Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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September 30 - 9:30 a.m.

General Meeting 
(My First Piano)
Marathon and Composition registration due

October 22
Music Marathon

October 28 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting - Cavalcade music run through
(My First Piano)
Cavalcade registration opens

November 18 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)
Cavalcade registration due

November 19-20
Original Composition Festival

December 1
Awards Plus letters of intent due

December 2
December luncheon

January 27 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)

February 6
Cavalcade Rehearsals begin

February 24 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)

February 25
Cavalcade of Rhythm
(Mesquite High School)

March 31 - 9:30 a.m.
General Meeting
(My First Piano)
Achievement Day registration due

April 15 
Awards in Excellence Auditions

April 22 
Awards in Excellence Recitals

April 28
April Brunch

May 13
Achievement Day

May 15 
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 $35! Renewing teachers pay a $5 late fee after July 31. 

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.

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

September 2016

DVMTA General Meeting
Friday September 30th, 9:30 a.m. at My First Piano
Richard and Kelly Lowry of K&R Tax Accounting will present to us “Studio Finance and Tax Preparation”. Richard and Kelly are a husband and wife team that have joined forces to create K&R Tax Accounting. They have helped thousands of people understand what is required of small business owners in tax preparation and filing. And now it’s our turn to learn…
Join us September 30th to learn from these sucessful professionals as they address un on a topic that has been greatly requested by our membership. 
Thank you to all who attended the August Brunch, it was wonderful to see you again!  We met a few new members, and got a few “Mo-Mints” to catch up with our good DVMTA friends.  A special thank you to Karen Udall and Linda Carpenter, and their committee for the wonderful atmosphere and great food!  Thank you also to those who helped present our events for the year, with entertaining information, and invitations to participate and maybe try something new!

Even though the weather may not agree, Fall is almost upon us, and with it comes our exciting Fall DVMTA Events: Music Marathon and Original Composition.  Music Marathon is a fun opportunity for students to play in a different venue.  Students enjoy it because there aren’t any judges, and they get to pick out their favorite pieces to play in front of a very encouraging and friendly audience.  This is a wonderful event for new teachers to participate in and students love it.  Original Composition Festival gives students an opportunity to compose their own song, record it, and submit a manuscript of their own creation.  This gives students such a sense of accomplishment, because many don’t think they have what it takes to compose an original song.  I’m really glad this is one of our annual events. 

I wanted to share a great bit of advice written in a past Newsletter Article, by then-President, Linda Carpenter. “I found a great poster that I put up sometime during the year.  I think it is a good mission statement for teachers.  ‘Your teacher’s goal is simple.  To help you reach Yours’.”  Isn’t this true? Setting goals provides opportunities for direction, focus, motivation and success.  I hope we find a few moments to talk to our students to find out what their goals are each year.  This is a great time to set up good practice habits, and a system of accountability that will help as they learn and participate and grow.  Have a great month!

-Shannon Payne, DVMTA President

Website Update:
Online registration for Music Marathon will be set up before Sept. 30th.  Please check the website for updates.  Online registration for Original Composition will not be available this year, and will need to be submitted by Sept. 30th General Meeting.
We want to make sure all current members are able to log in to the website.  If you have not yet accessed your password for, or have forgotten your password, please go to the website to do so.  There is an option in Log-In to “Reset Password” that will help you do this.  If you have any problems please click on the link for “Website Help” at the bottom of the website. 

Storage Facilities:
DVMTA currently rents space at a Storage Facility to store much of our event “stuff”.  Due to cost increases we are looking for other options.  We are willing to pay a small stipend to an individual who could offer space (air conditioned) for DVMTA to store our belongings.  Please contact Shannon Payne for more details.

Get a running start by performing at the first DVMTA event of the year, Music Marathon!  This annual event is scheduled for October 22nd, 2016.  It is a great early performance opportunity for your students and a valuable fund raising event for DVMTA.  You can even choose your own theme for your studio's recital!  If you have a small studio, please consider joining another DVMTA teacher so students will be able to perform for a larger audience. 
 Registrations fees are $7/performer
 Our locations :
 My First Piano (Mesa)
 AZ Piano (Phoenix)
 The Citadel Retirement Community (East Mesa)
 Brookdale, formerly Park Regency (Chandler)
 Superstition Springs Mall (East Mesa)
The registration deadline is 12:00 noon on Friday, September 30, 2016 (General Meeting date).  You may drop it off at the general meeting or mail to:
 Meredith Ferrin
 5454 E. Carmel Ave
 Mesa, AZ 85206
 You can download the information/registration materials at  If you have any questions, please refer to the information listed on the DVMTA website or call Tamara Pew or Meredith Ferrin.

Kick It Into High Gear!
and have your students get their compositions completed
Due September 30, 2016
DVMTA  Original Composition Festival
Saturday and Sunday Nov. 19th-20th
AZ Piano Co. in Phoenix
Call Lori Weidemann at 480-756-2201

Don’t forget about our Cavalcade of Rhythm on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Mesquite High School in Gilbert. This is DVMTA’s ensemble event, featuring 20 pianos, 14 directors, and hundreds of pianists! Registration begins at the October 28 general meeting.  There will be talent and tricks, ensemble experience, and getting to know other students better.  We’ll need lots of volunteers to keep the magic happening!  Don’t miss out on this fun-filled, highly entertaining, and memorable show.  Check out the Cavalcade documents on for more info.

Achievement Day  -  May 13, 2017    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 Carolyn Rooder if you have any questions about Achievement Day.

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.

Copyright © 2016 Desert Valley Music Teachers Association, All rights reserved.

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