Helen McDermott
Denver, CO
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Helen McDermott

Helen M.

Denver, CO
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
Please see my general profile.

About Helen M.

I have been teaching students of various ages for many years, while also performing with The Colorado Symphony and the Highlands Square Ensemble (string quartet).

The process of learning the violin or viola should be enjoyable. Even a beginner can play music that is attractive and satisfying. The youngest child can enjoy games and novel ideas to keep them interested in the process of playing, practicing and establishing good habits. Older and more advanced students derive a lot of pleasure from their own progress and abilities, and playing in groups with other musicians. I have many insights that help with practicing, playing and performing with confidence. I am always striving to help students do their best to play the instrument musically and technically well , while always keeping an eye to enjoyment of the process.

My experience includes: extensive work teaching privately to students from age 6 to 66; teaching groups of children in public schools to compose; teaching strings and conducting the string orchestra for the Haiti Youth Orchestra in Mirebalais, Haiti; coaching chamber music.

I teach at my home and offer lessons of 30, 45 or 60 minutes.
In this time of Covid, I am teaching out of doors (summer) and online.

Reviews

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Gloria
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My son has been taking viola lessons from Helen for seven years. We have been very happy with her instruction and the wonderful, caring connection she has made with our son and family. Helen encourages each student’s progress while holding them to very high technical and musical standards. She engages students with age-appropriate, entertaining games and prizes to hook their attention and shape important skills and techniques. Helen is focused on molding young musicians into skilled, confident, advanced players while still being understanding and flexible with students’ life changes and schedules.
She encourages students to get involved with chamber music and other orchestra opportunities to expand their ensemble playing, and she connects students with other musicians to collaborate on projects. She has coached our three children with their string trio and has helped them select music appropriate for their level and interests. Helen is happy to help students with their orchestra auditions, seating auditions, and ensemble music.
Helen is an active professional musician as a member of the CSO and Highlands Square Ensemble among other professional musical pursuits and interests. She is involved in bringing musical opportunities to underserved communities through El Sistema and involved in music education in Haiti. This summer our son was able to collaborate with a violinist from Haiti who was visiting Helen. They worked together on several duets on a few occasions.
Throughout the school year, Helen facilitates studio group classes where students can play for each other in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Helen connects students with excellent professional accompanists who are adept at collaborating with young musicians. In addition, she organizes 1-2 studio recitals per year where students can share their work with family and friends.
Helen is a talented musician, an excellent teacher, and a wonderful human being. She is patient, kind, helpful, and encouraging. I highly recommend her as an outstanding viola instructor.

Posted Aug 18, 2020
Heidi
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Helen McDermott is an absolute gift of a viola teacher and wonderful mentor. I highly recommend her!

My daughter studied viola with Helen for 8 consecutive years in Helen's private Suzuki viola studio. My daughter started with Helen when she was 6 years old and continued through her 8th grade year, which was winter/spring 2020.

Helen provides high quality and outstanding music instruction including, but not limited to: foundational to advanced music theory, technique (bow hold, etc...), and music history. She also supplements her private lessons with small-group lessons as well as regular opportunities for recitals.

Helen makes learning rich and fun! She's fabulous with creating music games for students during the lessons and to keep at-home practice time stimulating and meaningful. Helen is outstanding with giving her students structure as well as ways to learn how to stay organized.

As a Suzuki parent, I sat in on Helen's lessons for my daughter (per Suzuki philosophy) all through my daughter's elementary school years. I learned so much, myself, and was enriched by seeing my daughter blossom and grow musically. Helen has given the gift of music to my daughter not only with private lessons, but also through recommending excellent opportunities to participate in Suzuki enrichment like summer music camps and chamber music groups. Helen supported and coached my daughter to be prepared for several auditions over the years.

Because of Helen's outstanding viola instruction and mentorship, my daughter has earned and received numerous invaluable musical opportunities as well as truly meaningful compliments from other music teachers in the community.

Our family is incredibly fortunate to have Helen McDermott in our lives! She's a consummate professional musician and she is utterly passionate about sharing her talents and gifts of music.

Posted Aug 17, 2020
Heather
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Helen has taught and is continuing to teach both my daughter, for viola, and my son, for violin. Helen has been absolutely amazing with each of my children. She has been able to adjust to their needs and personalities keeping them engaged and excited to keep learning.

I love that Helen makes sure her students understand the fundamentals of their instruments, and she spends time teaching the kids the correct way to hold the instruments and bow so they form good habits from the beginning.

Helen is patient, kind and full of positivity and praise for her students. I am thrilled to have Helen work with my children.

Posted Aug 14, 2020
Farley
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Helen McDermott
Exceptional Violist, Masterful Teacher

Helen McDermott is an exceptionally talented violist who is also a masterful, empathetic teacher. She brings a truly unique combination of technical virtuosity, pedagogical professionalism, and psychological insight into the music studio. I know this from personal experience because I have greatly benefited from being one of her viola students.
Her vast experience as a professional violist gives her a wealth of technical knowledge, not only about how to play the viola but, more importantly, how to play beautiful music with this instrument. She has studied, and continues to study, different teaching methods, drawing from all of these approaches to develop a program of instruction designed to meet each student’s individual needs. She also connects empathetically with her students, creating an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual respect that alleviates anxiety, thereby allowing genuine learning to take place.
In short, her breadth and depth of expertise, in both musicianship and pedagogy, make her an ideal viola teacher who guides students on their path to realizing their full potential as a violist and as a complete musician.

Posted Dec 6, 2019

Education

Master of Music
Sep 1980 - May 1982

Yale School of Music

Bachelor of Music
Sep 1977 - Jan 1980

Oberlin Conservatory

Languages

English and Spanish

Fluent / Native Proficiency

Certifications

Suzuki
May 2010

Suzuki Association of Colorado

Registered Suzuki teacher. Completed training for Books 1-4 with William Starr.

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