Residency Topics

What to Listen for in Music

When one listens, what does one listen to and how? Taking works from Ms. Helin’s performances as a starting point, we will focus on how to listen more perceptively. To do this, we will consider music from Mozart to jazz as we search for basic underlying concepts of musical “grammar” and meaning and examine how music communicates. We will work with a variety of musical styles and experiment with building our own soundworks. This residency is geared toward increasing perceptive skills and creating active listeners! 

How Do You Know If It’s Right? – Bringing a Score to Life

How does a pianist make interpretive decisions and bring a score to life? Using piano works ranging from Bach to Chopin to Schumann as illustration, Ms. Helin will take the audience through the process of decision-making and artistic evaluation that every artist undertakes when preparing a work for performance. Besides providing an introduction to the basic musical elements, this evening will offer some insights into the interpretive dimensions of performance art.

Face to Face with the 30’s & 40’s

The American composers Virgil Thomson, Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Samuel Barber, and George Gershwin were vital forces in the creation of a new American style of composition. Much of their pioneering work was written in the 30’s and 40’s when they had just returned to the U.S. after years of apprenticeship spent in Paris. This program will feature a selection of their piano works from these decades along with historic interpolations. Special emphasis will be placed on reminiscences of Ms. Helin’s friendship and work with the composer Virgil Thomson.

Workshops, Mini-Concerts, and Master Classes

Jacquelyn Helin has designed creative curriculum to enhance listening and concert enjoyment and can adapt such activities for your group. She is a committed music educator and has led hundreds of workshops for adults and children as a teaching artist with the Lincoln Center Institute and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the Connecticut Institute, the Philadelphia Institute, and the Capital Region Center Institute for Arts in Education. As Vice-Chair of the Santa Fe Arts Commission, she was instrumental in creating ArtWorks, a program for the Santa Fe Schools modeled on Lincoln Center Institute. For PBS, Hershey Foods, and the New York Philharmonic, she has designed outreach activities to develop young audiences and build musical understanding. 

Ms. Helin has presented lecture-recitals on college campuses, to public and private school groups of all ages, and to community groups such as Rotary International. For children, she has shared some of the dimensions of the artistic process and the artist’s life. For community groups and music students, she has explored the musical choices in bringing a score to life, preparing a piece for performance, and the role of interpretation in a performing art such as music. She can tailor a presentation to your particular group’s interest or age.

Jacquelyn Helin has played mini-concerts for senior citizens, children’s groups, and local business groups in a wide variety of settings and is available to play for special groups in your community.

She has presented master classes for students of all ages, from 8 to 80, and can design one to fit your needs. Venues can range from community halls to college campuses, from music conservatories to local piano dealers. 

What Presenters Say

“I keep reflecting on your concert and your time with us in Newport. What a marvelous experience! You are a consummate artist and a presenter’s delight! The clarity of your materials and consistency of our contacts during the planning phases made my work easy. You proved (yourself) a special human being and superb communicator…through your music during the concert. I was particularly struck by the way you introduced the audience to contemporary music. You made them your colleagues while acknowledging the potential difficulty of hearing unfamiliar dissonance and rhythms. Giving them musical “benchmarks” was brilliant.

“Your generosity as a performer was even more evident during the master class. Students were radiant and their piano teachers were very impressed. Perhaps one of the most telling remarks following your time with us came from Jess Smith, former director of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. ‘She is a superb performer and teacher. I attended only to support you but came away very impressed and hope you will bring her back.’ Well, we’d like to. Thank you, Jacquelyn, for more than just an engagement.”

Sharon Morgan, Newport [OR] Performing Arts Center

“What a joy your performance was! Not only was your musicianship impeccable, but your rapport with the audience was truly admirable, as attested by feedback from the audience. The intimate, salon-like character of the performance space promoted discussion with the audience, and your prefacing remarks and introduction of major themes concerning Yehudi Wyner’s Toward the Center were invaluable in promoting the audience’s reception and comprehension of the piece. What I saw suggests to me that your residency work must be particularly effective.” 

Chris Harcourt, California Institute of Technology

“Your evening performance was superb. Selection of music, which ranged from Brahms to Debussy and Gershwin, was well suited to our audience which was evidenced by their enthusiastic response. Possibly even more important to our audience was your rapport with them; your insights on composers and pieces were expressed in a cordial manner. You maintained your artistic professionalism without fostering an elitist attitude. Rather than distance our patrons you brought them to a closer appreciation of fine music.”

Maria Bingham, Southern Utah University

“Ms. Helin is a brilliant pianist. We also found her to be very intelligent, knowledgeable, and articulate, able to communicate with an audience, however large or small. We found her charming and a consummate professional to work with.” 

Naomi Levine, New York University

“Jacquelyn is a wonderful colleague with outstanding musicianship, fluent phrasing, and accuracy of tempo. However, these descriptions do not describe her greatest attribute. Miss Helin invites her audience across the footlights and includes them in the music making experience as she perceives it in her intellect and emotion.” 

Lance Vining, Bay Philharmonic Orchestra

“Your musicianship and professionalism were exemplary, and your commitment to music of our country and our century rare among pianists. I can’t think of a concert that our chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon has sponsored that we can be more proud to be associated with than the one you presented last night.”

Carolyn Smith, Palo Alto Mu Phi Epsilon