I teach all levels of violin, from beginner to advanced, and also audition preparation for students wishing to embark on a professional career.
Teaching beginners has not always been my priority. But over recent years, and many students, I have grown impatient with remedial teaching i.e. fixing up problems in technique that could have (and should have) been avoided. So I embarked on a mission to work out how to best teach beginners. This is the most crucial time for a budding violinist. Teaching beginners should not be a hit or miss thing. Teaching beginners is not for the faint hearted. There is life and death in the teaching of beginners, to not put too fine a point on this.
And so, I discovered Colourstrings, which is the philosophy/methodology I now base my teaching of beginners on. I went to Finland, the UK and Germany and learnt this philosophy from the founding father, Geza Silvay. I followed this up in Helsinki observing the methodology in action, with the wonderful Yvonne Frye and others at the East Helsinki Institute of Music. I knew I had found a way to teach beginners that would enable technical skills, a trained ear, a deep intellectual understanding, as well as outstanding expressional skills all combined together. To add to this, it is a joyous way of teaching and learning.
As far as evidence based teaching goes, Colourstrings has produced countless fine musicians and many professional string players. Colourstrings is based on the principles of the Kodaly methodology. Ear training is of vital importance, and the use of relative solmisation (do re mi with moveable do) plays a crucial part in the child’s development of inner hearing.
“..It is essential, particularly in the early years, that instrumental teaching is of the highest quality, as these formative first years are crucial for the child’s future in music. Each child deserves a firm musical foundation” (quote from Colourstrings course, Trossingen 2017).
I am also influenced by the writing and teaching of Hungarian violinist Kato Havas concerning "the elimination of all the existing obstacles, both physical and mental, so that through a relaxed control and co-ordination the player may be able to release the full force of his musical imagination". (From 'New Approach to Violin Playing", 1961)
I have a genuine desire to tailor a programme for each individual child’s needs and to formulate what works best for them. The Colourstrings philosophy indeed gives the teacher the freedom to work out what is best for the child.
ERZSEBET SJONYI : ….
"if we try to realise the guiding principle of Zoltan Kodaly’s life and to help people to “let music belong to everyone”, we will have done what we could, and the after-ages cannot call us to account for our negligence." (From the foreword to The Kodaly Method, by Lois Choksy,)