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“In the Zoo 2” is a further collection of intermediate pieces for violin and piano by Aleksey Igudesman, depicting many of a child’s favourite animals. Spanning from UK Grade 2 to 4, they will inspire young violinists to interpret the sounds and actions of the animals as notated by the composer and help them understand how abstract music can depict something very real. But what makes these compositions ingenious as teaching pieces is that, hidden within, are very useful technical studies.

For example, in “The Turtle”, steady bowing is needed to make a good tone in the long notes depicting this slow-moving creature. In “The Crocodile”, short, staccato double stops (easy ones!) depict the snapping jaws and are contrasted with legato, sinuous passages as the animal creeps up on its prey! A clever piano part allows the teacher to support his or her young student and perhaps make a captivating concert piece for the end of term presentation.

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