NATS Mentoring Initiatives
NATS is committed to nurturing and promoting opportunities for mentoring. Several models of mentoring at the Chapter, Region and National levels have been initiated to foster the benefits and role of mentoring as it relates to teaching voice. It is our intent to encourage continued learning for NATS members by promoting these collaborative approaches to mentoring.
Below is a summary of these initiatives and we add to the list as additional resources become available. We welcome input from various groups within NATS so that mentoring opportunities are available at all levels of the association. If you have a mentoring opportunity, please share your information .
NATS is proud to offer many options for mentoring at the national level. Browse options below to see which option might work best with your needs or watch our video.
If you have additional questions, please reach out to , chair of the National Committee for Mentoring Initiatives.
Mentoring Options Overview
- NATS National Mentoring Collaborative (NNMC)
- NATS Intern Program
- Mentoring Over Coffee
- NATS Mentored Teaching Experience at National Workshops
- NYC-NATS Mentorship Program
- Teaching Partnership Workshop - Chicago Chapter NATS
- GA NATS Teacher Enrichment Program
NATS NATIONAL MENTORING COLLABORATIVE
The NATS National Mentoring Collaborative (NNMC) is our first national mentoring opportunity! It is our intent to foster continued learning for our teachers by offering this collaborative approach to mentoring. Any teachers wishing to participate will have an opportunity to observe Mentor Teachers and develop or augment their own teaching pedagogy.
NATS INTERN PROGRAM
The NATS Intern Program is an exceptional training experience that seeks to pair expert and recognized master teachers with talented early career members of NATS. Within an intensive format designed to promote the dynamic exchange of ideas and techniques, the goal is to improve substantially the studio teaching skills of voice interns and the coaching skills of collaborative piano interns.
Voice interns teach four lessons each to two students (preferably one male and one female) and participate in master classes and coaching under the supervision of master teachers. Collaborative piano interns accompany lessons, master classes, and other sessions as appropriate, and coach voice interns under the supervision of the collaborative piano master teacher. In addition, the master teachers, a vocal literature liaison, and selected guests present special lectures and demonstrations.
MENTORING OVER COFFEE
“Mentoring Over Coffee” is just like it sounds — a chance to talk with a mentor for an hour over a cup of joe. This free meeting opportunity, which coincides with the biennial national conference, highlights the generous camaraderie of the NATS membership.
Most recently, the third “Mentoring Over Coffee” program took place during the NATS 57th National Conference in 2022. Following Ian Howell’s establishment of the program in 2018, Elizabeth Ann Benson has facilitated the program since 2020.
In 2022, 46 NATS members signed up to be mentors, and 30 signed up to be mentees, resulting in more than 100 mentoring partnerships. The option for reverse-mentoring was on the table this year, wherein established professionals could learn from emerging professionals in a mutually beneficial exchange.
Responses to a follow-up survey suggest a high level of satisfaction with this program.
“This program is a great example of practicing our mission, vision, and values within NATS,” Benson says.
The connections made through mentoring bolster the NATS Diversity and Inclusion statement, “to be a welcoming and supportive community of members and students who celebrate the unique identities, varied backgrounds, and experiences of all individuals.”
NATS will continue to run this program at future conferences. Registered attendees will receive an invitation to participate a few weeks prior. Anyone interested in running a similar program at the regional level may feel free to reach out to Elizabeth Benson for the questionnaire templates.
- Are you a private studio voice teacher who wants to strengthen your studio pedagogy?
- Are you a college/conservatory-level studio voice teacher who wants feedback on your teaching, separate from the teaching evaluations you may already receive?
- Have you wanted to participate in the NATS Intern Program but do not qualify?
- Are you looking for a way to re-energize your teaching?
If any of the above applies to you, you are perfect candidate to participate in this NATS initiative that is aimed at providing development opportunities to all NATS members. The NATS Mentored Teaching Experience typically is held during national workshops.
NEW ENGLAND NATS MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
The Mentorship Program for the New England Region of NATS is an opportunity for up and coming students and early career voice teachers and researchers to communicate with established experts in the field to chat informally about shared interests.
With the creation of this program organizers hope to connect voice teachers in the New England Region regardless of geographic location. Here's a chance to get or lend advice to any teacher in the Region - from New Brunswick, Canada to New Haven, Connecticut and all locations in-between!
Click here for information and online sign-up form.
NYC-NATS MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
The purpose of the NYC NATS Mentorship Program is to offer young apprentice teachers an opportunity to observe master teachers teaching specific styles of material to develop advanced teaching skills. Experienced teachers may also enroll as a chance to broaden their teaching experience and receive feedback.
Click here for complete information, including meeting dates, guidelines, application, and brochure.
TEACHING PARTNERSHIP WORKSHOP
Chicago Chapter NATS
Karen Brunssen (Classical Voice Pedagogy)
Rebecca Schorsch (Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy)
W. Stephen Smith (Classical Voice Pedagogy)
In a unique and first of its kind workshop, CCNATS teachers were offered an opportunity to partner with one of three distinguished vocal pedagogues to offer supportive feedback and input. Karen Brunssen, Rebecca Schorsch, and W. Stephen Smith worked with 3 CCNATS participants who taught one of their own students for 25 minutes, followed by 25 minutes of interactive work with the lead teacher. All CCNATS members were encouraged to observe this process and exchange of ideas. This group teaching experience echoes the efforts that the NATS Intern Program provides.
GA NATS TEACHER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM
The Teacher Enrichment Program offers Georgia NATS members an opportunity to strengthen their studio pedagogy by observing and being observed by a Georgia NATS mentor teacher over a period of one academic semester (August-December or January-May). This program is open to any active Georgia NATS member, whether a new teacher looking to solidify her/his studio pedagogy or an experienced teacher looking to re-energize or diversify her/his teaching.
Advancing the Culture of Mentoring in our Profession
Mentoring strengthens pedagogic practice through open communication and continued learning. The American Academy of Teachers of Singing (AATS) offers models for incorporating mutually beneficial mentoring relationships into vital aspects of our profession, informed in part by principles of Self-Determination Theory.
Associations Now - Speed Mentoring
There’s a quick way to make mentorship matches. “Speed mentoring” rotates participants around a room for rapid-fire conversations with potential mentors. How to hack it? You’ve heard of speed dating—but speed mentoring? The Mid-Atlantic chapter of the American Inns of Court says it’s a great way to do some professional matchmaking.
The National Foundation for the Improvement of Education
NFIE empowers public education employees to innovate, take risks, and become agents for change to improve teaching and learning in our society. As the foundation of the National Education Association, NFIE believes that all students can learn and that quality education begins with teachers. This paper outlines many of the issues and questions that school districts, teacher associations, and universities should consider when developing new or improving existing mentor programs.