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In the method book, Artistry in Strings: A Comprehensive Course of Study for Group or Private Instruction, Students are first

introduced to their instruments through procedures for setting up their instrument. Each section of the orchestra uses a different method to ensure good posture while playing. The upper strings, violin and viola, use the Statue of Liberty set-up song, mimicking the statue of liberty to ensure proper playing posture. The lower strings, cello and double bass, use the Alert Sentry method, mimicking a guard on watch to give students an image of how they should feel while playing. Students learn to use left hand pizzicato as their first way of producing sounds on the instrument. Immediately after this, students begin using bows. To help students visualize the bow hold, the book uses clever names for each bow grip. For strings with a French bow, an analogy is made to a floating parachute. For strings with a German bow, an analogy of a handshake is used. Students are also given exercises to aide with bow directions. These consist of groups of quarter notes switching between up strokes and down strokes. The book does not include a key for students until about half way through the book. However, the piano is usually written in G major in the beginning. When key signatures are introduced, both G major and D major are introduced at the same time. The first few exercises after learning these keys are based on the major scales they are associated with. Pictures and diagrams are rife within the teachers version of the method book. These pictures usually depict a student properly carrying out a technique or demonstrating proper set up on their instrument. These are useful so that a teacher has a visual of what their students should look like while learning these techniques, especially for one who may not be as familiar with string instruments. These pictures are only in black and white; however, this does not detract

from their helpfulness, as color is not necessary to portray the concepts of posture of bowing techniques. One of the more interesting parts of this book to me was that the bass is introduced in both first position and third position. First position notes are written as a low pitch (LP) bass while third position notes are written as a middle pitch (MP) bass. There are separate parts for LP bass and MP bass for most songs, so a student can learn LP, MP, or both, at the discretion of the teacher. While this book covered a great many things in detail, it lacked in several categories. One of the topics it did not cover was proper instrument maintenance. This includes concepts from using rosin to general methods for proper care and safety of their instruments. It is possible that it was assumed that the teacher would address this topic already. However, the book should have provided a basic guide of sorts for teachers with concerns about this topic. Artistry in Strings utilizes a wide variety of diversity in their selection of pieces. While many of the songs have no written author or background and are written by the authors of the book, many other pieces do have famous composers listed and have backgrounds based in the heritages of many cultures. The book pulls traditional folk songs from a number of cultures, including American, Italian, and Bohemian, to name a few. Simplified classical pieces are common as well, including famous works such as the William Tell Overture and some of Dvoraks Symphonies. The method book includes two CDs of music, consisting of background tracks for the repertoire in the book. The teacher book includes a number of references to aide the teacher in their teachings and helps the students gain further comprehension of the music they are playing. This additional information includes historical connections for the pieces as well as artistry

devices, activities to help students comprehend the piece. In addition, the teacher book contains quizzes in the back that correspond with the materials in each chapter, further student understanding. The first skills taught in Unit I of this book are basic music notations reading abilities. This includes learning about clefs, ledgers lines, and time signatures, starting with four-four. It is worth noting that time signatures are written as the number over the note value, for example four-four is written as a four followed by a quarter note. This is used through most of the beginning chapters so that students do not confuse time signatures for fractions. Students also learn the note names of each open string and reading quarter notes and eighth notes. After this, students are introduced to harmonics and how to produce them on their instrument. They are then introduced to this concept in musical context by using songs, including the Hungry Harmonics. After this, the student books switch from drawing out a quarter note in the time signature to writing out time signatures in the conventional method, consisting of two numbers. At the same time, students are taught to pay attention to their left hand fingers, making sure that they place all fingers down that are above the finger being used. Unit II begins with students learning about sharp signs and natural signs corresponding with their D-string finger patterns. They also learn pizzicato technique and the term Arco, meaning to play with the bow. Student use an exercise called Boomerang pizzicato to help them develop their pizzicato technique. Soon after, the two-four time signature is introduced, along with half notes and half rests. Bow lifts are then introduced to the young string players. They are taught to recognize the apostrophes in their music and know that they indicate a bow lift.

The next section, Unit III, adds three-four time to the belt of time signatures of the students. They learn dotted half notes in correspondence with this new time signature. All strings learn the fingerings for their A string, and MP basses are introduced to pivots. Bowing techniques are the next topic covered in the bow. These techniques include dots (staccato), legatos, and martele bowing. At this point, G and D major key signatures and scales have been addressed, allowing them to move into playing arpeggios and associating, as well as playing these musical ideas in the form of rounds. It is at this point that students are introduced to the Gstring positions, leading to the introduction of pivots for LP basses as well. Flat signs are also introduced in this set of fingerings. Students then learn about tempos, addressing music at standard speeds of allegro, moderato, and andante. During Unit IV, students are introduced to fingerings for their C and E strings, allowing them to play the C major scale. Slurs are the next concept addressed in the book. The book introduces slurs using two notes; slurring between open strings and between fingers on the string. This eventually moves onto to three notes slurs as well. At this point, new positions are introduced on every instrument. Violins and Violas are introduced to playing an A with their 4th finger on the D string as cellos learn to shift to their III position. Basses switch to the opposite position of what they are used to, having LP basses switch to middle position notes and MP basses switch to low position notes. After this lesson, students are taught bow divisions and bow speeds using the C-major scale. Students learn to use either the whole bow or part of the bow, either the lower half or the upper half, depending on the rhythm currently being played. In Unit V, spiccato bowing is introduced using a technique called the bounceabout, and double stops are taught to the students. Finally, students are introduced to dynamics; forte, mezzo forte, and piano; playing these dynamics in the context of traditional folk songs from

Nigeria, Scotland, Germany, and America. This book took a decent route for teaching strings to beginning musicians. However, one way they could have improved this would have been by pairing slurs with the rest of the articulations introduced in chapter three, instead of waiting until chapter four. The Artistry in Strings method book has a sequel, Artistry in Strings: Book 2. The second book enters more advanced topic than the first book. The first unit is mostly review from the first book, going over keys and scales already learned. However, the second unit introduces sixteenth notes and F major scales and arpeggios, and the third unit deals with different styles of music, as well as a composition assignment. The sequel moves through keys at a much faster pace than the first book and has more pieces for the student to play versus exercises solely designed to teach students the concept at hand.