Monthly Email from
Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
View this email
in your browser

October 17
Music Marathon!

October 30
General Meeting
Cavalcade Music Read-Through

9:30am My First Piano
Zoom Meeting ID:
     966 655 6826
Passcode: knox111

Cavalcade registration begins

Composition Festival registration closes

Click here to Join DVMTA
Click here to renew membership
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! 

Do you know someone who would be a fabulous member of the DVMTA community?
Use the links below to share this newsletter via Facebook, twitter or email.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward

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
Official DVMTA Website
Facebook - connect with other DVMTA teachers
Facebook - connect with other DVMTA teachers
Pinterest - a great resource for ideas
Pinterest - a great resource for ideas
Instagram - photos of DVMTA events
Instagram - photos of DVMTA events

Hello DVMTA Friends! It’s been wonderful to connect with so many of you at our last two General Meetings, and with Music Marathon right around the corner, we’re about to start our adventurous DVMTA Events season!  I have been so impressed with our DVMTA leadership and their willingness to rethink how we can provide opportunities for our students even in the midst of so much uncertainty. These events motivate students and give a purpose to all the practicing, and parents are thrilled to celebrate their children’s accomplishments and see the payoff for all their effort. 

We look forward to seeing you for the Cavalcade Music Read-Through at the next General Meeting, Oct. 30th, 9:30 a.m. at My First Piano in Mesa, or virtually via Zoom. The login is the same for every meeting –

Meeting ID: 966 655 6826

Passcode: knox111

Lori Weidemann
DVMTA President 

Music Marathon

It’s time for Music Marathon and what a strange year it’s going to be. The first decision we made in view of Covid-19 was to eliminate all retirement communities as possible venues. It didn’t seem appropriate to introduce that level of risk to such vulnerable populations. 

That left us with Superstition Springs Mall and Toni Tetreau offered her church, Southeast Valley Bible Church as an alternative. We also will allow teachers to upload videos of their students as a “virtual” option.

That being said, I am surprised at how many students and teachers are opting for the live, public, recital experience. Superstition Springs will be in use all day. Kudos to Lori Kaye Faler for assembling the schedule. This tells me that in spite of everything, people still feel live performing to be an important part of music education.

The live portion of Music Marathon will take place on Saturday, October 17th. The schedule has been distributed for Superstition Springs and Southeast Valley Bible Church. Virtual performances may be uploaded at any time.

During the live recitals, safety protocols will be in place. All attendees will be expected to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. Performers will be expected to sit in an “on deck” area and use hand sanitizer before they perform. Students will also be required to wear face coverings while they perform (sorry but it’s the only way to keep the piano safe). The chairs will also be sanitized periodically.

This has been a challenge for all involved but I trust that we will still have a safe and valuable experience.

Charles Newton 
Music Marathon Chairman

Original Composition Festival

Last month we discussed teaching our beginning students the ABA form in composition.  More specifically we covered how to set up Part A with a question and answer phrase. This month we will give you some ideas on what to do with Section B.

Section B needs to be different from Section A.  It needs to show contrast. Some of the ways to show contrast is to change from major to minor, play an octave higher or lower, change the time signature, change the key you are playing in, switch the melody to the left hand, add the damper pedal, use staccato if you used legato previously, or add rests. Try changing the rhythm up or maybe use a motif/sequence section. If you previously had a fast section, follow it with a slow section. These are just a few of the things you could do when composing Section B. Next month we will explore more advanced ways to compose a contrasting section of music.

Original Compositions are due Friday, October 30. However, we are encouraging you to turn them in earlier if you are able  Please read carefully and follow all instructions related to this event. The recitals will be held November 14th at the Southeast Valley Bible Church in Gilbert.

Claire Westlake
Original Composition Chairman 


It’s time to get excited about CAVALCADE!! This year the theme is ROCK ON, with some really fun pop/rock music that everyone will love! Due to current conditions we are not able to have the traditional big concert, so instead we are doing it virtually. Think of the “virtual choirs” you’ve likely seen on YouTube, and imagine that concept but with dozens of kids playing their piano duets on the screen! Since the participants will be submitting a video to be included in the performance compilation, ANYBODY can participate! Teachers, do you have students who live in San Tan Valley, south Chandler, or far east Mesa? Or even, grandkids you teach via FaceTime across the country?  Literally anybody can be a part of Cavalcade 2021 thanks to technology! Please join us, either in person at My First Piano in Mesa or via Zoom, for our annual Cavalcade music read-through on October 30th at 9:30am. We’ll have the music pre-recorded to listen to along with video showing the sheet music so that everybody in person AND on Zoom can see it and hear it. Also I’ll take a few minutes to talk about exactly how this will work and to answer any questions! Registration is $10/student and will begin Oct. 30th, until the end of November. Thanks and see you October 30th!

Sara Pratt
Cavalcade Chairman

Awards in Excellence
As much as I had hoped we could still have in-person auditions for Awards in Excellence, it looks like we may have to go virtual. Our usual location is no longer an option, and many other groups’ spring 2021 competitions have already announced that they will be virtual only. That doesn’t change the preparation that should be going on now. Teachers still need to attend our general meetings, either in person or via Zoom. Also, remember that you need to register twice as many students in Marathon and/or Cavalcade as you plan to enter in the competition. Music must be chosen from the 2020-2021 DVMTA Repertoire List, available on our website. There are time limits for each level, so choose repertoire that will fit within those limits. Specifics are in the packet on our website. 

Stay tuned for more information about adapting to virtual competition. I don’t know yet what will happen with the winners’ recitals. I so enjoy seeing and hearing those beautifully prepared students, so if there is any way to have safe in-person recitals, I will be working towards that. If you have any questions, please contact me. 

Lorri McHardy
Awards in Excellence Chairman
Achievement Day

Let's talk about scales, chords, arpeggios!

These are the building blocks of every piece your student will play. Playing a piece in C Major? Warm-up with a C Major pentascale, or a C scale (depending on level). 

Some students just need to learn the rote chords/patterns. Some are ready for an explanation of inversions, where the roots of the chords are found, and how to use these to create their own piece (consider the Composition Festival- great experience!).

The longer I teach, the more I realize the value of scales, chords and arpeggios. When my Jr. High or High school student breezes through a piece we're learning, because he/she has these skills down, I have been known to say (with a wink), "Now you can turn to your dear teacher and say, 'Thank you for making me learn my scales!' "

I have some charts I use to guide me on teaching Levels 1-6. I am happy to share those with you, just email me and let me know you would like the pdf files. Since every student has different books, I find it helpful to have a uniform guide.

See you soon!

Toni Tetreau

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. 

This 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

Wendi Heslop
Awards Plus Chairman



17 Event: Music Marathon, various locations

30 Registration: Cavalcade registration begins

30 Deadline: Original Composition Festival registration closes

30 General Meeting/Cavalcade Music Read-Through 9:30am, My First Piano in Mesa



14 Event: Original Composition Festival, Southeast Valley Bible Church 710 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert AZ 85295

20 Deadline: Cavalcade registration closes

20 General Meeting 9:30am, location TBA



1 Awards Plus Letters of Intent due

4 December Brunch 9:30 am, location TBA



29 General Meeting 9:30am, My First Piano 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa

29 Awards in Excellence applications accepted 



8 Cavalcade rehearsals begin

26 General Meeting 9:30am, My First Piano 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa

26 Deadline: Awards in Excellence applications final day of acceptance

27 Event: Cavalcade performance


26 General Meeting 9:30am, My First Piano 1818 E Southern Ave, Mesa

26 Deadline: Awards Plus applications due



10 Awards in Excellence Auditions AZ Piano 4134 E Wood St, Phoenix

24 Awards in Excellence Winners Recital AZ Piano 4134 E Wood St, Phoenix

30 April Brunch 9:30am, location TBA


15 Event: Achievement Day 7:00am-12:00pm, Mesa Community College
17 Awards Plus awards presented 7:00pm, location TBA

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Desert Valley Music Teachers Association · 123 N Centennial Way #105 · Mesa, AZ 85201 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp