Here’s what teachers and students have to say about Music Study Cycles:

The Mood Analysis sheets allow me to play with the most expression and beauty. While practicing any piece of music, I simply pick a mood that goes with the phrase and then I start playing with that expression in my mind. Not only does it make the music more interesting, but it also gives it so much more meaning. The change in my sound is obvious and people suddenly start to pick up on the message I am trying to convey.
R.Z., Ann Arbor, MI
The Rapid Orientation To Tonal Center, Pitch Study Cycle, and Rhythm Study Cycle break down challenging music into the basic components of key signature, rhythms, and pitches. Acting as a word for word guideline, these cycles enable a student to independently comprehend difficult rhythmic patterns and pitch sequences while maintaining a sense of the key signature. These three cycles cover the basic knowledge needed to play any piece of music and are effective for musicians at any level. They make any piece of music capable of playing and eliminate the time spent in confusion and frustration with a piece of music.
E.D. , Ann Arbor, MI
"Timelining has altered how I teach drum set after 30 years, it’s funny so I’m saying hi!

For the 7th grade drummers, who are forced to negotiate the drum set at this time of year, I have come to regard the 8th note rock ride cymbal beat as the “timeline” against which the other notes are placed. It clicks because they’ve manipulated a timeline this year! Then I substitute the term “ride beat” as they understand the subdivision function of the RH part.

Today, a student said “It’s my turn to play drums for the scales but I’m not at all ready!” I could say “Just play the timeline for us on high hat. Then pump some bass drum when it feels right."

C.K. , Michigan
The study cycle "Time lining" has worked for me, to help me understand more complex and challenging rhythms in pieces that I could not just sight-read my way through and know the rhythm. This study cycle is a great tool to help me better understand rhythms and music in general.
A.L. , Ann Arbor, MI
The "Pitch Study Clean-Up/ Continuity Practicing" has helped me numerous times when I've struggled with a difficult passage and allows me to hear how my tone quality sounds in a way I don't get to hear while I'm playing. Being able to hear myself and the mistakes I may make while playing that I would otherwise not notice has helped me improve greatly as a player and a listener. Connecting this idea with the "Elimination of Persistent Errors" allows me to go back and learn how to play the mistake I made so I do not make it again, allowing me to play to the piece to the best of my abilities.
G.B, Ann Arbor, MI
The Rhythm Study Cycle works great for me even for the most challenging rhythms. I use it for every hard and new rhythm I encounter. The instructions on the sticky note are very clear and easy to understand. I recommend the Rhythm Study Cycle method to every musician.
R.Z., Ann Arbor
The Rhythm Study has been an exciting enhancement to my teaching; it’s a complement to my method book and to my bag of tricks for teaching rhythm. Holtfreter’s book leads students to higher accuracy in performing rhythms, and to independence in parsing difficult rhythmic notation.

An engaging feature of the book is the clarification of musical terms we often teach through context or rote definition, or don’t teach at all: meter, time signature, metronome–even the word rhythm itself–through etymology and historical facts. I always discover students with imprecise or incorrect understanding of these words and concepts while using The Rhythm Study. Now, we can build a solid foundation for every single student to expand upon.

Students will learn a technique called Timelining, introduced in a highly engaging sequence. A key to the technique is to precisely map the duration of rests and notes, not just their appropriate count. This is usually where students make rhythm errors, even though they can tell you how long each note lasts! When a student has a problem rhythm and then takes a minute to timeline it, the error becomes apparent, is easily corrected, and stays corrected.

When a student has mastered Timelining, s/he has a tool for parsing new and challenging rhythms and can do it independently. Let’s face it, many players depend on their director: too often, rhythm problems are addressed by singing or playing the correct rhythm until students simply imitate them. I can tell that my students are now solving rhythm problems on their own, and they are becoming stronger sight readers.

Based on the reading level and the concepts I present The Rhythm Study as a stand-alone curricular unit, early in 7th grade. It takes about three class periods to present, whether consecutive or between rehearsal days. Practice continues through the year, such as when 6/8 is introduced or new repertoire presents new rhythms to timeline.

This book would be great for private teachers, but I find it very effective to take an entire class through it together. My worries about advanced players, who already ’get it’, becoming disengaged were quickly allayed. Instead, they are happy to have their knowledge validated, and to see how they can parse more complex rhythms. During the written exercises, quicker students serve eagerly as checkers and helpers for the stragglers, which means every child is checked for understanding during the lesson and much time is saved.

This spring I gave my 6th graders a sneak preview at the end of the year, in advance of a rhythm test I give every year. Never has that test been completed so accurately by so many. I am looking forward to using The Rhythm Study this fall and through the rest of my tenure as a middle school band teacher.

C.K., Middle School Band Director, Ann Arbor, MI
The Pitch Study Cycle has helped me improve my accuracy by a great amount. Whenever I start learning a new piece, I always run through the PSC. It helps for when I actually play the notes with the right rhythm and tempo because I already know what pitches come next. Without it, I would probably be struggling with every piece of music I have gotten. it's very useful and I will continue to use it . . .
A.B., Ann Arbor, MI
As an adult returning to orchestral performance I decided to pursue music theory courses to clear up some misunderstandings I had developed early on in my study. I took university music courses and while these were helpful and enjoyable, The Rhythm Study course and associated drills cleared up confusions in about one hour of study! I always had hesitation with sight reading and after the Rhythm study I found I was able to easily confront and deconstruct a new piece of music. I recommend the Rhythm Study Cycle to musicians at any level.
Chandra ,
The Elimination of Persistent Errors in conjunction with another study cycle such as the rhythm study or the pitch study, has proved enormously helpful to my playing. Being able to hear the correct passage vs. an error allows me to separate them in my mind. This allows me to hear the correct passage and play it correctly every time. This drill has put to rest some of the most frustrating lines of music I've encountered.
E.S., Ann Arbor, MI