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THE BOOKS:  ( click on the books to read a sample)

little MT

Musical Tales is for your child or a friend or relative’s child (8 – 11) who

– likes to read fantasy stories
– loves to draw and create characters
– is interested in music


The Case of the Flying Note: A Detective Reed Mystery :  FN cover for site

Join Detective Reed on his musical mystery adventure. Enjoy this imaginative tale as the detective chases a note that has flown from its music!

In this story, everything is music based and readers learn about many aspects of music as they zoom along with the detective.

Come fly through a magic portal into clouds of lost quarter notes. Adventure inside a snoring bugle horn and into a forest of rests. Soar deep within an underground music academy where Detective Reed escapes from the shooting arrows of C sharps and witness a rare gathering of violins! Join the detective when the flying note reveals the real reason it left its music.

The themes of this story:
– the importance of knowing who you really are
– it is OK to accept help from others
– finishing creative projects is important and great fun!

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The Secret of Willow Wail: A Detective Reed Mystery.  perf6.000x9.000.indd

Harold is writing the music for an upcoming show, but when he takes a break, some of the music flies away! Detective Reed is called in to help bring the music back before Harold returns. But where did the notes go?

The detective, with his key and best friend Glissando, follows clues all over Sound City before finally catching up with Harold’s notes and discovering the secret of Willow Wail!

Author, musician, teacher, Alice Cotton, does it again with this new fanciful musical adventure. Young readers are drawn into the excitement of the story of Willow Wail as they learn.

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When Buildings Speak is a book for the friend or relative who  A When Buildings cover

– loves architecture
– lives in Oregon
–  is interested in architectural history
– enjoys detailed pen and ink art
* Book samples are here.

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Wrong Notes is a book of quotes about how making performance mistakes (mostly WN front covrmusical ones) offers new ways of looking at mistakes. This book is designed specifically for music teachers, friends or students, whether performing or in practice, to help calm their fears about making mistakes!  Alice’s accomplice, Mary Kogen, world renowned music and Taketina teacher, helped develop, collect and organize these quotes.

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Leaps of Imagination is for the friend or relative (or get it for yourself!) who needs some creative inspiration. It is filled newest Leaps frontwith quotes about the imagination by many creative and famous people with illustrations by Alice Cotton. Alice’s accomplice, Mary Kogen, world renowned music and Taketina teacher, helped collect and organize these quotes in hopes of supporting all creative efforts. For an example click on the INSPIRING QUOTE BOOKS link above.

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All My Treasures speaks to the children within us. These are IMG_1471the places where fantasy lives and children play. Where the human mind can linger within the sound of leaves brushing against the wind. The places where surprise and inspiration join hands in their escape from indifference.

A poster set of ten of each of these powerful quotes with their accompanying illustrations are available in the store below. For an example click on the INSPIRING QUOTE BOOKS link above.

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In Search of a Friend is for the very young  who are learning about friendship.


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BOOK REVIEWS of Musical Tale

By Sherry P. Todd , president of Tualatin Valley OMTA
(Oregon Music Teachers Association)

  • Fun, easy to read fantasy with whimsical characters who drop little musical terms and tidbits along the way. Perfect for a read out loud or middle grade 2-3-4 read alone book. I bought a bunch as gifts for adult music teachers and their students to enjoy!


By Amazon Customer on January 26, 2017

My children and I love this book! It is fun, creative and educational!

By P. Goldberg , musician/artist
Beautiful, sweet and wonderfully illustrated.

By Michelle Rae, age 14
Great book for children and adults! Super cool illustrations! Greatly recommended!!!

By Alexandria Weinbrecht, book editor

This book offers a delightful and fun way for children to learn about music within the context of a well-written story and colorful illustrations. A wonderful book, highly recommended!


All of these books are available at the store below:

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me alone

Hi everyone!
Alice Cotton here! writing and illustrating fantasy books for children, their teachers and their families.
CLICK:  background to see some of the things I’ve done as an architectural artist and an illustrator.
Click: classes to see my math artistry classes for elementary and home schooled children.

I  also taught math artistry and architectural art classes to higher level  school and college level students.
AND, very important, I  worked  as a musician, playing lead guitar and singing (ever see a female lead guitar player? We are everywhere!)me performing 12

And don’t worry I did receive a firm educational foundation in music (theory and classical piano) at the Cleveland Institute of Music which is integral to each storybook.

Join the fun!

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Argument for the Arts

An Argument for the Arts 

A great deal of distress is apparent concerning the future of music and the arts in America. Support for the arts has eroded to a dangerous extent and false images have replaced knowledge as to the true place and importance of the arts in the scheme of society. Most young people do not even know what constitutes the arts.

“Imagination is more important than intelligence.” Albert Einstein

When Einstein said this he was referring to the nature of human evolution and his experience of ‘complete intelligence’. By complete intelligence, we refer to the cooperation of the sensory, emotive, imaginative, intellectual and intuitive functions of the human mind. This harmony of human functioning has led to humanity’s greatest achievements, in which the arts have always had a major role, because it is in the arts that the demonstration and development of ‘complete intelligence’ occurs most directly.

“Great Art can communicate before it is understood.” T.S. Eliot

Many major scientific discoveries were preceded by movements in the arts. Artists demonstrate ‘complete human intelligence’ and create symbolic languages which convey new ideas, concepts and experiences of reality before words for them have been developed. For example, Giotto di Bondone (1276-1337) was the first artist of record to understand the benefits of painting a scene as if it were viewed from a stationary point of view, organized about a horizontal and vertical axis. As a result, the ‘flat picture writing’ that had been the style for over a thousand years acquired depth. Within a generation this advance in perspective had spread to almost all artists. In this way, Giotto extended Euclid’s conception of space into art and altered Plato’s perfect forms in the service of art, making a great contribution to the science of visual perception.

A hundred years before Newton and Galileo, Piero della Francesca introduced shadow into his art and experimented with the nature of light. Francesco Grimaldi proposed that light moved like waves, instead of being streams of particles as was earlier believed, thirteen years before Huygens. Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky demonstrated the relativity of pitch and time in their work before Einstein’s theory hit home, and the first to suggest in philosophical circles that space and time were one was Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. The contributions of Da Vinci need not be elaborated uopn.

The examples are many. In addition to these and many other scientific discoveries, the arts benefit society in the field of education in terms of the development of the mental processes of children (it is proven, for example, that playing a musical instrument stimulates many cognitive functions of the brain), the team spirit of performing in a musical ensemble, goal setting techniques, the ability to visualize a positive future and the discipline to bring your intentions to fruition over a long period of time. The arts bring communities together and inspire personal achievement because it is primarily through the imagination that individual and societal evolution occurs.

“Art degraded, imagination denied.” William Blake

The stagnant, regressive cultural state of our country is directly related to the estrangement most people feel with the arts and artists. The environment for a positive future must be created for our youth by supporting the art of our country as much as possible. Symphonic institutions experiencing difficulty, for example, should not resort to becoming museums of past music, but should create the audiences of the future by performing the music of our time.

It is time for our country’s institutions to recognize the vitally important place that the arts have in the forward ‘progress’ of civilization. Otherwise, the continued reliance on intellect divorced from the imaginative, intuitive, emotive, sensory and spiritual functions, which are all vital parts of our heritage as human beings and all of which were needed for us to survive the ages, will continue to ‘degrade’ our visions for the future, our environment, our everyday lives and our spiritual, inner selves.

The Arts should be supported first, not last, by America’s institutions. 

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Latest Review of The Case of the Flying Note

5 star review by

Welcome to Sound City, a musical place. Our story revolves around Detective Reed. He is called in about a note that went missing during the composition of a new song. We follow along with Detective Reed as he cases down the note through all kinds of compositions. But will he be able to catch it to help finish the song?

This is a delightful story about music. It is well written and explains everything that is brought to your attention relating to music. I loved following Detective Reed as he had the adventures around Sound City. But I loved the reason why Presto flew away in the first place.

Besides a lovely story, you also have gorgeous illustrations that make the story even more interesting. This is a wonderful music based book that would be great for any kid or adult interested in music. This is the first in a series of stories and I cannot wait to see what happens to Detective Reed Next.

Music Class: The place where children can grow into thoughtful human beings, learn to work with others and have hilarious fun along the way.

Music teacher, Alice Cotton, author of The Case of the Flying Note, discovered that many of her youngest students just want to “put a band” together and imitate their favorite musicians. Others want to play an instrument in the orchestra or they long to play and write songs with their best friend.

“So, the first order  of business, “ says Cotton, “is to learn how rhythms and notes work, to read and write them, and to attach meaning to what they are. Then, it is essential that students learn to really listen to one another and to create a vibrant musical language together.”

“Then there is the task,” says Cotton, “of communicating one’s ideas. How does one reject another’s idea in a kindly manner and in the end how will it all come together?”

There are so many places to travel within a musical endeavor. Students can decide what these places are and how to phrase and construct them. There are crescendos and diminuendos, light hearted and sad or angry expressions. Since it is the story and the feelings that are most worth sharing, how do you do this? These are the kinds of questions and issues, music students are faced with in a class such as this.

Another important skill students must learn in music class is how to support one another musically, particularly leading up to and during a performance. And when it is time for someone to do a “solo” where he or she plays alone with the support of the musical group around them, what is the best way to do this? As the soloist, what do you wish to say musically?  And then, after the solo, how do you rejoin the musical group as an equal member and how does each musician accept the soloist back into the group?

As rhythms and notes flow onto and off of the page of music and as musical repertoires develop, the intent is to train the ear, eye and hand to stay focused, on task and within the vision of the composer’s intentions.

These skills are especially useful in today’s world as they encourage cooperation, communication and what are the best ways to help yourself and others achieve their very best.

With music education waning in schools, Alice hopes that music classes and books such as hers will entice young learners to include music in their lives. It is interesting to note that music classes include the study of mathematics, art, self expression, composition, reading and how satisfying it can to be part of a creative effort. In addition, music classes help students see what it is like to work through and how to negotiate conflicts and disagreements.

The fact that the brains of our children come alive with these kinds of quality musical experiences, students may wish to go further. He or she might want to become a fluent instrumentalist, a songwriter, an arranger, a composer, or a performer with a band or orchestra and even if they do nothing else musically, these kinds of experiences set the stage for a creative life working successfully with other human beings.

Alice’s final words:

“Music, should never be an afterthought in our children’s education. It is every bit as important as learning to solve mathematical problems and to read and write fluently in any language. It helps to create the thoughtful human beings that we need and are to become

in the world.”

by Alice Cotton

Alice’s class descriptions can be viewed in her “Bio” section at alicecotton.com.  Add your name to her blog list to receive information on upcoming events and classes.

My first presentation in the blog world

Meet A.J. Cosmo who also writes for children like I do. He put in an article on his blog about me and my books. How cool to meet a kindred spirit! I just wanted to share it with you.

I started reading his series about a monster who eats all the things we lose.  A fun idea! Now, I am looking for that monster and hoping to find all the things I have lost over time!

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