There are a growing number of Colourstrings schools across the world. However the very first school, run by the founders of the UK teacher training courses, is in South West London. They are extremely proud of everything achieved there and say “It is a fantastic example of how wonderful the Colourstrings method is and how much can be achieved as a music institution.”
The Colourstrings Music School (CMS) offers music education from the age of eighteen months to eighteen years. We have been resident at Southlands College, Roehampton University since 1994. Today nearly 300 children attend the centre every Saturday and some lessons take place after school. The Colourstrings approach, based on the teachings of Kodály, integrates instrumental tuition with aural training and musicianship. The school’s special strengths are in building musical literacy from the very beginning in the music kindergarten classes. The innate musicality of each child is nurtured at every stage. Concerts are a regular activity, building up children’s confidence as performers. This is all achieved through a highly integrated programme in a relaxed and child-sensitive environment.
CMS emphasises the whole development of each child as an individual musician. Much of the Colourstrings teaching is focused on helping young children become musically literate and develop real reading skills, a rare endeavour in today’s music education. The Colourstrings ethos is freedom within a rigorous framework. It is notable how CMS teachers instill work habits gradually and constructively while continuously nurturing pupils’ innate impulse to express themselves.
CMS puts a great emphasis on communal music-making, from early Kindergarten classes to its many instrumental groups, orchestras, and choirs. The philosophy behind it is both musical and social. Concerts become a part of everyday life; every Saturday there are two informal concerts known as ‘play-ins’ where children at different stages of learning mix and play to each other and their families. There are also more formal concerts at the end of term as well as special concerts and music festivals.
Finally, CMS is a community in the pedagogical sense: instrumental, ensemble and musicianship teachers are able to discuss pedagogical and personal issues of individual pupils whenever the need arises. This exchange of information, along with the integrated musical programme, gives teachers at CMS a multifaceted view of the pupil’s musical level, abilities, needs and personality. The different activities in the school are coordinated by the Music Director.
For more information of classes and upcoming music school events please see the school website: www.colourstringsmusicschool.co.uk