Profile: Leslie Helpert
I am an international performer, song writer, painter, novelist, recording artist and teacher of music (voice and guitar principal). I have spent over fifteen years performing in more than 300 venues, (electric/acoustic guitar driven, post-genre and traditional jazz from the 1920's-50's) and recording multiple records of my own compositions. I was schooled at The Berklee College of Music ('97) and The Naropa University ('99), and by a variety of nontraditional teachers along the way. I am a guitarist/vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist/producer. I was born in New York, am from the United States but live currently in Barcelona, Spain, where my record label is based. I am seeking a position at Berklee where I can offer the teaching work I've been cultivating for the last decade; in a variety of realms including voice, expressivity, lyrical craft, musical wellness and principles.
Though I am a guitarist with over 25 years of playing experience, my main teaching focus is vocal work (for both singers and instrumentalists) because through the study of voice I find the most direct way to share the power of music. The method I teach has been designed from understanding the voice as a resonant instrument, a beautiful construction of geometry and physics which we pilot from within, harnessing through awareness and control. I use simple techniques which effectively impart real life learning, opening doors for students within the musical subjects of phrasing, ear-training, articulation, improvisation, composition, tone, and musical flow. My work has bridged the lines between music therapy and performance, understanding music as a unit of energy and approaching the act of making music as a technical sport, a practice with benefits likened to those of vigorous physical exercise. I respond to exactly where a student is by whole-body listening, inviting them to the edge and middle of their own development; I teach students how to be musically present by being present with them. The work I teach is effective for all types/genres/levels of music study. I prefer not to name the "style" of my teaching, for me I teach Powerful Singing, for any direction of sonic expression. The feedback I get from students is that they receive distinct nurturing, like a therapy session (much more than "just music") in their studies with me…and that they can really relax and, as well, reinvigorate when they come to class. To me, music is all-encompassing and that is what I passionately share. I prefer to work with serious, practicing students, and teach people all around the world from Peru to Italy.
Notes about my style: I teach from improvisation, from a well of experience; I embody the moment within each lesson all the while tuned into the larger vision and working goal. I teach a method that works through vertical vs. horizontal learning, breaking ideas down, taking them (metaphorically) at their slowest BPM. I teach the art of concentration, of musical memory---and I teach from empathy and "the cutting sword of compassion". My teaching influence comes from some past teachers of mine: George Garzone, Jane Faigo (Tai Chi Master), Ethie Friend (Roy Hart voice technique), Rolf Gates (teacher of yoga and writer), Warren Senders (traditional Indian singing). I teach music from the perspective of integrated arts, encouraging my student's voice by delivering them to the center of their innate intellect and creativity.