October 20  Music Marathon (locations posted on the website)

November 17-18  Original Composition Festival (Southeast Valley Bible Church)

December 7 – December Luncheon (Panera)

February 23 – Cavalcade of Rhythm (Mesquite High School)

April 13 – Awards in Excellence Auditions (AZ Piano)

April 20 – Awards in Excellence Recitals (AZ Piano)

May 11 – Achievement Day (MCC)

May 13 – Awards Plus (Legacy Retirement Residence)


October 2018

“If it is to be, it is up to me.”  Ten little two letter words that pack a powerful message!  Good advice for our students to consider in preparing for lessons and events, but also good advice to all of us teachers as members of DVMTA.  It is so easy in an organization that relies solely on volunteers, for members to take a back seat and let someone else get the job done.  After all, someone else must have more time than each of us, right?  And, of course, no monetary reward is involved so why bother, right?  I have been thinking about this tendency to “pass the buck” a lot lately, because we have some critical fund-raising to do in the near future to support our student awards fund.  My fear is that people will mistakenly think that they don’t need to participate, because there are bound to be many others who will participate.  Just imagine what would happen if each and every one of us had that attitude!  The fund-raising effort would fail miserably!  
    Fortunately, we have found two family-friendly fund-raisers this year to supplement the funds we raise at our Marathon event.  One is our Organ Stop Pizza Night and the other is the Amazon Smile program.   Please read about each of these events below.  If either of these efforts is to succeed, it is up to each and every one of you helping to spread the word to your piano families!  Our student awards fund is depending on you!

Carolyn Rooder
DVMTA President

Updating your ipad or tablet any time soon?  We could use your old one!  Please send an email to if you have a working ipad or tablet you’d like to donate to our organization to be used for Cavalcade ticket sales.  We can even give you a receipt for your charitable contribution!

Organ Stop Fundraising Event, Monday, November 5th, 5 P.M. to 8 P.M. – By now you should have received the flyer for this event by email.  If not, please email us at and we will get one sent right out!  We are counting on everyone to get at least two or three families committed to attending this event.  Don’t assume that enough people will attend without your help!  A night at Organ Stop is a treat for all ages and a 20% return to DVMTA is quite generous!  All proceeds will go to our student awards fund.  Thanks for doing your part to make this event a success!

Shop with Amazon Smile! – DVMTA is now officially signed up to receive donations from Amazon Smile!  All you need to do is visit and choose Desert Valley Music Teachers Association as your charity.  Then, if you make all future Amazon purchases through, Amazon will donate 0.5% back to DVMTA!  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but if we spread the word to all of our families, it will definitely add up!  Every penny counts!  Be on the lookout for a special email with more information on this simple, sensible way to help DVMTA fund our yearly student awards!  Thanks for your support!

Music Marathon, our biggest fund-raising event for Awards in Excellence and Awards Plus, is scheduled for Saturday, October 20, 2018!  The schedule has been sent to participants and is also posted on the DVMTA website.  Music Marathon invitations are available on the website, as well, for your students and their families!

Students will be performing at SIX locations this year - Towerpoint Resort (Mesa), Brookdale - Park Regency (Chandler), Generations of Agritopia (Gilbert), Legacy Retirement (Mesa), AZ Piano and Superstition Springs Mall.  We’d like to encourage non-participating members to come check out the event at one of the locations to see how easy and fun it is to involve your students, so you may consider participating next year!  

We are really looking forward to our students’ performances celebrating music around the community!

Original Composition registration is almost here! Please turn in your entries by Oct. 26th at the general meeting, or before.

Look on the website for specific guidelines.

1. You'll need to send recordings of each student's composition via email or on a disc or flash drive (I find that email is easiest!) I record their songs and upload them to YouTube. It makes the process quite easy.

2. Fill out the paperwork and make sure the song is written down by computer notation, or by hand (nice and neat!)

3. Make sure your song is practiced and ready to go for the Festival on Nov. 17 or Nov. 18 (Let us know on your paperwork which date!)

I'm anxious to hear all of these wonderful songs. I'm amazed each year at the talent I hear from these students!

If you need any help, please don't hesitate to contact me (Toni Tetreau)

602-614-2374 or

“Cavalcade Road Trip"
Registration for Cavalcade 2018 begins on October 26th at the general meeting and continues until November 16th.  All information and registration materials are available at Registration guidelines are as follows:
1.    Submit both registration form(s) AND cover sheet stating when you are available to help.  
2.    On the registration form, don’t forget to include students’ ages AND heights.  This is crucial for placing the students where they can see the director best.  
3.    Choose an appropriate group for each student keeping in mind that the goal is to help the students be successful in an ensemble experience, not to play in the highest group possible.  Students must be able to play their songs well, listen to the group, and follow the director. Un-partnered students will be matched up with students from other studios. You will be notified when the groups are set, so you can verify correct parts on duets.
4.    Make sure parents understand the rehearsal commitments in February before registering.  
5.    Keep a copy of your registration forms.   
6.    Teachers are welcome and encouraged to play in Cavalcade as well (no fees for teachers, but please include yourself on your registration forms.) 
7.    Once students are placed in groups, please read the directors’ notes before teaching the songs to the students.  Some directors add introductions or repeats, and we don’t want the students to be confused at rehearsal time!

The music is already at The Music Store if you’d like to go down now and take a look prior to registering your students.  You can also attend our October 26th meeting and actually play through the songs and purchase the music all in one convenient location!  Please note that this meeting will be held at The Music Store:
2630 W. Baseline Rd., Mesa, Az 85202 (1 block east of the 101).  

If you have questions, feel free to contact Jenna Hartley or Linda Carpenter.  Don’t get left out, wishing you were part of the Cavalcade Road Trip adventure! 

Achievement Day – May 11, 2019 – Preparing for Ear-Training and Sight-Reading

By now, I am sure you are settled into your teaching routine.  This means you are already in the process of preparing students for Achievement Day whether you are aware of it or not!  Last month, I shared some hints for helping your students prepare for the technique requirement for this event.  In addition to technique, two other skills that are important to emphasize on a regular basis are ear-training and sight-reading which are two of the options available at Achievement Day.  Unfortunately, we are not present during our students’ practice sessions.  Therefore, we need to help our students develop the reading skills necessary for figuring out new pieces and the listening skills necessary for recognizing and correcting mistakes along the way.  Many method book series contain sight-reading and ear-training exercises, there are a few series devoted solely to sight-reading instruction or ear-training instruction and there are many apps and on-line resources as well.   However, as good as many of these resources are, they don’t necessarily correlate 100% with our AD requirements.  For example, you could have a student complete a whole book on ear-training throughout the year only to have the student fail his test on Achievement Day!  Therefore, in regards to preparation for the ear-training test, I find it most beneficial to teach directly to each of the five or six required objectives listed for each student’s level.  I improvise many of the ear-training exercises I use with the students, and when needed, I pull a lot of examples from the Alfred Ear-Training books or other sources.  For example, to prepare students at the Primer Level, I improvise segments for students to identify high/low, going up/going down/repeating, steps/skips, and piano/forte.  Then I use select exercises from an ear-training book that has students choose the correct rhythm from two examples to practice the rhythm objective.  With these few simple activities, I have covered all five of the objectives that the student will be tested on!  Of course, it gets a little more difficult to find comparable exercises for some of the higher-level skills, but with a little effort and creativity, it can be done.  For example, when I had a Level Nine student that needed to be able to draw missing notes to complete a melody, I Xeroxed a few lines from a sight-singing book and whited out two or three notes when I couldn’t find a suitable published exercise. 

Preparing for the sight-reading option is mostly a matter of helping students to develop a method for approaching new material and then using this method as often as possible with short musical segments – preferably about two levels below the student’s current level of study.  Students need to be trained to identify key signature, time signature, starting hand position, accidentals, tricky rhythms, dynamics and articulation of the selection before attempting to play it .  They should be encouraged to play slowly keeping a steady beat.  I also have students “ghost” play, or “play” without sound in order to locate sharps or flats, tricky intervals, or accidentals before playing aloud.   

The key to solid preparation in ear-training and sight-reading is frequent, distributed practice!  In other words, practice it often throughout the year!  Since lesson time is short, I designate weeks as sight-reading weeks or ear-training weeks so that I intentionally practice both skills on a regular basis with all of my students.  This keeps me from trying to cram all the skills into the students’ heads in March and April!  

Next month, I will focus on Theory preparation. Questions? Contact Buffie Meeker at

Our auditions are still months away (April 2019), but teachers should always be looking ahead. Participation in Awards in Excellence not only requires much of our students, but of our teachers as well. Students need good preparation of their pieces and solid memorization to give them confidence. Teachers need to ensure they have fulfilled the following requirements:
  • Be a current active member of DVMTA with all dues paid in full
  • Attend four DVMTA general meetings between March 2018-February 2019
  • Give 10 volunteer service hours to the organization within the same time period
  • Enter twice as many students in Marathon or Cavalcade as you plan to enter in Awards in Excellence
All teacher qualifications will be carefully checked with committee chairs. Those who cannot attend our monthly meetings may provide verification of conflicting school or work schedules and must plan on giving 15 volunteer hours to compensate. Service hours must be completed by February 2019, so helping at this year’s Awards in Excellence (April) will only count toward service hours for the 2020 Awards in Excellence. Every DVMTA event needs many hands to function smoothly, so feel free to contact any event chair or board member if you need ideas on how to get involved. One of the things I love most about DVMTA is the willingness of members to share their ideas, talents, and time to help the organization grow stronger. Contact Lorri McHardy if you have any questions about Awards in Excellence.

Just a reminder to track your students’ participation in DVMTA events!  Remember, Senior Scholarship is based on DVMTA participation, but these recipients do not necessarily have to be former Devoted Performer award winners to qualify!  It is worthwhile to keep a record of your students’ attendance in all events just in case they should ever wish to apply for the Senior Scholarship award. 

Before you know it, it will be time to submit this year’s letter of intent for your potential Devoted Performers or Senior Scholarship recipients.  Your letter must be submitted by December 1, 2018 in order to be considered.  Please see the website for documents and additional information!

If you have any questions, please email me at

Welcome to DVMTA!

Membership is ongoing. If you haven’t officially registered, please take time to do it! If you chose to be a part of the teacher referral program, please email your bio to Tammy Shorts.

New Member Spotlights:
Nancy Chase
•    Lives in Queen Creek w/ husband and 4 kids
•    Teaching piano for 20+ years (in between babies!)
•    Degree in Elem. Ed – teaching piano blends her love of education and her love of music perfectly.
•    Her Studio currently has 4 students – she looking to expand – within reason!
•    Loves Indian food – but chocolate gives her a reason to live.
•    She loves sharing her passion for music with her students – clearly she belongs in DVMTA!

Steffani Chamberlain
•    Lives in Queen Creek w/ husband and 6 daughters – 2 years to 17 years old.
•    Yes, that’s a lot of female emotions!
•    Teaching piano for 3 years with 20 current students.
•    Career as Branch Manager in banking industry. Her background is in sales and business coaching – Her coaching skills have transferred nicely to teaching piano.
•    Loves to bake – eat Mexican food – go camping – travel – and sleep – not necessarily in that order.
•    She was a student of Heidi Morris for many years and had fun memories of Cavalcade. She googled Cavalcade and found us! We are so glad she did!

Zoe Simmons
•    Just bought a home in Maricopa after living in Chandler for years.
•    Teaching piano for 38 years! Wow! Currently has 40 students! Wow again!
•    Has Masters Degree in Piano Performance from Wichita State University and was progressing toward her Doctorate when marriage and baby snuck in.
•    Enjoys weight training, hiking and her cute little granddaughter!
•    Is working toward a Piano Pedagogy Program that would provide teaching training for young piano teachers.
•    Was a member of DVMTA in the past – We are thrilled to welcome you back Zoe!!

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

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