I moved to Athens in 1999, when I came to study at UGA for my undergraduate degree. In 2003, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and stayed at UGA for my Master’s degree in Flute Performance, which I received in 2005. After graduate school, I moved to Atlanta for a year, taking orchestral auditions and teaching private flute and piano lessons. I then briefly worked in Charlotte, NC, selling flutes for premiere flute shop J.L. Smith & Co., before returning to Athens with my husband Brian Smith, as we were expecting the birth of our first daughter, Lorelei. When Lorelei was 3 years old, she attended Emmanuel Episcopal Day School, and I became a substitute teacher there. Though I had worked with children in private lessons and at arts and music camps, this was my first experience working at a preschool, and I fell in love. I realized that I truly enjoy being with young children, observing their dynamics, helping them to work together and explore their worlds. I became an assistant teacher at Emmanuel the following year and also became the music teacher after the birth of my second daughter, Sylvia. I taught at Emmanuel for 6 years and each year grew more fond of my work with children. After Emmanuel, I spent one year as an assistant teacher at Kaleidoscope Montessori School before beginning my music education business, which is Music with Natalie. Now, I am so happy to be spending much of my days teaching music to children through group classes and private lessons. I am always looking for new opportunities to connect with children and new methods of teaching foundational concepts of music in a fun and meaningful way.
In addition to teaching, I am still an active flutist. I am principal flutist of the Gwinnett Ballet Theater Orchestra, the Georgia Ballet Orchestra, the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra in Anderson, SC, and Felix Farrar's Atlanta Symphoria. I regularly substitute with the Albany Symphony, play weekly at Athens First United Methodist Church and often perform for other special services and events in Athens and throughout North Georgia. Also, Brian and I form flute and guitar duo the Musicsmiths, playing for weddings and all kinds of special events.