Helen Jacob-Stein
Status: Member
Member Since: June 22, 2015
Last Visit:May 25, 2023

Helen Jacob-Stein

I was so-called "Traditionally-trained", as I grew up and learned to play violin in the UK, during the 1950s-60s, well before it became well-enough known to the majority. My parents supplied my violin, lessons at school with great, kind, encouraging teachers, for whom I'll be eternally grateful. They reminded me to practice, but that was enough: I loved it! I remember being bothered about certain out-of-tune notes, trying to find the correct pitch... When I moved to Toronto in '71 I continued my musical explorations, and under the influence of popular and rock musicians I knew, started learning to improvise, freeing myself from limitations of notation. (Here I clarify: we need notation, but not to be bound to it to the exclusion of musical expression.) University studies in Baroque violin, medieval music and more classical training followed. Freelance violin playing in many and varied ensembles (ballet, symphonic concerts, chamber music, the whole gamut). One of my chamber music collaborators (bless you, Don Di Novo!) told me about the Suzuki approach to teaching/learning. I learned how to audition, won a symphony orchestra job, took solo gigs, including some Suzuki pieces in my list. Started teaching, took many Suzuki teacher training courses, and I've been teaching many students, both Suzuki and non-, at a large music school here in Toronto where I live. The phrase "life-long learning" is something I espouse and practise. Every day brings something new, as I study, read, listen, discuss, and teach. I love to make music with my colleagues whenever time permits. I intend to keep on enjoying my musical life, as long as I can raise the instrument to my shoulder and draw a straight bow!

Blog Posts

2015: Sep.