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Hello teachers!

Thank you for your interest in Dynamite Strings: I hope that you 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 the book:


Dynamite Strings is now available in traditional black and white notation in addition to the original ColourTAB edition. In the ColourTAB edition, you will find two types of notation: coloured-coded staff notation and ColourTAB.


Many children (and adults) find staff notation very intimidating. To learn to read stave notation, we need to understand two things: pitch and rhythm. Reading pitch is quite difficult on stringed instruments (e.g. we tend to teach open strings first which leap around as opposed to the piano where notes are learnt in step and we can more easily spot patterns). Rhythm however, is relatively simple and satisfying to teach. 

By offering children lots of support with pitch, they can focus reading rhythm really well.   

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: 

twinkle twinkle littlestar written in coloured notation
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.

Whilst ColourTAB offers lots of support with reading pitches, it is organised into bars and uses rhythm notation symbols so children become familiar with these concepts. Bubble letters denote minims with their hollow note heads and quaver numbers/letters are joined together with a square bracket 'beam' above them. 

Here is Twinkle written in ColourTAB

Performance Directions

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, empty bars rest are not written out 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. 

The majority of dynamics and bowings have been left 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!) 

flowery violin

General Thoughts


Please feel free to adapt and use this book as you prefer and as suits your students!

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!

twinkle 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: 
twinkle twinkle written in colourtab


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