Octotunes"" is the latest project from teacher, writer and performer Sheila Nelson, author of the award-winning Essential String Method. Ideal for individual or group teaching, this selection of short, fun pieces for flexible ensemble can be played by solo violin, violin duo, three violins and cello or even string quartet, all with an optional keyboard accompaniment part. Octotunes provides early experience of ensemble playing, without extensions, shifts or changes of finger pattern from the basic open string scales. Suitable for students who have completed Sheila Nelson?s Essential String Method Book 1, these pieces stay within the keys of A and D major, with rhythms limited to quavers, crotchets, crotchet rests, minims and dotted minims. Time signatures are limited to 3 and 4. Octotunes helps develop reading skills in two stages ? the student is firstencouraged to learn and sing tunes from the sol-fa charts, before trans ferring to the stave notation with its additional dynamics and bowing. Octotunes were originally solos with keyboard using only the eight notes of an open string scale. Expanded using one or two extra notes without changing the fingering patterns, each of the pieces was written and namedfor one of Sheila Nelson?s youngest pupils. Concert performances are he lped by a light keyboard accompaniment which provides some notes not available to the strings.