You've Got Rhythm

publication press release

April 3, 2000


Piano students, music classes, and amateur musicians are only some of the people delighted by a new method for reading rhythm. It's called You've Got Rhythm: Read Music Better by Feeling the Beat, written by musicians Anna Dembska and Joan Harkness, and published by Flying Leap Music. The method uses "Talking Music," spoken-word compositions of diverse rhythms, with an eclectic array of lyrics, including biographies of American composers, remarks about music, recipes, literary quotations, and 19th-century advertising copy. These informative and amusing pieces are combined with hand-clapping patterns that move through the shape of a meter, so that sightreading and a strong internal sense of the beat are quickly developed together.

Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect, is enthusiastic: "You've Got Rhythm is a great series. With this creative text, you can integrate mind, body and magic into your music skills...A must for every serious, lighthearted music student in the new milennium." "It was a big hit!" said Margaret Kvamme, professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, when she tried You've Got Rhythm in her musicianship class. Composer Atsuko Ezaki, music teacher at The Greenwich Japanese School, found unexpected benefits from using the method. "I was amazed how precisely and musically You've Got Rhythm introduces the English language to non-native speakers," she said. "My 5th and 6th graders were delighted to learn both rhythm and English at the same time. Talking Music is truly a universal language."

You've Got Rhythm teaches rhythm step-by-step, from basic notation to college-level rhythmic skills. Adults find themselves cheerfully overcoming ingrained rhythmic phobias. For kids, learning to read music becomes a challenging and entertaining game."We're integrating the kinetic brain with the logical brain," says co-author Anna Dembska, a composer and soprano with extensive dance and movement experience. Co-author Joan Harkness, a pianist who has concertized internationally, has observed how You've Got Rhythm tickles her piano students. "They think they can't do it. Then they do it, but it's so easy and natural, they think they haven't done it!"

Dembska and Harkness founded Flying Leap Music to create new music education materials which teach technique from a practicing musician's point of view, activating and integrating the senses, intellect, and imagination. Having met a wide variety of American audiences while performing together, they perceived a longing in both children and adults for a friendly, unintimidating way to learn in-depth musicianship skills. A piano method for adults is planned for release in the near futurel.

You've Got Rhythm is available in three volumes: Volume 1: Notes, Rests, and Simple Meter; Volume 2: Compound Meter and Syncopation Between the Beats; and Volume 3: Tuplets, Double Dots, Suspending the Meter, No Meter, and Irregular and Shifting Meters. The price of each volume is $9.95, available from Flying Leap Music, 1348 71st Street, Brooklyn, NY 11228, telephone (718) 837-0007; or from the Flying Leap Music web site, Volume discounts are available.

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You've Got Rhythm: read music better by feeling the beat

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