Interlochen Online brings world-class faculty into students’ homes

The program, originally developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, offers classes in all multiple arts disciplines, as well as college advising.

Interlochen Online - boy in yellow shirt plays the piano

Since its founding in 1928, Interlochen Center for the Arts has been a national leader in arts education. Through the Arts Camp and Arts Academy, Interlochen has prepared thousands of students for fulfilling lives in the arts. Now, Interlochen celebrates the second anniversary of its newest program—Interlochen Online, which brings Interlochen’s outstanding arts instructors into students’ homes. Elizabeth Stuk, Interlochen’s associate dean of admission and financial aid for summer and auxiliary programs, helped develop the online arts program. Here, she shares how Interlochen Online has evolved into what it is now, and describes the unique value and flexibility it offers to students. 

“Interlochen Online is an opportunity for students across the globe to become part of the Interlochen community, work with faculty, grow their artistic skills, and try something new,” says Stuk. The program was founded in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in its history, Interlochen was unable to host its globally-recognized Arts Camp in person, and faculty and staff made the decision to move instruction online. The program met with an overwhelmingly positive response. “That was the first iteration of Interlochen Online,” says Stuk. “We had great success.” After in-person instruction resumed, Interlochen chose to keep its online education platform open. Faculty began developing lessons which would be available not just during the summer, but throughout the entire year. 

Now, Interlochen Online is home to a wide variety of arts classes. “I think there’s a program for every student,” says Stuk. Currently, Interlochen offers two different styles of instruction: private lessons and group classes. Private lessons pair each student with an Interlochen instructor for individual attention and a personalized curriculum. Private lessons are available in acting, musical theatre, dance, creative writing, visual arts, film, and a variety of musical instruments. 

Group classes explore a certain topic within an arts discipline. For example, a musically-inclined student can take a class in Analysis of Video Game and Film Scoring Techniques, while a student interested in writing can enjoy a workshop called Create! - Imaginative Approaches to Creative Writing. “These classes are great opportunities to develop skills in new genres, or to hone your skills on something in particular, from the comfort of your own home,” Stuk comments. In the fall, Interlochen Online also offers College Audition Bootcamp, a special program for students preparing to enter arts colleges. This class gives students the opportunity to practice their auditions and receive feedback from Interlochen faculty. 

When asked about the value of Interlochen Online, Stuk offers three aspects of the program: faculty, flexibility, and community. “I think one of the really great things about Interlochen Online is the access to our vetted faculty,” she says. “The faculty of Interlochen are world-class.” Online programs also provide outstanding flexibility to the student. Interlochen’s private lessons, for instance, are scheduled at times that work for both the student and the instructor. And for those who may not be able to travel to northern Michigan, Interlochen Online brings the Interlochen experience directly into students’ homes. There, students have the opportunity to engage with like-minded young artists from every continent. “Once you take a class at Interlochen through Interlochen Online, you are part of a legacy of Interlochen alumni,” says Stuk. The program welcomes students into a global community of learners and inspires them to pursue excellence, wherever they are. 

View the Interlochen Online arts programs here.