The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) is a professional organization of importance to teachers and students of singing. The objectives of NATS are "to encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented."
The NATS Journal of Singing is the official publication of NATS and contains articles relating to the art and technique of singing, reviews of newly published books and music, and a wealth of other pertinent information. It is published every other month and is sent to all members. The NATS Journal of Singing is also available in the Arts and Humanities Library in Pattee. For information concerning membership, see any of the voice faculty.
NATS is established on national, regional, state, and local chapter levels. There are organized events on every level, each of which includes opportunities for students to sing for constructive comments and/or compete for prizes.
The local Allegheny Mountain Chapter of NATS (AMC NATS) typically holds meetings each fall (usually in late September). A program pertaining to the multi-faceted art of singing is offered, of interest to teachers and students alike.
AMC NATS also typically holds an annual student auditions each fall (usually in early November). This day-long event includes the auditions in the morning and a winner’s concert in the afternoon. Each student prepares at least three songs (or more, depending on the division assigned). Voice teachers have repertoire requirements specific to divisions. In the auditions, each student will begin with a song of his or her choice. Additional songs are selected as time permits. Three judges write constructive comments and score each singer according to his or her individual performance. These comments are made available after the auditions. The three singers in each division with the highest scores will sing in the winner’s concert. Some students may receive semi-finalist certificates based on their scores. Those singers performing in the winner’s concert will sing one song of their choice (provided that this song was performed in the morning auditions). Winners are awarded a small cash prize. There is a modest entry fee. Transportation may be provided by the School of Music.
Singers should dress appropriately for these auditions. Men should wear coats and ties; women should wear dresses appropriate for daytime performing. Professional accompanists are often available at student auditions. These arrangements must be made in advance.
The Eastern Region of NATS (comprised of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Québec and the National Capital Region of Ottawa) holds student auditions every spring (usually in March or early April). These auditions take place over a three-day period. The procedure followed is much the same as for the Chapter NATS auditions. There is a modest entry fee. Students are responsible for out-of-town expenses. Transportation may be provided by the School of Music.
A national NATS conference is held every two years. The national semi-finals and finals of the NATS Artist Award competition (NATSAA) are held at this meeting. The first prize includes a $10,000 cash award, a New York solo recital debut, and a scholarship to attend the AIMS program in Graz, Austria. Other prizes are also given to national semi-finalists and finalists. Preliminary auditions for the NATSAA are held on the district and regional levels.