February 2022 Newsletter

I love teaching! Some days I’m really aware of how much I love teaching and why, but there are some rough days when I wonder, “Why do I do this?” Here’s my list, but it’s certainly not exhaustive. You may want to write down your reasons someday!

I love sharing my passion for music, introducing young minds to new possibilities, beauty, creativity, enjoyment, and a sense of accomplishment. I love learning something new each day, adapting and adjusting to each student, getting to be creative by trying a new teaching technique, or finding a piece I’ve never taught before. I also love instilling discipline of practice, diligence to work at a piece methodically and the perseverance to keep at it until it’s right, and the stretching process that happens when I push my students beyond what they think they are capable of. I love when they experience a huge sense of accomplishment, or develop more self-confidence. It takes effort, lots of it, but I love the challenge to inspire and encourage them, to keep it fun and fresh, and to give them the experiences and tools they will need to be lifelong lovers of music.

An unknown author put it this way, “This is why I teach music… not because I expect you to major in music, not because I expect you to play or sing all your life, not so you can relax, not so you can have fun,… but so you will be human, so you will recognize beauty, so you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world, so you will have something to cling to, so you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good, in short, more life.”

Lori Weidemann
DVMTA President 2020-2022

Upcoming General Meeting

We hope everyone will join us for our General Meeting on Friday, February 25th at 9:30 am. Our guest presenter will be Natalie Burton, who is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at ASU. The title of her presentation is How our Brains Memorize Music: Learning Strategies to Improve Memory. She will explore how our brains memorize, and then use that information to help us and our students be more efficient in how we learn music. This is perfect as our students prepare for year-end events and recitals.

Following her presentation, she will give a Masterclass with 1 or 2 DVMTA students. We look forward to seeing everyone there and learning together from an accomplished presenter.

The meeting will also be available on Google Meet for those who can’t attend in-person. A link will be sent in an email the week before.

Original Composition

When can you teach composition?

Group lessons
Summer/Christmas camps
Computer labs
Forgotten books
Facetime lessons (illness)

Another great time to teach composition is when there is an upcoming holiday like Valentine's Day, St.Patrick's Day, Easter or Spring. Good luck!

Claire Westlake, Chair


Cavalcade rehearsals are here!! Everybody's ready for a great "Music at the Movies" show this year. We'll have two shows on February 26th at Mesquite High School, at 5:15pm and 7:00pm. Tickets will be $7 in advance and $8 at the door. We'll be selling tickets at the second and third weeks of rehearsals at The Music Store AND at the Saturday morning dress rehearsal at Mesquite on the 26th. THANK YOU so much to all the teachers who have helped make this event possible! We can't wait! Any questions please let me know

Sara Pratt, Chair

Awards in Excellence

Registration for Awards in Excellence auditions is THIS month, due February 25. All forms and information is on our website; please read all the qualifications for student AND teacher carefully. All teacher attendance and service hours will be double-checked, as will the selected repertoire. Please make sure your repertoire selections are at the same level and on the current 2021-2022 approved list found on our website. If you need any service hours, there may still be time to help with Cavalcade.

Applications for the Janeen Noble Outstanding Music Student Award are due at the same time. This award is given to a student who adequately demonstrates the same excellent musicianship and community service that Janeen Noble represented. Qualifications and applications are on our website

You’ll notice that this year’s forms do not publish a specific cash award for the winners at each level. As a DVMTA board, we must be careful with our Student Awards fund. For those who may not understand the background, Marathon and Cavalcade have been our money-makers over the years. With Cavalcade expenses rising, we are now basically dependent on Marathon for funding our Student Awards. The Awards Plus recipients and the Awards in Excellence winners will have to share what comes in. But even if the cash prizes turn out to be a little smaller, students participating in Awards in Excellence still reap great benefits:

· The written evaluation from a professional judge, providing valuable feedback
· The opportunity to study every aspect of high-quality repertoire
· The motivation to practice effectively and well
· The experience of performing before a judge, building self-assurance

Can it be a stressful experience to compete? Absolutely. Not every piano student wants to take on the challenge. But for those who do, win or lose, they gain incomparable knowledge and experience.

The auditions will be held on Saturday, April 9 at Hammer and Strings Conservatory in Gilbert, with the winner’s recitals there on Saturday, April 23. I highly recommend attending one of the winner’s recitals, whether you participate in Awards in Excellence or not. You will be amazed at the high caliber of playing, from our youngest to our most accomplished students. Seeing the possibilities will challenge you as a teacher to be your very best, and that’s a benefit for all.

Lorri McHardy, Chair

Achievement Day

Ear-training is an option you can choose for your student for Achievement Day (either that, or sight-reading). Here are some tips for different levels:

1. For levels Primer-Level 4 or so, give the student an ear training "test" about once a month. It only takes a few minutes. Play different intervals, notes, skips, steps, or other requirements from the A Day requirements pages. I usually do 5-7 "questions" and applaud them on their success. If they get it wrong, I simply say something like "No, not quite, but listen to this one...." and they usually get it the second time around.

2. For older students, focus on scales, more detailed intervals (such as Perfect 4th or Augmented or Diminished 4th), and rhythm patterns. Be sure to check the requirements for each level.

3. For older students, I've found the app "Tenuto" very helpful! It has many different options for ear-training, building scales, key signatures, etc. Just all around, a SUPERB resource for my Level 4 and up students. I use it about twice per month with those students.

Best wishes as you continue to prepare. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Because of many different factors, we aren't sure if A Day will be in-person or virtual this year. Be sure to prepare your students for either scenario and we'll let you know just as soon as we can!

Toni Tetreau, chair

Awards Plus

Next month is the application deadline for Awards Plus. All Devoted Performer and Senior Scholarship Award applications need to be turned in to Wendi Heslop by March 25th, the same day that Achievement Day registrations are due. Forms are available on our website. All participation will be carefully checked against our records to ensure accuracy.

The Senior Scholarship application also requires a list of all DVMTA events participated in over the years. Students receive 2 points for each event and need a minimum of 24 points to even be considered. Students may also show additional musical commitments such as orchestra, band or choir. Students will need to write a letter to the Awards Plus committee asking for their consideration in being selected and giving reasons why. Letters of recommendation from other teachers or music directors may be included with the application. Do not wait until late March to begin this application!

Wendi Heslop, Chair 480-241-4591


25 General Meeting, 9:30 am, My First Piano Hannah Creviston - Clinical Associate Professor of Piano Pedagogy, ASU
25 Awards in Excellence registration due
26 Cavalcade of Rhythm performances

25 General Meeting, 9:30 a.m., My First Piano “Teacher to Teacher” - Buffie Meeker
25 Achievement Day registration due

9 Awards in Excellence auditions, 9:00 AM – 2:00 p.m. at Hammer & Strings
23 Awards in Excellence Recitals, at Hammer & Strings Conservatory in Gilbert
29 April Brunch, 9:30 a.m. at Nancy Chase’s home (NEW DATE!)

14 Achievement Day, 7 a.m. – 12 noon, Mesa Community College
16 Awards Plus Presentations, 7 p.m. Southeast Valley Bible Church

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