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Teaching the Colourstrings violinist : student development through and beyond Colourstrings

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:45 authored by Sanzone, D
Since the 1970s, Geza Szilvay (born 1943), along with his colleagues at the East-Helsinki Music Institute, have taught several generations of professional violinists using the Colourstrings approach. Colourstrings, however, is generally accepted as an approach for teaching beginners, usually very young children who begin their instrumental studies from approximately age four to seven years old. The aim of this study was to find out how Szilvay and his colleagues develop students through and beyond Colourstrings towards a higher, professional level. Prior to this research, I observed the violin teachers and students at the East-Helsinki Music Institute and am currently undertaking the teacher certification program. My experiences at the teacher training courses and at the Institute were the chief inspiration of this research, which ultimately comprises a review of Colourstrings training and interviews with Szilvay, teachers at the Institute and a certified Colourstrings teacher in Australia. The research findings showed that violin teachers using Colourstrings should consider three areas in their teaching: philosophy, methodology and material. The interviewed teachers were questioned with regards to these three areas and a general pattern was found. The underlying philosophies of Colourstrings are inspired by the Hungarian pedagogue Zolt‚àö¬8n Kod‚àö¬8ly and remain consistent for the teaching of any student no matter what age or level. The methodologies employed by the teachers showed many similarities; however, there were differences found in comparison with the Australian teacher, given environmental contexts. The interviews with the East-Helsinki teachers also provided information on a grade system that has been put into practice at the East-Helsinki Music Institute, which complements the Colourstrings methodology. The participants gave insight into this grade system and how it is employed at the Institute; as a result, a general framework of violin study after Colourstrings was formulated.

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