completed a science degree, studying pure mathematics alongside music performance as an undergraduate, Helen has always been
interested in the parallels and connections between these disciplines. Thankfully she narrowly escaped from a much earlier
inclination in the direction of computer programming!! As a young teacher, she was very interested in working things
out from 'first principles' and in the logic of the processes behind the development process for young string players.
This has continued to be a theme of her work and to be developed with ever increasing practical knowledge and experience of
working directly with the human relationships involved in supporting young string players in a variety of environments to
develop to fulfil their potential. She is interested in the history of ideas behind string teaching, and has a strong knowledge
of the work of Paul Rolland, Shinichi Suzuki and many more eminent thinkers. She is interested in how others have then developed
these ideas over time, and the range of characters who have contributed towards the string teaching literature that string
teachers all over the world enjoy today!
* Developing clarity and greater understanding of the art and craft of teaching the cello – preservation
of the great traditions, and how we can develop and evolve these to be relevant for current and future generations.
* Creating and supporting opportunities for mentoring and learning through observation and collaboration
as tools for professional development and building of skills and confidence, both for young string teachers and for experienced
teachers at all stages in their careers as ongoing professional development.
* Teamwork in teaching. Collaborations and opportunities
for professional exchange and dialogue.
* Neuroplasticity and the further development of neural pathways at various life stages through learning
of a string instrument
* Therapeutic uses of the one-to-one relationship through music education in cases of both diagnosed and
undiagnosed special educational needs, learning difficulties and mental health issues
· * Practical and scientific
developments in string instrument production to help facilitate functional and cost effective tools for learning across the
range of developmental stages
* Ergonomics and accurate fittings of instruments, bows and stools at all stages of learning, with specific
reference to individual body dimensions for attaining greatest freedom with the instrument
* Bows: historical
and contemporary including the traditions of the great English and French makers in particular and contemporary developments
using materials and workmanship from Brazil and China and beyond.
* Learning about the life stories and paths
of development of musicians who she meets, with a particular interest in the unconventional, especially the quirky stories
frequently to be found in the double bass world.
* Natural processes at play in the learning process in cases of varying ages and social environments
* Useful, practical and cost effective editions of printed music to be of greatest use to teachers and students
in the learning process, designed and thought out with care to allow most efficient use of lesson time and students' practice
* The use of group learning as a positive tool for development for string players, whether in addition
to individual lessons or as a complete learning model.
Helen completed her MMus in Performance
Studies degree at Trinity College of Music in January 2007. This involved two years of study, culminating in the completion
of a final recital, a lecture recital, and a dissertation. Her dissertation paper since attracted wider interest, and she
was invited to give lecture presentations about her work at a number of conferences. This work has been a great influence
upon her teaching in particular, but in conjunction with much hands on practical experience and knowledge gained through application
The paper titled "Multiple facets of the centre of the body in the communication process
in music performance: perspectives from the worlds of music, dance and Eastern spirituality." She draws upon ideas presented
in recent cognition and perception literature, including the work of Jane Davidson and Aaron Williamon; theories from the
world of dance including the work of Mabel Todd and Rudolf Laban; and Eastern spiritual practices, such as the Japanese practice
of "Hara" and Iyengar Yoga. The examination of some of the inner processes at play in the process of music performance
would be of interest to any performing musician.
stage of teaching: to learn awareness of parts of the body;
Second stage: to make the mind feel the action;
Third stage: Acquaintance, or the state of intimate knowledge, whence intelligence
and body become one;
stage: perfection or ripeness."
Conference invitations include The International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance:
Conferences on Health and the Performing Arts - invited by Professor Carola Grindea, who was at the forefront of the field
of the study of body movement in performance for many years. Carola was the original founder of EPTA and initiator of ideas
both of teachers working together to share ideas and of musicians and teachers collaborating with medical professionals and
alternative health therapists to facilitate better and healthier performance and learning.
teacher training includes study of the philosophy of Dr Shinichi Suzuki and many aspects of approaching the teaching
of students in a Suzuki environment. Coursework tasks included detailed study and memorisation of the repertoire, the
development of teaching points through the early books and study of various practical elements of the teaching relationships
including the changing role of the parent through the ongoing path of development from the earliest stages. Helen holds
a Suzuki level 4 teaching qualification and participates in ongoing teacher training and mentoring schemes and regular collaborations
Study of Anatomy and Physiology is something which Helen considers
important to her work with developing bodies of young students. She achieved an ITEC in Anatomy and Physiology after
a period of study in 2013. She is also very grateful to her yoga teachers for helping her to develop her teaching style
Presentations and articles
for parents of current students help with the ongoing education of the parents of young cellists who also need to be supported
in their journey as parents of developing cellists.
Educating the parents of students about
the theory behind the work done with their children is vital to help their understanding of the process and to help them feel
more involved in the development of their child. The approaches to communication have to be tailored to different teaching
environments. Presentations and written communications can be particularly relevant to students having lessons in situations
where regular observation is not possible.
Articles include submissions
to the European String Teachers Association magazine, London Cello Society Newsletter and regular contributions to the Cello
Club magazine which Helen previously collated and edited. Published articles include a discussion of various approaches
to teaching beginner bow holds for the ESTA magazine and interviews with Melissa Phelps and Laura van der Heijden in the Cello
Exchange of ideas with people from within
the music profession and from other related disciplines is encouraged. Please email Helen if you are interested in discussing
ideas. She is always keen to exchange ideas with interested parties!