Mavis "Swan" Poole
Lenora Z. Helm gave me "permission" to sing. Literally. She helped moved mental clutter that had previously prevented me from expanding my vocal range, as well as on stage personality. Under her honest and open instruction, she helped me to find places in my voice never before explored. She fearlessly paved the way as the Jazz Vocal Instructor for me as an undergraduate student, and follows up as a mentor today. She is as beautiful an instructor as she is a person.
Bandleader/Composer/Vocalist - Crowned “Little Ella” by the great Curtis Fuller, award winning Singer/Songwriter Mavis ‘Swan’ Poole is stirring up the music scene as we know it. A sassy, fiery Songbird, whose music promises to stand the test of time.
Lenora Zenzalai Helm has been more than just a vocal coach to me. She has inspired me to grow beyond myself and to reach higher than the clouds. I have learned musicianship, impeccable vocal technique, music business, and savvy promotional ideas from Ms. Helm. She has changed my outlook on life by teaching me the power I have as a person. Through her I have learned to embrace my true gifts and to not be afraid to shine. I have found an incomparable teacher, mentor, and friend in Lenora Z. Helm.
Lenora Helm has done so much for my vocal advancement. She has empowered me with the understanding of confidence. "You have to choose to be confident" rings in my ears as I sit back stage before performing with my big band, some of the most important words Lenora has given me. I have had her positive effect confirmed time and again by the comments of band members and people in the audience. Lenora has (and continues to) push me to higher levels and understanding of vocal jazz.
I found such an inspirational instructor in Ms. Helm. She not only motivated me in my academic and musical endeavors, but was definitely someone I looked at as a life counselor. I’ve grown so much as a musician and individual under her tutelage.
FACEBOOK | REVERB NATION
When I first started working with Ms. Helm, she took my voice to places I never even knew I could go. What she has taught me, has helped me take a jazz approach towards my genre of Rock Music, which helps me phrase as if I was a horn player. Lenora Helm, is the best.
TWITTER | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE | MYSPACE
Lenora Helm is a wonderful and welcoming spirit. She's got a thorough knowledge and understanding of a wide jazz repertoire vocal and instrumental. Complemented with her own career and experiences as a versed musician, Ms. Helm personifies the music by being the example and living the approaches and lessons she teaches. In just one academic year as her student and graduate assistant, I've grown tremendously as vocalist, a performer, a musician, but most importantly as a person.
YOUTUBE | MYSPACE
Ms. Helm has played a TREMENDOUS role in my musical growth. I have learned what it means to be a great musician as well as a great vocalist. With everything I've learned from being a student of Ms. Helm's, I've been equipped with all of the tools necessary to begin my career as a professional musician/vocalist!
FACEBOOK | MYSPACE
Lenora Helm is an EXCELLENT teacher and a naturally gifted pedagogue. It did not take long under her guidance for me to gain an entirely new perspective of Jazz singing as well as a greater understanding of how I can develop my own artistic voice. I studied with her for a summer before returning to the University of North Texas where I am a vocal Jazz major. When I returned, many of my professors and peers in the program could immediately see a significant improvement across a wide range of skills. Thanks Lenora!!
Studying with Lenora was recommended to me by Grammy Award-nominated, jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Lenora provides a nurturing, nonjudgmental environment to discover your “true voice” while strengthening necessary techniques. In Lenora’s able hands, I feel fully prepared to record my sophomore CD, “Getting II Yes.”
Among so many other things, Lenora Helm has taught me to respect the process. When I first started studying with her, I had virtually no history or understanding of vocal jazz; The mere thought that I would be able to authentically sing jazz was, in my mind, little more than a valiant attempt to try something new. Through her nurturing and constant motivation, she was able to see my potential and train me how to approach the music from the ground up -- she taught me how to fall in love with the music, and the process of making it. I am astounded when I think of how far I've been able to progress from when I started working with Lenora!
I still remember the day I walked into her office, we played hide and seek...honestly. I did my best to hide my voice and she did her best to seek it. Fear was a good friend of mines’ so hiding was effortless. But she pushed me from my hiding space...and pulled me. Ok, she dragged me into the spotlight. Lenora Zenzalai Helm is the Best! She taught me to explore all facets of my voice. I feel unlocked...I experience an uncanny vocal freedom. If I think it, I can do it. My vision as an artist has skyrocketed! I sincerely love her. Lenora is definitely a precious gem. She told me that “being great gives permission to others to be great”. Thanks for the permission!
My training with Lenora is fairly recent. I met her about a year ago when I was in Durham, teaching yoga and she was my student. I heard from the studio director that she’s an amazing jazz vocalist and also a teacher over at NCCU. He suggested that I should make an introduction and see if she would work with me. It was a miracle when she said, “yes”! I had my first lesson on January 26, 2012 and immediately, I felt a difference. Up until then, what I thought was the right approach, was completely the opposite. She said, that, “if I continue using my voice the way I did, I will soon lose my singing voice”. I didn’t realize the damage I was doing to my voice over the years. I’ve never had any types of professional training before Lenora. We had our second session on Feb. 9, 2012, thereafter, I had to leave to go back home. When I got back to California, I didn’t want to continue getting trained but I didn’t know if Lenora was able to continue training me, now that we are so far apart. So I started searching around in the LA area for voice coach. I tried several and to be quite honest, I was very disappointed. My significant other persisted that I should try to reconnect with Lenora, with the technology we have in this day and age, anything is possible. He was right and once again, she said, “YES”, a second miracle! We officially started in November, just last month. Altogether, it has only been five sessions, including the two in Durham, and I have already made immense progress. I feel a lot more confident, stronger, and don’t feel like I’m straining as much. I’m a lot more relaxed when I sing and there’s a much richer and deeper tone in my voice today compare to where it was three months ago. She’s so nurturing in the way she teach. She walk you through, step by step, breath by breath, so that you understand, feel, and connect. She knows exactly what your voice is doing, what it’s not doing, and why it’s doing it. She’s so encouraging, supportive, gentle, patient, and motivating. She really wants to help you find your voice and help you develop it. She’s so dedicated and passionate at what she does and also, as a remarkable being. I know I still have a lot of work to do, but considering in such a short time, the progress and improvement I have accomplished-- just imagine what will happen in six months? I thank God, everyday for having our paths crossed. I may have plans, but God has greater plans. I know I am loved and blessed. on my musical journey.
I came to Lenora Helm with a lot of musical experience, but no formal voice training at all. She was able to start with where I was and music I was already singing, and to teach me how to really use and develop my voice. I've definitely expanded my range, and feel like I have so much more control over what I'm doing now. Plus she did it all in a way that was fun and supportive.
Chassity "Cookie" Nobles
Lenora Helm-Hammonds is a phenomenal vocalist, musician and teacher. In 2006, I began vocal lessons with her and within a few months I could see the improvement and growth in my voice. As her vocal student for 4 & 1/2 years, Lenora went through in depth teaching on vocal technique, music theory, jazz theory, jazz improvisation and other jazz related areas. Through the years my experience with Lenora has been very rewarding. I was fortunate to have doors open and other opportunities that would not have been available with other vocal instructors. With her guidance and skill as a musician she has tremendously played a big part of me becoming the musician I am today and also as a vocal instructor.
My vocal jazz lessons continue to be awe inspiring! It's no different than working with a master vocalist who has sung for over 100 years! She is definitely a master; with so many tools in her 'vocal tool bag', I marvel as she seemingly and casually 'pulls' one out to achieve the optimal sound in me - as if it's "just coming off the top of her head!" I'm using my lessons with her to amp my confidence and sense of personal power. I don't know exactly (or how) this is all going to pan out, but I'm on my way and the healing continues! I remain extremely grateful.
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