Voice instructor earns NATS internship

Liz Gray

With inspiration from her musical icons, adjunct voice instructor Elizabeth Gray applied to and attained an internship with the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

She credited Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and Maria Callas for showing her the value of taking risks, such as applying to a prestigious internship program.

“I loved that Maria Callas took risks with her sound in a genre that promotes beautiful singing,” Gray said.

NATS aims to pair gifted interns with a master teacher in a given area. The teacher then helps the intern become a more talented singer. Gray applied for the program in December 2019 and found out early February that she had been accepted.

“It’s been on my mind for years,” Gray said, “and after receiving encouragement to reapply, it all made sense. I aim for each and every opportunity to grow as an educator.”

The application process involved a resume and applicant statement. The applicant statement was a three- to five-paragraph statement addressing Gray’s teaching philosophy and motivation for applying to the program.

Gray said SVSU helped her prepare to apply for the NATS program.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with students of varying interests in music and singing styles,” she said. “This helped me cultivate a cross-training curriculum for voice to include musical theatre and classical and popular music styles.”

Gray said Kevin Simons, a music professor, encouraged her to apply.

“In my first year at SVSU, I asked Kevin Simons for his thoughts, and he was happy to write a recommendation,” Gray said. “However, I chose not to apply for the 2019 program. He was one of the first people to congratulate me, which was super thoughtful.”

Gray said the program is a “huge opportunity” for her to further her career as a singing instructor.

“While being immersed in the latest research and practices surrounding the singing voice, I will meet new colleagues and master teachers who have years of experience and influence on the topic,” she said.

After the program, Gray said she plans to return to the Northern Michigan arts academy Interlochen, where she is currently a full-time employee. She will serve as the musical director for camp sessions. She is also planning workshops in the mid-Michigan area.

Gray said she is prepared learn a lot from the experience and excited to make the most of it.

“Increased awareness of best practices and hands-on experience (is essential) for voice teaching,” Gray said. “I hope to spread the goodness that is voice education everywhere I go.”

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