Helen Sherrah-Davies

Assistant Professor
617 747-6253

"One of the classes I'm teaching is the new Music, Application, and Theory (MAT) class. For MAT, they combined Harmony 1 with writing skills and a bit of arranging. It's the absolute basics—the very fundamentals of music. That's the most important level, really, because if students are not sure about some of the nuts and bolts, that makes it hard to build anything on top of that."

"I think a lot of harmony can be very abstract. So it's knowing how to do it backwards from the real animal, then getting the theory from that, rather than presenting the theory first and saying this is why. I help students figure out how they learn best and then try to fill in the areas they don't get."

"I was a classical musician, freelancing and teaching a lot, when I discovered this jazz passion. You can connect with something in the moment, whereas with classical stuff it's like reading a book. I want students to come away with a passion for discovery and an understanding of their ability to contribute, which I think a lot of them are not sure of yet."

"One of the best classes I ever took here was with Mitch Halpins, his Nonstylistic Improvisation Concepts Ensemble, which was just incredible. It takes the stylistic thing away, so you are sort of stripped down to who you are or what you can offer. You have to be fully present to the other people who are there with you, to enter into this sacred space which has never come before and will never come again. It's just such an amazing concept, but you must be willing to really open yourself up to that, to receive and not just transmit only."

Career Highlights

 

  • M.M., New England Conservatory
  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
  • B.A., Cambridge University
  • One recording, StarStuff, as leader and twelve as sideman
  • Performances with Jon Lord, Herbie Flowers, Sam Brown, Mike Hatchard, Duncan Lamont, Dave Holdsworth, and more