Announcing Interlochen Online Programs for Adults

Registration will kick off in summer 2023, with online arts courses for adults beginning in the fall in music, musical theatre, creative writing, and more—all taught by Interlochen faculty members.

A man wearing headphones and glasses plays a guitar in front of a microphone.

When Interlochen Online relaunched with more flexible course options in the fall of 2022, the program rapidly built up a dedicated student base of young artists. Four-week courses and private lessons in a variety of subjects provided options for students who wanted to sharpen their artistic abilities in an engaging online setting. Now, Interlochen is poised to offer online courses for adult learners.

According to Executive Director of Interlochen Online Carin Nuernberg, the courses offer the same world-class instruction and artistic friendships Interlochen is known for, while providing the flexibility to fit with an adult’s busy work schedule.

Here, Nuernberg discusses what inspired the launch for adult learners, describes how the online courses will complement Interlochen’s on-campus options, and shares more details on the programs that will be offered.  

Interlochen Online has already built a thriving community for younger students. What inspired the addition of online courses for adults?

Interlochen has been offering educational programs for adults for over 20 years. Through the Interlochen College of Creative Arts, adults can experience retreats and summer programs in music performance, creative writing, sustainability and nature, and a host of other subject areas on Interlochen’s campus in northern Michigan. In a perfect world, we would want everyone to experience the beauty and serenity of the campus, with its lakes, pine forests, gardens, and custom-made arts facilities, but that is simply not possible for most adults who live in disparate places and lead busy lives with family, work, and other responsibilities. What is possible, however, is to bring Interlochen’s expertise in adult education and its world-class faculty to adults around the world. And it became clear that adults were interested in engaging with Interlochen in this way as well. We also want to make sure that we are a resource for our alumni, that we can provide professional development opportunities for them in areas where they would like to strengthen their skill sets.

What are some of the advantages of choosing Interlochen Online as opposed to other online learning options for adults?

Not only has Interlochen had a rich history of teaching adults on its campus, but it has built Interlochen Online from the ground up with a team of creatives who have over 20 years experience in online education for adults. The team works closely with world-class faculty with real-world experience. They are Broadway and TV actors, accomplished songwriters and musicians, award-winning visual artists and filmmakers, and published authors who are passionate about sharing their insight and providing students of all ages with critical mentorship. Together, they design learning experiences that are inspiring and, at the same time, practical to allow people to learn in digestible ways, develop their skills, and connect with others around the world who share their same interests.

With other online options, you are often faced with scouring the Internet to find the quality you are looking for, or something that speaks to your needs, and it can be challenging and time-consuming. Or you turn to college courses that typically ask you to commit to a semester of study, which can be daunting for anyone juggling work and caring for loved ones. Interlochen Online courses allow you to engage in flexible, four-week experiences that are extremely relevant and efficient. They enable you to work directly with faculty who are gifted educators and artists who want to see you succeed in whatever your goals may be.

How do Interlochen Online’s adult learning options complement what Interlochen already offers with Interlochen College of Creative Arts? How do you know which program is the best fit for you?

In many ways, Interlochen Online courses allow you to get a head start on programs you may be attending in person. For instance, you can dive into music theory, which can help you prepare for programs like the Symphonic Band Camp or the Chamber Music Camp, or you could begin writing short stories in one of our creative writing courses and then workshop those stories in our Writer’s Retreat on campus. The online courses are also channels through which you can continue learning and engaging with your peers after attending an ICCA program. From our perspective, the best learning happens when you keep at it, little by little, much like practicing an instrument, and our task is to make it as meaningful and flexible as possible so that you can fit it into your life, make progress, and find joy in doing so.

You are not learning by yourself, but with peers from around the world who share your love of, and interest in, the arts.

Carin Nuernberg, Executive Director of Interlochen Online

How would you describe the program in terms of community? Are there any opportunities for adult learners to connect with each other?

Interlochen’s culture is one that is welcoming, supportive, and caring—and Interlochen Online designs every learning experience with these essential ingredients. You are not learning by yourself, but with peers from around the world who share your love of, and interest in, the arts. Each course gives you opportunities to talk with fellow students and share your ideas and projects, while receiving expert guidance from faculty. The learning environment allows you to connect with each other through messaging throughout the week and through online class meetings. Our hope is that the connections you make in our courses feed future collaborations, whether for professional projects or personal fulfillment.

What kinds of arts subjects will be available?

Interlochen offers seven arts disciplines, and our goal is to have online courses in every one of the areas. Our initial focus is on music, musical theatre, and creative writing, followed by visual arts and filmmaking. With respect to music, we offer instrument-specific courses as well as subjects such as theory, songwriting, and music production.

How can adult learners fit Interlochen Online courses into their work schedules?

Interlochen Online courses require five hours of your time per week. They are designed to be flexible so that you choose when to work on them. Each week you will have guided instruction that has been created by faculty and the Interlochen Online team. That instruction includes video demonstrations, listening and visual examples, practice opportunities, and the chance to discuss topics related to what you are learning with your peers. You can ask questions at any point in the learning environment—faculty check in regularly to make sure you have what you need. You can fit that guided instruction in a little bit each day or evening, or when you have longer chunks of time available on a given day or two.

Interspersed with the guided instruction is the chance to connect in real-time with your teacher and fellow students through video class meetings. The teacher sets up those meetings based on students’ widest availability. You do not have to attend these meetings, but they are a wonderful chance to be together with everyone. If you are unable to attend a meeting, a recording is made available each week so you can view it when you have the time. 

The only requirement each week is that you complete an assignment related to what you learned that week. The assignments are designed to be real-world and enjoyable—and you receive personalized feedback from faculty to help you learn and grow. The goal is that by the end of the course, you have a collection of work that showcases all you have accomplished.

When will courses be launched?

Registration for courses will kick off in summer 2023, with courses beginning in the fall.

What’s the vision for the future of online courses for adults through Interlochen Online?

We are feverishly working to grow our catalog of course offerings and ensure they are the highest quality with the best educators in the world. Our goal is to have hundreds of offerings across all of Interlochen’s arts disciplines so that Interlochen Online is a vital, meaningful part of the lives of students of all ages who are seeking to develop their artistic skills and connect with people from around the world who share their interests. In addition, we plan to offer certificate programs, which provide more in-depth study in a particular area and recognition from Interlochen of that accomplishment. Last but not least, we envision offering greater connection points between Interlochen Online and the College of Creative Arts, so that students can not only study online year round but also have more opportunities to experience campus in convenient, transformative ways.

Contact for more information.