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Natalie Weiss to give master class, concert
March 14, 2014
Singer and teaching artist Natalie Weiss, who first reached acclaim via her now-international YouTube following and on “American Idol” and who now works on Broadway and national tours, will give a master class and special concert at the Community College of Rhode Island this month.
At this point in her career, Weiss has accumulated experiences that many others can only dream of having. But she’s not content to rest on her laurels; instead, she continues to learn and inspire others to follow those dreams. She will conduct a master class in vocal performance at 7:30 p.m. on March 20 and perform at 7:30 p.m. on March 21 in the Bobby Hackett Theater at the Knight Campus in Warwick. Both events are free and open to the public.
Weiss is a firm believer in the value of education, particularly in the arts. She said she has been performing since she was about 5 years old, eventually moving on to a performing arts high school and taking stints at a performing arts summer camp.
She studied musical theater at Penn State, which is where she began to discover her aptitude for teaching. “I became the go-to coach in college, because I had classical training as a piano player,” she said.
After school, a YouTube channel and Web series, “Breaking Down The Riffs,” where Weiss taught viewers how to perfect the riffs, trills and belts that famous pop stars such as her own inspirations Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and their peers, gained her considerable exposure.
Weiss knew she had a knack for understanding and teaching pop. “Pop singing is very subjective. I just trusted my gut and my natural pop sensibilities for that,” she said of both her ability to perform as well as teach the mercurial art of pop music.
In her master classes, such as the one she will give at the college, these unconventional talents will take center stage. Weiss said that attendees can expect to learn how to belt more healthily, work on riffs, how to change and interpret songs and more. “They can also look forward to my weird, dry humor,” she joked.
She said she also wanted students to take away the values of lifelong learning in the arts and beyond. “You should always be learning and take away something from every teacher that you take a class from. Everyone has something to offer, and you never stop learning, even in the business,” she said.
At the concert, attendees will be able to see some of Weiss’s lessons in action. Weiss pointed out that being a good singer doesn’t necessarily make one a good teacher (and vice versa), but in her case, she seems to have the chops for both. And even with seven years of professional performance live on stage and via the YouTube platform and many years of teaching under her belt, including two years of teaching these master classes, she still doesn’t take a moment of it for granted.
“I still do ‘geek out’ over performers who are more experienced than me, and it’s crazy to think that people are writing to me telling me that I’m their inspiration. For people to remind you that you’re inspiring them is really important. While you’re living and breathing it, you think of it as a job, but it’s still your dream. I’m happy to make my own career path and do as many things as I can, whether that be concerts, recording, teaching, or making videos,” she said. “I love being able to choose my own adventure day to day.”
Her visit is made possible through the Charles Sullivan Fund for the Arts and Humanities in cooperation with the Performing Arts Department and the CCRI Players.
There is no cost or reservation process for either the class or the concert; attendees need only show up. The doors will open at 7 p.m. with both events starting at 7:30 p.m. For more information on the class and concert, contact the CCRI Players at 401-825-2219 or by email.
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