February 2016

DVMTA General Meeting

Friday, February 26th, 9:30 a.m. at My First Piano

DVMTA Teachers Toni Tetreau, Carolyn Rooder, and Hollie Lunt will each present "Teacher's Top Ten:  Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Successful Studios"

We love to hear from our very own DVMTA teachers, and are excited to have them share things that work for them in their studios.  Thank you to these lovely ladies! 


This time of year is so exciting!  

I can't wait for the Cavalcade of Rhythm!!!  It is always such an awesome show.  It boggles my mind how the entire 400+ performers, volunteers, conductors, video-photographers, school staff, etc. just seems to flow together like it was no trouble at all.  (Haha, right).  

I can't wait for the Awards in Excellence recitals!!!  Please do not be afraid to try Awards in Excellence.  I was afraid, but when I found the right student for the job, I was changed forever as a teacher.  From then on I realized what is possible.  Awards in Excellence helped me become more knowledgeable with a wider variety music.  That is when I blossomed as a teacher.  When I became more aware of the rest of the music out there, I became a much better matchmaker between each student and the perfect music for each student to study.  This makes all of the difference.  As a teen, I once quit taking lessons from a teacher who insisted that I learn a piece that I did not enjoy.  This is big.  You can help make your students enjoy their music even more.

PLEASE ATTEND both events!!!  You won't be disappointed, you won't look at your watch, you will be sad when it ends and you will look forward to the next one!! . . . .     Hint to teachers:  If you have a student who you think would enjoy going but never has attended yet, offer to take them with you.  Your student will be inspired and make a bigger effort to participate next year!

See you all very soon at February's general meeting!

Beth VanDewereker,

DVMTA President

Cavalcade of Rhythm

It’s almost time for Music With the Stars! If you’ve never participated in Cavalcade before and you do not have any students participating this year, we suggest you attend one of the shows and see what fun it is.

We will be playing at Mesa High School (1630 East Southern Avenue in Mesa) on Saturday, February 27 at 5:15 and 7:00 p.m. Thanks to all who have been helping with our rehearsals. In general things have been going pretty smoothly. Thanks for your flexibility and willingness to help. 

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. Make sure they and their parents know which performance they will be in. Groups A, C, E and G will be in the 5:15 show and groups B, D, F and H will perform at 7:00. Students in groups I-N 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, our volunteers who have been and will be helping, and to My First Piano for all their help. Thanks also to all teachers and students for helping make this Cavalcade performance a success.

Awards in Excellence

Awards in Excellence piano competition is right around the corner! Auditions will be held on April 16 at AZ Piano Co. Winners Recitals are April 23. Registration forms are due Feb. 26. Fill out your Teacher Qualification Form now to be sure you qualify. Check that the two pieces selected for each student are from the same level. The current Repertoire Lists are on the website. We’re excited to hear the pieces your students have been preparing!

Achievement Day
Registration for Achievement Day will be due at our March general meeting (which will be held on April 1 this year). I know we’re in the thick of Cavalcade and Awards in Excellence preparation, but be thinking ahead and encouraging students to participate in Achievement Day. It’s a great way to see how much they have learned over the past year, and as a teacher it’s a great way for me to make sure I have taught them all they need to know at a specific level.
All students prepare pieces and technique, take a theory test and complete at least one other option. Those doing the expanded requirements for a trophy must also do the sight-reading requirement in addition to the extra option. Optional categories include Ear training, Duets, Original Composition, Composers, or Written Report.

Description: may not be ones that the student played in Cavalcade. They may be from the Cavalcade list in any year, or from your own personal favorites. They may also be a teacher-student duet like the kind found in early method books. Two teachers work in the Duet room, one sight-reading the other half of the duet while the other evaluates the student. If students have prepared a duet together, each teacher will evaluate one student while they play. Evaluators will be looking for the following: Notation accuracy, Rhythm, Legato/Staccato, Dynamics/Contrast, Phrasing, Tempo, and Balance between parts. Duets do not need to be memorized. Work with students to keep a steady tempo as they play. I find this is a relatively easy option to choose.


The Original Composition option is also evaluated in the Duet room. These cannot be compositions the student turned in for the fall Original Composition festival. Students are expected to bring a written copy of their composition, whether handwritten or computer generated. They will perform their composition while one teacher evaluates. The composition does not need to be memorized. Evaluators will look for the following: Originality, Suitable Title, Level of Difficulty, Length, Dynamic contrasts, Form, Rhythm, Manuscript Quality, and Performance. As with any evaluation, not all possible comments will apply to every student. Some students love to compose and this is fun for them; others will find this a more difficult option. It’s up to you as a teacher to find the right fit for your students.

Composers and Written Reports are evaluated in the same room. The expectations are clearly spelled out in the requirements packet. For the Composers, students recite memorized facts about a given number of composers depending on their level. They are expected to have a certain number from each time period and should pronounce their names correctly. I find this is an easy option for lower-level students, but my upper-level students would rather do a duet than memorize that many composers.

The Written Report expectations are in the packet. Students choose a time period and composer to focus on, giving more in-depth information in their report. No specific length is given and visual aids are encouraged. Students give a brief oral summary to the evaluating teacher. It can be hard to find time to work on music history during lessons, but some students might respond well to this option on their own. Home-schooled students could incorporate this into their coursework. Group lesson time could be used to understand a specific time period and students could choose their own composer to focus on within that time. The only limits are your imagination.
Next month I will discuss the ear training option. Whichever options you choose, I would recommend preparing one more than students actually need. For instance, I have all my students do the ear training test, plus they choose at least one other option that suits their level and personality. That way if they freeze during the ear training or can’t remember their composers, we still have another option to cover the requirement. There is no limit to how many options a student may choose.
Achievement Day may seem a little overwhelming if you have never done it before, but it can be a wonderful experience for both student and teacher. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lorri McHardy.
. If you have any questions, please contact Lorri McHardy at 480-399-0084 or

If you have students working towards the Devoted Performer or Senior Scholar Award and plan to complete their final qualifying events this Spring,  please send your letter of intent to Tamara Pew 22297 E. Escalante Rd., Queen Creek, AZ 85142 or on or before December 1, 2015.  We realize that some students may not end up qualifying this year, but this gives us a heads up on our numbers and helps us plan accordingly.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call Tamara Pew at 602-809-0597.

DVMTA Library

The DVMTA Library offers a variety of items that can be checked out to help educate both our teachers and students. We are even fortunate today to have many of these resources available online at our fingertips.  The library has been set up at our meetings each month making it available to check items out while there.  When you check out an item at our meetings, you just need to sign your name and date on the page and then sign and date the same page when you return it.  We like to have the items back by the next month if possible.  

On our new DVMTA website we have planned a section for the Library contents.  We think this can help members choose materials to check out and eventually the librarian won't need to bring everything to every meeting. That suitcase gets pretty heavy to haul around.

Here are some of the highlighed contents of our Library:

Books:  Piano music to play,  Great Composers, Pedagogy, Self Helps, How to teach, How to learn from students, How to teach new pieces/Preparing for performance.

Magazines:  Music Teacher, Keyboard Classics ( many wonderful motivational and learning articles).

DVD's:  Recordings of General meetings including Rotman, Bober, Schmidt, Cavalcade Performances, Competitions, Teaching Coaching, Piano music.

Games:  Music Game Books, Already made Rhythm Games, Board games, Varieties of Flashcards.

Technology Addition Binder:  Info on setting up technology in your studio (reference only).

Cassette Tapes (need to be transferred to CDs) Full of info on teaching technics and tips.

We hope this will make the Library easier to access.  We'll keep you updated on its availability.


January 29th - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
My First Piano

February 8
Cavalcade Rehearsals Begin

February 26th - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
My First Piano
Awards in Excellence Reg Due

February 27
Cavalcade of Rhythm
Mesa High School

April 1st - 9:30 a.m.
March General Meeting
My First Piano
Achievement Day Reg. Due

April 16 - 9 a.m. - 2p.m.
Awards in Excellence Auditions

April 23 1:30 & 3:00 p.m.
Awards in Excellence Recitals

April 29
April Brunch
LDS Church

May 14th
Achievement Day

May 16 - 
Awards Plus 
Click here to Join DVMTA
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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 Nicci Lovell.

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