Val Vista and Baseline)

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

November 2017

Greetings! What a wonderful time of the year to celebrate all that is great about living in Arizona for the holidays!  Our schedules are busy, but our hearts are full of gratitude, excitement, cheer and good will. And don’t forget the music! We hear daily reminders through music of everything that makes us happy during this time of year. As we attend concerts, or gather with family and friends, music allows us to create vivid memories that will bring us joy.  I love the holiday story “The Polar Express”, the adventure of one boy who wants to believe in Santa, but isn’t quite sure, until he takes a trip on a magical train to meet and help Santa, before returning home, not quite sure if the event really happened. But he holds onto the memory, and a small bell, and that’s enough to make him believe. Belief is powerful, especially as we try to train young students to believe in themselves, and in the power they have to affect others through their music and performance. The holidays give us wonderful opportunities to share music, and I hope we’ll all have amazing musical experiences this holiday season.

-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

November General Meeting:

We look forward to discovering new repertoire as teachers share “Repertoire Not to Miss”. Friday, Nov. 17th, 9:30 a.m. at My First Piano, Mesa Recital Hall location, 1818 E. Southern Ave. Mesa.

December Luncheon: 

You are invited to attend the December Luncheon, Fri. Dec. 1st at 11:00 a.m. at Panera Bread, Val Vista & Baseline in Dana Park. Come visit and have some great food! Members will order and purchase their own food, but we’ll have a section reserved to eat and visit.


 The Original Composition Festival Recitals are coming up November 18 and 19 at My First Piano in Mesa. There are a few changes in this year’s recital format that I want to let you know about.

  • The students are listed in the Recital Program in alphabetical order, and there is just one program for all three recitals. Students will be directed to the front two rows of chairs. Their seating order will be their performing order. There are approximately 30 students per recital.
  • Each student will announce their piece before they play it. The announcement should sound like this: “Good afternoon. I’m Suzy Smith and I composed “Falling Leaves”.” After they play they will take a bow. Please practice this with your student so that they are prepared.
  • They will receive a medal to be presented at the recital. A group picture will be taken at the end of each recital.
  • Teachers, please attend one of the recitals to pick up your packet with their evaluations and certificates.

I can’t wait to hear all these wonderful new pieces! Congratulations, teachers, for all your effort in teaching your students valuable skills while assisting them in exploring this very creative process!


Those were some thrilling tunes played at our October meeting!  Thanks to all our directors for sharing their talents.  Registration for Cavalcade is underway, closing November 17th 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 can get a little mind-blowing with an event this large!

The music is available at the Music Store for all groups except Group L which should be purchased from Joni Walker.  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 8th 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 dazzling good time!


Good Question! It is a piano competition – complete with WINNERS and CASH PRIZES and all kinds of great stuff! Students must memorize 2 piano pieces of differing styles or musical eras chosen from the DVMTA Repertoire List. They compete in front of one judge in a small room. The judges give awesome feedback to every participant.

Right Now is the perfect time to start thinking about Awards in Excellence! The competition takes place next April 14, 2018 and the Winner’s Recital is April 21, 2018.

Achievement Day May 12, 2018 – Review of Changes

Based on teacher feedback and some of my own ideas as well, I decided to try a few changes last year for Achievement Day.   I am republishing those changes for anyone who may have participated in the past but missed last year.

Changes made in 2017 that will continue into 2018:

The event will again take place at the Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center.  The music building will be undergoing further renovations this summer and will be unavailable.  We may return to this venue in the future if it suits our needs.
  1. Students are now 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.  Note:  Many teachers sign their students up for both of these options regardless of requirements.

  2. Sight-Reading selections for Achievement Day testing were revised.  Rationale – Lower level selections needed to be simplified for inexperienced students who still choose Sight-Reading as an option.  Changes were made for Levels Primer through Two.

  3. The Sight-Reading evaluation form is now a rubric.  Students 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. Evaluators can now add an “Honors” sticker to student certificates when a student presents an all-around outstanding performance for the evaluator.  Rationale – Adding a little something to a student’s certificate helps give special commendation to those students who have taken the time to prepare thoroughly and really dazzle their evaluators!  This worked exceptionally well last year.  Evaluators awarded 32 stickers to the 215 students entered in the event.  I know that my student who received a sticker was extremely proud, and it really boosted her overall confidence.  On the other hand, a student who did not get a sticker wanted to know what she could do differently to get one this year!

Possible Change for 2018:

Ear-Training Testing at Level 4 and 5 may return to having students test independently using CD players.  Rationale – A decision was made to purchase MP3 players to update our audio equipment, which will eliminate the equipment problems students had in the past.  If we are successful in making the transition from CD to MP3 file, we will have Level 4 and 5 test independently once again.  

If you have checked the website recently, you will have noticed that there is a new tool, Planning Sheets – Levels P – 10, which can be quite useful in helping to plan for Achievement Day.  Requirements for each level have been compiled into a simple document that can be kept in a student’s notebook and used as a check sheet to prepare for the event.  I am also hoping to add Ear Training Practice documents in the near future.  Happy planning!

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 where this year. Good record-keeping is vital in our studios.
If you have any questions about Awards Plus, please contact Lorri McHardy.

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

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