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Kathy Blackwell, B. Mus. (Hons.), LTCL, LGSM, studied music at Edinburgh University and continued with post-graduate studies in music at the University of Oxford. Kathy is a string teacher with many years experience of teaching violin and viola. She developed her teaching ideas at the coalface in both Music Services and in private practice, working with groups large and small and in one-to-one lessons. She was a strings consultant for the ABRSM Music Medals initiative, a new assessment specifically designed for students taught in groups, and a contributor to the accompanying book All together! Teaching Music in Groups (ABRSM, 2004). Her teaching experience has led her to co-author Fiddle, Viola, and Cello Time, published by Oxford University Press, with her husband, David. Kathy and David have presented workshops in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. David Blackwell studied music at Edinburgh University, after which he pursued a career in music publishing, first at ABRSM and then at Oxford University Press. He is co-editor of OUP's In the Mood: 17 Jazz Classics for Choirs and Carols for Choirs 5, and has published a number of single choral arrangements. He is co-writer with his wife Kathy of OUP's award-winning string series, Fiddle, Viola, Cello Time, and String Time, which have twice won the MIA award for Best Educational Publication. He now works as a freelance music editor, composer and arranger. In 2017 Kathy and David Blackwell received two awards: from ESTA UK in recognition of their exceptional services to string teaching, and from the Oxfordshire Music Education Partnership for significant contribution to music education in Oxfordshire and beyond.
There are an impressive variety of styles within these simple pieces and a well-graded learning curve. Since many violists start out playing the violin, there is a relative lack of beginner-friendly publications, so these volumes will be welcomed by many viola teachers. The accompanying CD will allow enterprising pupils to further their instrumental progress and aural skills easily at home; a simple piano part is also available, and approximately a quarter of the pieces here are duets for pupil and teacher or two pupils. Matthew Jones, Music Teacher June 06 [David and Kathy Blackwell] strive to provide accessible music that will inspire and instill musical self confidence in youngsters - and they succeed ... Viola Time Joggers and Viola Time Runners deliver upbeat and playful tunes sure to appeal to viola upstarts ... Both books are accompanied by well-produced, easy-to-follow CDs, a bonus for younger players, with musical styles varying from ragtime to the classics ... These books are a good choice for teachers seeking pedagogy for their younger, first-time players. The whimsical cartoon illustrations coupled with fun, light music make for colorful curricula. Heather K. Scott Strings June 06 (USA) ... Kathy Blackwell, an experienced fiddle teacher, has succeeded in her attempt to provide music for young children which is entertaining as well as instructive. Tim Homfray The Strad Dec 2005 These delightful volumes are a wonderful compliment to any beginner violist study method. Lisa Moody, Canadian Viola Society Newsletter Spring 07