Cooper presents fun pieces by women in a variety of styles, for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students... The pieces are pedagogically sound and musically rewarding...Students, teachers, and audiences will enjoy all the wonderful works in this collection...This collection of ideal recital pieces includes material every student should encounter.
The core, to me, of Cohen's pedagogical material consists of Superstudies, Books 1 and 2, Technique Takes Off!, More Technique Takes Off!, and Technique Flies High! These are terrific, fun books that introduce more advanced issues of counting, bow technique, minor keys, left hand pizzicato and shifting at earlier levels than we generally consider. It's done in such a gentle manner, though, that students can be successful before they realize it's "hard."
In Superstudies Book 1, "Really easy original studies for the young player," Cohen gets right down to business introducing half- and quarter-string harmonics to pre-shifting students. Titles are descriptive and sometimes reflect the rhythm ("Blast Off!" and "Operation Space Station"). The first three have a lot of good old sixteenth-note bow scrubbing, with some slower eighth-note slurs in number 2. Number 4 switches gear to slurs in 3/4, with a dotted half-note bow speed and a lot of 3rd and 4th finger action. Number 5 sticks to pizzicato for contrast. Slurs and an aquatic theme dominate in numbers 6-8. Number 6 ("Rocking Rowboats") keeps the bow at a constant half-note speed with gentle string crossings. "Floating in the Swimming Pool" (number 7), slurs two measures of 3/4 time together throughout. Finally, number 8 ("Wave Machine") picks up the pace with slurred string crossings at a faster tempo.
There is a YouTube performance of number 9, "Gliding Along at the Octopus Ball," which is in 6/8 and features numerous half-string harmonics on the D string.
In Superstudies Book 2, the etudes get longer and a bit more complex. These ten pieces are just "easy original studies"! Etudes feature key changes, quick changes between high and low 1st and 2nd fingers, more complicated string crossing passages, syncopation, some third position (number 5, "Heidi Hi!), 5/8 time (number 8, "Fivepenny Waltz"), and harmonic minor (number 7, "The Snake Charmer's Lament" and number 11, "Magic Carpet Ride"). I love "Magic Carpet Ride"! Here it is, played by a real kid:
The final book in the series, Technique Flies High!, has "14 advanced studies for solo violin." Nine of the etudes focus on techniques or material a player would encounter in 20th and 21st century compositions-- string crossing patterns in 5/4 (number 2), an etude entirely in harmonics (number 3), mixed meters (numbers 8-10), sul tasto, finger exchanges on the same pitch, quick and continual changes between arco and pizzicato, sevenths and tritones (number 11) and other dissonances (number 12), and improvisation (number 14). "Threnody" (number 13) is a great chance to use consonance and dissonance expressively. The more consonant etudes include an arpeggiation study (number 4), another atmospheric pentatonic piece (number 5), a ground with divisions, a sort of czardasy-tangoey thing (number 7), and the first, "Take to the Hills," which is more of a celtic romp. Quite and eclectic collection, and not for the faint-hearted! Cohen does a great service in expanding playing technique here, along the lines of Lilian Fuch's Characteristic Studies for viola.
Let's close with some music! Here is "Take to the Hills" from Technique Flies High!