Helen Higa

Helen Higa

Helen Higa comes from a family with 3 generations of Japanese and Western music teachers, and was born and raised in Honolulu. Her Suzuki Teacher training includes study with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki for two and a half years at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, where she received her Teacher Certification from him in 1973. She continued her Suzuki teacher training at the University of Tennessee with William Starr, and Louise Behrend at the School for Strings. In NYC, she also worked with Gerald Beal on violin performance skills. Since 2000, Helen has continued research and study with Felicity Lipman, violin professor and Coordinator of Chamber Music for London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Junior Department), on her visits to Hawaii.

In 1983, Helen became a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique at the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City. She taught AT in the Center’s Teacher Training Program for 4 years, and violin for 5 years before returning to Hawaii in 1987. From 1990 -1998, she taught with the late Hiroko Primrose who founded the Suzuki Violin Program at Punahou Music School.

Helen is currently the head of Punahou Music School’s Suzuki Violin Program, and privately teaches over 50 violin students. Other teaching positions have included the University of Tennessee’s Suzuki Program, New York’s School for Strings, and the Diller-Quaille School of Music.

Helen enjoys exploring how Alexander Technique principles can complement Dr. Suzuki’s violin pedagogy and educational philosophy. In 2004, Helen was invited to give a presentation on this topic at the Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conference in Minneapolis. At the 2006, Conference, she and Hiroko Driver-Lippman, gave a Heritage Night Keynote Presentation, called Okagesamade (in your honorable shadow) Suzuki Sensei.

Helen has been invited to teach at summer Institutes on the mainland, including the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute (UT), the Oregon Suzuki Institute, the Northern California Suzuki Institute (Santa Rosa), the Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute (CO), the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute (WA), the Stanford Advanced Suzuki Institute (CA), and the Idaho Suzuki Institute (ID),

Helen serves as the President of Suzuki Talent Education of Hawaii, is a member of the Honolulu Symphony, and serves as the part-time musicians’ representative on the Honolulu Symphony Musicians’ Orchestra Committee.

Matsumoto Memoir  Helen Higa

June 23, 2017 by Helen Higa, Margaret Watts Romney

Today, we are looking at just one environment created by one teacher, and finding themes that can be applied to good teaching everywhere such as generosity, powerful observation, and warmth. Recently I was introduced to a series of recordings—interviews made a number of years ago with people who studied with Shinichi Suzuki in Japan in decades past. I feel like I’ve had a little trip to Asia in the 1970’s. Read more ▶

Okagesamade in your honorable shadow Suzuki Sensei

Okagesamade (in your honorable shadow) Suzuki Sensei

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