Summer Voice Institute

“The Naked Voice for Singers and Teachers”

W. Stephen Smith, Institute Director and Professor of Voice

  • MUS_WKSP 310 Performance Workshop, One-Week 0 credit
  • MUS_WKSP 315 Performance Workshop, One-Week 0.5 credit (additional charge to register for credit)
  • One week, Evanston campus, June 17-23, 2017
  • SaSuMTWThF, 10:00am-6:30 pm, with a final performance June 23 at 7:30pm
  • Location: Ryan Center for the Musical Arts
  • Participant Tuition: $650, Full Program Auditor: $400 (non-credit)

The Institute will be an exposé and application of the principles discussed in "The Naked Voice: A Wholistic Approach to Singing" by W. Stephen Smith (Oxford University Press, 2007) for singers and voice teachers.  For the singers it will include private lessons, master classes, acting classes, dramatic coachings, and a performance of opera scenes.  For the teachers it will include five two-hour seminars on voice technique and pedagogy in a lecture/master class format along with the opportunity to participate in acting classes and to observe the singers' private lessons and master classes.  Lessons, master classes, and seminars will be taught by W. Stephen Smith.  Acting classes, dramatic coachings, and scene staging will be by Gene Roberts.  Singers should have completed at least three years of collegiate level training.  Teachers should have collegiate level voice teaching experience. Space is limited to 10 singers and 10 teachers.

I feel like a kid in a candy shop at this institute!  The information that I am receiving is more than I could have imagined and have spent years trying to find. Since discovering your book and now having the pleasure of learning first-hand about your technique, I am convinced that it is such a profound way to realize a true singing voice. . .  I rather feel out of my league, but this institute is so very inclusive and I feel very welcomed.   - Susan W. Steele (Auditor)

I believe everyone at the program had an amazing voice and an amazing story. The staff were wonderful and talented. I've never been to a program where the staff and attendees are truly focused on growing as a musician, performer and person.              
-Sarah Flaschberger (Singer)

W. Stephen SmithW. Stephen Smith joined the voice faculty at Northwestern University in 2011 after 13 years at The Juilliard School. He has been in the voice faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 1996.  He has taught at Santa Fe Opera and Opera on the Avalon, Curtis Institute of Music, Teachers College of Columbia University, University of Southern California, Los Angeles Young Artist Program, and the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Program.  Mr. Smith was on the staff of Houston Grand Opera as Voice Instructor for the Houston Opera Studio from 1990 to 2003.  He has given master classes and clinics throughout the United States and has been a guest lecturer at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil and at Yonsei University in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Audition requirements

Singers - a digital video of two opera arias in different languages and one other selection of your choice (art song or music theatre piece). 

Teachers - a digital audio recording of three selections of your choice.  

How to Apply

Upon creating a file in the Summer Application, applicants should select "Summer Session" as their application type, and then select the workshop to which you are applying.  This will ensure that your file is distributed to the correct reviewers.  No separate application form is necessary--DO NOT submit an application to Northwestern University via the Common Application or Graduate Music Online Application. Applicants will be asked to upload a detailed résumés as well as all audition requirements. NOTE:  No paper application will be accepted. The application deadline is May 1, 2017. Payments must be received no later than June 1, 2017. 

Do not mail recordings as these will not be reviewed or returned.

Requirements of Participants

All participants must purchase and read "The Naked Voice: A Wholistic Approach to Singing" before the Institute begins.

SINGERS will be expected to learn assigned music prior to arriving. They will also be expected to attend the orientation, all four master classes, all three acting classes, their two private lessons, dramatic coachings as scheduled, and the scenes gala and dress rehearsal. They will also have the option of auditing the technique/pedagogy seminars.

TEACHERS will be expected to attend the orientation, the 5 technique/pedagogy seminars, the singers' four master classes, and the gala. They also will have the option of observing the singers' private lessons, the dramatic coachings, the gala dress rehearsal, and be participants in the acting classes. Some teachers may be asked to fill roles in the scenes gala.

For more information contact the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music Office of Admission and Financial Aid at 847-491-3141 or