Crash, bang, tinkle

6th December 1996 at 00:00
AGOGO BELLS TO XYLOPHONE By Maggie Cotton A C Black Pounds 9.99

As a percussionist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Maggie Cotton became involved in the orchestra's educational programme, introducing her instruments and music to pupils and teachers in city schools. And she soon discovered that primary teachers often know surprisingly little about the nature, or correct playing methods, of common classroom instruments. Her discovery proved the inspiration for this useful 60-page book.

Subtitled "A friendly guide", Agogo Bells to Xylophone is divided into seven main sections, each of which explores a category of percussion instrument. Terminology is clarified and detailed instructions are provided as to the holding or placing of the instruments and means of playing them.

Supplementary sections on maintenance and making your own instruments are included,. And there is a glossary and well-researched list of suppliers.

The book is liberally illustrated but the drawings, while certainly friendly, are often lacking in precision, not least in terms of size comparisons between instruments. A pity, too, that the tuned percussion range chart fails to clarify the fact that soprano and bass instruments transpose from notation.

Nevertheless, Agogo Bells to Xylophone will prove a boon to teachers in providing answers to the questions which recur whenever the classroom percussion cupboard is opened.

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