Natalie J. Wilson
Revered as a veteran elementary vocal jazz educator for 21 years, NATALIE J. WILSON
retired in 2023 after serving a 39-year preK-12 career in the Camas, Washington
school district. Natalie’s grades 3-5 ensemble “Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ” (GVVJ) is honored
with 13 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards in the junior high division. Natalie has presented sessions on Elementary Vocal Jazz Concepts and Jazz in the General Music Classroom for university student organizations/classrooms and at state, regional, and national conferences of ACDA, NAfME, WMEA, and JEN where she also serves on the K-8 Education Committee for General Music and Vocal Jazz.
NATALIE is distinguished as an educator with high standards and success as a clinician, adjudicator, conference presenter, author, composer/arranger, collaborator, and responsible committee member. Natalie received a BA in Music Education from Western Washington University (1984) and a MS in Education from Portland State University (1989).
2020: Washington Music Educators Association Hall of Fame
2019: Semi-finalist Give a Note Foundation "Innovator Award"
2018: "Tenuto Award" - DeMiero Jazz Fest
2014: "Outstanding Educator of the Year"
Lower Columbia River Music Educators Association f
2013: Camas School District "Innovator Award"
2012: "Outstanding Educator of the Year"
Lower Columbia River Music Educators Association
1998: "Woman of Distinction" Soroptimist International
Professional organization publications have welcomed articles written by Natalie on the following topics:
Elementary Vocal Jazz Concepts
Jazz in the General Music Classroom
Publications include the following:
The Choral Journal
Jazz Education Journal
Voice Magazine - publication of WMEA
Orff Echo - Contributed by Sara Alswager
Rehearsing the Vocal Jazz Ensemble by Daniel Gregerman: chapter contributor: 2023
SBO Magazine January 2024:
"Planting Seeds: Cultivating a Healthy Jazz Program"
Natalie's work as a choral and vocal jazz clinician/adjudicator is recognized throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her work with students and directors is respectful and reassuring as she affirms the greatness in the ensemble and plays with alternative ways to interpret the music.
Natalie has presented 25+ conference sessions and workshops at the local, regional and national level on the topics of Vocal Jazz Concepts (under various titles,) Jazz in the Elementary Classroom, Beginning Vocal Improvisation/Rhythm Section Techniques, Recycled Rhythms, Vocal Jazz Listening and more.
Her approach is straightforward, informative, and reassuring. Attendees often comment that they feel comfortable returning to their ensembles ready to share new jazz concepts with their students.
Natalie has a knack for transforming jazz standards into accessible arrangements for young or elementary performing ensembles. Her ability to create harmonies and re-write lyrics allow the tunes to emerge with a new straight-ahead flavor. Her approachable arrangements and original compositions are annually tested and performed by her ensemble "Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ" so they are proven winners. Examples may be found on the YouTube Channel "Vocal Jazz Concepts". Her music is available through
Anchor Music. www.anchormusic.com
Natalie currently serves on the K-8 General Music and Vocal Jazz Education Committee of the
"Jazz Education Network" (JEN) www.jazzednet.org
While choral and music educators embrace the teaching of multi-cultural and world music
in their programs, Natalie finds that America's cultural music - jazz - is often overlooked.
It is her desire to share specific, easy-to understand techniques and examples
with a variety of audiences to encourage the teaching and celebration of jazz music.