Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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August 16th
August Brunch

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
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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


I am happy to report that the Desert Valley Music Teachers’ Association is alive and well after a successful 2018-2019 season, and we are anxious to “Embrace the Future!” as we kick off another year of wonderful events for our music students!
This year’s theme, “Embrace the Future”, calls to mind my first trip to Epcot Center at Disney World a “mere” 30 years ago.  I was in awe of all of the amazing ideas and gadgets presented in one of the attractions – phones you could carry around in your pocket, phones with the ability to see the person you were talking to, self-driving cars, etc.  Now, we are actually living what were once just dreams of the future!  As I have aged, it hasn’t always been easy to adjust to the lightning fast technology that demands our participation these days.  However, attempting to “Embrace the Future” has actually been quite an exciting journey for me!  This old dog is learning some new tricks with positive results and having a good time doing it!
I thought “Embrace the Future” was an appropriate theme for DVMTA because a lot has changed since our organization was founded nearly forty years ago!  In the last few years, we have seen a glimpse of how these changes have affected our events and operating structure.  With an “Embrace the Future” attitude, our organization is empowered to meet the challenges of the times.  It gives us license to make changes when the old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore. 
An “Embrace the Future” attitude can do wonders for improving what you do in your studio as well!  Don’t fear trying new things!  Incorporate the use of a music app instead of flashcards during lessons, have your students explore the amazing array of composing experiences available on the computer or digitally record your students’ performances periodically and create a portfolio so that the students can hear how they have progressed throughout the year! Changes don’t have to be technological in nature, though, to make a difference for your students!  Choose a skill that you feel you have not focused enough attention on and find a way to address it more often in lessons or choose a DVMTA event to enter your students in that you haven’t tried before!  As you will see in the articles below, our events cover an exceptional variety of music opportunities – community outreach performance opportunities (Marathon), creativity (Original Composition Festival), fun and fellowship with fellow musicians (Organ Stop Pizza Night), ensemble playing (Cavalcade), competition (Awards in Excellence), celebration and recognition of progress and participation (Achievement Day and Awards Plus).  Our organization was created to give teachers the ability to offer these unique and important opportunities to students.  When students participate in these events, which would be nearly impossible for the average studio to pull off single-handedly, it takes their music studies to a whole new level!  So, go forward with an “Embrace the Future” attitude this year and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities DVMTA has to help your students be the best they can be and have fun while they are at it!

Carolyn Rooder


General Meetings:
An awesome benefit of being part of DVMTA is the opportunity to learn and grow as teachers and musicians by attending the workshops we offer throughout the year!  We have a wonderful line-up this year including the following topics:  the character-building aspects of performing with Dave and Josh Thye, incorporating technology and games into music lessons, teaching intermediate and advanced students, a master class with Dr. Barbara Spoelman-Russell and welcome to my music studio!  General meetings normally fall on the last Friday of the month and take place at 9:30 am at My First Piano Recital Hall in Mesa.  For more information check our website.  Don’t miss out on these sensational opportunities to expand your tool box!
Summer Music Challenge:
It is time to start wrapping up the Summer Music Challenge!  Teachers please finish listening to your students’ pieces, verify the number of pieces each student learned, have your students collect their pledges and have everything turned in along with your final report form by September 10th.  (Forms and pledges will be accepted at the August Brunch as well).  The final report form can be found on the website,, under General Documents.  Prizes for the top earner in each studio and each student who learned at least 5 pieces will be distributed at the September General Meeting on September 27th

You're Invited! The DVMTA August Brunch will be held Friday, August 16th at 9:30 am at 1483 N. Driftwood in Gilbert (LDS Church).We are excited to kick off our new theme of EMBRACE THE FUTURE! Come for a great morning of yummy food, information about DVMTA events, and rubbing shoulders with some of the best people around. :) In fact, we'd love you to invite a friend to come with you and see what we are all about. See you there! P.S. If you'd like to help bring food items, see the sign up here:   
Thanks!! Amy King

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 several location options, 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. 
Towerpoint Resort (Mesa), Brookdale - Park Regency (Chandler), Generations of 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 to Dana Rodgers (480)390-4007 on or before Friday, September 27th. Online registration is not available for this event.

Original Composition Festival

What? A Festival (recital) to showcase students who write their own music. Teachers are encouraged to assist students who need some ideas or help! If you've never entered this event before, start with just a few students who like to create/compose, then build from there. All of my students (Toni) are required to write one composition in the Fall, and several enter the Festival.

Why? To teach rhythm, musical structure, encourage creativity and to enjoy the pleasure of a unique accomplishment!

When? Nov. 16 & 17, 2019

Where? Southeast Valley Bible Church, 710 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert, 85295

Packets due: Oct. 25 (at the Oct. DVMTA general meeting)

Start now with your intermediate or advanced students, then focus on the younger ones (theirs don't take as much time!) In my studio, we generally focus on writing in Aug/Sep, then finish up/record the song in October, then submit it!

I would like to challenge every teacher to encourage at least one student in their studio to try this! It's an amazing feeling seeing your own piece of music on paper and getting to perform it!

Questions? Toni Tetreau, chair 602-614-2374  (Feel free to call or text).  Co-chairs, Debbie Englesman and Jessica Heidt


Our 30th annual Cavalcade of Rhythm is scheduled for February 22, 2020 at Mesquite High School! This is a huge event featuring hundreds of pianists, multiple directors, and 15 pianos all together on one stage! Our theme this year is Dance Party, and dance music of all kinds will be in store for the performance!

Registration opens October 25 at the general meeting, where we will have a chance to sight read all the selected duets! Rehearsals will begin Feb. 3, 2020. If you haven’t participated in Cavalcade before, this is a fantastic ensemble experience that your students will not forget!

Awards in Excellence:
WHAT? This is DVMTA’s competition event, where students are evaluated by professional judges and can earn cash prizes. Each student plays two contrasting pieces from the approved DVMTA repertoire list and will receive helpful comments from our evaluators.
WHO? Anyone high school age or below may be entered IF they have studied with that DVMTA teacher for at least 6 months and IF they were not a winner in last year’s event. There are VERY specific qualifications that the teacher must meet as well, so read the packet thoroughly.
WHEN? Auditions will be Saturday, April 4 and the winners’ recitals on Saturday, April 11. Applications will be due by Friday, February 28 to Lorri McHardy.
WHERE? Both auditions and winners’ recitals will be held at AZ Piano Company, 4134 E Wood St, Suite 200, Phoenix.
WHY? The purpose of Awards in Excellence is to reward deserving students. To this end, a high ratio of winners at each level is chosen compared to other competitions.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW? Do not fear this event. You may be thinking, “My students aren’t the competition type” or “I don’t need the extra stress of preparing them” or any of a hundred other excuses. The truth is this will benefit your students AND you as a teacher. Yes, it may be nerve-wracking the first time, but reading the judges’ comments and in particular, attending one of the winners’ recitals will open your eyes to the potential within our students.
Come to the August Brunch to hear more and get excited about this wonderful event!

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 9, 2020 at the Mesa Community College Music building.   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 Buffie Meeker at or 480-274-5734 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, 2019 to Carolyn Eldredge and complete applications will be due by March 27, 2020.
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 Carolyn Eldredge at or 480-218-4587.


Many of us are greeting our students again this month as we begin a new year of teaching piano! Before things get too busy, remember to take just a few minutes and renew your DVMTA registration so you can enjoy all of the benefits of being a member, which includes informative meetings for you and great events for your students. Dues are $50 for renewing members and $45 for new members.

Remember to fill out a registration form and make your payment. You may fill out the form and pay directly from the website at Go to Members and then choose either New Member or Member Renewal. The form can also be printed from the website and mailed in with a check. Your feedback, ideas, and suggestions on the registration form help us improve our organization and have great General Meetings. 

We look forward to being together at the August Brunch and getting to know all of our new members!

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