Reviews & Testimonials
Everything was explained very well at the Training. It was very helpful to change around the clefs with the stories and characters and catchy songs. It will inspire my teaching bringing fun again to theory! – Jane Parker
The Stave House Training course was a real eye-opener as to how to teach music in a more fun, understanding way. I gained information on hoe to plan lessons for children from age 3 and inspire pupils I currently teach to make music fun and understandable. Stave House also helps to develop theory, sight-singing and aural skills that I will use with my pupils and gives me the confidence to do this and work in a class/nursery setting as well as private one to one pupils – Ruth Swain
I found Stave House to be easily accessible and fun for children. All of the characters and songs are catchy and children love being able to visualise and learn these. I found the training course eye-opening and everything makes so much sense. The step by step process going through the stages is not too much or over-facing to children – Naomi French Primary School Teacher
I attended the Stave House training course and it was very informative allowing me to revise my own musical skills and I feel equipped to teach Stave House to my students – Elaine Fountain
Stave House pupils presented a concert on Wednesday to KS2 and some parents. Stave House do a fantastic job to provide such a rich musical education for our pupils, from FS all the way to our Grade 4 Violinists who have both achieved distinction very recently – Mr Greg Waters The Bishops’ School Headteacher
We would like to pass on our enormous thanks to Ruth for completely transforming our daughters love of music. Having had four years of traditional piano lessons she hated practising and never played the piano for fun. The first time she had a lesson with Ruth was the first time we had seen her smile whilst playing the piano, it was a joy to watch and to see her getting up early so she can spend an hour playing her piano before school is a complete revelation. The Stave House method is the perfect way to teach children to love and understand music. Nick & Claire Orr
The Stave House method is very helpful in assisting understanding in music theory. I had studied a bit of music theory some years before I was introduced to Stave House and had not held on to what I learned because it seemed boring and complicated. Stave House makes it easier and more fun, making it more appealing for anybody who would like to study or play music. Adrian A. Revaka – South Africa
After studying the Stave House Method I have found it better and simpler to understand than other methods of teaching music. It seems less complicated and easier to remember. I would suggest Stave House to anybody who wants to learn music. Muisi S Rendoh – South Africa
The way the Stave House method simplifies the way of learning music has me drawn to wanting to learn how to read, write and play music, which was something that I’ve never thought was for me though I involve music with my bible study class, my dance class and our praise and worship at church. I now want to encourage everyone who works with music or has no clue about the music world to get into it. Kgomotso Kinchen – USA
I covered for the class music teacher yesterday and did Stave House with the whole of nursery. They LOVED IT. I’m with them again next week and they’ve already had the teacher email to say, “Can we play in Stave House again!” Melissa Whennell
The children absolutely love learning music now that we are using Stave House! What is more impressive teacher’s feel that they can teach music in an engaging and creative way. The progress the children have made in a short time is remartkable – children in Key Stage 1 love Ferdie and his friends; this has enabled them to begin to read sheet music and play music independently and collaboratively as a class. Justin Wrench – Headteacher – Shalford Primary School
“You do incredible and valuable work for, I imagine, very little thanks, but keep fighting the good fight cos music heals the world!” Jamie Anderson
“Just to say again, what a great concert. It was beautifully well disciplined, had some moments of real musicianship, plenty for everyone to join in with, contemporary and classical styles, and some very cute moments! I am so grateful for what you are injecting into our school’s music, and the opportunities you are giving the children – and the quality and depth of what you are doing with them.” Mr Greg Waters (The Bishops School Headteacher) Cramphorn Theatre Concert 29.10.15
“It really was brilliant – you achieved a lot in 2 hours!” Mrs Charlotte Tew Cramphorn Theatre Concert
“Thanks for a really useful course, I am really excited about setting my school off on a ‘Stave House’ journey” – Vanessa Welch (Duncombe School Hertford)
“Such an accessible system to teach Music notation and rhythm. Fun and engaging for even the very young children ..” – Carrie Handscombe (Bentley CEVCP)
“Truly Inspirational Ruth . I am excited that Stave House will be used in our school” – Clair Cooper (Springfield Junior School, music coordinator)
“I am in awe of the creativity you have ! I can’t wait to pass your ideas and passion for music onto the children in my school.” – Diane Robson (Thurston CEVCP, music coordinator)
“Thank you very much -this method is an inspirational way for people to teach music. It makes the teaching of theory fun too!” – Genevieve Wich (Thurston CEVCP, music coordinator)
“Very informative and inspiring, a clear method of effective teaching that both music specialists and non-musical teachers can implement . Thank you.” – Dawn Bradley (Walsham-le -Willows, CEVP)
“I have really enjoyed teaching Stave House. I have been totally blown away with the results. I am hoping to expand starting our new school term in September.” – Grace Henning (Music Teacher from Ireland)
“She has never been so inspired by music lessons before.” – Linda Smith
“I have been using the stavehouse method this past month after your seminar in Cyprus and I am so excited about it! My students (5 year olds) just LOVE it! Even their parents are intrigued and are anticipating the next lesson!” – Marianna Savvidou
“I certainly was impressed with the children’s understanding of notation and how involved and motivated they all were. Keep it up!” – Ross McTaggert (Head Teacher of Barnes Farm Junior School)
“Have to proudly reply that I did a session for our peris during inset so that they knew what on earth the children were talking about when they mentioned Dunstan the Dragon, etc! Glad to say that most of them are now using it in their lessons!” – Rachael Toolan (Hereford Cathedral Jr School)
“I am particularly impressed with the easy and natural way the Nursery children acquire the understanding of musical notation and how quickly the knowledge becomes embedded with everything else they are learning at that stage! I am aware that very young brains have the capacity for enormous learning- it just seems obvious to me to include music in that stage.” – Margaret Callender
“So excited my resources have arrived. Let the fun begin!” – Bridget Burke (Rattlesden Primary School)
“Thank you so much for contributing to the richness of the Ideas Festival. I’m really excited by the glimpse I caught yesterday of your work” – Leonie Ramondt FRSA FHEA PGCHE M Ed (Ideas Festival Director and Ideas Hub Co-Founder)
“The concert was a revelation and very enjoyable. It really is a phenomenal approach and so good to have you within the festival (especially during half term) – it was exactly the right thing for our theme. The work you do is obviously making a huge difference. I will spread the word about it amongst colleagues” – Counceiller of Chelmsford, Roger Estop (changingchelmsford)
“I will certainly be raving about Stave House! The children love it and I love teaching it.” – Clair Cooper (Music Coordinator, Springfield Jr, Ipswich)
“I love using Stave House and was thrilled on Friday when my nursery group aged 3 saw the music the Year 2 classes had written collaboratively on the whiteboard and they ‘read’ the jogging walk wai-t rhythms really confidently.” – Vanessa Welch (Head of Music, Duncombe School).
Indeed music is terribly limited if there is no understanding. I came all the way from Botswana, Gaborone to the UK just to see what is done here in Stave House. I came to understand that this school of music is a life saviour because it has redeemed me from music-less to music-full. For the past 15 years I have been a musician who couldn’t read music, that was until I was introduced to Stave House which has now enabled me to read and write music with so much unshakeable confidence and love through harmless and friendly methods.
I would like to encourage those that are out there to have a look into what Stave House has got and trust me, you shall never regret why you chose it. It will change your music form at an instant, I guarantee you that it is really worth it because for myself it has taken only 2 consecutive days to understand reading and writing music.
When I was told about this supposedly magical musical method where pretty much anyone could learn how to read, write and play music, I was somehow sceptical or uncertain the way it would be done.
But the thing is, the knowledge is not only gained in a short period of time, but also in a non-boring way for children to engage in the activities and participate.
Now that I have been able to witness the Stave House Method in action and observe the ways in which it is carried out, I am very impressed and surprised at the effectiveness that will give the wished results.
The Stave House’s way means that the children are not only learning, but also playing and being told stories, being encouraged to imagine and create.
I have never liked music because of the fact that you have to learn how to read it and go through the whole process of learning the different musical notes.
However after a week of observation, as an 18 year old non-musical student, I now believe in music again thanks to the Stave House method.
David was brain-damaged at birth. As a result, he can be impulsive and finds it hard to concentrate. His mum is a deeply musical lady and a past student of mine, who was committed to helping her son through music.
David started piano lessons with me at the age of six, using a traditional tutor, his mum committed to helping him at home, but we both knew progress might be slow. It was! Around half way through the book, we had reached a ceiling. David was unengaged, lessons were hard work despite my best efforts, and lessons were starting to be missed.
Then I read about the Stave House method in the LCM’s magazine Forte, and saw a way forward, with the board, the songs and touchy-feely characters. I rang Ruth and Russell Travers who were extremely helpful, and to cut a long story short, I started David with the first song, with magnetic characters to match. He was engaged immediately, and to cut another long story short, has never looked back! Recently he gained his Level One award, and this has energised him enormously, as you can see from the picture.
David is now eight, and we are now on tutor book two, exploring the bass clef, still with the help of the Stave House workbooks and Bass Clef song. Though he still struggles sometimes, I know he has a firm foundation to take him as far as he can go. And no more missed lessons!
Taking the course for the Stave House was beneficial since I observed a lot. Not only do I now understand Stave House better, but I’ve also learnt new ideas and ways of approaching children of different ages. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet great new people!
I strongly believe that the course for Stave House is needed and I definitely recommend it to other teachers since one day course is not enough!
Thank you Mr and Mrs Travers for offering me the opportunity to have such a great experience!!
The children in the Ocean Room have really taken to the Stave House method and thoroughly enjoy using it. In the classroom they have free access to the individual board with the character magnets, which is used on a daily basis. I can often hear the children singing the songs while placing the magnets into the positions. It is amazing how quickly they learn the names and positions of the characters! The songs are very catchy and the children sing them all the time, only the other day a child had asked me to help them with the activity and I was trying to sing “Here is a house” as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the others working, by the time I had said Ferdie the for the third time I could hear all of the children singing with me, they continued singing with me to finish the rest and many had come to watch. When I wish to have several children using it, I will use a large board and magnets and we are always creating our own little games to play and making our own tunes.
Laura Wyatt, vocal and instrumental teacher:-
When Ruth Travers first spoke to me about the Stave house method I immediately fell in love with the idea. Using stories and songs and animal characters to engage a child’s imagination and to make notation fun and accessible just made so much sense!
I first began using Stave house with my 3 year old nephew and he was instantly enthralled by this new ‘game’. He is now nearly four and can identify all of the notes on the treble clef and can clap all of the basic rhythms.
Working at Barnes Farm Infants Schools with Year 1 and 2 teaching Stave House has been a truly wonderful experience so far. I am constantly amazed at the speed with which these young children are grasping the language of music notation. In just ONE TERM the majority of pupils in year 2 have learned enough to be able to enter for their Stave House level 1 Award and are able to sight read ‘Mary had a little lamb’ and play it on chimbars or hand bells reading from the music.
My little year 1’s are always excited about music lessons and ask me as I pass then in the corridor “have we got any new characters today ?” it is always encouraging to hear such enthusiasm!
I would recommend Stave house to any instrumental teacher looking to teach young children how to read music notation in a way that they will readily connect with and understand. I have already begun using Stave House with all of my young students and in April I will be starting group music classes for 3-8 year olds based around Stave House at my new Theatre school near Colchester. I am very proud to be a part of such an exciting development in children’s education.
Joshua Brown, Examiner for London College of Music:-
Joshua Brown examined some of the first Stave House candidates and made the following comments after their assessments;
The work displayed by these academically non-selective groups is impressive.
Ruth has developed a highly professional scheme of work and her aims and objectives are educationally sound.
All the children are given structured learning which is significantly above the National average for their cohort. The understand and enjoy what they are taught, and the outcome is musical accomplishment of high calibre.
I saw positive reinforcement throughout the sessions and an all-inclusive involvement by the children. It was abundantly clear they are acquiring excellent musicianship skills.
I cannot endorse and commend Ruth’s achievements and aspirations too highly.
At Aintree School of Music we are committed to providing quality instrumental and singing tuition to students of all ages and standards.
We are constantly asked ‘what’s the right age for children to start learning piano?’ and before we found Stave House, our answer to this question would have been aged 7. Should you ask us this now we’d say 3 or 4!!
The reason Stave House has been such a success at our Music School is simple – our students enjoy their lessons and parents see their children progress, in a fun yet educational environment.
We are looking forward to welcoming our first Brownie Group during the Autumn term. We are starting two Saturday morning classes and also entering our piano students for their first exams! We are really looking forward to see all our students progress!!
Update 2015: Since achieving the the DipLCM in Early Years Music summer 2014 we have had great pleasure in assessing Aintree School of Music Students. We have 5 teachers now using the Stave House method within our school and it is proving extremely rewarding for our young students. We are finding children are moving onto the LCM instrumental/singing grades extremely quickly as they have great understanding to confidently approach the syllabus.
Achieving the diploma was a great experience – I spend time talking with Philip Aldred (Chief Examiner for LCM) about our approach and he gave me some invaluable advice. The examination was very practical; we spent time reviewing a dvd I had prepared of a class and we reviewed how we could improve certain aspects of this. The scope of the examination allowed me to demonstrate different techniques we use for teaching early childhood music in addition to Stave House.
It is a privilege to assess for Stave House. It provides us with the opportunity to review and ensure consistency of our teachers work and also to give instant feedback.
LCM SENIOR EXAMINER LOVES STAVE HOUSE:-
Senior Examiner for the London College of Music Elaine Smith hosted a Stave house workshop for 10 colleagues in Norfolk after being so impressed with the sight reading skills of the Stave House trained children she examined for LCM grades summer 2013.
All 10 teachers bought Stave House and Elaine wrote -“it’s fantastic – I’m totally Committed” she also went to to tell us that she used stave house with a year 2 flute student and in just 20 mins the students understanding of sight reading had improved so much that in an exam her score would have gone up from 6 to 9 !
Yiannis Christophides, Professional violinist writes:-
Ruth this all sounds very exciting and, again, I have to congratulate you for your wonderful “Stave House” methodology and pedagogy. Teaching children to read and write music MUST start at an early age, as soon as they pick up an instrument, it must all run parallel. Waiting until they have achieved a few practical grade exams is too late and by the time they enter the secondary music classroom, well, it’s too late; their interests lie elsewhere and the music teacher’s job gets much harder.
Sarah Bryant – editor of on line magazine ‘Pyjama School’:-
Stave House is a method of teaching children to read, write and play music. It uses a magnetic board and magnetic characters to represent the notes on the stave, and the children learn musical notation through stories, games and songs. My mum, who is a music teacher, has been teaching Aaron and Tabitha using the Stave House method since the beginning of the year. Over the Easter holidays we borrowed the kit so that the children could show me what they’ve been learning. I was so impressed that I decided to write this review.
How does it work?
Stories about the characters explain where the notes belong on the stage and games are used to reinforce learning. The children can place the notes in the correct place whilst singing along to the catchy songs on the CD. Tabitha was 2 years 9 months when she started learning Stave House, and after just 3 lessons she gave me a demonstration of placing the notes F, A, C and E on the stave. After a term she can do all of the treble clef notes.
The teacher’s manual outlines nine basic steps to introduce the treble clef notes, rhythm and composition. Younger children might stay on the first few steps for up to two years, whilst older children can combine the basic steps with composition, theory exercises and playing an instrument.
The stories and songs do an excellent job of explaining that the bass clef is just a continuation of the treble clef. The rhythm family introduces note values and timing in an easily understood way. Eventually this can be combined with notes for composition and sight reading.
What are the benefits?
I’ve always been keen on introducing my children to music at a young age, but until I encountered Stave House I would never have believed that two and three year olds could read music without the aid of colours, numbers or some other gimmick!
The first thing I’d have to mention is that it is fun! The stories really capture the children’s imagination and make music approachable for children as young as 2.5 years old. Apparently it also works really well for children with special educational needs. I can imagine it being very suitable for active children, especially boys, who might not get along with more traditional methods of music teaching.
Secondly, I love the fact that it builds musical foundations for life. It is “real” music and there are no bad habits to unlearn later, unlike some other methods that I’ve looked into. The skills learnt will apply to any instrument, music or teacher. Aaron has now started reading simple standard music for the keyboard and has found the transition easy. Chime bars, recorders and violins are also popular starting instruments.
Finally, you don’t need to have a musical background in order to use Stave House with your children, as it is very simple for anyone to understand. Nor does it require hours of practice every week, so it is easy for busy parents to fit in.
Who can use it?
Parents, parent and toddler groups, nurseries and preschools, home educators, home-ed groups, schools and clubs to name just a few!
Although Stave House is a brilliant method for introducing very young children to music notation, it certainly isn’t limited to that age group. The teacher’s manual recommends that it can be used for 10 and 11 year olds, and my mum has even used it with some of her secondary school pupils!
Stave House can be used either in one-to-one situations or in group settings. Ruth Travers, the creator of Stave House, worked in a Montessori school and based the method on Montessori principles, so it is ideal for use in Montessori settings.
Where can I find out more?
You can find out more, watch some video demonstrations and buy a complete pack at www.stavehouse.co.uk. There is also an interesting report about Stave House in the London College of Music magazine.
Rebecca Watkinson – Parent of a young student writes about Ruth’s Stave House method:-
“Her system is beautifully and intuitively designed so that he is skipping through the early stages of music theory without realising he is learning. Not only is the Stave House method excellent, but also this matches the quality of her teaching. She provides bespoke lessons and responds to our son’s interests, activity levels and whims. For example, he enjoys conducting, no problem as he becomes the conductor and she plays violin! We have never had to force, or even encourage our son to attend lessons, concentrate during class or practise at home as he does all these activities willingly. We are sure that this will provide the foundation of a lifetime of contented music making.”
Ruth Collin – assessor for Stave House & conductor:-
Ruth examined non-selective groups of violinists for their Stave House Level 1 exams and had the following feedback for Marcia Perkins (Stave House teacher) after their assessments:
“I so enjoyed it and hope to do more in the future. But I am completely in awe of what you have achieved with them all! You should be incredibly proud! They so got it – it was lovely and not only did they get it, but they were really enjoying it and that will stay with them forever, whether they pursue music or not. Well Done you!
Trevor Miller, Mayor of Chelmsford:-
Thank you for inviting the Mayoress and me to see your Children’s Music Educational Workshop at the Cramphorn Theatre today. The children were obviously enjoying the workshop and I am sure it will have developed into a full scale performance this afternoon. Your Stave House method of teaching very young children to read music is ingenious and will introduce them earlier to the joys of music.
Hilda Littlewood – Granddaughter’s enjoyment of Stave House:-
Thought you might like to hear about the joy of the Stave House method with my granddaughter. She is five, but has some special needs.
Whenever she comes to the house she runs into the room where the piano is, asking for a “piano lesson.” She loves the songs and can now find C,D and E on the piano by herself, knowing what she is doing. Today we played “Three Blind Mice” as a duet many many times, she was having such fun, we even videoed it at her request for Daddy.
If I had tried this using traditional methods I don’t think we would have got so far so easily, with so much fun, and with such understanding on her part. Thank
Stacey Minshull- Vocal and Piano teacher and Stave house class teacher – Colchester:-
Just wanted to message you to say how great the training was today and how inspired I feel. Sang along with the cd in the horrendous traffic on the way home.
My daughter, who shows no interest in a standard piano lesson (much to my frustration) sat with me to sing the first two songs, used the board (LOVED the board) and after 30 minutes is naming all the note sounds for F A C and E plus D and can find D on the piano without help and play the “Dunston the Dragon” rhythm – I’m amazed.
She has also been going around singing “Amos the Ant” – how fantastic.
She even sat Tone deaf Daddy down and told him the whole story of stave house, who lives where and why and how Furdy met Dunston
Dawn Bradley (Walsham-le-Willows Primary):-
Just wanted to let you know we have started using our Stave House resources in school. I have taught a couple of lessons so far with my Year 3/4 class and with our Year 4/5 class. They absolutely love the resources and the Year 4/5 children have been writing simple four or five note melodies using the characters and then translating these to a stave they have drawn themselves on paper. My Year 3/4 class are making their own ‘Stave House’ tactile display for the wall, using your characters they have drawn themselves, that they can move around using blue tac on their own stave. I am planning to teach it to Year 5/6 after half term and they are going to plan how they would teach it to Reception and Year 1 children.
Sorry this has turned into a bit of an essay but it’s all going well so far and I’m so pleased with what we bought!
Stephanie Barber (Engayne Primary School):-
I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you and share some of the fantastic work that has been happening at my school since I participated in Stave House training 18 months ago.
Our school is a large 3-form primary, with many of the teachers classing themselves as “non-musician” and with the new curriculum upon us two years ago, the majority of my staff were overwhelmed at the thought of teaching upper KS2 where they were expected to be using stave notation for compositions and listening activities. Even the Y3/4 were quaking in their boots. My Headteacher found out about Stave House from her son’s school and I attended a one day course in Ipswich. To say that I was inspired is an understatement. I suddenly saw a way into music for those who lacked confidence and it was an exciting time.
Purchasing a basic class set of resources I set about implementing Stave House into Year 1 and 2. I have written planning for both year groups which is progressive and linked to the current curriculum framework objectives. After a brief amount of training to ‘get started’, they began using the planning in Summer 2015 with immediate success. I have since carried out two more staff training events in order for our Yr1-4 staff to use the materials for beginner stave knowledge. The training was very well received and many teachers began using the materials to support their work in music composition and playing tuned instruments. The use of our glockenspiels was so frequent I have had to purchase two more new sets to meet demand! This year I started to write stave house into our planning for year 3, we use a mix of Stave House, Charanga and Music Express. The children who started in Year 1 Summer 2015 are now about to move to Year 3 and Stave House is making its progression through the school.
Following on from this great success, one of my roles as Leader for Music is to share our experiences and support our cluster of schools in the borough. I was lead teacher for two cluster staff meetings where I met with current music leaders in five other schools. In the second meeting, we were all sharing resources and on of things I showed them a little taster of our work with Stave House. They were very interested, with some schools asking me if it was possible to host a Stave House introduction in the borough. (We often run training events with partner companies for our cluster schools)
I am also a mentor for university students at our school in partnership with the University of East London. At a recent observation from one of the professional mentors, a student was observed teaching Stave House in year 2. The mentor approached me and asked about the resource. She was interested in organising for me to speak to the new students in Sept/Oct about the music resources we use here as they have some music specialists starting in the new year.
I am really keen to continue the great work we are doing here.