Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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August 18 - 9:30 a.m.
Kick-off Brunch
(LDS Church 1483 N. Driftwood, Gilbert)

October 28
Music Marathon
(locations posted on the website)

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) 
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! 

Do you know someone who would be a fabulous member of the DVMTA community? Invite them to attend our August Brunch!
Use the links below to share this newsletter via Facebook, twitter or email.

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

August 2017

Hello wonderful DVMTA members and friends! Welcome to a new DVMTA year. I hope your summer has been wonderfully relaxing and refreshing. August finds us back to school, back to schedules, and back to our DVMTA meetings and events, and we look forward to a wonderful year.

The DVMTA theme this year is “The Adventure Begins”. I spent some time over the summer introducing my students to a few new fun tools, including the Blues Scale, 12 Bar Blues, Improvising and Composing. Several of my students were amazed to think that they could create this music on their own and I realized it had opened up such wonderful new opportunities and adventures for them. They were so enthused and excited! Our students’ adventures begin as they learn new skills and concepts, apply them, and then “fly away” on their own, confidently creating something spectacular. As teachers, our adventures begin with commitment and consideration, preparation and planning, to discover the motivation and methods each student will need to spread their wings. Along the way I hope we can all experience the adventure of fulfillment, excitement and success as we teach, guide, mentor and love each individual student, supporting them every step of their journeys!

You are invited to come begin this adventure on Friday, August 18th for our August Brunch where the DVMTA Board and committees will present our fabulous lineup of events for 2017-18. Please join us at 9:30 a.m. at LDS Church, 1483 N. Driftwood, Gilbert, AZ.

-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

Welcome to a new piano year!  Your 2017-2018 DVMTA membership goes from August 1st  through July 31st  and membership renewal is ongoing.   Thank you to everyone who has already registered for this new year.  If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to take a few minutes to complete this process.  Keep in mind that the annual price for membership fee is now $50 and the fee for new members is $45.  After August 31st, certain documents on the website will only be able to be accessed by current members so we encourage you to register before then.  Please fill out the registration form completely so we can get to know you better and receive your valued suggestions and input regarding General Meetings. 
Welcome to our new members Becca Fish and Jennifer D’Ambrosio!  We are excited to get to know you both better.  Don’t miss their spotlights at the August Brunch.  Remember, you can go to the website under Members and Membership List to print out a current list of active DVMTA members and their phone, email, and address.  Being a member of DVMTA allows us to make valuable friendships and associations.  We have so much to learn from each other! 
Registration information:
Registration involves filling out the new registration form and making your payment.  You may register online at or you can download the form from the website, print it out, and mail it with a check. Look in the "Docs" Folder under the "Event" tab. You may also pay the fee using the DVMTA Paypal Account:  The printed form allows you to make an optional donation to the Janeen Noble Scholarship Fund. 
As a DVMTA member, you have the opportunity to participate in the Online Referral System which provides interested students and parents with your email, preferred phone number, and a personal biography about yourself and your studio.  If you register online, you will be able to submit your information automatically.  If you fill out a paper form, remember to email your information to Tammy Shorts at  You may also email an updated biography at any time. 
When you fill out the registration form, you will be able to choose two committees to serve on.  (These would be additional committees besides Cavalcade and Achievement Day which are required if your student participates)  This is a wonderful way to be involved, to get to know fellow DVMTA members, and to provide assistance to our busy committee chairpersons.  We have added Social Media and Technology committees.  We would also like to provide new members with a mentor if they would like one.  A mentor would be a resource that a new member could utilize for information about DVMTA events and activities.  The mentor could also guide the new member to the appropriate person to answer their question.  We want our new members to feel welcome and not overwhelmed.  Members in our Hospitality and Membership committees could serve as mentors so consider serving on these committees.

Music Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, October 28. It is an early in the year performance opportunity for your students and a fundraiser for our organization. Last year, 44 teachers participated with a total of 579 students! I am using Music Marathon as my fall recital this year and encourage you to consider it as well. 
We have 5 locations this year and are excited for our students to be able to share their talents with members of our community! Families are welcome to attend their students’ performances at any of the venues. 
Towerpoint Resort (Mesa), Brookdale - Park Regency (Chandler) and Generations of Agritopia (Gilbert) are active living/retirement-type communities, where residents will be attending 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 or the Superstition Springs Mall.  
Hope to have you join us for this fun, community event!

Sizzling Hot Tunes
Start now! Have your students
create/improvise and write down
their ideas on staff paper
or notate on the computer
for the
DVMTA  Original Composition Festival
Saturday and Sunday Nov. 18th-19th
My First Piano in Mesa
The submission deadline for compositions and manuscripts is Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

Mark your calendars now for the annual Cavalcade of Rhythm!  It will be Saturday, February 24th, 2018 at Mesquite High School in Gilbert.  This is DVMTA’s ensemble event featuring 20 pianos, 14 directors, and hundreds of pianists!  Audiences both young and old will be thrilled and inspired as they join us for “Sounds of the Circus.”  Registration begins Friday, October 27th at the DVMTA general meeting and closes on November 17th.  With all the talent that will be on stage, you’re sure to be entertained!


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.
Come to August Brunch to hear more about it! Yippee!!

If you’ve never entered students in Achievement Day, this would be a great year to give it a try!  Achievement Day is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 12, 2018.   This event is a great way to have all of your students recognized for their hard work no matter the level at which they are performing.   Students have the opportunity to show their skills in many areas including performance, technique, sight-reading, and ear training in order to earn a certificate, a ribbon and an optional trophy.   

Achievement Day is also a magnificent opportunity to hold us, as teachers, accountable for making sure that students are doing much more than just learning to pound out song after song week after week!   Because of this, preparation for Achievement Day should be a yearlong endeavor!  Scales, ear-training, sight-reading and theory should all be an integral part of the weekly lesson.  Check out the list of requirements on our website now and plan a course of study for each of your students according to their current level of study.  The website contains several resources in the member documents section to help you in your preparation such as technique examples and theory practice tests. These items allow you to see exactly what is expected of students at each level.  In addition, a new resource has been added this year - new sample planning sheets from Primer to Level 10!  These sheets can be placed in student assignment folders to help you keep track of each student’s skills in the weeks or months leading up to Achievement Day.  

If you have any questions about the event, contact Carolyn Rooder or 602-527-1721 and she will help you.

Awards Plus is DVMTA’s recognition for students who participate in many DVMTA events.  Two awards are given: Senior Scholarships and Devoted Performers. A letter of intent to apply for either award is due by December 1, 2017 to Lorri McHardy and complete applications will be due by March 23, 2018.Related image

The Senior Scholarship is a cash award of up to $250 given to high school seniors who have excelled in piano and have participated in numerous DVMTA events over the years. They are expected to have been studying for at least eight years and show a history of DVMTA participation comparable to a Devoted Performer. They also must show additional music commitment by participating in band, orchestra, choir or other public performances.

The Devoted Performer award is a cash award of $100 given to a student who plays in at least 4 of the 5 DVMTA events for 3 out of 5 consecutive years. Any age student is eligible to receive this award as long as they have been participating in DVMTA events for at least 3 years. Students may win this award more than once, but no years may overlap.

Both of these awards require a teacher to keep careful records of each student’s participation in DVMTA events. A yearly tracking form is available on the website. Personally I find using a spreadsheet to be more convenient. I can see years at a glance and easily count how many events a student has played in during that time.  Other teachers track each student with their own form. Whatever system works for you is the best, but some sort of record-keeping is necessary for all DVMTA teachers. Even if you’re not planning to put any students in this event, you may change your mind five years from now, so please keep track of your students’ participation in DVMTA events.

If you have any questions about Awards Plus, please contact Lorri McHardy at or 480-399-0084.


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