The Colourstrings Kindergarten classes continue to run ONLINE at Brittens in 2021 until further notice. 

Ali Rycroft has been teaching Colourstrings classes for babies and young children since 2010 in Kent, London and New York. She also teaches music in a primary school and piano lessons from home. Ali’s love for music teaching was inspired by the wonderful lessons she took as a teenager with Joyce Rathbone, who turned her musical world inside out and gave her a whole new connection to musical life. Ali discovered Colourstrings when she took her daughters to classes in London and found the musical enchantment she would have loved as a young child. After Colourstrings teacher training, Ali continued Kodaly training in New York and has a Foundation in Dalcroze studies.

Through the pandemic, classes will continue online using Zoom until it becomes safe to get together in groups. Experience suggests that 30 minutes is plenty for an online class. After each class, Ali will provide an activity you can download to encourage you to keep singing and playing during the week, such as song recordings, dance steps, games to play or a colouring or craft project.

Spring Term 2021 - Online

Pre-school classes on Fridays

9:30 - 10:00    Walkers to 3s
10:15  - 10:45 Babies to walkers
11:00 - 11:30   3s to 4s (TBC) please check before booking this slot.
13:45 - 2:15    3s to 4s 

Classes for school-age children on Wednesdays

16:00 - 16:30      4s to 5s and older new beginners
16:45 - 17:15      5s and older who are continuing from last year

Classes will be limited to 8 zoom connections per session and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please fill in a registration form to express your interest in classes. We will then book the class and send you the joining instructions, terms and conditions and an invoice.  Classes are £7.50 per lesson, invoiced for the term in advance.

If you have any questions please email We look forward to hearing from you.

What is Colourstrings?

Our Tunbridge Wells branch is home to our Colourstrings Classes, for children aged 6 months to 7 years old. Colourstrings is a child centred approach to music and instrumental teaching based on the work of Kodaly, Dalcroze and Orff. It replaces conventional teaching in the early stages and provides the best opportunity for children to learn musicianship in an enjoyable, stimulating and extraordinarily musical way.

It was developed by the Hungarian brothers, Geza and Csasba Szilvay who have gained international recognition as conductors, educators and string pedagogues. Colourstrings has been established in Finland for over 45 years and the rest of the world since the early 1990s with outstanding results. The number of teachers following this approach to teaching young children grows annually around the world.

Musical experiences are very important during the early years. Every child is born with inherent musical ability, but if it is not tapped into early enough then it can fail to develop.

Training begins in the Music Kindergarten where you can join your child on a wonderful adventure travelling to Musicland where they learn about the basic musical concepts such as high and low (pitch), loud and soft (dynamics), short and long (rhythm), mood and style (character), fast and slow (tempo) etc.

Brittens Music Colourstrings Kindergarten aims to surround children with a positive, friendly and stimulating environment where they will have a multi-sensory and active musical experience through singing, listening, performing and accompanying with percussion instruments. Pictures, musical stories, puppets and games are used to bring alive the musical elements so that children learn unconsciously and effortlessly. By introducing music in a playful yet structured manner we believe parents/carers are giving their children the opportunity to develop a love and appreciation of music which will last a lifetime. A feature of every Colourstrings class is a short period of quiet, focused listening to classical or world music from many different periods, both recorded and live.

The Colourstrings approach of multi-sensory learning encourages not only musicianship but develops the whole personality by aiding concentration optimising social and academic skills and helping each child grow into a confident individual. Interestingly, research indicates an early musical education can help build new neural pathways which, put more simply, means growing more routes and connections in the brain along which information can travel and be processed.

Classes are offered for specific age group as follows:

Babies – walking
Walking – 3 years
3 – 4 years
Reception  – Year 1

Age 5 + with previous experience

The songs and activities lie within each age group’s capabilities, allowing room to develop and stretch their skills further whilst taking into account the emotional, developmental and musical needs of each individual child. Class size is limited to 10 children.

Multicultural folk songs, rhymes and traditional nursery songs are a weekly feature with the core song material existing in a series of books, workbooks and CDs called the Singing and Rhythm Rascals. These are designed for pre-school and Early Years school children with the aim of arousing interest in music and creating a musical environment in the child’s home.

The primary purpose of the CDs is to encourage the child to sing and sing well. The graded repertoire helps develop the best intonation/pitch accuracy. A story links each song to the next and at the end of each sequence the song is heard as a string orchestral performance of high artistic quality which leads the child naturally from singing to listening. The Rascals songs reappear in the workbooks and instrumental tutor books, creating an integrated system of learning which has been tried and tested and established in Finland for over 45 years with outstanding results.

Books and CDs are available from Brittens Music.

The Classes Explained

Babies to Walking

Colourstrings Music Kindergarten aims to provide a calm, gently guided musical experience for all to enjoy, giving you an opportunity to bond with your baby as you learn together.

Young babies eagerly respond to music when given the opportunity to experience it and the human voice is their preferred vehicle. Parents/carers learn to relax with their babies and together develop confidence while enjoying musical games, songs and rhymes with a strong pulse. Tactile bouncing, songs, tickling and peekaboo games, lullabies, circle dances, rolling and seesaw activities all encourage babies to become aware of their bodies as they start to gain more control over their movements and to develop their language and communication skills through listening and hearing others sing. It is also an opportunity for the parent/carer to increase their repertoire of songs and rhymes and to develop confidence in their own singing voice. All are designed to develop confidence between adult and infant and increase baby’s concentration.

Starting classes at this young age gives your baby an introduction and knowledge of rhymes and Colourstrings songs, giving them an excellent head start in encouraging speaking and singing when they are ready in later classes.

Walking – 3 years

At this age we aim to expose the children to as many different musical experiences as possible. We explore counting songs and rhymes, action songs, respond to music physically with our bodies, scarves and teddies, start moving (with assistance!) at different speeds and enjoy being rocked, bounced and swung. The children develop favourite songs, try out a variety of percussion instruments and meet Mummy and Baby Bear in Musicland. The structure of the class helps keep things familiar and secure as well as giving a sense of discipline and routine. 

As the children grow, the class includes more movement, circle dances and musical activities that focus on keeping the beat along with developing co-ordination, listening and language skills. As your child develops they can join in with action songs, start to contribute ideas for what to do next or whether to go fast or slow and start to sing themselves and take on solo roles with parental support. We meet Daddy, Mummy and Baby Bear in Musicland and explore the musical concepts through the three Colourstrings books as well as other songs and rhymes. We try out a variety of percussion instruments and develop our imagination through the story within the songs.

3 – 4 years

At this age children are starting to feel more confident, and with a little encouragement they are able to attend independently of their parent and carer. We continue to explore the musical concepts through fun songs and games, rhymes, movement and dances but add in the start of musical notation reading through finding Mummy and Baby Bear’s paw prints and lap different rhythms reinforcing familiar rhythm names learnt from earlier groups (ta, ti-ti etc).

The graded repertoire forms the basis of encouraging solo singing through games to develop listening, pitch matching and aurally recognising and identifying songs. Children learn to interact and co-operate in small groups and express different moods through songs, instruments and creative movement. We explore different ways to play percussion instruments and accompany our singing.

Reception to Year 1

Children in this class start to link the songs they have learned to the musical concepts we have previously explored, as well as beginning to consciously understand rhythm and pitch. They start to translate the rhythm of the songs into ‘bear language’ which then moves them towards reading musical notation. They also begin translating the pitches within the songs with the help of Solfa Sam, learning the pitches through solfa (Do, Re, Mi) and hand-signs. This class is lots of fun, with musical games, exploration of percussion instruments, clapping songs and dances.

It is strongly recommended that any children new to Colourstrings starting this class purchase the Pentatonic book and CD (these are available at Brittens Music). Progression depends on the children knowing the songs well.

Please fill in a registration form to express your interest in classes. We will then book the class and send you the joining instructions, terms and conditions and an invoice. If you have any questions please email We look forward to hearing from you.