Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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November 2
Music Marathon

November 16-17
Original Composition Festival
(Southeast Valley Bible Church)

February 22
Cavalcade of Rhythm
(Mesquite High School)

April 4
Awards in Excellence Auditions
(AZ Piano)

April 11 
Awards in Excellence Recitals
(AZ Piano)

April 27
April Brunch

May 9
Achievement Day

May 11 
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 $45 for new members and $50 for renewing members! 

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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


Seeing “Avengers – Endgame” this past weekend reminded me how prevalent the “superhero” franchise has been in our culture for many years now.  I guess the fanaticism comes from the fact that there is something romantic and awe-inspiring about beings who have special powers that enable them to make things right with the world.  Although some superheroes like Superman do not belong to the human race, many started out as just normal people who by some other-worldly fluke of nature became endowed with their special powers – think Captain America and Antman.  Are superheroes the only ones with superpowers though?  I think not!

While I was still teaching general music in the public schools, I received a T-shirt in lieu of flowers after a third-grade music performance.  It was one of my favorite “teacher” gifts ever!  The shirt said, “I am a Music Teacher.  What’s Your Superpower?”  I thought, “I have a superpower?  Of course, I have a superpower!”  Having to leave videos for substitute teachers was enough of a reminder to me that what I was doing was special and very, very few people could step in and do my job!
If you are reading this, you, too, have been endowed with superpowers!  You are a music teacher.  You can do something special that not many people are able to do!  You are giving your students a true gift when you sit down at the piano with them each week.  In addition, don’t forget that DVMTA is here to support you and intensify those superpowers by offering free professional growth opportunities for you at our general meetings and fun, inexpensive experiences for your students! (See articles below) As you continue to navigate through this year and encounter problems in your studio caused by all of the various things that are competing for your students’ time and attention, just remember how special and important you are and put those superpowers to work!  You are a music superhero!
                                                            Carolyn Rooder

A huge thank you to everyone who helped with the August Brunch! Thank you for bringing food, helping with set up and clean up, and just for being there. We had a lovely time getting ready to "Embrace the Future." The presentations were helpful, meeting new members was awesome, and rubbing shoulders with each other at the beginning of a new year was fun and motivating. Thanks again! Amy
By popular request, the acai bowl recipe is included:
Acai Bowls
 2 acai packets (find them in the freezer at Costco called "Sambazon Superfruit Packs")
1 1/2 C. apple juice
1 1/2 C. frozen strawberries
1 C. frozen blueberries
1/2 C. frozen raspberries
1 banana
Toppings: strawberries, blueberries, bananas, granola, honey, coconut, almonds
Blend together then pour in individual bowls. Makes 4-5 servings. Add toppings of choice. You may freeze the bowls and defrost and top when ready to eat.

Summer Music Challenge Wrap-up: 
A big thanks to all who had students participate in our Summer Music Challenge event!  It proved to be a very low-stress way to increase our awards fund!  All pledges should have been turned in to Toni Tetreau by now, and prizes are due to be distributed at the September general meeting on September 27th.  If you need prizes for your students, but are unable to attend the meeting, please contact Toni or send an email to and we will make arrangements to get your prizes to you!
September General Meeting:
One of the benefits of being a member of DVMTA is that your membership includes five professional growth opportunities which take place at our general meetings throughout the year.  Based on member survey results, topics of interest and speakers are chosen for the year.  The wealth of knowledge one can gain from attending these meetings is immeasurable – guaranteed fuel to boost that music superpower within you!!!
This month, we are fortunate to have been able to reschedule one of our sessions that had to be cancelled last spring.  Our long-anticipated father son team, Dave and Josh Thye, are at last coming to speak to us about “The Character-Building Aspects of Performing”!  Both men are respected conductors in the music community.  Most of us know how important performing is for giving musicians a purpose for learning and perfecting their music skills, but have you ever really thought about how performing builds character?  Come join us on Friday, September 27th at 9:30 am at the My First Piano Recital Hall, 1818 E. Southern Ave. in Mesa for a new look into this aspect of your teaching!
Music Marathon Registration Deadline:
The deadline for registering students for Music Marathon is Friday, September 27th.  Registrations can be turned in to Carolyn Rooder at the general meeting or mailed/dropped off to Dana Rodgers (see form for address).  See article below for more information about this awesome event!
Member Only File Access:
Just a reminder that certain files will be password protected for current members only.  If you are looking for event documents, the easiest way to do so is to log in on the Home Page, choose Member Documents in the My Accounts window and choose the event folder.  ALL documents for each event are located here.  No need to look in other places!

Social Media Forms:
Just a reminder to make sure each student has a current Social Media Form filled out for the year in case his/her picture is taken at a DVMTA event.  If students do not wish to have pictures published on the website, blog, facebook or other publications, it is your responsibility to make sure to check these places frequently and inform Shannon Payne or Claire Westlake if something needs to be removed.

Janeen Noble Contributions:
It’s not too late to contribute to the Janeen Noble Scholarship Fund!  Funds are currently needed to award our annual $200 scholarship in honor of this amazing lady who meant so much to our organization.  Look for a special donation jar at our general meetings!

Music Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, November 2nd. Start your studio off strong this year with the PERFECT first recital/performance opportunity! Not only does this event get students having measurable progress early on, it also funds our amazing piano competition (Awards in Excellence) held in the spring. Last year, 39 teachers and 550 students participated! With SIX locations this year, teachers can choose just the right venue to showcase their students and share music with our community. Families and friends are welcome to attend student performances at any of the venues. 

Westchester Senior Living (Tempe), Generations at Agritopia (Gilbert), and Legacy Retirement (Mesa) are active living/retirement-type communities, where residents can also attend the performances. They will come and go throughout the day and will be an appreciative audience. For those who would like a more traditional recital atmosphere, please consider AZ Piano. And for a fun and more casual experience, the Superstition Springs Mall is a great option. Join us for this incredible “marathon” recital!! 

ALL registration (and fees) are due on or before Friday, September 27th. Online registration is not available for this event.


September- Help your student create and notate their composition. Doing some short improvisation in class is helpful. is a very easy program to learn for notating (free!) Your younger students will likely need assistance notating!

October- Record the composition for the judge.

October 25- Compositions and Recordings due!

Nov. 16 or 17- Original Composition Festival Recitals

If every teacher enters at least 2 students in the festival, we'll have some amazing recitals to listen to. Let me know if you need some help getting started!

Toni, for the Composition Team


Be sure to come to the October General Meeting where we will have a chance to sight read all the fabulous duets for this year’s Cavalcade of Rhythm -- Dance Party! The meeting will be held at The Music Store at 2630 W Baseline Rd, Mesa. Registration will also begin on that date.

Further information and important documents are available on the DVMTA website.

🎵Important Cavalcade Dates🎶

October General Meeting, Teacher Read-through, and Registration Opens: October 25, 2019

Registration Closes: November 22, 2019

Rehearsals Begin: February 3, 2020

Performance Date: February 22, 2020

Remember that all participating teachers are required to volunteer. It takes many hands to make rehearsals and performances run smoothly. If you would like to direct a group, contact the Cavalcade Committee.

Being a DVMTA member grants many benefits. Along with the student events, the general meetings, and the camaraderie with fellow teachers, one huge benefit is access to the Awards in Excellence repertoire list. With so much music available today, it can be difficult to know what pieces are the best that we can offer our students. The repertoire list is an amazing resource, whether you’re new to teaching or have 30 years of experience. From level 1 to level 14, there are great pieces in many different styles and from different periods of keyboard music history. All music has been carefully selected as pedagogically correct and worthy of study. If you’re looking to purchase some new music, many books show up on the repertoire list repeatedly, so you know those would be a good investment.

Whether you participate in Awards in Excellence or not, I encourage you to check out the repertoire list. If you’re like me, you have a stable of favorite composers and favorite pieces you’ve taught before. Breaking out of that comfort zone can be difficult, but challenge yourself to try some new pieces with students. If you prefer Romantic and Contemporary music, try teaching a Baroque piece for a change. You may find they love a style you didn’t expect. If they love the relative predictability of a Classical sonatina, try a Contemporary piece with unexpected harmonies or time signatures. Many of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic pieces can be found for free at  or other websites. If you have suggestions for repertoire to be included on future updates to the list, contact Lorri McHardy.

Enjoy one of the great benefits of DVMTA membership—the Awards in Excellence repertoire list!

Achievement Day  -  May 9, 2020    Preparation Topic: Tackling Technique
Achievement Day may be more than nine months away, but the wise teacher knows that preparation should start now!  A mandatory component of the Achievement Day evaluation for students at all levels is Technique.  Even though few students are fans of practicing scales, it is important for us to spend some time on technique exercises at every lesson.   One way to help insure that students spend some time on technique at home is to ask the student to demonstrate a scale, arpeggio, chord progression, etc. at the very beginning of every lesson.  Students will come to expect this routine.   There are many ways to make learning and performing scales more interesting.  The following ideas were suggested by Lorri McHardy in a past newsletter and I thought I’d have them reprinted this month to help you stock up your teaching tool box!

  • Start at the top and go down first, then come back up
  • Play with hands two octaves apart
  • Play one hand forte, the other hand piano; switch
  • Play one hand staccato, the other hand legato; switch
  • Play in double staccatos, playing each note twice
  • Crescendo as you ascend, diminuendo as you descend
  • Play with eyes closed
  • Start low on piano, playing one octave in slow quarter notes, then go right into two octaves in eighth notes, then three octaves in triplets, then four octaves in sixteenth notes
  • Play two octaves ascending, then two octaves in contrary motion out and back, then two octaves descending (simplified Russian style)
  • Russian style: two octaves ascending, two octaves contrary motion, two octaves parallel motion, two octaves contrary motion, two octaves descending
  • Play however many octaves you desire but repeat the top octave four times before descending
  • Play several octaves at a fast tempo, but pause at each tonic
  • Play in a swing rhythm
  • Choose one note to omit from the scale in every octave—really taxes the brain!
  • Play with hands crossed

There are specific requirements for Technique performance at each level for Achievement Day.  These requirements can be found in the Achievement Day Requirements Packet at . Read the requirements carefully.  They specify the skills to teach, whether or not students may perform scales hands separately and suggested tempo markings for performance.
On the website, you will also find a folder of Technique examples for each level.  These examples provide a good visual interpretation of the individual requirements as an aid for teaching the skills.
In addition, you can view the Technique Evaluation form which is also available on the website.  Although students will potentially prepare many scales according to their level, please note that evaluators will select a smaller number of scales to be heard from the student’s scale list.  From Level Two on, students choose the keys they wish to include in their list.  There is no particular order for scale mastery.  In addition to the scales, students should be able to do all the exercises required in their chosen keys at their level.  Make sure your students understand the terminology for each exercise.  An evaluator may ask for the chord progressions in one key and the arpeggios in another key.  Students need to understand what they are being asked to perform.
Regular technique practice and performance will take a lot of stress off of the students on Achievement Day because doing scales and chords will come as easy to them as doing jumping jacks and leg lunges before a big race!  Contact Buffie Meeker if you have any questions about Achievement Day.

Awards Plus
Now that registration for DVMTA events is beginning, remember to track your students’ participation. Whether you keep a chart for the entire studio for the year, or individual lists in each student’s notebook, it’s essential to keep a record of event participation. The Devoted Performer award is given to any student who participates in 4 annual DVMTA events for three years. While you may not think you’ll ever do that many events, it’s still best to keep records. The Senior Scholar award is based on DVMTA participation as well, whether they have earned the Devoted Performer award or not.

There is simple form is available on our website, or you can make a spreadsheet or some other tracking method. The goal is to be consistent and thorough. Over the years you might begin to see trends in your studio. You may find ways to improve your teaching or to better motivate your students. Tracking participation across your studio will pay off in the long run.
If you have any questions, please email me at


Just a reminder to make sure that you are registered for the 2019-2020 year so your students are able to participate in the great events that are coming up. Certain documents can now only be accessed by current members. Registering is easy! It includes filling out the registration form and making your payment. You may fill out the form and pay directly from the website at, or the form can also be printed from the website and mailed in with a check. Dues are $50 for renewing members and $45 for new members. Your feedback, ideas, and suggestions on the registration form help us improve our organization and have great General Meetings.
We had a lot of fun getting to know three of our wonderful and talented new DVMTA teachers at the August Brunch. They are excited to meet other teachers and to get involved in DVMTA so make sure and introduce yourself when you see them. We can all learn so much from each other. Stay tuned for more new teacher spotlights at the September General Meeting!
New Member Spotlights:
Chanda Watterson - Chanda lives in Gilbert with her husband and daughter. She was a piano student of Janine Noble, has taught piano for three years, and currently has eighteen students. She loves interior design and architecture, and plays on a city volleyball league for fun.
Joelle Palmer - Joelle lives in Gilbert with her husband of two years. They are expecting their first child this December. She has been teaching piano since 2011, and got her start thanks to her mom, Holly, with whom she basically interned. She is a self-proclaimed workaholic, but loves to travel and be outdoors. She works full-time as a dental hygienist during the day, and teaches piano in the afternoon. She has ten students currently, and teaches from her home.
Denise Brown - Denise lives in Mesa with her husband and son. Her main instrument is her voice. She has a degree in music education from NAU, has been a choral director for high school choirs, community children's choirs, and taught private voice and piano lessons off and on since 2000, but has never had a full studio until now. Upon moving back into town, she noticed that there were no music teachers in her neighborhood, and really wanted to teach again and share all her knowledge and love of music with her community.

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Desert Valley Music Teachers Association · 123 N Centennial Way #105 · Mesa, AZ 85201 · USA

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