Mandolin Instruction-- Materials and Transcriptions by Debora Chen
Reviews for Standard Notation for the Tab-Addicted Mandolinist
 Tony Williamson (9/21/07), Don Stiernberg (9/27/07), Mike Marshall (3/14/08)

Mandolin Cafe
                  California Bluegrass Association

 "Debora Chen's book, 'Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist' is an essential volume for ANY student of the mandolin. Taking just a few minutes a day to work through it has helped me in a very positive way. Growing up in rural North Carolina, I learned to play music from my Dad, who learned to play from his Dad. We never had the benefit of written music. Now thanks to Debora's insight, quick tips and fun exercises, I have increased my ability to communicate with colleagues and students and have opened musical doors that I did not even know existed. Thank you so much Debora, I can't wait to purchase your next book!!! --Tony Williamson

Working on reading standard notation can be so rewarding, what with all the beautiful melodies and ideas that can be accessed from the page. But it can also be daunting, particularly for mandolinists, since we generally don't get to play in the pep band at school, or grow up to go on the road with a 'chart-reading' big band. Suggestions for how to meet this challenge can range from 'just do more of it' to 'get a fakebook.   
Now at last Debora Chen shares a new approach and there's a lot to like about it.
She presents a coordinated visualization of both music and the mandolin, unifying several activities and saving YOU time. The etudes are a series of attainable goals, not the usual 'do the best you can, you might get it someday' material. As a bonus, several great suggestions on mandolin technique appear even though the book focuses on the reading part of musicmaking. Because of its comprehensive approach and 'to the point' activities, this book should be helpful to students and teachers of any style of mandolin playing who have been looking for ways to bring note reading within their grasp."--
Don Stiernberg                                                     

 "Debora Chen’s Standard Notation Book is the first of its kind.  A generous, clear and approachable book designed to unlock the mysteries of reading music for the many who have been playing with tablature or by ear for most of their lives. Thanks, Debora, for washing away the fear of this unknown territory and gently nudging us to dive into this rich and rewarding musical tradition."--Mike Marshall

"Students learning bluegrass instruments have often gravitated to instruction methods that use tablature-- a numerical system using fingerboard postitions instead of the standard musical notation.  Unfortunately, this appproach limits the learner to transcribed tunes, but Debora Chen has produced a book giving the mandolin player a structred series of lessons transitioning tablature reading to standard musical notation playing... the book is carefully constructed and the instruction details and asides are designed to give the learner the ability to read a new musical language.  Debora Chen's book gives every mandolinist the 'keys to the musical kingdom.'" --Bluegrass Breakdown, Vol. 33, No. 20, B-10, California Bluegrass Association

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Review of Selected Two-Part Inventions Arranged and Edited for Two Mandolins
"For centuries now instrumentalists have used the Bach inventions to learn about melody, harmony, and how to operate their instruments. Debora Chen presents them here with the goal of easy access for the mandolinist. Playing these melodies and hearing these harmonies will present many exciting possibilities to mandolinists of every style and level of expertise. Whether you're playing fiddle tunes and looking to get a little more 'flow' in your picking, or a jazz player listening for movement of essential chord tones, or a choro enthusiast attempting to cope better with chromaticism, or someone who wants to work on reading and technique without drilling scales, or someone who wants to play music with another person---THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!" (emphasis Don's) --Don Stiernberg

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