Helen Neilson

Helen Neilson is a committed music educator, regularly teaching cello and double bass across an eclectic range of environments. She is Head of Strings at Latymer Upper School, teaches at St Paul’s Girls’ School, and on the whole class strings programme at the Aldgate School, and she runs a thriving home studio and supporting group programme in SW London, called “Our Cello Community”. Fully trained as a Suzuki teacher, she is qualified to the top level, including extensive international study with teacher trainers in Spain, France and the USA. She specialises in large group teaching and in designing and delivering large scale events for young string players.

Helen was a principal syllabus consultant for the current Trinity Strings syllabus, and has lectured at the University of Cambridge. She mentors and trains teachers for the Music Masters programme, which puts string teachers into state primary schools across London, including mentoring on their iPGCE course. She writes regularly and has articles published in magazines including ‘Music Teacher’ and the ESTA magazine. Formerly Director of “Cello Club”, the Junior Division of the London Cello Society, she now regularly teaches on their events for students, including the popular “Cello Day”. She has taught cello and double bass at courses and events including LSG International Summer School, CelloFest, Pro Corda and South London Youth Orchestra.

Helen regularly performs on double bass with orchestras in and around London, including being regular principal bass for St Paul’s Sinfonia. She has toured further afield, including to China and India. Helen studied double bass with Cathy Elliott and Jurek Dybal, co-principal of the Vienna Philharmonic. She came to the bass later in life after first training as a cellist, including studies with Anna Shuttleworth, Melissa Phelps and Naomi Butterworth. She holds postgraduate performance degrees from the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music.

She likes packing up the car to travel with her instruments, and both have names. Her bass is called “Raband”, as he used to be in the Royal Artillery Band, and her cello is called “Phoenix”, as he was made just after a terrible fire in his maker’s workshop in 1784. When not with her instruments, she can often be found swimming outdoors in the lido or in the sea!

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