"Helen takes each of her students seriously; she encourages each to rise to his or her own level of performance excellence. Indeed she understands each of our weaknesses, she analyzes our personal problems and tailors her method to suit our needs. Whether her student is 17 or 70 years of age, the same insistence on practice, rigor, and accuracy applies. When Helen teaches the focus is on the student, not the teacher. She is a force of musical nature!”
- William Cipolla

Helen Bates demonstrates a hand position

“What Helen teaches is: how to be the best musician you can be through playing classical guitar . Of course you will learn how to play the pieces, but most importantly you will learn and continue to learn to play from your heart. The more I play, the more I feel like playing and that is all you can want and ask from a great teacher.
- Harry Shulman, in my 16th year of studying with Helen

“When I first met Helen, perhaps twenty five years ago now, I’d been playing classical guitar for close to twenty years and had majored in music at a well known London institution. Although I’d attained competent proficiency on the instrument, I found myself frustrated and stuck on a musical plateau. I needed a source of inspiration and by sheer luck was introduced to Helen. She took me back to basics and we spent several months rebuilding my technique from the ground up. Early on in our relationship I realized she was someone who not only had a clear understanding of great technique (and the talent to teach it), but possessed deep insight into musical interpretation. Even now, all these years later, her lessons are a source of inspiration to me – and a wonderful by-product is we’ve become good friends.”
- Anthony Purdy

"As an absolute beginner on the guitar, I found that Helen made the challenge of learning to play a pleasure from day one. She provides varied repertoire, encouragement without coddling, and concentration on the most rewarding part: finding one's own expressive musicality."
- Rita Jules

“I have been studying with Helen for eleven years. Not only is she incredibly adept at teaching the technical aspects of guitar playing, her enthusiasm for making music is contagious. One thing about Helen: she will not countenance despair. As someone who tends to be hyper-critical of myself, this has been invaluable, especially in the beginning, when I had so little confidence that I would ever be able to master this instrument, let alone conquer my near paralysis about performing. It is her annual recitals that have made the greatest difference in my progress. Not only are they a great repertoire-builder, for me they are a constant reminder that playing a musical instrument is much more than practicing in solitude. It is about learning to get over myself and perform for others out of a love for making music. ”
- Catherine Revland

“Of the many things I learned from Helen, the most important was that beautiful tone is essential to making beautiful music, so she taught me how to get a pure, clear, beautiful tone when playing; indeed, she would never accept anything less. Many times I've been complimented on my purity of tone when playing, and every time I quietly thank Helen.”
- Frank Galante

“I began studying with Helen to learn to play guitar better. "Better" would have been easy. Instead, slowly but surely, Helen is molding me into a real guitar player. With limitless energy and compassion, whenever a technique is within my reach, she insists I play at that level. As a result, while I may be nowhere near mastery, really feel I'm working toward it. What a generous and powerful thing to do for someone.”
- Douglas Bell

“Helen is equal parts teacher and coach. She emphasizes good technique but not at the expense of making music. She finds ways to help develop technique and tone, always in service of the piece you're working on. It's not unusual for her to use her breath or suggest a visual aid to explain a time signature or particular mood for a piece. She's unfailingly patient and never gives up. One of the most extraordinary teachers I've ever met, in any subject.”
- Teresa Toro

"Helen Bates has created a community of classical guitarists right in Greenwich Village. With the private lesson at the core of her teaching, students are also offered many opportunities to meet and work with other students, including the annual recital and informal gatherings to play in front of other students, as well as ensemble work and reading classes. The result is enriching both as a guitarist and personally, under Helen's guidance.
- Paul Wrynn

"I started taking guitar lessons from Helen Bates around 1988. My lessons have been continuous, every two weeks. I enjoy our lessons. Her keen ability to listen is an important asset in allowing me as well as other students to develop playing technique,and interpretive phrasing for each piece learned. She is also familiar with a large repertoire of classical guitar music from which she can draw from to assign pieces appropriate to the ability of the student and also challenge the student to grow. I highly recommend Helen to anyone."
- Clay Gordon

"I have taken guitar lessons from Helen Bates for over 21 years. She has proven herself to be a compassionate, fair, thorough and extremely patient teacher who takes the time to ensure that her students learn the proper playing techniques in addition to hearing the music as it should be played. Not only has she studied with some of the best, but she wants her students to be the best so they can enjoy the guitar to its utmost. Indeed, the guitar is a sensitive instrument and Helen trains her students to bring it to its most expressive capabilities. Under her tutelage, I have also found that my ear has become more sensitive, which enhances my enjoyment of music as well. I would recommend her to any guitarist who is interested in classical guitar."
- Laurie Siegel