Portrait of the month: Helena, Music Teacher at the Conservatoire of Luxembourg, combined all of her passions in one job

Nora Kussmannavatar

Published on 06/04/2023, by Nora Kussmann


Today, it’s getting loud in our portrait of the month! Well, at least if we look at the job description of Helena, 34, music teacher at the Conservatoire of Luxembourg. Teaching classes, giving workshops to children and adults alike, there is rarely a day that passes in her life without the sound of music. And she wouldn’t have it any other way!

Growing up in a family of musicians, Helena started playing the violin and the piano early on. However, although making music was something she enjoyed, she decided against becoming a professional musician and instead chose to study music education.

“My favorite game when I was a child was to play teacher to my four siblings. Although I didn’t directly think about becoming a teacher, once the thought took root, it felt very natural.”

After studying musical education in Belgium and getting both her bachelor’s and master’s degree, she started working right away. Anyhow, different from what one might expect, she didn’t work in a school, but in a daycare. As a musical educator, she helped children under the age of one discover the wide range of sounds that exist.

“At first I was very skeptical but it’s truly incredible to see how even very young babies already react to sounds.”

Although the job pleased her, she soon wanted to fulfil another dream of hers: “I had this dream to go and discover the world a bit, but since I started working right away after my studies, it wasn’t possible. So, after a year I told myself: now I want to go abroad.

Discovering cultures through music

Helena ultimately decided to go to Uganda. It was there that she found a way to connect her interest in discovering new cultures with her two passions, music, and teaching. When she visited a music school, the teachers asked her if she would be interested in teaching the students how to read and write music.

She accepted, but at first the experience wasn’t without challenges for her: “I went there, and I wanted to give the classes, but we had no instrument at our disposition, no electricity. We had a dark classroom, with a blackboard.”

Teaching three months at the music school made her evolve both personally and professionally and grew her respect for the culture and the students she had:

I hope they learned something from me, because I know that I learned a lot from them. They didn’t have my musical knowledge, but they were more of a musician than I was.

New challenges in Luxembourg

Although the Conservatoire in Luxembourg is “like a second home” to her, there were still some new things she had to learn when she started working there as a music teacher. When the first class she was given was an adult’s class she was at first unsure if she could manage it:

Since I’ve only ever taught children classes, teaching people who are older than me, was a true challenge. Now this is working out really great.”

The biggest challenge in her job in Luxembourg was however the language. Having lived the first fifteen years of her life in Spain, neither French nor Luxemburgish are her native languages. While she was able to improve her French profoundly during her studies in Belgium, teaching in Luxembourgish was something she struggled with:


It’s harder to feel at ease in front of a class and to understand all the questions. When I prepare a class in Luxemburgish I do it 100% more in detail than for my other classes. I ask myself all the questions a child could have about this subject and learn all the vocabulary.”

In the first year of the job, she was unsure if she should take on this challenge but today, she counts it as a one of her most rewarding experiences:

In the beginning I was scared, but now I love my classes in Luxemburgish. I learn a lot from them because children are honest, they will tell you directly if you didn’t say something correctly. It’s the class where I learn and share the most with my students.”

After five years of teaching at the Conservatoire in Luxembourg, her love for her job is still as strong as on the first day

"It’s not just going into a class to teach the students notes and theoretical concepts but we can also organize a lot of things, such as concerts. My goal is to fuel their interest to discover new instruments and different styles of music, not just classical music, but jazz, folk music, or even Baroque music.”

Did you know that the country of Luxembourg is the first European country to introduce free music lessons to children, therefore encouraging young children on their musical journey?

A love for diversity

Besides the vast cultural offerings in Luxembourg, she also loves its diversity, which makes it possible for her to discover new cultures without traveling:

Here, I can meet people of various nationalities. I love learning about new cultures and this is something I can find in Luxembourg.

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