Vocal Arts Institute

The MPulse Vocal Arts Institute is a one-week program that offers a comprehensive introduction to studying vocal music at the collegiate level. Students will engage in group and individual lessons, choral ensemble singing, in addition to sessions on diction, vocal pedagogy, music theory, and conducting classes. Students will also receive introductions to related topics such as Alexander technique, Dalcroze, fitness for singers, and much more! Finally, students will participate in sessions on how to prepare collegiate prescreening recordings, tips and best practices for college admissions, and career options in the vocal arts.

Students particularly interested in solo repertoire can apply for the MPulse Vocal Arts Institute Solo Voice Track. The VAI Solo Voice Track is in addition to the MPulse Vocal Arts Institute Core Curriculum and offers students the chance to perform in daily masterclasses on topics such as opera, oratorio, African American art song, and Lieder and to present varied repertoire in VAI concerts. Students interested in the Solo Voice Track should review additional audition requirements in the sections below.

The 2022 MPulse Vocal Arts Institute will resume in-person on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus.

(UPDATED 4/4/22) NOTE: Students participating in MPulse 2022 will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. View the updated MPulse COVID-19 vaccination policy.

NOTE: Students participating in MPulse 2022 will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Full details on the MPulse COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Institute Dates: July 24 – July 30, 2022
Institute Tuition: *$1,700
Institute Tuition w/ Solo Voice Track: *$2,300

*Tuition for the MPulse Vocal Arts Institute covers all instructional classes and events as well as room and board.

Priority Application Deadline: March 1, 2022 (for both the solo track and core program)
Priority Admissions Notification: April 4, 2022 (approx.)
Final Application Deadline: April 15, 2022 – Final Application Deadline extended to June 1, 2022.**

Non-Priority Admissions Notification: Rolling 

** Submissions received after the priority deadline but before (or on) June 1, 2022, will be reviewed for consideration if openings remain.

Director of Choral Activities
Associate Professor of Conducing, Choral

A two-time Michigan Emmy Award winner, a 2017 Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient, and a 2015 GRAMMY® Award nominee, Eugene Rogers is recognized as a leading conductor and pedagogue throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Rogers is the founding director of EXIGENCE. Recently, he was named as the fifth Artistic Director of the two-time GRAMMY® Award-Winning Ensemble, The Washington Chorus (Washington, D.C.). At the University, Rogers leads the graduate choral conducting program, conducts the chamber choir, and administers the program of over eight choral ensembles. His choirs have toured throughout China, South Africa, the United States, and have appeared at national and regional conferences. In 2016, Rogers’ passion for issues of social justice and music was featured in the award-winning documentary Love, Life and Loss which highlights Joel Thompson’s powerful Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, and in 2013, he co-managed the production of the joint CD Ye Shall Have a Song with the Michigan, Yale, and Harvard Glee Clubs, a collaboration celebrating America’s three oldest collegiate choirs.

Professor of Voice

Distinguished American tenor Stanford Olsen joined the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance as professor of voice after 15 years as artist-in-residence and holder of the Shelfer Eminent Scholar in Music chair at Florida State University. One of this generation’s most successful and versatile artists, his career spans more than 1,200 performances on five continents over the course of 30 years. Since his professional operatic debut there in 1986, opposite Dame Joan Sutherland in Bellini’s I Puritani, Stanford Olsen has performed more than 160 times with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Olsen has been heard throughout the world at venues such as San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Miami Opera, La Scala di Milano, Landestheater Stuttgart, Theatre du Chatelet, Teatro Bellini di Catania, Theatre La Monnaie, Australian Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Nederlandse Oper, Tokyo Opera City, and most other significant opera companies in the USA and Europe. His recording of the fiendishly difficult role of Argirio in Rossini’s Tancredi (Naxos/Alberto Zedda) netted a GRAMMY nomination.

Professor of Voice

Lousie Toppin joined the SMTD Voice faculty in 2017. Toppin has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the United States, Europe, Czech Republic, Sweden, Uruguay, Scotland, China, England, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Bermuda, Japan, and Spain. Toppin’s opera roles include: the title role in the world premiere of the opera Luyala by William Banfield, Treemonisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, Mary in William Grant Still’s Highway One, Maria in the world premiere of Joel Feigin’s opera Twelfth Night, the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. As a scholar, she has lectured on the music of African American composers and has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered (Margaret Bonds); for many national conventions including the Society for American Music, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the American Cultural Association, the National Association of Negro Music, NASPAM; and on many college campuses including Harvard, Tufts, and Duke.

*Sample Schedule – MPulse Vocal Arts Institute

*A final schedule for the 2022 MPulse Vocal Arts Institute will be sent to accepted participants in April 2022.


Audition Video
Upload a 5-8 minute long video audition consisting of one classical selection. It can either be in English or another language, with or without accompaniment.


  • Upload one color headshot.
  • Headshots should be recent, clear, and against a neutral background.
  • Headshots should be front-facing and from the neck up.
  • Headshots do not need to be professionally taken and should resemble a Driver’s License/Passport Photo.

Recommendation Letter
Applicants should submit one teacher evaluation (artistic teacher or mentor(s) preferred), academic teacher, or non-relative who can speak directly to the student’s academic aptitude, potential, and classroom performance. A recommendation is required for this institute.

Students should send this form to their recommender to fill out or the recommender may download the recommendation form here. Please have your recommender email their recommendation letter to Recommendations are due by March 1, 2022, for priority applicants. Non-priority applicants should have their recommender submit their recommendations as soon as possible for consideration with your application.

Recommendation may be made via the form below or by free-form letter.

Download Recommendation Form


In addition to the above mentioned requirements, those interested in the solo voice track should submit the additional items listed below:

  • *2 (two) selections in contrasting styles, one of which should be in a language other than English. Song repertoire can be in any language from any musical period [ex. “Lachen und Weinen” by Franz Schubert)], including musical theater golden age songs [ex. “On the Street Where you Live” from My Fair Lady] or operatic arias if appropriate for your voice [ex. “Cassandra’s Lullaby” from A Christmas Miracle by Mark Fax].

For those applying for BOTH the core program and solo voice track, please be sure to submit all music in one continuous track, appropriately labeling each piece within the video.

*Those applying to both the core program and solo track may use one of their selected pieces from the solo track requirements as their submission for the core program. Applicants will not need to submit more than 2 (two) total pieces if applying for BOTH the core program and solo track.

Merit Awards
A limited number of scholarships are available for extremely talented students based on Faculty discretion. Consideration for these scholarships is automatic for applications received by the application deadline.

Regarding the Design & Production Track, applicants who wish to be considered for merit scholarship should include a small digital portfolio of 5-10 images demonstrating their creativity and problem solving skills.

Need-Based Awards
A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $100,000 or under in the previous calendar year, or with special circumstances due to the pandemic. To be considered you must upload your financial aid materials by the application deadline as part of your application. This includes:

  • Monthly Expenses
  • Previous Year’s Tax Return
  • Statement of Need

*Watson Scholarship
In the spirit of the life of a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School (1942) and Michigan physician, the Watson A. Young Scholarship promotes academic excellence and college aspiration among students with financial need. These need-based scholarships support middle and high school students’ participation in summer opportunities at U-M that seek to develop students’ interests and abilities in academic disciplines and expose students to the experiences and possibilities provided by higher education.

Apply for the Watson Scholarship

*Application open to Michigan residents only.

MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes
Office of Engagement & Outreach-Youth & Adult Programs
University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Stearns Building │ 2005 Baits Drive │ Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: (734) 936-2660

updated February 8, 2022