The Science bit

How does a Kodaly inspired curriculum show progression and fit with the framework of Curriculum for Excellence.


Dorothy Walker



After becoming disillusioned by the poor teaching standards of music in schools in Hungary, Hungarian born musician, composer and educator Zoltan Kodaly, (1882 – 1967), took it upon himself to develop a set of child centred, logical, progressive guidelines  which are now used worldwide for teaching music (Trinka J, 2013).

Structured music teaching time is all well and good but it is my belief there is no reason that it should stop there.  Having taken the opportunity to speak to a few primary school teachers about this in Glasgow local authority schools, my thoughts were met with scepticism. The main concern expressed was that their lack of understanding of music would be a barrier and overall tight teaching time scales would not lend themselves to fitting any music into the daily routine other than the 20 mins per week they were allocated within the Curriculum for Excellence.

The Curriculum for Excellence was introduced into the education system in 2010 with a view to giving a ‘holistic’ approach to learning.  It consists of 8 curriculum areas;

  • Expressive arts
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Languages (including English, Gaelic, Gaelic learners and modern languages)
  • Mathematics
  • Religious and moral education
  • Sciences
  • Social studies
  • Technologies.                       (Scottish Government, 2010)

Music is within the Expressive Arts section.  However research has proved music is one of the few stimuli which involve the whole brain and involve the brain at almost every level; confidence, emotion, expression etc. (Bear Mark F., Connors Barry  W. and  Paradiso Michael A.,2006).  So can music be integrated to support learning in all the curriculum areas in particular those highlighted to be given a continuous focus, (literacy, numrousy, health and wellbeing) (Scottish Government, 2010).  Kodaly believed music was the means to develop ones whole being, it was the spiritual food for everyone. (Trinka J, 2013).

Looking at each Kodaly concept, which incorporates existing pedagogical elements, it is my opinion that with encouragement and support, teachers in the general classroom situation can integrate them within the learning aims of each of the curriculum areas and compliment the structured music sessions.  It doesn’t have to be in addition to the already busy daily schedule.

I will discuss how I believe an inspired Kodaly approach exemplifies Curriculum for Excellence values and with support and guidance the three concepts of his approach; rhythm names, hand signs and movable do, can fit and progress within an Early Years situation in all areas.


Kodaly Philosophy and Curriculum for Excellence

The overall aim of Curriculum for Excellence is to help children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, (including skills for learning, life and work) with a continuous focus on literacy, numerousy, health and well-being.  (Scottish Government, 2010).   The curriculum was planned so it would encompass the needs of all by giving them the chance to have the assistance and support necessary for their learning and development. The philosophy of Curriculum for Excellence is very similar to Kodaly’s philosophy.

Kodaly reformed the approach to music education in his native country addressing the intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual developmental needs of every child and young person.  He also stated that the support offered should be appropriate, proportionate and timely allowing the children and young people to move forward into a positive and sustained destination. Kodaly passionately believed music is for all and teachers were the agents of change. He believed music instruction must be part of general education and the ear, the eye, the hand and the heart must all be trained together by using the ‘culture and musical mother tongue of the children’ (Choksy, 1974).


I spoke to a few nursery and primary school teachers to obtain an understanding of how they felt about music’s place in education. The teachers from the two Glasgow schools appeared to know nothing about the Kodaly method despite all having a musical background.  However on explaining the concepts a couple said it sounded familiar!  Unfortunately convincing them part of what they currently teaching some subjects could be done using the Kodaly concepts and which in turn would compliment the 40 minutes a week scheduled music class.  Was the reluctance to consider the approach due to concerns it was yet more changes, a lack of confidence in their abilities to deliver or seen as more work load in an already crammed full teaching schedule.

In two private Glasgow nurseries it was understood music had an important part to play but had virtually no understanding as to why this was the case.  On a daily basis they sing songs and play music in the background but there was no structure but at least it was a beginning.  Some songs, although well-known, were quite complicated versions and few children sang.  Also for most of the time the children didn’t move around at these ‘sessions’, they just sat on the floor.

On the other hand in three East Renfrewshire schools the Kodaly approach appears to be broadly used although it isn’t recognised as such!

Benjamin Franklin said ‘Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll learn’ (Ilievski Jim , 2012).  For me Kodaly embraces participation, physical, proportionate and appropriate teaching bringing learning potential to it maximum.

Imagine the brain is like a dot to dot picture.  The brain loves the challenge of learning, that’s what it is there to do a wonderful complex blank canvas to work with.  The dots are neurons, the picture is intellect —— join the dots in a sequenced manner and the more you join the clearer the picture and the better the quality (Baney, 2005).  Who wouldn’t want to work with that vision which I believe is what the Kodaly approach is about!

Kodaly Concepts

Rhythm Syllables/Names

Rhythm Syllables/Names were developed by Paris-Cheve and Galin, France gives a verbal timing value for musical notes (Vajda 2008).   The rhythm of the music of a nation, (folksongs) is borne of its speech rhythms. Music is taught within phrases, it is never in single sounds or notes. Speech is the same.  In the classroom clapping out the syllables of a word is giving it timing value but it then needs to progress to be clapped out within a sentence.  This will help with the spoken word, where you place the emphasis on the word and the phrasing in addition to complementing the aspects of music (The British Kodály Academy, 2013).


Relative Solfa

Relative solfa was developed in Italy. The solfa is the sound and every pitch has a solfa name. Having solfa as a memory aid will secure the connection of the notes to each other.  The aim of the relative solfa in music is to allow for flexibility for any song to be sung in any key or pitch.  This then will give children the freedom to explore the world of music (Vajda, 2008).

The process of learning a musical language should help the brains ability to process and learn within the broader curriculum, such as new languages and mathematical sequencing? (Rauscher F, 1996).

We all have a voice and because it is part of us the feelings we experience go far deeper than with any other instrument (Baney,  2005).

Singing will automatically trigger the inner hearing which is vital in the development of the musical ability but it will also influence the ability to do tasks such as mental arithmetic or reading a book in silence (Cooper, 2013).


Hand Signs

Hand signs were developed by Sarah Glover and John Curwen, England.  Hand signs are a visual aid used to express the solfa. They provide the link between the sounds and the written notes (Vajda 2008). In a musical situation there is a corresponding hand sign for each pitch of the scale and are used as visual reinforcement and reminder of the direction of a song or piece of music. In a similar way, classroom games with hand signs can be used to express emotions, the flow, phrasing, dynamics or actions within a rhyme or song.  This can be particularly introduced through music and movement, drawing and drama in the physical exercise and expressive art times (Channon J., 2014).




Regretfully, in my experience, music appears to be disappearing in our classrooms despite there being so many reasons for it not to be the case.  This is both from financial cuts and busy demanding teacher work schedules. I dearly wish I could convince teachers to believe that by embracing the Kodaly concepts and integrating it into their classroom routine can actually give them more time.

Promoting the Kodaly concepts as part of the structured music teaching allocation in Curriculum for Excellence should not difficult to do and the school music specialists should be able to encourage and help with its development

Most teachers should already be aware that repetition and fun are key elements for a learning environment.   It is a case of convincing them that the basic principles of the Kodaly approach are very easy to grasp.  It’s a tool not an additional lesson subject to be taught and it is likely they are already doing it in some shape or form. To overcome the scepticism which in most cases I perceive to be lack of confidence in their ability is paramount so reinforce to them that the fun will automatically be stimulated if the children are enjoying the experience.  They can do it and still keep control of a class of 28 children!

When introducing topics, for example, about bugs or the sea, weather or transport in addition to showing pictures can also be fun and learnt by sitting in a circle, using a scrunchie, lycra or a parachute to keep a steady beat.  Next step could be to put the topic objects into the centre of the circle or onto the parachute or lycra but all the time remembering to keep the additional activity focused within the learning concepts.  Working on question and answer games, (keeping to a 4 beat rhythm),

Question                                                       Answer

Who can see the ——?                          I can see the ——,

Who would eat a —–?                           I would eat a ——

Then progress to clapping longer sentences to the beat, then the words of rhymes / songs about the topic.  Perhaps introducing relative sounds to the topic for example the rain maker, wave drum all of which can easily be made from household objects. Again this is inclusion, stimulating imagination, working together, sharing and socialising all Kodaly vision.

Kodaly insisted on a method grounded in the singing of folk songs of a child’s own culture and mother tongue, and the implementation of a highly sequenced presentation of musical elements (Rowsell C & Vinden D, 2013).

Perhaps also making up rhymes or changing the words of well-known folks songs to give singing memory aids to help learn the vowels, the alphabet, rules for maths, rules for awkward spelling words can easily be introduced and make it more fun.  Children are awash with ideas and more than happy to participate but obviously the teacher needs to keep their ideas contained!

Playing passing games, be it a ball or a beanbag, makes the learning more fun, ignites the imagination while also working on coordination and social skills.  In addition they are, albeit unconsciously at the early years level but will progress to the conscious level later, learning a number of important musical concepts such as beat, rhythm, phrasing which if they decide to progress to learning a musical instrument will have given them the necessary basics tools.

If children are positively immersed within an activity they are more inclined to volunteer ideas, engage in conversation and all the time this is building confidence, self-esteem, relationships, social skills the list is endless.  If they are enjoying themselves they are relaxed which creates a more conducive environment for learning. They will remember due to association of the fun and involvement being totally unaware that they are being taught (Coulter, Dee Joy, 1995).


Early exposure to music, if delivered in a structured, creative fun way can influence areas of a child’s development beyond the maths and language skills (Coulter, Dee Joy, 1995).

In my opinion it shouldn’t be a daunting challenge to integrate Kodaly’s approach into the classroom setting as general teaching tools designed to be appropriate to the class age / maturity?

Most teachers already have the creativity to make repetitive learning happen in a fun way so with support and guidance to compliment lesson planning in this way I believe is a small change with the potential to make a big difference.

Teachers have a captive audience so to do 5-10 mins a day going over 1 or 2 well known rhymes or songs, perhaps as a welcome /warm up tool for the day ahead or as part of the lesson plan is a fantastic opportunity.

The use of music to make the teaching process more involving is a mental process, not physical.

‘You cannot touch music but music can touch you!’ (Anon, Ilievski Jim , 2012)

Kodaly wrote, ‘Music is one of the most powerful forces for the uplifting of mankind and he who renders it accessible to as many people as possible is a benefactor of humanity’ (The British Kodály Academy, 2013).


Baney Cynthia, (2005) Wired for Sound, issue March/April of Early Chidhood News.

Bear Mark F., Connors Barry  W. and  Paradiso Michael A. (2006) Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Channon Janet (2014) Why Music?

Choksy Lois, (1974) The Kodály method; comprehensive music education from infant to adult, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall

Concise Dictionary of Music (1998),Oxford at the Clarendon Press.

Cooper Belle Beth (2013) Surprising Ways Music Affects and Benefits our Brains,

Coulter Dee Joy, (1995) Music and the making of the mind. Early Childhood Connections: Journal of Music and Movement Based Learning 1, no. 1 p22–26

Rauscher F (1996) The power of music,

Rowsell C & Vinden D, (2013) The Music Handbook, Jolly Learning Ltd.

Scottish Government, (2010) Curriculum for Excellence.

The British Kodály Academy, (2013) The Kodály Approach.

The British Kodály Academy, (2013) With Music in Mind.

Trinka Jill (2013) The Kodály Approach. GIA Publications,Inc.

Ilievski Jim (2012) Inspirational Quotes, Brolga Pub.; 2nd ed. edition

Vajda Cecilia (2008) The Kodaly way to Music, Book 1, Halstan & co Ltd, Amersham, Bucks, England



Channon Janet (2014) Why Music ?,

Mileski A (2016) The Kodaly Approach – more than just handsigns, Musika, Discover the Music in you.


The Royal Conservatory (2014) Your Child’s development: Music Study may be the best Tool, The Royal Conservatory, Glasgow

Maudale Paul (1997) Music: an invitation to listening, language and learning, Early Childhood Connections: Journal for Music and Movement-based learning, Vol. 4, No. 2, Spring 1997

Brooke Bagley Katie (2005) The Kodaly Method: Standardizing Hungarian Music Education,

 Ros Bayley and Sally Featherstone (2013), Boys and Girls Come Out to Play, Featherstone Education Ltd

Eikmen David (1984) The Hurried Child, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Forrai Kataline (1995) Music in the Preschool, Akademiai Printing House




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                                                    Colourstrings Music Kindergartens

have a great deal to offer young children from

the very Early Stages of their Development.


Dorothy Walker


Colourstrings Music Kindergarten was first ‘developed’ by the Hungarian born Szilvay brothers, approx 40 years ago. The approach was to introduce music to young children from 0-7yrs. It is based on the principles of Zoltan Kodaly who believed music belonged to everyone, not just the privileged few. His aim was to improve the musical education and standard of teaching of children and use the first instrument they experience, their voice. (Forrai, 1988).

Colourstrings approach children’s training in music education, by teaching them to understand the language of music through singing, avoiding problems associated with the technical skills of a manufactured instrument. If children have the opportunity to experiment creating sound with uncomplicated instruments such as their own voice and simple percussion, they can explore the connection of hearing the different sounds and their ability to make it (Eikmen 1984). Children are born with a hunger to learn and like a sponge, soak up information from a great variety of sources. (Bear, Connors and Paradiso, 2006)

Exposure to music from an early age has shown to have a positive impact on a child’s overall development and far more reaching than first thought. It has been proved to go deeper than musicianship alone impacting on the broader development areas such as co-ordination, concentration, confidence, emotion, social and listening skills, numeracy, literacy, and language as well as inspiring imagination and creativity (Coulter, 1995).

So what are these musical skills/concepts essential for good musicianship and how do they impact on a child’s broader development?

The intention of this essay is to discuss these aspects in terms of the Colourstrings methods, origins and the evidence based research behind them. It will illustrate how Colourstrings impacts on a child’s musical abilities and broader development, including pitch, tempo, melody, concentration, listening and coordination.

Colourstrings methods and origins

The developing of basic musical skills

There has been a great deal of research into the development of a baby’s early years and the continuing impact in later life. The sense of hearing (the auditory system) is one of the first senses to be developed when a baby is in the womb. The auditory system supports development of language as well as musical skills. Unlike other systems, such as the visual system where actual visual experience begins after birth, the auditory system responds to auditory experience with voice and language, music and meaningful environmental sounds in the womb, in particular during the third trimester (28–30 weeks of pregnancy)(Brown, 2014).

From 25 weeks’ gestation to 6 months of age is the most critical period for the development of the auditory system as it is at this time the hair cells of the cochlea (inner ear), the full development of the auditory nerve and the nerve pathways to the temporal lobe are tuned to receive signals of specific frequencies and intensities. (Morris, Philbin and Bose C, 2000). Kodaly suggests musical training should begin as early as possible. Indeed he states and I quote, “Nine months before the birth of the mother.” (Brooke Bagley, 2005).

Kodály believed that music is meant to develop one’s entire being. Numerous studies over the years have shown that introduction to musical training stimulates greater connectivity between the development of the left and right side (hemisphere) of the brain in the very early stages of growth and continues to be pivotal in stimulating a child’s overall development in the early stages of life. (Cooper, 2013).

Kodaly also stated there are three states of mind in a child’s method of learning: Unconscious, semi-conscious and conscious. It is important to tap into this process of learning at each stage of a child’s development (Houlahan, Tacka, 2008). Colourstrings have used this knowledge to develop a structured approach to teaching the fundamental musical skills through the singing of carefully chosen songs and rhymes reinforced by repetition at every stage throughout the early year’s classes and gently challenging them as they progress.

The brain has the fascinating ability to retain the connections gained through repetition and move onto the process of consolidation. Once a child can feed back what they have learnt, without ‘thinking’, they have moved from the temporary storage compartment of the brain to the more permanent storage compartment. They are then ready move onto the next stage of the learning process (Barry, Connors and Paradiso, 2006).

Different movements, a bank of carefully selected songs and rhymes, pitch change etc will help avoid boredom. Positive reinforcement and praise on their achievement, no matter how small, will for the majority of children, make them spontaneously engage in the class activities. Adults often find the whole process slow and boring therefore it is important to keep them informed and remind them how they learnt all those years ago (Bayley and Featherstone, 2013). This is a key aspect of Colourstrings teaching methodologies.

The Pulse

Colourstrings aim is to expose children to music as early as possible by introducing the concepts of musicianship to babies using the adults as the conduits for delivering the experiences.

The first of these concepts is the pulse which underpins all music. The pulse is defined as a regular, steady sound or motion like a heart beating or a ticking clock. It is the unit of measurement in music indicated in the time signature and tempo mark at the beginning of a musical score; it is the heart beat of a piece of music. (Concise Dictionary of Music, 1998). It is the pulse that people will find themselves unconsciously tapping when a piece of music is being played. The most important point when reinforcing the pulse is to remember that it must be constant and uninterrupted even during a rest, (Forrai, 1995)

In the Colourstrings baby and 1-2 yr old classes, the pulse is introduced by encouraging the adults to tap their child gently on any part of the body in time with the music. Bouncing and rocking (lap games) also reinforces the sense of the pulse. As children get older more movement, actions and games can be introduced. Younger children usually find it is easier to do any actions or movements when standing in the one place and using their feet and hands. 3-4yr olds are much steadier and confident with movement so more walking, marching and simple dances can be introduced to reinforce the feeling of the pulse. The pulse is reinforced throughout all the Colourstrings classes. The reinforcement of this basic skill also is known to enhance the broader development of areas of the brain related to language, numerously and co-ordination (Cooper, 2013).

Rhythm and Notation

Children will only progress to consciously becoming aware of rhythm when they are secure and confident of tapping a steady pulse on their own with no help from others, (The British Kodály Academy, 2013). This is why at every stage throughout the early years Colourstrings classes reinforcing the pulse is so important so when teaching the difference between the two it should be a smooth progression. At this stage children will also be able to use more percussion instruments to tap the pulse and other props such as a ‘scrunchie’ or parachute moving it up and down to the pulse of a song. When nearer 3yrs of age children, should be able to confidently tap the pulse themselves on different parts of their body using a variety of percussion instruments, finish off some lines in songs or rhymes, anticipate the next move or action for certain songs/rhymes and perform more complicated movements such as walking backwards, jumping and turning round on the spot.

In the Colourstrings classes the imaginary place, ‘Musicland’ created by Geza Szilvay, is where the bears live, each representing a different rhythm, Daddy bear ‘Ta-a’, Mummy Bear ‘Ta’ and Baby bear ‘Ti-ti’. Using this technique to introduce rhythm to children will make it easier for them to identify, learn and remember minims, crotchets and quavers.

When the children are secure with rhythm they will then move forward onto notation and stick notation which is both aural and visual. Again it is a gradual process and in Colourstrings the approach is to tell the story of the bears going for a walk in the snow, leaving their foot prints at first and then as the snow gets deeper needing sticks to help them. The broader areas of development such as memory, numeracy and the finer motor skills are now starting to be further influenced.

Pitch, Dynamics and Tempo

In the 1-2yrs and 2-3 yr old classes, the children will be copying the adults. It is so easy to tap into their natural instinct to imitate and copy. They are also more interactive with the adults, participating and performing the actions for the rhymes and songs. They will start to respond and react to high and low sounds, (pitch), loud and soft (dynamics) sounds and follow fast /slow actions, (tempo). They will be able to recognise songs and show appreciation for favorites.

Pitch is a complicated concept. In simple terms it is defined as the brains ability to determine if a sound is relatively ‘high’ or ‘low’ (Concise Dictionary of Music, 1998). Colourstrings introduce pitch by visual and active movement, up and down actions, showing the hand going up and down with the pitch and puppets to indicate up high and down low. As children become more secure with the concept of pitch they will then be introduced to the next stage. Colourstrings follow Kodaly’s principle of using ‘solfa’ with a movable ‘do’. Teaching young children that ‘do’ is the key note will let them hear and later understand how the notes on a scale relate to each other. Each ‘solfa’ sound has a corresponding hand sign. Children will easily begin to recognise the relationship and intervals on a scale when the sound and the physical movement of the hand are demonstrated together.

Dynamics is defined as the variation of volume and the Tempo is the speed of a piece of music. Both give the expression and variety required to make a piece of music interesting and individual. (Concise Dictionary of Music, 1998). In Colourstrings classes, many songs, rhymes, actions and dances have been specifically designed to help children feel and become aware of dynamics and tempo, loud and slow, loud and fast, soft and slow, soft and fast etc. These concepts will also be influencing the development of imagination, creativity, physical skills and social interaction.


Throughout every level in the Colourstrings classes the children are introduced to the songs in the ‘Singing Rascals’ books. This series of 3 books, developed by Colourstrings, have been carefully thought through and have shown to achieve the solid foundation in musical skills. The rhythms and melodies are simple with one sound for each syllable.

The first 2 notes shown to be easily recognised by children in the western world, is the interval so – mi, a minor third. The Pentatonic book is the first in the Sing Rascals’ series. It is based on the distinctive pentatonic scale, (do, re, mi, so, la). Using this scale, research has shown that the ability to achieve accurate tonal orientation is reached more easily and tunes without semitones are easier to sing in tune (Rauscher, 1996).

As the children continue to progress throughout the year they are introduced to the major and minor scales and the common intervals found in music. The second book in the series is the Do book which is based on the major scale and the third in the series is the La book which is based on the minor scale. Each song, with its musical and physical activity is moving towards improving the basic musical skills which will create the solid basis for developing more complex in-depth experiences for future musical training in addition to influencing other areas important for life such as confidence and self esteem.


Within Colourstrings developing listening skills is again achieved through the introduction of a variety of different songs and styles of music. Children should be happy to listen to music as well as performing it. They should be comfortable to sing to the others in the class as well as reciprocate by listening to their class mates when they sing.

Listening at the end of the lesson is encouraged and depending on age group, children will either cuddle into the adult or lie down on the floor perhaps with a cuddly toy and listen to a piece of music. This piece of music can be a song sung by the teacher, the playing of an instrument or a piece played on a CD.

They will begin to recognise the ‘listening time’ and be encouraged to stay quiet for the duration of the piece, (1 min for every year approx). Being able to listen is an important process of musical learning just as it is for many other skills in life.

Inner Ear

The combination of all the Colourstrings concepts using sound is beginning to develop the inner ear which is an essential skill for all musicians. Kodaly emphasised that, “Children who play an instrument before they sing may remain unmusical for a lifetime. That is why we come across so many skilful musicians who have no idea of the essence of music.” (The British Kodály Academy, 2013) Learning music through an instrument is an external skill, the child creates the sound through something else whereas singing is an internal skill created by the child themselves and is felt and heard internally. Young children will copy how others sing, they themselves are not consciously aware of how they sing hence why it is important for the teacher to teach by good example in order to train and protect the young voice to achieve the musical skills they will carry on through life, (Coulter, Dee Joy 1995 Music and the making of the mind). The concept of the inner ear is where one hears the sound internally, known as ‘internalising’, it is the auditory image which is present in our minds with or without external acoustic input, making it better understood and felt. When this is achieved through singing, it is a more personal and permanent influence, (Forrai, 1995). It is a thought process which can help in many broader skills necessary for areas such as numeracy, creativity, emotion etc.

Added Value and Broader development

In addition to developing a child’s musicianship skills, attending Colourstrings music classes will also nurture and support the broader areas of development. These additional skills will continue to be with the children throughout their life. Some of the areas clearly shown to be influenced by a musical experience are language, emotion, memory, concentration, physical development, coordination, and in particular, the finer motor skills, social skills, and self confidence. (The Royal Conservatory, 2014).

Children imitate; that is how they learn most of life’s skills. The Colourstrings songs and rhymes are spoken by the teacher in a rhythmic, slow and clear pronounced manner which will help develop a child’s speech. Tapping into a child’s great natural copying ability and using the right approach will influence their language and numeracy skills. The greater a child’s awareness of the phonics of speech will enhance their ability to speak and read more fluently. In addition establishing the steady feeling of the pulse/beat and sense of rhythm will aid the numeracy skills such as learning times tables and other such processes. (Rauscher, 1996)

Children’s emotions are also influenced by music. It has been established through research that there are 2 emotions associated with music: perceived emotion and felt emotion (Maudale, 1997). When children listen to music they can tell the teacher the emotion being conveyed e.g. sad, happy, spooky etc without actually experiencing the feeling. As children develop and continue to listen to music they learn that they can create imaginary situations through the perception of what the music is portraying without actually fully experiencing and unlike real life it’s not a real threat or danger (Rauscher, 1996).

Memory and concentration are also important life skills. In early years of development it has been shown that music stimulates different patterns of brain development which influence the ability to remember and concentrate. Encouraging a child’s ability to memorise songs and rhymes through repetition and practice installs a learning process necessary for school and any other educational studies they take on board. To learn an ‘instrument’ involves focus and concentration again this has a broader impact and influences the ability to learn various subjects when in school and other institutes.

In the physical development of children it is the large motor skills which develop faster that the finer motor skills. Using music as a tool will help the coordination of these 2 muscle groups in their development at the various stages of growth.

The most influential years of the development of the network connections in the brain are between 0-7yrs so the introduction of clapping, movement and using percussion instruments help to develop and focus on both motor skills. Finger games in particular help the finer motor skills which begin to develop as a child reaches 3-4 yrs. This development of intricate actions between the larger and smaller motor muscle groups will eventually assist in the learning of certain instruments which also require the physical maturity just to hold it correctly or produce a sound. e.g. the violin or trumpet.

With respect to developing social skills and self confidence, a child will try to communicate with the adult from a very early stage, making babbling and gurgling sounds.

As they grow the interaction becomes more verbal and physical so when in class this is encouraged through the actions in the songs and rhymes. Children who interact with the adult, teacher and their peers are learning to develop the social skills of communication, social etiquettes, e.g. manners, sharing, team work, patience etc. These skills and more contribute to the confidence to interact with those they will meet as they go out into the world. Music focuses on doing as opposed to observing as it is requires interaction and participation.


Through managing the introduction of fundamental musical concepts such as pitch, rhythm, melody and dynamics, Colourstrings teaching methods clearly take advantage of the power of music to subliminally develop a child’s music ability and broader development. As a learning tool, Colourstrings immerses children in one of the few activities that use both sides of the brain, linking the logical and creative at the same time. As music is multi sensory it enables many senses to interact either at the same time or singularly. The more connections children have in their brain, the faster they will learn how to process information.

The principles and structured approach of Colourstrings engages and exposes children in ‘whole body’ and ‘whole brain’ learning from the earliest possible age. Its’ tried and tested techniques are respected and used the world over. Colourstrings classes allow children the freedom to experiment and have fun, making music a joyful, memorable experience and providing positive multiple beneficial impacts any parent would wish for their children.

References Bear Mark F., Connors Barry W. and Paradiso Michael A. (2006) Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain.

Brown Laura Lewis (2014) The Benefits of Music Education.

Brooke Bagley Katie (2005) The Kodaly Method: Standardizing Hungarian Music Education.

Cooper Belle Beth (2013) Surprising Ways Music Affects and Benefits our Brains.

Concise Dictionary of Music (1998).

Coulter Dee Joy (1995) Music and the making of the mind.

Eikmen David (1984) The Hurried Child.

Forrai Kataline (1995) Music in the Preschool.

Houlahan Micheal / Tacka Philip (2008) Kodály Today, a Cognitive Approach to Elementary Music Education.

Maudale Paul (1997) Music: an invitation to listening, language and learning.

Morris B.H., Philbin M.K. and Bose C., (2000) Physiological effects of sound on the newborn.

Rauscher F (1996) The power of music.

Ros Bayley and Sally Featherstone (2013), Boys and Girls Come Out to Play

The British Kodály Academy, (2013) The Kodály Approach.

The British Kodály Academy, (2013) With Music in Mind.

The Royal Conservatory (2014) Your Child’s development: Music Study may be the best Tool.


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