Helen Jacob-Stein
Status: Member
Member Since: June 22, 2015
Last Visit:December 4, 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, so found 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, and local teachers, learned to improve, and 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 followed, in Baroque violin, medieval music, more classical training (the String Quartet Institute, Steven Staryk, Nancy DiNovo) followed. Freelance playing in many 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 auditioned, won a symphony orchestra position (front chair), solo and chamber music gigs, including some Suzuki pieces in my list. Started teaching, took Suzuki teacher training to Bk. 8. I've been teaching many students, at The Oscar Peterson School, within The Royal Conservatory of Music. 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 making music with my colleagues when time permits. I enjoy my musical life, as long as I can raise the instrument to my shoulder and draw a straight bow (and even after that, my students will do it for me)!

Blog Posts

2015: Sep.