The History of NATS


In honor and celebration of the 75th anniversary of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the organization reflected back on milestones and achievements over the decades. NATS has grown to become the largest professional association of voice teachers in the world, and we hope to see the organization grow in service to the voice profession for the next 75 years.

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I am not here today to defend teachers of singing as a body, for the simple and sufficient reason that there is no body yet to defend. If I am called upon for any kind of defense at all, it is in behalf of a small and modest but compact section of singing teachers, who realize, like Marcellus in Hamlet that there is 'something rotten in the State,' and are at the present time earnestly and anxiously devising plans whereby to purify and systematize the work of our profession as a whole. 

— Herman Klein, December 1907 

Help us grow for the next 75 years:

  • Consider an annual gift
  • Consider a significant gift endowing a prize or program or lead a joint fundraising effort
  • Consider a planned gift to NATS
  • Have you already planned an estate gift to NATS? If so, please contact 

The Origins

people_-_NATS_D1_0364.jpgNATS was founded on March 23, 1944, in Cincinnati, Ohio, at a luncheon during the annual convention of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). A group of 13 teachers and 87 proxies voted to bring the association into existence that day with the purpose of "establishing and maintaining the highest standards of ethical principles and practice in the profession, and to establish and maintain the highest possible standards of competence in the voice teaching profession, to conduct and encourage research and to disseminate resulting information to the profession at large, and to encourage effective cooperation among vocal teachers for their protection, welfare and advancement."

The association came to pass through the efforts of committees from three organizations: American Academy of Teachers of Singing, the Chicago Singing Teachers Guild and the New York Teachers Association. 

Founding members of the organization were John C. Wilcox, Chicago; Leon Carson, New York; Richard DeYoung, Chicago; Homer Mowe, New York; and William Allen Stults, Chicago. They comprised the first executive committee/board of directors and passed the presidency around among themselves for the first 10 years.  

The NATS archives are housed at the University of Maryland’s Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library’s Special Collections in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (the Clarice). Information about the NATS Archive Collection, including a description of the collection, can be found online at the Performing Arts Library's Special Collections Website.





Download NATS History Book 

Click the links below to follow the history of the association by decade and other significant milestones.

The 1940s     The 1970s     The 2000s  Gallery: National Conventions

The 1950s     The 1980s     The 2010s

The 1960s     The 1990s

NATS history is also displayed on downloadable banner images, linked below.

History of NATS logo