The aim of MCnG is to promote joy in the pursuit of excellence in music education. The school’s teaching philosophy and ethos is guided by the principles of the great Hungarian composer and music educator Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967).
We use the Colourstrings method to foster and share a child-centred, approach to music education, developed by internationally renowned string pedagogue Geza Szilvay and his brother Czaba. This is a further development and refinement of Kodaly’s principles built specifically for young children to challenge and inspire them in a love for music.
Zoltán Kodály, was a Hungarian composer and music educator. He believed that a comprehensive music education was the birth-right of every child because “music sheds light on those regions of the soul that cannot be reached by any other means.” To that end he studied from and adapted the best teaching methodologies internationally and brought them together in a single comprehensive approach to music learning that has impacted education all over the world.
Key principles of the Kodály approach to music education:
- Central to his philosophy and principles of music education is the belief that “music is for everyone.” Kodály believed that all children, given the right opportunities (the right training at the right time), can learn to sing well, have their inner ear trained, become musically literate (learn to read and write music notation), and if they wish, learn to play a musical instrument.
- Children should be exposed to music at an early age and the training should start in a playful and natural way.
- Good quality children’s songs and folk material provide the starting point for all musical activities.
- Children learn a large repertoire of simple melodies through which they absorb unconsciously the basic building blocks of music: pitch, rhythm, tempo, dynamics etc.
- Sound before the symbol. Children “experience” the elements of music through singing and moving before these elements are made conscious, named and expressed in musical notation.
- Before starting the study of an instrument children should have preparatory training in pitch and rhythm, have their inner hearing developed and have even a rudimentary knowledge of music notation.
- Musicianship training should continue alongside instrumental training to sustain the development of aural ability.
“Singing, independent of an instrument, is the true schooling of musical abilities”.
What is Colourstrings?
An innovative, multi-sensory, child-centred approach to music education capable of taking children from music kindergarten to conservatoire level.
Colourstrings was developed in Finland in the 1970’s by violinist Geza Szilvay as a way of introducing young children to the joys of music making in a playful, child friendly manner. It is a two part approach though the integration of both part is rather seamless. There is a Kindergarten program and a later instrumental program. Based firmly on Kodaly principles, Colourstrings music education begins in the music kindergarten where children go on an exciting adventure to Musicland where they develop their sense of pitch, beat and rhythm and in the more advanced classes are introduced to reading and writing music through a simplified colour- coded system of notation.
One of the strengths of this approach is the use of repertoire from the Singing Rascals series. It begins in kindergarten, and is developed and embellished through early instrumental, musicianship and orchestral ensembles. The growing familiarity of the material leaves the child free to focus of aspects of interpretation and technique on their chosen instruments later on. This repertoire provides continuity and a sense of security for the children and enables a seamless transition from kindergarten to instrumental training.
We believe that a Colourstrings music education provides the best opportunity for young children to learn to love their music, in a method where the elements of musicianship and technical skill are uniquely integrated. The instruments presently taught through this approach are: Violin, Viola, and Piano.
Why is Colourstrings unique?
- Colourstrings training caters for all levels of musical ability and not just the more naturally talented children. This approach, which has been tried and tested for over thirty years, enables each child to progress at their own rate and develop their innate musicality.
- Colourstrings training lays the foundations for the development of music literacy from the earliest stages. Songs, pictures, fairytale characters and puppets are used to introduce basic notation in a fun, age appropriate setting. Children develop a solid musical foundation and learn to read basic music notation BEFORE starting an instrument.
- Colourstrings Instrumental lessons build upon early musicianship skills acquired in the Music Kindergarten classes. The first little pieces which the young instrumentalist plays are familiar songs from the Music kindergarten classes. This provides a seamless progression from music kindergarten to instrumental classes.
- Colourstrings uses a unique colour-coded system of notation in the early stages of instrumental training which greatly simplifies the process of learning to read music for the very young child. Children quickly progress to reading standard music notation.
- Colourstrings training can take a child from the earliest stages of instrumental training to advanced levels of proficiency.
Our Kindergarten Material
Singing Rascals and Rhythm Rascals Songbooks
The core song material of the Music Kindergarten programme is presented in a series of books and CDs called the Singing Rascals and Rhythm Rascals.
The pictures, melodies, and words in these books have been carefully chosen and arranged with young children in mind.
The tunes have been selected from those, which over the years have proved appealing and easy to learn.
The illustrations are closely associated with the words of the songs and are designed to capture the young child’s interest and imagination. The printed notation is for the benefit of parents.
Singing Rascals and Rhythm Rascals CDs
The songbooks are supported by a parallel series of CDs on which young children sing and perform the melodies. The songs reappear in a series of workbooks and instrumental tutor books, creating an integrated system of learning which has been tried and tested for over thirty years with outstanding results.
The primary purpose of the Singing Rascals CDs is to encourage the child to sing, and sing well. Each song is therefore presented in different ways – with words, in solfa, sung alone or in groups. Sound effects between the songs make the repeated presentation easier and more fun.
Children will love listening and singing along to the songs they learn in class! At the end of each sequence, the song is heard as a high artistic quality string orchestra performance, leading the child naturally from singing to active listening and helping to nurture a lifelong love of music.