News & Announcements

School of Music's Head of Voice Captures National Award

Nick Klein
The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) has announced the latest recipients of their prized NATS Emerging Leader Award and one of CSU’s own is amongst the seven recognized nationwide.

Nick Klein, DMA, who currently serves as a lecturer and the head of voice in the School of Music, was named a 2024 NATS Emerging Leader Award winner. The award is designed to recognize and support NATS teachers with no more than 10 years of teaching experience. According to the website, the grant enables selected recipients to attend sessions, network with colleagues, and enjoy all the benefits available at the NATS national conference, taking place in Knoxville, Tenn. from June 28-July 2.

Winners are announced every two years.

“It is a huge honor to be a recipient of the NATS Emerging Leader Award this year,” said Klein. “There are nearly 10,000 members in this organization, so to be selected as one of just seven people in the country to be recognized validates all the hard work I put into my teaching and my own professional development. There are so many renowned educators who have been previous recipients of this award, so being recognized in a category with such esteemed colleagues is super exciting!”

Klein earned a Bachelor of Music (2012) and Master of Music (2015) from Capital University and a Doctor of Musical Arts (2021) from the University of Washington. His teaching experience includes six years of classroom choral directing experience, 10 years of private voice lessons at all levels, nearly ten years of private piano and violin lessons at all levels, and a significant number of experiences in music directing and coaching for several local and regional theater productions.

His work outside of CSU speaks to his mission of helping others. Using the wealth of knowledge gained over the years, Klein has played a major role in helping many students at the high school level prepare for university level vocal study. Many have been admitted to several reputable institutions including The Capital University Conservatory of Music, The Ohio State University, Otterbein University, and Ohio University thanks to the coaching of Klein.

As an award winner, Klein will receive $750 to pay for expenses related to travel, housing, registration, food and other related costs for attendance. More importantly, it gives him the chance to continue to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

“This [conference] provides a fantastic opportunity for learning and professional development, as well as socializing and networking [and] there are a number of presentations and interactive workshops that happen throughout this conference covering a wide range of topics from Science-Informed Vocal Pedagogy to Teaching Transgender Singers, and more,” he said. “There are also several private concerts that registered conference attendees get to attend, like a concert by Lawrence Brownlee (a world-famous operatic tenor), plus a gala event where I will be recognized for this award at the Leadership Luncheon, which is an exclusive event for NATS National and Regional Level leadership.”

Despite his successes, he is quick to credit CSU for playing a major role in helping him get to this level, along with the support he has received along the way.

“CSU has been a fabulous opportunity for me to effect change in a curriculum and voice program to better reflect current demands in the world of being a performing artist. When I came to CSU, the Voice Area and BM/MM Voice Performance curriculum had not seen many significant changes and improvements in several years, and I have since created an entirely new curriculum for BM and MM Voice Performance degrees, plus revamped the Opera Theater Workshop program to a newly designed program called Vocal Theater Workshop,” said Klein. “All of these changes have allowed me to dive into the intricacies of arts admin in a university setting and have also made our program more desirable to incoming students.”

Director of the School of Music, Dr. Heather Russell, says Klein winning the award is very well-deserved, one of the main reasons being he is someone who has not only brought new ideas but takes the next step and dedicates the time and energy to develop them into new and engaging experiences for the students.

“Nick has not only made change, he has given the School of Music new ways to expand our presence on campus and in the arts arena,” she said. “He expanded the program to include productions of full-length vocal theater works; [not to mention] his enthusiasm is contagious, and his work is inspiring collaboration—this coming fall, Nick and Dr. Victor Liva, CSU's Orchestra Director, plan to work together on a production of a Mozart opera.”

Klein’s mission to continue to put CSU on the map can be furthered with all the insight he hopes to gain at the conference. There, he plans on attending workshops and lectures on current and trending topics in vocal pedagogy, along with listening to keynote speakers and performances. Of course, there will be plenty of time to network with other voice teachers and professionals from around the country to see what kinds of things they are doing to make their respective institutions a success.

“This conference will be so beneficial to my work at CSU [as] I’m a huge believer in being a life-long learner,” he said. “I love going to professional development conferences and trainings to learn new skills to try and apply to my teaching in both my private voice studio and my classroom teaching. I always come home from these conferences with new tools and teaching methods in mind, and my students benefit from those things.”

Klein points to Russell as someone who has not only provided fantastic leadership but has been extremely supportive of the changes he has been making while at CSU.

“She has been a fabulous mentor to me,” he said. “I am confident that these significant changes I’ve made at CSU and the growth they have caused for me professionally are major contributors to me being selected as a recipient of this award.”

Russell said Klein is not only an excellent instructor, but he inspires the students to do their very best.

“Nick has invested in our vocal students beyond our expectations [and] has inspired our students to bring their very best selves to performances and modeled the dedication it takes to hone their skills,” she said. “His leadership has helped the School of Music attract and retain dedicated vocal students. He has helped our students stretch and grow, equipping them so they can experience success.”

Klein is excited to not only attend the conference but bring back some good ideas to make CSU’s School of Music even better.

“I’m really looking forward to attending the NATS National Conference and learning a ton of new things that I can bring back to share with the voice students at CSU,” said Klein. “I’m hopeful that this award will propel me in my involvement in NATS leadership and allow me to make even more significant contributions to the voice community.”