February 23 – Cavalcade of Rhythm (Mesquite High School)

April 13 – Awards in Excellence Auditions (AZ Piano)

April 20 – Awards in Excellence Recitals (AZ Piano)

May 11 – Achievement Day (MCC)

May 13 – Awards Plus (Legacy Retirement Residence)


January 2019

President’s Message –
Is it really 2019 already?  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season forming new memories with family and friends!
Since the previous newsletter, DVMTA has wrapped up the year with several noteworthy events!  In early November, several teachers and piano families converged on Organ Stop Pizza for a delightful fund-raising event!  Sharing an evening of pizza and unforgettable entertainment with our piano families offered those who attended a unique opportunity to make some new connections!  It was also satisfying to see the awe on the faces of first-time attenders when the mighty Wurlitzer went into action!  An added bonus was that Organ Stop donated back $202 to our organization, which will fund two Devoted Performer awards this year! 

A few weeks later, our Original Composition Festival took place thanks to Toni Tetreau, Debbie Engelsman and Jessica Heidt.  And what an event it was!  I have attended several of the composition recitals in the past, but I have to say that this was one of my favorites!  I loved the venue and the compositions were better than ever!  We continue to be so grateful to Penny Scott, our faithful evaluator, who gives each student the most amazing, thorough feedback year after year!  The learning the students gain from participating in this event is phenomenal and well worth the preparation time!

In November, we also had our general meeting which included an extremely worthwhile presentation called “Power Up Practice” put together by our very own DVMTA members – Hollie Lunt, Kelli Riding, Joni Walker, Shannon Payne and Alayne Favreau.  There was a wealth of information presented, and I know that everyone walked away with lots of new ideas that could be put immediately into practice!  Thanks so much, ladies, for sharing all of these wonderful pearls of wisdom with us!

In early December, several of us met at Panera Bread for our December Luncheon.  It was great to fellowship with old friends and new friends!  I love this event, because it is such a great way to network with each other and share studio and life stories!  Teaching piano is such a lonely profession, so it is wonderful to have a chance to meet informally with other people who understand our world!  I’d like to give a shout out to Toni Tetreau who gave the event a special touch by providing adorable handmade ornaments for each participant and some fun door prizes as well!

Now, it is time to gear up for our next big events – Cavalcade, Awards in Excellence and Achievement Day!  Just as you all have contributed to the success of our fall events, I am confident that you will support our spring events as well.  You are all proving the truth in this year’s theme – “Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean”!  The opportunities we provide for our students are priceless.  Personally, I can’t fathom what teaching piano would be like without them!  Hurray for DVMTA!
Carolyn Rooder
DVMTA President 2018-2019
January General Meeting, January 25th, 9:30 am, My First Piano Recital Hall, 1818 E. Southern Ave., Mesa – “Master Class” with Dr. Barbara Spoelman-Russell
For several years now, we have all looked forward to watching Dr. Spoelman-Russell in action!  I never fail to leave this meeting without some new knowledge to add to my tool box!  So rarely do we have the chance to see another teacher in action – especially one as accomplished as Dr. Spoelman-Russell.  This year we have the privilege of watching Dr. Spoelman-Russell work her magic on four different students from four of our studios.  You won’t want to miss it!
Cavalcade Ad Campaign – Please help us defray the ever-increasing cost of producing Cavalcade this year by purchasing a congratulations gram for your participating students or encouraging parents of participating students to submit business ads.  Even if you don’t have students involved, you may know of someone who might like to advertise in our program!  The cost of ads starts at just $20.  Pick up a form or two at our general meeting or get the forms from our website.  Remember to submit your ads by FEBRUARY 14TH!  Thanks for your support!

 Shop with Amazon Smile! – DVMTA is now officially signed up to receive donations from Amazon Smile!  All you need to do is visit and choose Desert Valley Music Teachers Association as your charity.  Then, if you make all future Amazon purchases through, Amazon will donate 0.5% back to DVMTA!  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but if we spread the word to all of our families, it will definitely add up!  Every penny counts!  Be on the lookout for a special email with more information on this simple, sensible way to help DVMTA fund our yearly student awards!  Thanks for your support!

January is the perfect time to start working on a song for our Fall Composition Festival.

Some students can come up with ideas quickly, but for those beginners, or someone who has great ideas but has a hard time getting them down on paper, it is wise to start early!

I would love for each teacher to consider entering at least 1-2 students in the Festival next Fall. Writing your own music enhances the learning process! Students become more aware of note values, placement, rhythms, and terminology when they write it down. I've seen a definite improvement in music understanding of those students who have worked hard to compose!

If you'd like some help getting started, please let me know. I am happy to help!

We can even meet up for dessert (umm... I mean, veggies... haha) and I'll walk you through some basics!

Toni Tetreau, chair

Our big journey is coming up fast!

By now your students should be working hard on their duets, and getting ready for our Cavalcade Road Trip on February 23 at Mesquite High School! Rehearsals start February 4 at The Music Store, located at 2630 W Baseline Rd, Mesa, AZ 85202. Try to attend with your students for at least the first week of rehearsals if you can to help things run smoothly. If you do, try to park at the far end of the parking lot so parents have an easier time with pick up and drop off.

We need advertisements for our programs! Ads help pay for many of the fees associated with Cavalcade. Purchasing an ad is a great way to congratulate your students for a job well done! We are encouraging every teacher to have a note supporting all their students. Please talk to your parents and local businesses about contributing ads. The forms for program ads are available on the website. We need them completed by the 2nd week of rehearsals.


Things to remember:

·  Memorization is not required this year. Make sure to check the directors' notes for details about how to best prepare each piece.

·  The schedule for rehearsals on Saturday, February 23 is on the website!

·  Don't forget to double check that your students know what group they are in, what day and time their rehearsals are, which part they are playing, and which show they are playing in (Groups I-N perform in both shows!)

·  Let your parents know that tickets for the shows will be available to purchase at each of the rehearsals.

·  We appreciate all the hard work that all our members put in to make Cavalcade run smoothly. We will be needing help with various tasks; we will be asking for help at the January general meeting.

May 11, 2019 – Choosing Repertoire
Location – Mesa Community College Music Building
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.
Along with thinking about repertoire choices, now is a good time to focus on at least one extra skill each week – a scale, a chord inversion progression, an ear training objective, a theory objective, etc.  Remember, regular, repeated practice of skills is far superior to “cramming” a few weeks prior to the event.  Doing a little bit every week will make reviewing during those last few weeks a snap.  It will also boost the students’ confidence when they feel they have really mastered concepts well.  Questions?  Contact Buffie Meeker at

If you are planning to have students participate in Awards in Excellence in April, you should already be thinking about (or hopefully have already assigned) repertoire for that event.
Registration for Awards in Excellence is due at the February General Meeting (Feb 22). All forms and information is on our website. If you have a student you are considering for the Janeen Noble Outstanding Music Student Award, that registration is due at the same time. Please read the qualifications carefully, both for the student and the teacher. If you need service hours, Cavalcade is coming up and always needs helpers. Your 10 hours and 4 meetings (or 15 hours and school/work verification) must be completed by the end of February.
If you are planning to have students participate, you should already be thinking about (or hopefully working on) repertoire. The newest corrected version of our repertoire list is on the website now, so triple check that the pieces you are choosing:
  • are on the approved DVMTA 2018-2019 repertoire list
  • are at the correct level for your student
  • are both from the same level
  • are from two contrasting musical periods (or contrasting styles for levels 1-3)
There were a few small corrections this fall, mostly of mislabeled musical periods or missing catalog numbers. After discussion and review, Cool Breeze by Mary K Sallee was moved back to level 3 (where it had been previously). If you see mistakes, please let Lorri McHardy know so they can be corrected. Thanks for your patience as we continue to improve.
If you have pieces that you think should no longer be on our list, feel free to let me know. Particularly in the lower-level music, some pieces have passed their fifteen minutes of fame and it might be worth considering some revision. We would love to have more baroque, classical, and romantic music to consider as well, not just new compositions. 
I use this repertoire list not just for Awards in Excellence, but in regular teaching. The pieces all have pedagogical value and I know they will be worth my student’s time. This is an invaluable resource for all registered DVMTA teachers; make the most of it!

If you have students that may be eligible for the Devoted Performer or Senior Scholar awards next spring, remember a letter of intent was due by December 1.

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 Carolyn Eldredge.

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