Arts Academy Boarding School: Voice Major

Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school offers voice students a program of pre-professional music training and college preparatory academics. Voice students graduate well-prepared for the rigors of study at the university and conservatory level.

A typical voice student's schedule would include a Voice lesson, choir and music theory; and could also include Chamber Choir (by audition), Opera Theater (by audition - see below), Italian Diction and Song Repertoire, piano study (private lesson by audition or class piano), French classes, and appropriate academic classes. (See full course descriptions - link to the course descriptions)

The voice major course of study includes:

Voice Lessons

Each prospective voice student is auditioned to determine his/her appropriate level of instruction.  An assignment to either private lessons (hour or half-hour) is made on the basis of the student's ability, achievement, and motivation.  This placement is subject to change depending upon the work produced.In addition to private lessons, there are weekly studio classes, numerous student recitals, master classes and guest artists that further enhance the musical training of all voice students.


Music will be individualized to the student’s ability level. Music will be brought to Interlochen personally by the student or may be purchased at the Interlochen Music Store and/or checked out from the Interlochen Music Library. In some studios, there may also be handouts provided by the individual voice instructor.

Interlochen Opera Theater

The Interlochen Opera Theater is a performance ensemble of young singing actors specializing in classical vocal repertoire. Opera Theater coursework supports the Voice Major course of study and fosters the development of a total body performance instrument. Courses are designed for young singing actors who are serious about their craft and artistry.

Students are engaged in comprehensive singing actor training that is based on the teaching of Stanislavsky and Chekhov and also incorporates principles taught by Adler, Balk, Grotowski, Hagen, LeCoque, Meisner, Strasberg and Suzuki among others. These techniques are applied specifically towards developing the singing-acting craft. The dedicated faculty of artist-educators provide personalized instruction and guidance to aspiring singing actors through all aspects of the singing acting process including the study, rehearsal and performance of assigned repertoire. Assignments include prepared and improvisatory exercises, songs, arias, and ensembles, which are chosen specifically to challenge and develop the unique talents of each individual student.

Interlochen Opera Theater Courses include:

  • Singing Actor’s Studio
  • Opera Workshop 
  • Inter-Opera - an intensive performance-based workshop project during Intermester

Students are placed into appropriate Opera Theater Courses at the discretion of the Opera Instructor as determined by audition. (See full course descriptions below for more information about courses and course placement)

Through challenging coursework, students develop fundamental singing acting techniques, physical and vocal characterization skills, and a working knowledge of basic theatrical terminology and technical concepts necessary to achieve specific and powerfully communicative singing acting performances. In addition to primary instruction from Voice and Music faculty, Opera Theater course participants also receive supplementary instruction from Theater and Comparative Arts Faculty in workshops focused on movement, physical characterization and dramatic analysis. Students are also encouraged to enroll in courses such as Acting Foundations and General Dance according to enrollment and scheduling availability.

Performance opportunities:

  • Students gain valuable hands-on performance experience in a broad range of repertoire including: opera, operetta, classical music theater and art song in the following annual performance opportunities:
  • Fully-staged and conducted Opera Scenes performances at the end of the fall and spring semester
  • A performance-based project during Intermester
  • Various in-class and public performances, which occur throughout the academic year

Recent performances include:

  • Opera Scenes Program featuring the Mozart / DaPonte Operas Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni & Così fan tutte - sung in Italian.
  • “A night at the Operetta” Featuring scenes from Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta works.
  • “20th & 21st Century Opera Scenes” featuring, works by Adamo, Britten, Ward and Menotti
  • Le nozze di Figaro (reduced version)
  • Così fan tutte (reduced version)

Singing Actors who participate in Interlochen Opera Theater Courses are equipped with a solid foundation of singing acting techniques that will enable their continued development of mind, body and voice into a coordinated instrument of artistic expression. Students leave Interlochen well prepared for success in continued study and training in university or conservatory as they continue to develop and mature as performing artists.


John Bragle

Director of Choirs and Instructor of Voice, Interlochen Arts Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp
Conductor, World Youth Honors Choir, Interlochen Arts Camp

M.M., Choral Conducting, Michigan State University; B.M.E, Vocal Music Education, Michigan State University

Jeffery Norris

Instructor of Voice, Interlochen Arts Academy
Director of Vocal Music (Opera Scenes), Interlochen Arts Camp

M.M., Performance and Literature, Eastman School of Music; B.A., Music Education, Michigan State University.