Author Mary Cohen is one of Britain’s leading string teachers. In this article, she delves into ideas about how to teach rhythm effectively for strings.
Much of my time is spent doing chamber music and accompanying pupils from the piano, so they are contributing to a ‘greater picture’. But I also give them material that is complete with just one line. This completeness is an important ingredient of the Bags of… series (eight books of fun solo pieces for violin, viola and cello that range from beginner to grade 4). As well as strong tunes, the pieces are full of patterns designed to encourage rhythmic playing and confident reading skills from the beginning – and they also work really well with late starters and timid adult re-starters. we live in a world full of vibrant rhythm Rhythmic confidence produces fluent musical playing that gives pleasure to performer and listener alike. And the wonderful bonus is that when pupils focus on getting the rhythm right they often play better in tune! Mary Cohen studied violin, piano, chamber music and composition at the Royal College of Music, then spent several years in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before setting up a full-time teaching practice. Mary has an international reputation as an educational composer, with over 60 titles in print. Many of her publications centre around the technical requirements specific to particular stages of string playing, but always in the context of a ‘real’ musical experience. Mary enjoys writing news blogs for the Faber Music website, and also posts photos and tips on her Mary’s Music Cupboard Facebook page.