Hi there, faced a similar decision years ago between Colourstrings and Royal Academy. They both have excellent teachers, and fantastic musicianship programmes. In the end, I went with Colourstrings and I'm glad I did. The reasons that swung it for me were:
The Kindergarten in Colourstrings leads to one-to-one instrumental classes at Colourstrings, as opposed to group classes in RA (and I think Guildhall is the same). For string players especially, this makes a massive difference.
With Guildhall there's no automatic progession from Kindergarten on to the Junior programme. In fact they do a massive cull. If you are committed to a musical education for your DC that's a problem, as if you're one of the unlucky ones, you'll have to start from scratch, and it will be difficult to then gain access to Colourstrings or another institution.
The other thing is that Colourstrings is a smaller organisation, and can respond to any problems swiftly. I found this incredibly helpful, as opposed to a friend of mine at Guildhall who waited 3 and half weeks for a return call.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you want to ask anything else.
Thanks for replying, we're leaning towards colourstrings at the moment. Guildhall offered the place so early that we didn't know about cs so we accepted it but actually colourstrings makes a lot of sense on a practical level for us too. Ds is interested but I think not exceptional musically so I'm a bit worried he will be culled at GSMD!
I can't comment on Colourstrings, but the Guildhall definitely does individual string lessons from Yr2. The have group lessons as well in ensemble and rhythm and singing. My DD is in the first year of the string programme there. We have found it brilliant but a real commitment. The level of teaching is just excellent. They don't play an instrument for the first two years, but such good foundations have been laid that progress is quick once they do. This is really motivating for DD.
The selection process is tricky. I think around 1/2 to 1/3 make it through. from my observations, the selection was less on how talented the child was, but more on how keen the child was - not something that parents can control!
Thanks, we've decided on Colourstrings in the end as it's much nearer to home and so less travel time and because of the non selective approach. Great to get some replies though, and to know there's so much good Kodaly teaching going on!