From the fiddle to the front podium

Orchestra teacher strives to make impact on string program


Virginia Price

After second period orchestra gathers for rehearsal, Richard Helsley conducts his string players for the upcoming Mid Texas Symphony.

Virginia Price, Staff Writer

For orchestra director Richard Helsley, music has always been a big part of his life; he cannot imagine life without it. At the age of three, Helsley constantly pestered his parents and other musicians about playing an instrument, when his family finally gave into his constant badgering; they allowed him to play an instrument at age nine. As the years went on, Helsley continued to play the fiddle with a private teacher, becoming engrossed in the art of music. 

Helsley attended Texas State University with an agriculture major, although not too long after that, he went on tour professionally with his “trusty” violin. He played until his common sense took over, urging him to go back to college and graduate at UTSA with a musical degree. Only problem was the dreadful fact that he still had bills to pay.

Helsley had never imagined himself as a teacher, but the second an opportunity opened up he did not hesitate to land the job. To spread his passion for the art of music to the young minds sitting in his classroom seemed too good of a job to be true. Luckily, there were hardly any challenges when obtaining the job, blessing him with the relief of paying his bills. 

Helsley enjoys working with the students and feeding their constant need to play pieces of music. His favorite part of being an orchestra teacher is seeing the growth of music getting better and better throughout the school year.

But then again, with every positive, there always comes a negative. Helsley notes that the public school system can be a bit confusing and unorganized. And focuses more on sports then the fine arts program. Either way, Helsley continues his love and passion for the school he works for despite all of its flaws.

Music has affected Helsley’s life on multiple levels, such as meeting his wife and to make a living off of. Helsley hopes to affect this school by teaching life lessons to his students and to experience something fun while they are in the classroom. He also hopes to help his students understand music and how it can help them in the future. 

“If I were ever to leave a legacy, I would want to leave a strong orchestra” Helsley says.

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