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Anyone's DCs done Colourstrings?

(12 Posts)
BordersMummy Thu 28-Mar-13 22:37:19

I am interested to hear from people whose DCs have done Colourstrings at any stage. DD1 (3.5) is in kindergarten at the moment and we are both enjoying it. But I'm finding it very difficult to get info on what it really involves going forward and whether its really worth it long term or if I'd be better off just getting her conventional instrument lessons in a couple of years time. I did loads of music as a youngster but started at 7, going on to do Gr 8 in two instruments, A level music and social music making to this day (though never played piano which I've always been sorry about!). So I don't think starting music early is a prerequisite! However, DD seems to be enjoying it, but I'm not sure whether to sign up DD2 from the start (DD1 only started recently, DD1 could start before her second birthday) or if that's a waste of money and really what to expect for either of them in the future. I know they don't start an instrument until aged 6ish, but what would they be doing until then? Thanks!

BordersMummy Fri 29-Mar-13 21:26:08


stringmusicmum Sat 30-Mar-13 17:52:43

Hi BordersMummy,
I'm similar to you - started with music at 7, ended up with Grade 8s at 15 and 17, was self-motivated to practice (non-musical family) and have continued music making through into my 30s (but never did it at university). So, I agree, early music is not a prerequisite to a love of music, or even being good at it.

However, I have 2 children aged 5 and 8. The 8 year old started piano (at his request) at 5. The first 18 months were a struggle - partly due to his age, and also his teacher. Since changing teachers things are easier, and he is eventually doing his Grade 1 this summer age 8.5. He then started the cello aged 7 (again at his request) - the background in music has helped him progress and he passed his Grade 1 10 months after starting.

My 5 year old started with a violin teacher aged 4yrs 10months - her teacher is excellent and experienced with starting young ones. She is self-motivated and passed her Grade 1 within 8 months.

Neither do Colorstrings but they do attend Kodaly and musicianship classes (which I believe are fairly similar concepts to Colorstrings). The enjoyment they gain out of these group sessions, together with the exposure to musical concepts helps them with their instruments. Also, at a young age they can be eager to learn and seeing my youngest thrive on it, I am glad I went with her wanting to start aged 4 (spurred on by her older brother playing) rather than following my gut instinct and waiting until she got older.

Maybe they will both get to age 13/14 and still be at a similar standard to those who started at aged 8/9, but the early start has meant that music has been part of their life and therefore practicing is normal (although can still be a struggle!!!).

I'd go with Colorstrings with DD2 - there is nothing to lose and perhaps a lot to gain!

Happy music making!

whistleahappytune Sat 30-Mar-13 18:32:55

My DD has been at Colourstrings from Kindergarden (age 3.5) to her third year of violin tuition. I've also been through Colourstrings with two godchildren and a nephew, and do a lot of work in music education.

I've had my frustrations with Colourstrings, certainly. Often, I've felt that the system goes too slowly, and the children spend an inordinate amount of time learning Finnish and Hungarian dirges. Eeek!

However, there are massive advantages with Colourstrings. All the students have a superb sense of rhythm, and excellent intonation for the string players. They are all disciplined players with real musicality. A couple of young students I knew, who were not "gifted" musically, but wanted to play, were given support and opportunities when most other schools would have asked them to leave (these kids are now terrific violinists).

The system of a private lesson, plus musicianship class, plus taking part in an orchestra or some kind of ensemble is wonderful - offering the focus of 121 tuition along with the more social group activities. Personally, I would recommend it highly.

You don't have to start at 2, you could start at 3 or so - there's a lot of repetition of songs and exercises in the kindergarden anyway, so it will prevent you and DC from getting bored.

HOpe this helps. Any other questions, please let me know.

BordersMummy Sat 30-Mar-13 22:04:33

Thanks both. This is helpful. It is the fact that it seeks to bring out musicality from the outset, rather than pushing learning of a specific instrument, that really appeals to me. I always thought suzuki was a bit mushc.

whistle do you have an idea of how many drop out along the way? It is undoubtedly great for some but does it work for all/most? I have a place for DD2 which she can take up before 2, but I'm not sure how they will react to me asking them to wait another year when it is so oversubscribed (I'm inclined to wait until 3 to avoid us all getting fed up before they really get going!).

I have to say that when DD1 first started I did think it was all rather boring in comparison with some of the more generalist kids music classes we have done and I really think that they could learng from more 'fun' music classes to keep the kids (and parents) more engaged at the start.

whistleahappytune Sun 31-Mar-13 09:41:24

Borders, yes some drop out along the way, but some don't because of the very reason you cite - oversubscription! I think you won't miss anything by starting at 3, but if you risk not getting a place ...? I would nose around, and ask. they can be pushy, but you could ask to remain on the waiting list for when your DC becomes three. I did a class when my DD was about 19 months. She was fine with it (not overly enthusiastic, but happy to do it), but I was bored to tears. I dropped out and re-enrolled when DD was three and a half. I'm in north London, BTW.

Interestingly, the drop out rate is very very low once the kids get to learning instruments, which I think says a lot.

christinarossetti Sun 31-Mar-13 09:52:20

I did Colourstrings with ds when he was 2 and a bit to 3 and a bit.

He quite liked it but didn't love it and I found it all somewhat joyless.

We stopped when he was supposed to go in by himself (and the teacher and her assistant were very keen to get parents out of the room whether the child was settled or not), and he's never mentioned it since.

It's a lot of money and probably not good value for money until the children get older, although the school keeps extending how long children need to have been attending before they are able to choose an instrument.

The one 3 year old class I sat it, I found very depressing tbh, as the children were told off for letting go of each others' hands in some circle thing and my friend's dd was told off for fiddling with her hair band. That may have been just that teacher, though.

BordersMummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:41:39

Thanks Christina. That's interesting. Where in the country? The teacher we have is very very sweet and incredibly tolerant (my patience would be tried significantly quicker than hers most weeks!).

literarygeek Tue 09-Apr-13 21:15:10

Oh I was just going to ask a similar question, sp thanks for all the responses. I couldn't tell from the website- is it only orchestral instruments that are eventually taught?
Does anyone know of any other Kodaly teachers in the SW London/Surrey area?

Goldchilled7up Tue 30-Apr-13 14:37:00

I just got my son on the waiting list. He is 3.10 yrs, does anyone know how long does it normally take to get a place?

whistleahappytune Wed 01-May-13 10:52:17

It shouldn't take long Gold. Best to keep calling, just to "express your interest". They will get you a place eventually if you appear keen.

Good luck.

Goldchilled7up Thu 02-May-13 10:49:15

Thank whistle, I will do.

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