Behind the Scenes: Matilda

Teacher Feature: Natalie Baker

Why did you become a music teacher?

Musical Theater, singing and dance have always been my passions and it is incredible to teach a subject that lets me share subjects that I love with my students. Essentially, we get to play and enjoy having fun exploring the performing arts together on a daily basis. The teacher that was the most essential to my happiness as a child was my elementary music teacher.  She made learning fun and she had fun alongside us. Truly, Mrs. Hunt is still an inspiration for me. Her inspiration pushes me to continually develop myself as a teacher in hopes to inspire my students in the same way she has inspired me.

Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I LOVE to read and sew/crochet/knit!  If given the choice to do anything in my free time it would be to listen to a book on audible while sewing, knitting, crocheting or crafting in some way.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to Dance, Sing and participate in musicals with the Missoula Community Theater.  MCT is a fantastic organization that has helped me connect with other performing artists in our community.  I have never had more fun on stage then I have when I have participated in shows with MCT as a performer.

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would be…..?

I have two dogs, 1 cat, and 9 rabbits.  If I was not a performing arts teacher, I would most likely work with animals in some way.  While I was in college I helped run a no-kill kitten rescue. Christian was so patient with me as I filled rooms in our house with different litters that we would bottle feed until they were old enough to adopt out through a local veterinarian’s office in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Knowing that you are a musical theater fan, what is your absolute favorite?

Les Miserables and CATS were my two favorites growing up. Right now, I am still completely moved by Hamilton and listen to the Hamilton Mixed Tape selections over and over again.

Grammy Foundation Info:

In 2017 I was nominated by someone in our community for the music educator award.  I was very honored by this nomination and astonished when I made it to the list of top 180 music educators in the country as a quarterfinalist.  I have remained in this spot since and am still in disbelief, and grateful beyond words. This nomination has opened some very awesome doors. It brought the opportunity to interview Ben Folds with 6 students between 4th-8th grade, then attend his concert.  It also provided an invitation to a training on Broadway last summer in NYC through the Broadway Teaching Group. For three days last July I took 8 masters classes from professionals in the theater and film world (Stephen Sondheim presented and I about passed out) and attended 4 broadway shows, with talk backs with the cast after each show. This experience was very surreal and filled me with ideas that will last for years to come. – Natalie Baker