Monthly Email from Desert Valley Music Teachers Association
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Friday, September 25th

General Meeting
My First Piano
1818 E. Southern Ave.
Mesa, AZ 
Also via Zoom

(Zoom details forthcoming)

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! 

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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
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
We had a wonderful, first-time-ever Zoom General meeting in August! Thank you to everyone who participated. As you can see, there are many, MANY teachers involved making our organization thrive! I am so appreciative of each of you who are stepping up and providing leadership during these uncertain times. You are unsung heros!

Can I just state the obvious -- it’s been a tough year to make plans! The arrival of the pandemic and social distancing has necessitated that we rethink our strategy for DVMTA events. The ability to adapt is crucial. Cancelling Music Marathon altogether was not a desirable option. We chose to move forward by changing the event to include a virtual option. You can choose to showcase your students at Superstition Springs Mall or Southeast Valley Bible Church, OR record them and upload the video to a DVMTA Music Marathon Facebook page that friends and family can enjoy from home.  This is a win-win solution for our students and their families! It’s important that we come together and share our music now more than ever!
Lori Weidemann
DVMTA President 


Join us for our upcoming General Meeting where we will have the opportunity to hear from the energetic and inspiring Shelle Soelberg, founder of Let’s Play Music. Shelle is excited to share new LPM resources and tools available for teachers to use in their studios. 
Topic: Fun Ideas for your Studio
Games, off-the-bench activities, teaching tips & tools, downloads & shareables, freebies, and how to connect with LPM graduates
The meeting will be in-person at My First Piano Friday, 9/25/20 at 9:30 am. (1818 E. Southern Avenue, Mesa) Please wear a mask to keep everyone safe. We will also broadcast the meeting online for those who would like to attend virtually. We will send an email with a link for the meeting. See you there!
Music Marathon

Music Marathon is a go!
Sunday, Oct 17, 2020
Registration is due September 25
Check the website for details.

Charles Newton, 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 and 15th at the Southeast Valley Bible Church in Gilbert.

Claire Westlake
Original Composition Chairman 

ROCK ON!! is Cavalcade 2021's theme and it's going to be so much fun! The "concert" will be virtual and that means even your students who live far away will be able to participate. Start getting excited for our virtual read-through of our 2021 Cavalcade duet music at our general meeting in October, and ROCK ON with us! Registration opens Oct. 30th and is $10 per student.

Sara Pratt
Cavalcade Chairman

Awards in Excellence
Being a DVMTA member grants many benefits. Along with the student events, the general meetings, and the camaraderie with fellow teachers, one huge benefit is access to the Awards in Excellence repertoire list. With so much music available today, it can be difficult to know what pieces are the best that we can offer our students. The repertoire list is an amazing resource, whether you’re new to teaching or have 30 years of experience. From level 1 to level 14, there are great pieces in many different styles and from different periods of keyboard music history. All music has been carefully selected as pedagogically correct and worthy of study. If you’re looking to purchase some new music, many books show up on the repertoire list repeatedly, so you know those would be a good investment. I take those new books and write directly in the Table of Contents “L3” or “L6” beside any title that is on the official repertoire list. Aside from being able to see at a glance which pieces are on the list, it also helps me keep the levels straight in my mind when comparing them to other pieces not on the list. Over the years I’ve been teaching, most of my repertoire books now have these helpful notations from the official DVMTA list.

Enjoy one of the great benefits of DVMTA membership—the Awards in Excellence repertoire list! 
Achievement Day

Start now by preparing your students regularly in 4 different areas:

1. Scales, chords, arpeggios

2. Theory- take the sample test online to see what they know so far.

3. Sight-reading, ear-training- Be sure to do this often, so they feel prepared (I do sight-reading weekly and ear training about once a month).

4. Choose 2 pieces to start on now, and start memorizing as you go. The 3rd piece can be added later if the student chooses the expanded option.

If you aren't sure where your student will be by Spring, opt for a "safe" choice. For instance, if my student was between Levels 4-5, I would anticipate testing for Level 4. They may rise above and do Level 5, but I like to set them up for success by making this event very doable for them. You can even do 2 years in a row in the same level. You can do expanded one year, and standard another year, if needed. 

Every student can ACHIEVE and have great success with this event! Please let me know if you have any questions!

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

For our membership update this month, I just wanted to let you all know that membership is ongoing, so please feel free to invite your piano teacher friends to join us!

There are a lot of great benefits to being a member, such as having a great support system within the association, participating in DVMTA events, and having access to Member documents.  Another fun perk includes an Office Max discount card for using their printing services, which is always useful for us teachers!  The cards will be passed out at the September General Meeting for those who attend in person.  If you're unable to make it, please call Lori Weidemann at 480-206-9143 to receive yours. 

Lori Sprague
Membership Chairman



1 Registration: Music Marathon registration begins

1 Registration: Original Composition Festival registration begins

21 Organ Stop Pizza Night

25 Deadline: Music Marathon registration closes

25 General Meeting 9:30am, My First Piano 1818 E. Southern Ave, Mesa AZ, and on Zoom



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, Location TBA



14-15 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

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Desert Valley Music Teachers Association · 123 N Centennial Way #105 · Mesa, AZ 85201 · USA

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