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Helen Hamlin - The Inside Story


The Inside Story: Helen Hamlin

When Helen Hamlin took up the clarinet at the age of 9, she had no idea that this would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with music. The Central Coast Conservatorium student has come back to music lessons after a 15-year hiatus with child raising and work commitments having taken precedence for many years. Helen played in concert bands in her native Scotland and went on to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance where piano became her second instrument.


After finishing at the Academy, she went travelling and left music behind. “I dabbled with the clarinet”, she says “and had an electric piano for many years. When I decided to come back to the piano, I wanted to get as good as I possibly could, so I invested in a proper piano which I bought second hand”.

Helen now plays clarinet in the Central Coast Concert Band and learns piano with Svetlana Vokurka. She is often found in the Robert Knox Hall practicing on the grand piano during her lunch break from working as a Superannuation Risk & Compliance Manager with ANZ.
“I’d like to do some accompanying because I like playing with other people”, says Helen, “but I really am learning for my own satisfaction.”

Helen is studying for her Certificate in Performance. Her teacher is Croatian born Svetlana Vokurka. Ms Vokurka has been a much-loved piano teacher at Central Coast Conservatorium for over 25 years. Helen says that Svetlana is both a wonderful person and an inspiring teacher. “She has a real sense of what I am doing and what I am capable of. She has stretched me without being pushy, and taught me a different way of practicing that has really expanded my ability to pick up and push through new repertoire.”

Helen’s daughter is also inspired by her mother’s love of music and wants to be just like her. Her two sons are also keen on music, having learnt guitar through the Conservatorium.

Patrick Brennan, CEO and Artistic Director of Central Coast Conservatorium would love to see more adults coming back to music or picking up an instrument for the first time. “Learning a musical instrument improves concentration and memory and is fun and rewarding”, says Mr Brennan. “Our adult soirees give our more mature students the opportunity to meet other adults learning music and perform in a relaxed atmosphere with their peers. It’s a sociable thing to do and our students really love it. The programs for the evening are always varied with adult ensembles in the mix and everything from oboe to singing”.

Lessons for adults are available during the day or in the evening. The practice rooms are also available for anyone who can’t practice that loud trumpet in their 1st story unit or who doesn’t have room for a piano but loves to play.

Phone the Conservatorium on 4324 7477 to enquire about lessons for adults in Term 2, commencing Monday April 30, 2018.
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Term Dates

The Central Coast Conservatorium operates to NSW Department of Education School Gazetted Term dates

Term 1
1-1 Lessons Wed 27/1 to Thur 1/4
Sat Strings Ensembles Sat 6/2 - Sat 26/3
CCYO & Ext program Tue 9/2 - Tue 30/03
PWE & SWO Wed 10/2 - Wed 31/03

Term 2
Monday 19/4 to Saturday 26/06 

Term 3
Monday 12/7 to Saturday 18/09

Term 4
Monday 05/10 to Saturday 18/12

Mission Statement

We seek to inspire our Central Coast community to engage in and value music as an integral part of life through comprehensive music education and artistic endeavour.