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Superstart Cello (with CD)
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Mary Cohen's Superstart Violin concept adapted for the cello under consultant editor William Bruce's watchful eye. Aimed at the complete beginner, it successfully combines a lively and entertainingly informal approach with sensible advice presented in a carefully ordered sequence. Development of pitch, rhythm and general musical knowledge is fully integrated into a process in which mind, ear and body are stimulated and developed at an equal pace. There is a separate book well-crafted and often amusing piano accompaniments, part-written by Robert Spearing...

Music Teacher 2007

This book for beginner cellists contains a lot of information on different levels. It incorporates adaptations of well known pieces alongside original compositions which can be enjoyed right from the very first lesson. Alongside the pieces are useful technical tips which avoid being over instructive and some theoretical facts. Also included are the brainteasers which will make students think about the written music and playing techniques. There are also some challenges along the way which test general musicianship and aural skills, such as working out the missing notes in well known pieces, memorisation and simple transposition.

Rhythmic patterns and values are introduced using words, which may not suit teachers with more traditional teaching styles. Basic first position is introduced in a logical manner and there is a brief introduction to harmonics and fourth position which is to be applauded. The aspect I personally find most attractive is the witty and humourous lyrics which accompany some of the pieces. One of them, The Good Sound Guide, which instructs students on how to produce a good sound, is a mini-masterpiece. The nature of the brainteasers really set the age range for this publication. I would say it works best for 7-10 year olds. The layout is easy to read and there is plenty on each page to interest and engage the student. I can imagine that this publication will work particularly well in group teaching situations, but it is clearly suited to individual tuition as well. Superstart is an engaging and imaginative publication which deserves to do well.

ESTA News and Views 32 No.1

I recommend this excellent new cello tutor from Faber! Mary Cohen has teamed up with British cellist William Bruce, who is a passionate and experienced music educator to produce a book full of fun and varied activities in well-sequenced lessons that will stimulate the young player. This book would provide a great start for young players before commencing on AMEB grade material. Aimed at the young beginner, it is child-orientated, with engaging illustrations and encourages exploration of a variety of techniques and musical styles. Suitable for individual lessons and group lessons, most of the pieces are compatible with Superstart Violin and/or Superstart Viola. Forty of the pieces have piano accompaniment; some have duet cello part; other are unaccompanied. The CD contains all the piano accompaniments while the accompaniment book contains cello duet parts as well as piano parts.

The book has plenty of activities on every page. Throughout, there are four categories of information: Technical Tips dealing wit the practical aspects of playing; Fact Files building up the students theoretical knowledge, while Brain Teasers test the pupil's understanding. The Challenges stretch the student's musicianship in practical ways, such as playing ostinato patterns, playing the tune on a different string, filling in missing notes. The creative and experienced teacher will use these as a springboard to further enhance the learning experience, while they are useful teaching tips for the less skilled teacher.

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