Getting credit for courses

AIMS issues course credit on the basis of hours attended, pass/fail, etc. The acceptability of credit for AIMS’ courses is at the discretion of the student’s school. AIMS is not an accredited institution. Courses are college and graduate level and may be accepted by your school. The registrar’s office may request additional information from AIMS as necessary.

Courses and Classes for all participants

Distant Voices: Listening to Singers of the Past

This course explores the fascinating recorded history of classical singers. Presented by voice faculty member Gustavo Halley, the series includes career highlights, anecdotes, photographs, and acoustically enhanced recordings to bring these distant voices to life for modern listeners.

Sample lecture topics:
The Dawn of the Recorded Era and Great Voices of the Acoustic Age
Between the Wars: The Electric Epoch of Recording Begins
After WWII: LPs and a New Golden Age
In Memoriam: remembering singers we lost during the past year – an AIMS tradition

Daily Conversational German for Musicians

Four levels of instruction are offered. Study of the German language using basic conversations related to everyday life for musicians and, in higher levels, vocabulary and conversation related to auditioning in German and advanced conversation, in general. Classes meet five times weekly.

These classes are taught by Werner Haas, John Lalande, Richard Rogan, and Rebecca Thomas.

German Diction with Conviction Class

Singers, pianists, teachers, and coaches are welcome to attend this introductory session to the foundations of German diction as presented in Diction with Conviction: Singing in German, by Nina Radtke and Robert Rocco. This easy-to-read study guide has become the standard resource for German diction at AIMS and is now in its fourth printing. Copies will be available for purchase after the class at a nominal fee.

Technology for Mindfulness Class

Computers were originally intended to be a tool that would help enhance thought processes and productivity. Today, computer, phones, etc. are tools for distraction interrupting our work, social interactions, sleep, and depriving us of time and space for imagination, creativity and reflection.

However, there are many apps that are designed to help us meditate, practice mindfulness and improve our focus. This workshop will explore the many resources available to us to help us manage technology while exploring mindfulness practices.



 The Technology for Mindfulness Class is led by Patricia Weinmann.

Stage Presence Workshop

The Stage Presence Workshop is designed to improve and master the art of flawless stage presence. The workshop includes practical tips, tactics and exercises regarding proper bowing, walking, and sitting on stage. Additionally the class will focus on developing and exercising stage savoir-vivre for men and women, including choosing the proper wardrobe, makeup and hair style for various events and venues. The workshop strives to increase the positive visual perception of the performer by the audience, and to help to diminish the performer’s insecurity and stage fright.

This class is taught by Joanna Ruszala.

German Language Stammtisch

Come practice your German every Sunday evening at Gösser at 18:00. This is an informal gathering to practice speaking German and everyone is welcome!  Each Stammtisch will be coordinated by an AIMS German language teacher. Stop in for a few minutes or order dinner and stay longer!

Courses and Classes for singers

Individual Voice Lessons and Voice Laboratory (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Individual instruction in the continuing development of the singer’s vocal ability with emphasis on building a technique appropriate to the repertoire suitable to the singer’s voice classification. Repertoire is chosen in consultation with the singer’s vocal coach.

Voice Studio Lab: Members of the voice studios meet to sing for others in the class and discuss topics of mutual interest.

For a list of voice teachers, please visit >Voice Teacher

Aria Preparation Coaching and Coaching Laboratory (Opera Studio)

Individual coaching of selected repertoire, style and musical advice in the preparation of the standard operatic repertoire. Coaching Studio Lab: Members of the coaching studios meet to sing for others in the class and discuss topics of mutual interest.

For a list of opera vocal coaches, please visit >Vocal Coach Opera

Lied Preparation Coaching and Coaching Laboratory (Lieder Studio)

Individual coaching in the standard Lied repertoire with emphasis on attaining a professional artistic level of performance. Two final Liederabende are presented.

Lieder Studio Lab: Group study and performance of Lieder and discussion pertaining thereto.

For a list of Lieder vocal coaches, please visit >Vocal Coach – Lieder

Poetry of the German Lied (Lieder Studio)

Study of selected texts to enhance understanding of the poetry of the standard repertoire of the German Lied through recitation, discussion and in-depth translation. Each week will cover a different topic – Flowers and Trees; Evening and Night; Loneliness and Longing; Peace, etc.

Speaking Lieder Lyrics (Lieder Studio)

Weekly lectures presented in the curriculum of the Lieder Studio relating to the study of the German language in Lieder.

This class is taught by Nina Radtke.

Acting Classes (Opera Studio)

A study of techniques for expressive performance and for creating a character onstage. Through work on arias and lieder in class sessions and individual coaching, participants learn how to effectively prepare for a performance, engage an audience and inhabit a character. These classes provide detailed instruction in acting, movement, physical expression and analysis of text and character. Taught by experienced teachers and packed with hands-on technique seldom found in university or conservatory settings, these acting classes are among the most popular and unique features of studying at AIMS.

These classes are taught by Eric Gibson, Michael Ramach, and Greg Smucker.

German Diction (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Individual instruction as often as needed in proper pronunciation and enunciation of the German language for singers.

For a list of diction teachers, please visit >Diction

Italian, French, Russian and English Diction (and others as needed) (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Individual coaching as often as needed in proper pronunciation and enunciation of these languages for singers.

For a list of diction teachers, please visit >Diction

Audition Training Seminar (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Professional preparation for auditioning in English and German. A series of lectures, master classes, discussions, and mock auditions for opera careers and graduate school admission. Agent auditions for selected qualified participants.

These classes are taught by Lisbeth Carter and Patricia-Maria Weinmann.

Period Movement Classes (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Style remains a central challenge for most opera singers. The challenge is to integrate their physical characterizations with behavior particular to the historical period of the opera. When the movement conventions of a period are markedly different from their own, singer’s’ attempts to incorporate them often result in stilted movement choices: these choices appear “stuck on.” The irony is, every opera singer has to work “in style” with little or no instruction.


This class is an introduction on how and why period movement and style is important to you as a singing actor. It will give you hints and techniques on how to make period costume and accessories work FOR you.


These classes are held during the first week of AIMS and are taught by Michael Ramach.

Mindfulness for Singers (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Stressed? Nervous? Worries? Sleepless in Graz?

Would you like to learn a few simple techniques to feel more focused and less stressed? Ready for the audition but not so nervous that you can’t think (let alone sing)? Excited, but calm? Come to “Mindfulness for Singers”!

Take an hour to get yourself centered, into your body, ready to go for the day… for your stay in Graz… and hopefully for whenever and whatever.

Be ready for some floor work so wear comfortable clothes. Feel free to bring a blanket or yoga mat so you can be comfortable on the floor!

These classes are taught by Roberta Cunningham during the first week of AIMS.

Breathing and Posture Workshop (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Good posture is for LIFE – not just your singing – but it’s imperative for good breathing, so we’ll start there.  Commonly used phrases “let the breath drop in”, “breathe low”, “be in your body”, “silent breathing” etc., will be given clear, detailed, but simple explanations with visuals. We will not just talk about these concepts – we will experiment and try these concepts. This is not a lecture – this is a learn by doing workshop. Come ask questions and get answers!

This workshop is taught by Roberta Cunningham during the first week of AIMS.


Living and Singing in Europe Lectures (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Come and Roberta Cunningham’s truthful and funny lecture about singing and surviving in Germany and Europe. She has been in Germany for 35 years and attended AIMS in 1980 and 1982. She has sung in several different opera houses, taught Audition Training Seminars for a number of years, and now teaches in Germany, Denmark, and occasionally in Austria and France.

Roberta Cunningham will present this lecture twice during the first week of AIMS.

Tisch Talks (Opera and Lieder Studios)

Tisch Talks are informal one-on-one Q&A discussion about living in Europe, singing for a living, audition repertoire, general advice for singers, practical aspects of AIMS and Graz, pats on the back, etc.

Creating a German Resume for Agent Auditions (Opera Studio)

If you are interested in singing for agents at the end of the summer, you do not want to miss this class! Come and learn how to format your resume in German for agent auditions and be provided with examples of good German resumes.

Courses and Classes for Pianists

Opera and Lieder - Piano

Study of the instrument with the goal of further developing the pianist’s technical and interpretive abilities in playing vocal repertoire (opera and Lieder) and collaborating with vocalists.

This class is taught by Charlene Harb.

Keyboard Laboratory

Class discussion of the challenges common to keyboard players regarding the vocal repertoire and collaborating with vocalists.

This class is taught by Charlene Harb.

Collaborative Piano Techniques

Teaches the techniques of accompanying and preparing opera and/or Lied repertoire. Taught in conjunction with the Coach-Accompanist Seminar.

Coach-Accompanist Seminar

Lectures and master classes for pianists who wish to become professional coaches and/or collaborative pianists.


The pianist will be assigned a number of singers to accompany in classes and performances.