Thank you for your interest in Dynamite Strings! It is my great hope that you will find this to be an imaginative, fun and inclusive resource. Here are a few points of interest that might help you get the most from Dynamite Strings:
In this book, you will find two types of notation: coloured-coded staff notation and ColourTAB.
Many children (and adults) find staff notation very intimidating. After a great deal of experimentation, I have found the use of colour to be most successful in supporting learners during the crucial early stages of learning the violin.
In this book, each string has a colour as follows:
G D A E
Notes that are made by playing on that string are coloured accordingly on the stave. See Twinkle Twinkle below:
Many pieces are presented in both the coloured staff notation above and also in ColourTAB on the opposing page. ColourTAB is a very simple tablature-style notation which uses coloured numbers and letters. As children are already familiar with these symbols, it helps them to pick up tunes very quickly. Not only does this help with engagement, but it allows them more brain space to focus on technique.
Here is Twinkle written in ColourTAB
Students can learn the finger patterns and develop fluency with the aid of ColourTAB and then 'test' themselves by covering up the ColourTAB and playing from the staff notation with no fingerings marked in.
Colour Vision Deficiency
Unfortunately I could not find a combination of colours that would be effective for people with Red/Green CVD without compromising the clarity of the system for those who do not have this need.
ColourTAB can be easily adapted by writing the string name in superscript when the string changes like so:
To make the pages as simple and uncluttered as possible, performance directions have been kept to a minimum.
In order to use the largest staff size possible and also help students to see the structure of pieces clearly, I have not written out empty bars rest at the start of the tracks. Intros are usually 1 - 2 bars long and the more advanced pieces have a written cue e.g. 'After 2 bars' at the start.
I have left the majority of dynamics and bowings to you, the teacher's discretion. My personal pet hate is beginner violinists who 'tickle' the strings, so I insist on a loud confident sound to begin with at all times!
Please feel free to adapt and use this book as you prefer and as suits your students! I shall be posting tutorials and other resources to my YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
I enjoy alternating between playing pieces pizz. and arco and discussing what effect it has on the mood. I also do a lot of warm ups improvising rhythms along to the early backing tracks.
Listening to the tracks regularly is highly recommended! Sometimes we sing along to the pieces at the start of class (and make up lyrics!) I also encourage my students to memorise the tunes. Many of the songs are pattern-based, so this is usually quite easy!
Finally, I would love to hear from you - what works well, what would you like to see more of, any feedback is welcome. I am writing Book 2 now and so would love to take your ideas on board!