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Junior Guildhall Kindergarten or Colourstrings Roehampton, SW London

(16 Posts)
Wisteria36 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:20:37

Lucky DS has reception place offers for both of these Saturday Kodaly schools - we have to decide today which one to go with. I can see advantages in both! Anyone got experience of either?

whistleahappytune Wed 19-Jun-13 10:51:35

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.

Wisteria36 Wed 19-Jun-13 18:45:19

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!

roastchicken Thu 20-Jun-13 14:31:39

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!

Wisteria36 Fri 21-Jun-13 15:46:57

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!

gabr Sat 07-Apr-18 10:17:07


I wonder if anyone would mind updating how you little ones are doing at Colourstrings or Guildhall please? We have the same decision to make and not sure. My daughter is already attending Colourstrings and just been offered a place at Guildhall. I am under the impression that not everyone at Colourstrings progresses to an instrument from Kindergarden.

Radiodependent Sun 29-Apr-18 06:35:35

Hi, i’m the op, several name changes later! Ds1 is still at Colourstrings Roehampton (though of course it’s moving to Kingston) and doing well with his instrument (not genius level but making good progress!). Ds2 is is towards the top of the kindergarten but we don’t feel he has the motor skills for an instrument yet. We have been very pleased with the support ds1 has had at Cs. He is in training orchestra now and the musicianship classes have ramped up to the point where they are doing dictation and stuff. He plays in other orchestras too but is always pleased to get back to Colourstrings. The top students there are at a very high standard (one 10 year old is going to the Menuin school) so I don’t think ds will outgrow it for quite a while and I don’t regret turning down GSMD as the journey would have been tough. Hope you find the right solution for your family.

Radiodependent Sun 29-Apr-18 06:37:23

Ps everyone we know at cs did progress to an instrument from kindergarten but I have heard that at guildhall some are advised to leave and not progress to one.

punimitsu Mon 17-Sep-18 14:35:16

Hello! So pleased to hear your kids are progressing to well! We’ve just started the First Strings Experience at Royal Academy of Music... DS loves it so far smile
We had tried for the Guildhall as we live just round the corner.
I was just wondering if anyone else had had an unpleasant experience with the administrative / application team?
We registered in November 2017 in good time, but never received a response.
When I chased twice (April and May) I was told they’d get back to me. They never did!

Frogusha Fri 21-Sep-18 12:12:02

Hi punimitsu - yes, we've always had an unpleasant attitude from GS. For example they had wrong half term dates published on the website last year - I emailed and chased to confirm that I can rely on the website as I wanted DD to go on holiday. They didn't respond, we went on holiday - turned our the dates on the website were wrong and then they wrote to say we had unauthorised absence. So after the end of kindergarten we moved a local music school to us - Youth music centre in Henrietta Barnet school- and what a difference! The teachers and admin are absolutely lovely, they take kids from 2 so my youngest can go to, there is music theory and choir. I just wish we went there earlier..

punimitsu Fri 21-Sep-18 12:24:39

Thanks Frogusha - good to know it’s not me! They do seem disorganised and arrogant... an unholy combination smile

punimitsu Fri 21-Sep-18 12:45:25

And really great to hear you found an amazing school for your kids!

We’ve only had one class at RAM so far, but the staff have been lovely!

Loubydoo Thu 10-Jan-19 15:46:39

Hi punimitsu - we just found out today that we have a place on First Strings Experience for our little on in September. Are you still enjoying it? Can I just check a practical thing... do you go in with them or wait outside? More importantly, would you recommend it? We are not a classical musical family but wanted to give her the opportunity to have a go and see if she likes it. Thanks.

Loubydoo Thu 10-Jan-19 18:49:00

I meant to tag @punimitsu in my reply above

punimitsu Thu 10-Jan-19 21:52:23

Hi loubydoo... yes, FSE is great!
Just one term in so far. It’s singing, following rhythms, learning melodies etc. for the first year... and yes, all the parents are at the back of the classroom, while the kids sit on chairs in a circle with the teachers.
We’re not a musical family either, but I’d totally recommend it... it’s a great starting point whatever instrument they end up playing in the future!
Bit worried about next year though... what’s it going to be like next year with 30 kids and 30 violins???! 😱😆

Loubydoo Fri 11-Jan-19 11:10:39

@punimistu thanks for the info - it all sounds great and we are excited for her to start. I also applied to Guildhall (which is nearer to us) but doesn't sound as friendly and I understand they cull quite a few after the first year. 30 beginner violins in one room sounds like a recipe for ear plugs!

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