Posting Date: August 2, 2011
Meet Natalie Riney: A passion to share music
By Jessica Linnell Price
Photo by Tracie L. Hinnant
When Natalie Riney was about 10 years old she walked into a music store and saw a violin. She immediately told her mother that she wanted to play it. With seven children in the house, Natalie was unable to get her first violin until age 15. By then, she was determined to do her best.
Having two older sisters at Kennesaw State University, Natalie naturally felt it would be a good fit for her. She didn’t immediately declare her major but was very interested in the KSU School of Music. When she finally auditioned for the School of Music while at KSU, her hard effort at improving her performance didn’t go unnoticed.
At KSU, Natalie says she likes the faculty most, especially Michael Alexander, director of orchestras, and Helen Kim, assistant professor of violin. “They’ve both been inspiring and really got me off on the right foot here,” Natalie says. “I don’t think I’d be here if it weren’t for the way that they helped me along in the process.”
“She is an extremely hard worker who is completely dedicated to her craft and to sharing it with others,” says Alexander. “She is genuine and caring and her students and peers pick up on that, and she is very creative and resourceful.”
Although Natalie first thought she wanted to be a performance major, she quickly learned that teaching was her passion. “She will make a wonderful teacher as she is constantly improving herself and understands the process of learning and will be able to share this gift,” says Kim. Natalie says, “My process of learning was so fast and personal and even had spiritual influences and experiences that I would love to be able to have that experience with another student through teaching.”
Natalie is entering her senior year at KSU. She looks forward to her senior recital this month and plans to continue practicing hard afterwards. “I don’t want to lose it,” Natalie says. “I definitely want to keep progressing.” Alexander has also asked her to guest conduct the KSU Philharmonia during a performance.
In 2007, Natalie was awarded the Robert and Cheryl Moultrie Endowed Arts Scholarship, which she used to help pay for her violin. She is also the president of the KSU chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
Future goals for her include teaching orchestra in school and having a private violin studio. “Being a private teacher you can influence a student so much in a good way,” she says. “Music is such a healthy activity for kids to do that teachers need to take advantage of that and be the best teachers they can be.” On the road to success, she already is teaching violin to a group of students at The Walker School and has a private student.
“Natalie will be a leader in music education in her career,” Alexander says, “and I think only she can set the limits of what she will accomplish.”