In the Classroom with Natalie Gray

Students in the Traditional Pop Ensemble class had the unique opportunity to work with singer-songwriter Natalie Gray, who was excited to share her expertise in scatting. Fresh off the recent release of her EP Wings, the Molloy College professor and voice teacher shed light on the unique skills involved with scatting and offered LIHSA students the opportunity to experiment and create new sounds. Students practiced adding scat syllables to melodies while spontaneously composing songs. “You’re coming up with your own language and your own story,” Gray said of scatting. “You want to sound conversationally expressive.” Music students were so grateful to LIHSA theatre teacher Kimberly Larkin for recommending Gray, who used to be Ms. Larkin’s voice student!

“She was really nice and straightforward,” says student Audrey Underberg. “She gave us an in-depth description of what he she does, and then Natalie did a call and response activity that set us up for what we would do when we worked with the mics. I enjoyed it when she had us try different forms of scatting.”

“It was so much fun to improvise with sheet music,” says student Kendal Mathew. “Natalie taught us different syllables for scatting, we got in a music circle, and we made percussion noises with our body and vocals! I didn’t know much about scatting until she visited. We even volunteered to have ‘scatversations’ with each other. It was an inspiration to see someone who is a musician for a living have fun, and I appreciate that I am at LIHSA so that I can meet people like her.”

“One of the great things about LIHSA is that we are able to collaborate with professionals in an industry we want to work in, and it gives us a wider perspective about what we’ll be doing in the future,” adds Underberg.

Scroll down to see more photos!