Training Team


Yvonne Frye began learning the violin at the age of six. As a tertiary student, she studied with Prof. Helge Slaatto and Mr John Lambos at the Hoschschule für Musik, Detmold, graduating with a Diploma of Violin Pedagogy. She continued her musical studies at the Kärtner Landeskonservatorium in Klagenfurt, Austria in the violin class of Prof. Helfried Fister, who was her most influential and important teacher.


In 1996 she met Géza und Csaba Szilvay. Working closely with Géza Szilvay, Yvonne translated and edited the handbook for teachers, and other Colourstrings literature into German.


In 2007 Géza Szilvay invited Yvonne to teach at the East-Helsinki-Music-Institute. Since then she is leading her own violin class.


Since 2009 she is teaching the Violin Pedagogy at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.


As a lecturer Yvonne is giving Colourstrings seminars around the world:  Münster Musikhochschule, ESTA Germany, ESTA Austria, Sibelius Academy Helsinki, Bundesakademie Trossingen, Hochschule für Musik Hans Eisler Berlin, Chile (Foji), South Africa, Australia, Poland (Censa) , Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Denmark etc.

In addition she is teaching chamber music for young musicians and gives masterclasses for young violinists.


Heidi Viksten is an experienced violin teacher who has been working at East Helsinki Music Institute since 1982 and is now vice principal of the Institute.


However, Heidi’s history with the institute goes way back as she had started her violin studies there with Géza Szilvay at the age of eight.


Géza Szilvay’s method included group lessons right from the beginning. After three years of playing the violin, the group did its first tour abroad. This Hungarian tour was very exciting.


Two years later Csaba Szilvay, Géza’s elder brother, moved to Helsinki and started to teach the cello at East Helsinki Music Institute. That was the beginning of the famous and well-known orchestra, The Helsinki Junior Strings.


Heidi Viksten played in this orchestra until 1982. With the Helsinki Junior Strings she got to know all the major concert halls around the Helsinki area as well as the radio, television and recording studios.


Heidi’s unforgettable memories also include Junior Strings concert tours in Europe, North America and Japan.


For me personally Colourstrings is most of all about creating a foundation for a lifelong relationship to music.

As a 6 year old (1991), enthusiastic violin student I was lucky to begin my musical journey with Colourstrings.

The passionate musical atmosphere of the East-Helsinki Music Institute and it´s orchestra, The Helsinki Strings, inspired me to make music into a profession.

After graduating from high school, I moved to Austria to study violin (performing arts) with professor Helfried Fister. During my studies home and abroad I became more and more fascinated with teaching. Colourstrings was naturally the way to go in making teaching ”art”.

After finishing my pedagogical degree (2009), I have been teaching at the East-Helsinki Music Institute together with all of my wonderful Colourstrings colleagues. Besides teaching we are working on making Colourstrings recognized and available to teachers and children around the world.

In the Colourstrings Association I am the one to provide you with information on our teacher training courses and help you join the Association! I would be very pleased to connect you to each other to create a network of Colourstrings professionals all around the world!

I hope that our enthusiasm for Colourstrings will inspire you to dive into this musical treasure!




Csilla Tuhkanen, born in Helsinki, began to study the cello at the East Helsinki Music Institute with her father Csaba Szilvay before she was taken into the classes of Marko Ylönen and Heikki Pekkarinen.


She continued her studies at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest with I. Csurgay and László Mezö.


2006-2007 she was awarded an Erasmus scholarship for further studies with Heikki Rautasalo at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where she passed the diploma with distinction.


During these years she already started to teach the cello at the East Helsinki Music Institute and took over the position of the principal cello in the orchestra “Helsinki Strings”. Currently she appears regularly as a chamber musician and as a soloist in Finland and abroad. Tours as a soloist led her to Italy and Austria amongst many other countries.


Csilla Tuhkanen studied chamber music with the “Vogler Quartett” at the “Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart” in Germany. At present she teaches at the East Helstinki Music Institute.

Taru Aarnio began her cello studies at the age of 9 at the East Helsinki Music Institute. The most important teacher in her early studies was professor Csaba Szilvay. She continued her studies with Tapani Heikinheimo and Raimo Sariola and finished her pedagogical degree in 1987. 1987-89 she continued her studies with professor Kazimierz Michalik.

Taru Aarnio played in the Helsinki Strings 1973-1982. The orchestra gave concerts in Hungary, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, The United States, Canada and Japan. During her studies Taru worked part-time as a cello teacher at the Helsinki Conservatory and the East Helsinki Music Institute.

Since 1987 she has been teaching at the East Helsinki Music Institute and since 2000 also at the East Helsinki Music School. She has specialized in the Colourstrings method, and is often demonstrating the method at Colourstrings teacher training courses.

Pirkko Simojoki started playing the violin at the age of 5 as Géza Szilvay’s pupil.


She changed to the viola at the age of 14 and continued her studies at The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where she took her second degree viola diploma in 1996, achieving the top grade. She also studied at The Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv.


Her most important and long-term viola teachers were Matti Hirvikangas and Yuri Gandelsman.


She is a long-standing section leader of the Helsinki Strings, nowadays coaching the viola section. From 1993 to 2002, Pirkko Simojoki played in the Finnish National Opera Orchestra, first as a tutti player and later as a section leader.


Today she is lecturer in viola playing at the East Helsinki Music Institute and teaches viola and pedagogy at the Sibelius Academy. She has adapted the Colourstrings method for the viola, working in close co-operation with Géza Szilvay. Since August 2008 Pirkko Simojoki has been vice director of the East Helsinki Music Institute.

His musical life started as a choirboy at Truro Cathedral in Cornwall. After leaving school David Vinden studied at the Royal Academy of Music (1967 – 71) and Royal Holloway College (1971 – 4). His first job was as Director of Music at Tiffin Girls’ School in Kingston Upon Thames. Concerned at the basic lack of musicianship in children David explored ways of developing this. He went to Hungary for two years 1981 – 1983 to absorb the Kodály approach to music education. He returned to take up a position at the Purcell School later becoming its director of music until 1995. In 1987 he was awarded an ARAM for his services to music education. He and his wife Yuko set up the Kodály centre of London in 1992. He is currently a part time lecturer in Kodály musicianship and choral conducting at Trinity College of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.


David also works for Colourstrings™, teaching children as young as 4. His work as a choral conductor and Kodály educator have taken him all over the world, America, Russia, Finland, Australia, Japan and Europe. He returns to lecture in Hungary at the Liszt Academy, as well as Szeged and Debrecen Conservatoires. He was an elected director of the International Kodály Society and also works for the British Kodály Academy as its Music director. In 2005 he was given the Kodály Institute award for his services to the Kodály world.


He has produced some 30 books and teaching aids. Other musical interests include editing early music and he has just finished editing the Musica Transalpina collections of 1588 and the complete collection of Canons by Luigi Cherubini.


He is collaborating with Cyrilla Rowsell to produce a seven year programme of Kodály-based music lessons to be published as Jolly Music [an extension of Jolly Phonics]. Volume 1 was released in March 2008 and volume 2 is expected to be published early in 2009 [see] He is also collaborating with Mónica Benedek to produce a new book called the ‘Fundamentals of Harmony through relative Solfa’.

Empty section. Edit page to add content here.
Empty section. Edit page to add content here.