Student Recital Part 2

We celebrated the second advent with the Student Recital Part 2 – this program was with ladies only: Ella, Hannah, Nikita, Nina, Xenya,Catherine and Zoë. Guest performance was from Nathan on violin.

Its a great joy to organise these houseconcerts, the students feel very much at ease behind the piano. However, one thing is playing in the piano lesson and the other is perfoming in the same location. The youngest ones take it all playfully and it doesn’t matter where they perform or how big is the audience, they just do it with a smile. Older students start to have great expectations from themselves and that’s when the stage-fever sets in. It sounds cruel, but you always learn most from a challenging performance… and I don’t think anyone can escape this experience.

I’m very proud of everyone this semester – it has been exciting time for both sides – my students had to get used to a new teacher for a while and I’m trying my best now to clear my mind and trust that Robin-Aare will be very well taken care of also when I start to teach again from January. It’s hard to let go of this one-on-one time with him, but when I hear my students play I also feel strong calling to get back to HeliStudio.

These two houseconcerts gave me lots of energy and many insights I’ll share with you in the lesson in January!

Here are impressions from our second student recital. After the concert we had Babou’s cupcakes and Xenya gave everyone a nice treat with her delicious birthday cake!



Student Recital Part 1

Its December again – jingle bells and christmas decorations everywhere. Kids are excited about Sinterklaas, older children get more stressed about the exams at school. All this is very obvious also in the piano lesson. The youngest ones get overexcited being able to play “Zie ginds komt de stoomboot” or “Jingle Bells”. Honestly, just like some parents – I’m also tired of these tunes even before the season starts. However, I never get tired of seeing the joy and excitement in children when they learn these songs. Their faces lighten up like fireworks when they recognise these melodies. On the other side I feel lots of compassion for the students who must switch into “exam mode” at school – they become so serious and silent behind the piano. These are just my observations as a teacher.
This semester most of my students are in the hands of Jan Debel. I’m so happy and grateful to have a colleague like him. HeliStudio is a place where music is taught with passion and learning means first of all (self)discovery. I believe that the joy of pianoplaying lasts longer when the student discovers his/her abilities together with the teacher instead of using “master and servant” method. Jan continues my vision in excellent manner and therefore yesterday’s student recital was a true joy to listen.
It was memorable experience also to be in the audience together with our “little prince” Robin-Aare. While listening to students I couldn’t help wondering about the day that our son would take a seat behind the piano during one of the house concerts – how will he sound, how would it make me feel? Probably this day will arrive sooner than i can imagine and then I’ll be missing him like he is right now – the cutest and sweetest baby.
There’s not only musical talent among our students. Babou makes the most beautiful and tasty cupcakes! Some of you already know what I mean, isn’t it 😉 The student concert of next week will also be accompanied by Babou’s cupcakes. Believe me, once you’ve tasted it, one cupcake won’t probably be enough for you, so please check out her webshop:

This semester will always remain as a special memory – I’m very happy and grateful for the days I have now to be solely together with Robin-Aare.
Its so heartwarming to see how our baby is cherished by all of you.

Thank you for a great concert and all the positieve energy!



Welcome Robin-Aare!

12.10.2012 is the magical day when our family turned into a trio – our son Robin-Aare Robyns was born! He surprised everyone – the doctors were blown away by his measurements – 4,490 gr and 56,5 cm tall. Yves and I were looking forward to hear his voice – that took few extra heartbreaking moments of silence first.

All this excitement is past now and we have already had million moments of joy together as a family. Long crying nights included 😉 Robin-Aare is teaching us a new language, its called p a t i e n c e.
However, if one of his parents doesn’t succeed to change the dipers as quickly as Robin-Aare would prefer – he attacks us with different “unexpected weapons”. At this moment I can confirm that babies are sweet indeed when they sleep, but quite a challenge to figure out when they are awake. We are getting better at it day by day. I can already make a difference in his crying when its only about a diper or something else! Becoming a parent is a long proces. Right now every smile I get from my son feels like the biggest compliment ever! Each cute giggle he makes simply melts my heart and every morning with him feels like “a whole new world” ready to discover.

It seems to me that our schoolbord has a new subject – loveletters to Robin-Aare ;). I see much less  music notes and more hearts and smileys along with Robin-Aare’s name. All students have surprised us with wonderful gifts. Thank you so, so much! The sweetest surprise (literally!) was a cake from Ella – it was a true piece of art – the most beautiful cake ever!!! Check out the photo below. My mom once surprised me with a cake in the form of pianokeys – that was also pretty cool, but Ella’s cake went straight to our hearts! It tasted as memorable as it looks!

We have the honor to use the buggy from “la pianista” Zoë. It’s so amazing to realise that we all have started out the same way – growing gram by gram and centimeter per centimeter… I can’t help thinking of Zoë when I’m walking with my son and secretly dreaming, that just like Zoë, hopefully Robin-Aare will choose to study piano out of free will as well.

At this moment we can confirm that Robin-Aare likes girls very much, especially girls with brown eyes! When Lola or Babou come around he simply gets lost in their eyes, (see the photo below!).

Next to Robin-Aare’s soprano voice upstairs, there is also some great piano playing going on in HeliStudio. In december we organise two house-concerts in Mechelsesteenweg.  What would be better way to give a baby-shower than to literally shower our baby in music. So, lets do it! 😉

Much love,



Lessons with Jan Debel!

The month of October is going to be one huge discovery-time for Yves and me. Our baby will be born somewhere between 7-11 of October! As much as I’m excited about becoming mother, it has been difficult to let go of my work… I feel very strongly connected with all of my students and it hasn’t been easy to find the right teacher to hand over my piano class. However, miracles happen – I’m very happy to tell you that from the 1st of October HeliStudio will be filled with real man-power: Jan Debel and Yves will continue the lessons from the 1st of October up to the Christmas holidays. In the meantime I’ll try my best to introduce our baby to the sound of piano and regular sleeping and eating rhythm.

Few words about Jan – he comes from Kortrijk and his musical studies started out with exploring jazz piano. At the moment Jan is completing his studies in classical piano in The Conservatory of Antwerp in the class of Levente Kende (also my former teacher). Jan has performed in Jazz Middelheim in 2011 (jazz-project with students from Conservatory of Antwerp) and next to solo performances he also plays classical chamber music with his own piano trio. Jan has also experience in music pedagogy, currently he is teaching in De Waelrant in Borgerhout. Yves and I are very glad to introduce Jan to our students – we are sure he will inspire everyone.

All students will be meeting Jan in the upcoming theory lesson on the 26th of September and from monday, the 1st of October the individual lessons will continue with him. Yves will be around in the lessons on wednesdays where guitar or bass guitar is needed.

Once the baby is here, we gladly invite you to visit us in the hospital, so that the piano lessons won’t be disturbed by the extra curiosity about our little one ;).

Remember – regardless the teacher – regular practicing is something we all must do by ourselves!

A very warm welcome to Jan Debel in HeliStudio!

Stormy Weather….

There have been many more beautiful sunday mornings in Antwerp than the one on the 26th of August – it was raining, windy and grey – not exactly the best weather to go and play in open air podium. Honestly, I was afraid to look at my phone, because I could sense a row of messages as “horrible weather, we won’t be coming“. Luckily I had just one message from KLASSIEK OP HET PLEIN assuring that the piano is moved to the church in Dageraadplaats and all performances will take place as planned! Once more – Katelijn Van Kerckhoven and Griet Pauwels organize this event not only with two hands, but with great passion – nothing can get in the way of their vision. Musicians of all levels (and with any weather conditions;)) can enjoy well-prepared stage with good equipment.

Now, you might still think that our biggest audience on this stormy afternoon were the invisible angels and fairies of Dageraad Church, but not only – there was quite much physical audience also!

Zoë, Nathan and Soline shared the stage with us and in fact this grey and stormy sunday morning turned into another beautiful “crescendo-moment” in HeliStudio’s history. Three years ago Yves and I launched HeliStudio with our first performance in Klassiek Op Het Plein. This year we returned with three young musical talents – Zoë on the piano, Nathan on violin and Soline with her amazing voice. Each of their performances was pure and sincere.

I believe that music, in its different forms, is hidden in everyone, but the difference is that only some dare to take on this journey and dig deep enough to find out “who am I in the world of sounds”. I met Yves on this road and this is the message we want to pass on to each student – search for your own “sound” and tell your story through it. Zoë, Nathan and Soline are well on the way on this journey and I am really grateful to be able to work with such talented youth! My music studies in early youth were very strict and timid, there was never time or space to look inside and wonder about things, I just played the repertory what was given and did not dare to question anything. In my work as teacher I believe that one can not apply the same “formula” on each child – everyone has their own strenghts, it takes different amount of time to find it. Zoë, Nathan and Soline are well on their way – as a teacher it is one of the most rewarding moments when you witness that a student is able to take the stage all alone and receives a truly warm and heartfelt applause. Beautiful!

Playing together with Yves is a feeling I can’t describe in words, I can only say that I do feel even more at home behind the piano along with him. However, practicing together is a different story – you simply do not want to know how that sounds like! 😉 It’s not really fun to play with a very pregnant state of mind (and body!), but this sunday I did feel that the whole Robyns-Jakobson family was in action and it was seriously cool experience!

Thank you for coming to listen to us!
Here you can enjoy some photos from Cy Leong – a true superwoman behind the camera!


HeliStudio Live in Dageraadplaats!

It has become the annual tradition that we start our new schoolyear with open air performance in KLASSIEK OP HET PLEIN in Dageraadplaats. Katelijn Van Kerckhoven en Griet Pauwels are two wonderful people behind this initiation welcoming professional and amateur musicians to an open podium in one of the most beautiful squares in Antwerp.

We are happy to share the stage with our students. Last year Zoë, Britt and Leen joined in. This year you can listen again to Zoë, the girl with “golden fingers”, enjoy Soline’s beautiful voice and Nathan playing violin. I’m very glad that HeliStudio is becoming a place with different “sounds” besides classical piano. Rehearsing with Soline and Nathan is great joy for Yves and me. They are two young people whom we do not teach in the classical sense of the word, but just give guidance. They have already found their inner voice in music.
Yves and I are going to perform quatre mains also, be sure to bring your own bicycle bell along to help us out! 😉

Each schoolyear has brought such a different positive vibe into our lives. First year HeliStudio was about meeting new students who were willing ‘to step in the boat with us’ and joined our pianostudio. Second year passed very quickly, we welcomed more new students on board, currently there are 9 different nationalities present in our studio!
The second schoolyear was also marked by the arrival of “Lady Kemble” – our grand piano. Another memorable milestone for us.

This summer has been an important transformation time again – Yves and I are on the way to become parents! Therefore, our upcoming third schoolyear will have few adjustments during the first semester. Somewhere in the beginning of October will be the magic moment for us to get aquainted with our first child! Yves and I will continue with monthly theory lessons, but piano classes from October to December will be given by Jan Debel. We are looking forward to introduce him to you personally in September.

But first things first:
26th of August 14-14:30
HeliStudio Live in Dageraadplaats

Looking forward to see you there,
Heli & Yves

Helistudio Spring Recital 2012

Here are three highlights from our “Spring Recital 2012”.
Marten performs together with Yves “Ojalaul” by Jaan Tätte.

Zoë “meisje met gouden vingers” and Yves “Make You Feel My Love”:

Queen “Bicycle Race”, arranged by Yves:


We’ve all received a big gift – a whole new year with fresh energy, ideas and chances!
In HeliStudio the first lesson week of this year has been amazing: i’m sincerely impressed with our young generation – it sounds like most children have spent their Xmas holidays simply behind the piano! I’ve heard so much progress in everyone’s playing since last two weeks.

Holidays was good time to take a look backwards. During the lesson weeks life is so hectic and there isn’t enough time to realize the magic which actually happens every single day. Reading the Xmas cards and my own lesson-diary made me realize that our students and their parents have become kind of a new family. It’s fun to read how children describe each others performances in our guestbook. During the holidays I was wondering how many students were keeping their promise to play house-concerts at home. I’m sincerely happy for Leen and her brand new Kemble piano from Moreau Pianoservice. Kan has tested several grand piano’s for months and finally found the one at Piano’s Van De Winkel. The arrival of our own Kemble grand was also one of the most memorable moments of the last year: 17th of August at 14:32 – these numbers are simply printed in my heart.

HeliStudio is expanding not only by the number of new piano’s, but also with new students.
This semester Ella (11) and Xenya (7) have joined with us. In our musical world map it means one point for Belgium and one for Ukraine! 😉

Looking forward to our next student concert in March and the grande finale in June.
We are working on some amazing ensemble pieces. It’s going to be fun and groovy with Tom, Leya, Katrien & Co and there are also lyrical performances with Zoë, Lola & Ayana.

Life in HeliStudio happens in such a different pace than what I’ve been able to predict!
The unexpected always happens – in a good sense!



Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!

This week the last pianolessons of 2011 take place and then we’ll all tune in with the holiday mood.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… Yes we do, literally!!!
However, Raindrops are falling on my head… sounds more real these days.
Whatever weather there will be, Yves and I wish you all wonderful holiday time
together with your loved ones.

Along with many beautiful memories, we will remember 2011 especially for the
arrival of our first grand piano. The 17th of August was a beautiful summer day,
but we felt absolutely tropical heat when the piano finally landed in our appartement.
For us the Kemble grand is a bridge into exciting future along with you.

Music is a symbol of love and growth.

These are also two keywords describing our New Year’s gift for you.
It is still a work in progress and it will be something to look forward to when
you come to your first piano lesson in 2012!
Thank you for the music.

May your holidays sparkle and shine!


With love,
Heli & Yves


HeliStudio “Forte”!

The first milestone of this schoolyear has been conquered – on the 26th of November HeliStudio pianists gathered in Auditorium Van De Winkel in Kipdorpvest to explore the Bösendorfer grand piano.

The first part of the concert was all about young talent among our piano class – students who follow lessons for 2nd year or longer. We heard several personal creations – Marten, Leya and Soline shared their own compositions with us. Our youngest soloist was Ayana (7 years) and this time she performed chamber music with Mattijs on altviola. I strongly believe that playing together with another instrument is more fun way to learn about how to ‘breathe’ in music rather than counting the beats and practicing alone. For Nikita and Lev it was first time to take part of our student recital. A very warm welcome to both of you and congrats for your great performance!

Tom and Zoë are two students who have a very special place in my heart. Music is written all over them and I’m very excited about their future. Tom would like to escape into the world of jazz and luckily Yves is there to catch him! 😉 Zoë is simply a ray of light behind the piano. Just like Tom, she has her own personal connection with this instrument. I wonder how much do these young people realise themselves that they have a special gift to share with the rest of us…

Yves and I are most excited about dicovering ‘the sound’ within each student. When we find it, they take off like rockets!

Britt and Nick – also two amazing people around us! Both of them have their future carreers planned and they go for it! Britt loves interieur design. She visited us often during the summer when we were working on our new location. Britt kept an eye on us and gave instructions where necessary. Nick’s big dream is to become a rugbyplayer, however, he’ll make sure that his children will also study piano, because according to Nick ‘piano is the basis of everything’!

In the second part of the concert was more about adult students. Also here we are very glad to welcome new people – Floris, Kan and Laura! They all made splendid debute at the recital on Saturday – Floris with a beautiful Bach Prelude, Kan with Spanish Follies by Scarlatti and Laura played Nocturne by Alan Haughton. Leen and Marc have played along in different concerts with us and they always capture the audience. I’m simply proud that we have so many inspiring people around us in HeliStudio. I love to witness how piano links us all together in a very special way.

Politically Europe seems to fall apart, but pianistically it’s coming together, at least in HeliStudio! 😉 We are seriously amazed by how many different countries are represented among our students -at this moment we are with 9 different nations!

Shradha from India played Für Elise –  this is one of the ‘cultural highlights’ in my piano class this autumn. I can’t help wondering what is it about this piece that makes every child on this planet so eager to learn it? I played Für Elise when I was around 10 years old and those first 24 bars  (back then played with almost euphoric enthusiasm, bad fingerings and sticky pedal) probably helped me to convince the jury at the entrance exam in the music school. I guess Für Elise is a very personal story for everyone. Every single student does their absolute, ultimate, personal best with this piece.

Thank you all for the challenging and inspiring moments we share together!

Wish you all a big crescendo towards the next concert! 😉

Heli & Yves

Getting started! Ayana & Mattijs! Mission completed!;) Small hands, big sound!