Natalie Brooke Higgins, DMA, is an active performer, educator, administrator, and entrepreneur located in Reno, Nevada. She currently holds the positions of hornist and founding member of both the BrassHaus Network and the Alias Brass Company, director of Alias Music Publishing, affiliate artist with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, media coordinator for the International Horn Competition of America, and Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of Nevada, Reno. Based on her innovative achievements, service to her community, and commitment to inspire the next generation of musicians and music educators, she has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s 40 under 40 honorees, a feature that celebrates the best and brightest in business, government, nonprofits, education, healthcare, banking, and professional sports.
As a performer, Natalie has been featured in concert series and clinics across the country, has been a featured artist at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Hershey, PA, and has participated as a contributing artist at the International Horn Symposium in Natal, Brazil. She is a prizewinner of the International Winds, Brass, and Percussion Enkor Competition, winner of both the Music Teacher’s National Association State and Regional Young Artist Brass Competitions, and finalist of the National Round, and winner of the St. Louis Artist Presentation Series. Natalie has also performed with such ensembles as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Macon Pops, St. Joseph Symphony, American Festival Orchestra, Banff Festival Orchestra, and Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
As an educator, Natalie has instructed and adjudicated throughout North America. In addition to her current University post, she has held the positions of Assistant Professor of Horn at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music and Adjunct Professor of horn and high brass methods at Missouri Western State University. Natalie was a featured artist at Lamar University's Brass Festival, Southeast Missouri State’s Horn Day, and has given clinics and performances at such workshops as the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Missouri Music Educators Association Conference, Oklahoma Horn Day, Southeast Horn Workshop, and the Western Horn Workshop.
As an administrator and artistic innovator, Natalie co-founded the Schwob Summer Music Festival, the Kansas City Horn Club, and has held positions as the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra and Library Manager, The Gluck Foundation Chamber Music Program Coordinator, and the Gluck Foundation Music Partnership Coordinator.
Natalie received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, Masters of Music from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has studied with many internationally recognized and accomplished brass performers and teachers, among them Martin Hackleman, Chris Cooper, Brian O’Connor, Pete Nowlen, Jens Lindemann, and Patrick Sheridan.
The horn should be an organic adaptation to a student’s natural body position, personality, and emotional thoughts.
Aspirations of playing the horn requires not only the diligent and mental focus necessary to learn and facilitate the technique of the instrument, but also the understanding that the student and his/her horn must have a special bond in order to achieve a unified character and sound. The proper setup and placement of the instrument should be an extension of the student’s most comfortable relaxed position. A deeper understanding of how the body works, specifically the muscles enacted and required in breathing in order to produce and move wind efficiently through the horn, must be attained.
Envisioning the horn as an extension to a student’s personality and emotional thoughts will help to characterize a student’s musical ideas, giving individuality to his/her playing. The incorporation of all of these aspects is essential in creating a free-blowing tension-less tone, as well as a positive environment for growth, where one can not only learn to play the horn, but to sing with the voice of the horn.