The College of Arts and Architecture

Fall 2020 FAQ - School of Music - Coronavirus Information

The School of Music encourages all students, faculty, and staff to visit these sites frequently to learn of updates and news. Contact the School of Music Pandemic Safety Officer: Russell Bloom rlb16@psu.edu | 814-863-1118 with questions.

Due to the nature of music making, respiratory droplets are produced at a greater rate by musicians than produced during regular speech. Participation in music courses will require stricter COVID-19 procedures and complete compliance. The School of Music is making every effort to provide a safe environment.

UPDATES FOR THE PENN STATE COMMUNITY: This website will continue to serve as a resource for the University community as leaders at Penn State and around the world respond to the global coronavirus pandemic. It will be updated regularly with critical information and links to key resources.
Coronavirus Information:  https://virusinfo.psu.edu/

BACK TO STATE: As Penn State continues to prepare for the return to campuses, this page will continue to be updated with information and resources for students, and for faculty and staff. https://virusinfo.psu.edu/back-to-state

EMERGENCY HEALTH AND SAFETY: Covid-19 Updates on EHS Services https://ehs.psu.edu/covid19

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: https://global.psu.edu/gpcovid19info

SCHOOL OF MUSIC FAMILY: Please carefully read BOTH articles. 

This was released August 5, 2020 by Penn State. Please take time to read this.  

https://news.psu.edu/story/627656/2020/08/05/administration/penn-state-coronavirus-compact-available-students-lionpath

This was released August 4, 2020 from State College Borough.

https://news.psu.edu/story/627709/2020/08/05/administration/state-college-borough-ordinance-aligns-health-measures?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_term=627691_HTML&utm_content=08-05-2020-21


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

SAFETY

WHAT PROTOCOLS ARE IN PLACE FOR MY SAFETY? The School of Music is taking every measure to provide a safe and healthy environment for you. PPE materials including specifically designed masks and bell covers which will be provided have been ordered. Supplies to sanitize instruments will be available. Reprogramming of HVAC systems, boosted internet both inside and outside, and mandated contact tracing are all in place.

WHAT TYPE OF MASK WILL I BE REQUIRED TO WEAR TO PLAY MY INSTRUMENT? Penn State has strict masking requirements.  The Blue Band and School of Music are providing students with one specific wind-instrument mask – cloth, with a small hole for leadpipes and mouthpieces to be inserted into the mouth.  These masks are for lessons, rehearsals and performances only, and are different from the regular mask requirements on campus.    

HOW WILL SAFE DISTANCING WORK IN LARGE ENSEMBLES? We are keeping a close eye on current scientific research.  Everyone will be masked at all times, and will be distanced at least 6ft from other musicians.  Wind instrumentalists and singers will be at least 8ft apart, and trombones, 9ft.  Chairs will be strategically placed, and where appropriate, spacing dots will be placed on floors. 

HOW OFTEN WILL THE PRACTICE ROOMS BE CLEANED? Practice rooms will be cleaned on the normal OPP schedule. Everyone using the practice rooms will need to sanitize the piano in room BEFORE and AFTER each use. Instructions and supplies will be in every room.

SHOULD I BRING CLOROX WIPES TO MY CLASS? If you feel more comfortable wiping off surfaces like a desk before you sit down, by all means do so.

HOW WILL WE BE ABLE TO GET TO OUR LOCKERS? Lockers are available for all music majors and minors only for the fall semester. Please practice safe distancing by waiting at least 6 feet if someone is at their locker which is near your locker. 

WILL THE BUILDING BE OPEN 24/7 WITH CARD SWIPE ACCESS? Music majors and minors will have card swipe access to Music I and Music II from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Sunday through Saturday. Students should only be in the buildings when in class or assigned to a practice room. Students not enrolled in a music course are encouraged to not be inside Music Building I and II.

WHAT IF A STUDENT WON'T WEAR A MASK? CAN I LEAVE THE ROOM? Yes. There are procedures in place for reporting non compliance people. Reporting issues to the Pandemic Saftey Officer is encouraged.

HOW WILL WE MANAGE THE SPIT FOR OUR HORNS? Spit-valves must not be drained on to floors. Drain either into a closeable container (musician provides) that has disinfectant in it to neutralize pathogens, or onto an absorbent pad (provided) with a nonporous backing.  Spit containers should be emptied in a sink and containers washed after every use.  It is imperative that wind players wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer immediately after each practice session, lesson, and rehearsal.  

WILL SOMEONE BE WIPING OFF THE PIANOS? Yes. Everyone will be wiping off pianos. Near every piano will be sanitization supplies and instructions on how to properly wipe off the keyboards.

DO WE HAVE ENOUGH AIR CIRCULATION IN THE BUILDING? OPP has been working on new programming to flood the building with as much fresh air as possible. Filters will be replaced with Merv 13 filters to help with air filtration.

I SHARE A SCHOOL OWNED INSTRUMENT; WILL THAT BE SAFE? No. We will not be sharing school owned instruments. Applied Faculty will have individualized plans.

HOW ARE PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS BEING CLEANED? Consulting with research from manufacturers and professional organizations procedures will be in place and discussed in the percussion studio.

WILL THERE BE HAND SANITIZER AVAILABLE OR DO I BRING MY OWN? Yes and Yes. Sanitizing stations are in every building, but it is wise to carry your own as well.

WHAT IF SOMEONE IN MY ENSEMBLE/STUDIO IS DIAGNOSED POSITIVE? DOES THE ENTIRE ENSEMBLE HAVE TO QUARENTINE? We are still unsure of the University decision on this.

WHO WILL MONITOR OUR TEMPERATURES? You will. If you are feeling warm or under the weather, please consult the University guidelines. https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/covid-19-resources

IF WINDS/BRASS/VOICE ARE ALLOWED TO PLAY IN THE BUILDINGS, WHAT PRECAUTIONS WILL BE TAKEN TO PROTECT THOSE OF US WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE AEROSOLS FROM DOING SO, SINCE WE ALL SHARE THE BUILDINGS/AIR? All of our procedures and mandates keep this in mind. Sanitization, room capacities, distancing requirements for each instrument, time between room occupancy, HVAC, and cleaning are all part of the plan to reduce risks.


LESSONS

HOW WILL STUDIO LESSONS HAPPEN FOR MY INSTRUMENT? Applied lesson instruction will take place remotely or in person. 

WHAT IF MY LESSON IS REMOTE, WILL I NEED TO BUY A SPECIFIC MICROPHONE? Although no student is required to purchase a microphone please contact your applied teacher for recommendations if you would like to. 

WHAT IF I CAN’T PRACTICE IN MY APT OR DORM? Each music major will be assigned a practice room in the School of Music to use.

HOW WILL PIANO PLACEMENT BE MANAGED? HOW DO WE SIGN UP? TBA

FOR STUDIOS WITH REMOTE LESSONS, WILL WE HAVE SOMEWHERE SPECIFIC TO GO FOR THEM? Yes, remote applied lessons will have specific SoM rooms in which remote instruction will take place. 

IF I DECIDE TO LIVE OFF CAMPUS FOR FALL SEMESTER, CAN I COMMUTE TO MY PRIVATE LESSONS IN PERSON? Applied lesson instruction, either remote or in person, is decided by the Applied Teacher. Please contact your applied teacher to discuss your options.

CAN I TAKE VOICE PRIVATE LESSONS FOR NON-MAJORS? TBA

WHAT WILL END OF THE SEMESTER JURIES LOOK LIKE CONSIDERING WE WILL BE HOME AFTER THANKSGIVING? WILL IT BE SIMILAR TO SPRING 2020? Please check with your studio teacher. Most are planning to have juries during the week before Thanksgiving. 


ENSEMBLES

WILL I BE ABLE TO PLAY IN AN ENSEMBLE THIS FALL? Orchestras, Bands, Choirs and Jazz Ensembles are intending to operate in a hybrid fashion with both in-person small group experiences and remote instruction.  Opera Workshop will function remotely for the Fall semester.  More information can be found in the Ensembles Policies and Procedures Document. (LINK coming soon!)  

HOW WILL ENSEMBLE PLACEMENT AUDITIONS WORK? Auditions for all ensembles will occur during the first week of class, beginning Sunday, August 23.  Most auditions will be held remotely, and specific Information can be found athttps://arts.psu.edu/ensemble-auditions/ or in the Ensembles Policies and Procedures Document. (Link coming soon!)

WHAT IF I DON’T FEEL SAFE IN LARGE GROUP SETTING? DO I HAVE OPTIONS? The University, School of Music and Ensemble Area place personal health and well-being above all else.  While it is preferable for students to attend in-person rehearsals, remote participation is a possibility in most ensembles.  An audition will still be required for placement, and those wishing to participate remotely should contact the respective ensemble directors as soon as possible.

WILL REHEARSALS BE OUTSIDE? WHAT IF IT RAINS? The College of Arts and Architecture have secured a small number of open-sided tents that can be used for instruction, rehearsal and personal practice.  While choirs will use tents where possible, instrumental ensembles are not likely to rehearse outside. Tents will be controlled by the School of Music.  In the case of inclement weather, rehearsals will either be in suitably sized indoor spaces, or will be remote.   Note, the Marching Blue Band will be rehearsing outside.  

IF I AM IN QUARENTINE (BUT PERSUMED NEGATIVE) WILL BAND STILL BE ONLINE FOR ME TO PARTICIPATE? Yes.  All classes and ensembles will provide remote accommodations for students who are quarantined.  

WILL WE HAVE A CONCERT? There will be no live audiences for concerts in the Fall.  Performances will be through the School of Music Livestream service (via the School of Music website), and Virtual Ensemble experiences.

IS THERE AN ALTERED ATTENDANCE POLICY IF ONE FEELS SICK OR IS QUARANTINED? ESPECIALLY FOR ENSEMBLES. Ensembles will follow university guidelines on academic attendance policies, and directors will deal with students on a case by case basis. A person must NOT attend any in-person class if you have any flu symptoms – fever, headache, cough, nausea etc., or were in close contact with an infected person in the previous two weeks.  If you feel ill or have been exposed, notify your director immediately.

WILL BLUE BAND BE ALLOWED IN THE STADIUM IF THERE IS FOOTBALL? At this point, Yes.

WITH SMALLER SIZED GROUPS WILL THERE BE OPTIONS IF I DON’T MAKE IT? WILL MAJORS GET PRIOROTY OVER NON-MAJORS?  We are hoping to keep ensembles as close to the regular size as possible, though there can only be 16 students rehearsing in-person at any one time.  Since music majors are required to have a greater number of ensemble credits than non-majors, priority will have to be given to music majors, though we will endeavor to provide all students with ensemble experiences.

DO I NEED MY OWN MUSIC STAND? All students are required to use their own music stands for ensemble rehearsals.

HOW WILL HYBRID-CHOIR WORK? HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK WILL STUDENTS BE ABLE TO SING PER WEEK? All choirs will function as one cohesive group, but personnel will be divided into smaller groups of no more than 16 students for in-person rehearsals.  The smaller groups will rotate attending in-person so in most cases, students will attend in-person every two or three rehearsals, depending on ensemble size.  When not attending in-person, all other members of the choir will participate remotely via Zoom.  


SCHOLARSHIPS

HOW IS MY SCHOLARSHIP IMPACTED IF I CHOOSE TO BE FULLY REMOTE? Scholarships will not be impacted as long as: 1. You continue as a music major; 2. You take lessons on your voice or instrument; 3. You register and participate in your assigned ensemble (either in-person or remote); 4. You continue to make progress towards your degree. 

HOW WOULD MY SCHOLARSHIP BE AFFECTED IF I TAKE A GAP YEAR? IF I HAVE NO IN PERSON CLASSES, LESSONS, OR ENSEMBLES, DO YOU SUGGEST JUST FOCUSING ON NON MUSIC CLASSES ONLINE? OR TAKING A SEMESTER OR YEAR OFF? This is not advised since it appears to the Registrar’s Office that you are not making progress in the degree. Talk with Margaret Higgins. 

WHAT IF I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE RETURNING TO CAMPUS OR GOING REMOTE FOR THIS YEAR? WILL I LOSE MY SCHOLARSHIP IF I WAIT TO RETURN THE FOLLOWING YEAR? Please see above. This path is not recommended. 


PRACTICE ROOMS

PRACTICE ROOMS ARE NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL STUDENT POPULATION. ONLY THOSE STUDENTS ENROLLED IN A MUSIC COURSE FOR CREDIT ARE PERMITTED TO USE THE PRACTICE ROOMS IN THE SCHOOL OF MUSIC.  YOU MAY ONLY BE IN THE BASEMENT AREA IF YOU ARE GOING TO YOUR LOCKER OR ARE PRACTICING DURING YOUR SCHEDULED TIME.

WILL PRACTICE ROOMS BE CLEANED ON A MORE REGULAR BASIS? The Practice rooms will be cleaned on a regular OPP schedule. Everyone is responsible for wiping off the piano in the practice room before and after EVERY USE. Near every piano will be sanitization supplies and instructions on how to properly wipe off the keyboards.

IS THERE ENOUGH WIFI INTHE BASEMENT OF MUSIC II? Wifi boosters will be installed in the basement and on buildings to enhance outdoor spaces.

I ARRIVE ON CAMPUS ON AUGUST 12, CAN I START TO PRACTICE? Music Majors and Minors will have card swipe access to the buildings on Monday, August 17. Building hours will be posted. 

IS IT TRUE THAT WE CAN ONLY PRACTICE FOR 30 MINUTES AT A TIME? 30 IN/30 OUT is the RULE. Science is showing that longer than 30 minutes increases the chances for particles to increase. Sign in and sign out sheets will be used for contact tracing. 

WILL I BE ABLE TO USE THE PRACTICE ROOMS? Yes. You will be assigned a block of rooms by area via your studio professor. 

WHAT WILL SIGN UPS FOR PRACTICE ROOMS LOOK LIKE? Practice times will be negotiated with your studio teacher. 

WILL WE STILL BE SHARING PRACTICE ROOMS WITH THE SCHOOL OF THEATRE? Only with those who are approved.


RECITALS/PERFORMANCES

WHAT WILL THE FALL PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE? Most of our performances will be LIVESTREAMED. The schedule will be posted.

CAN I GIVE MY DEGREE RECITAL IN THE FALL SEMESTER? Yes. You should speak to your studio teacher immediately to begin planning your recital.

WHAT WILL CONCERTS BE LIKE IN THE FALL? WILL MORE BE LIVESTREAMED? Yes. Concerts will look a little different.  There will be NO Audience in the seating area. There are several innovative presentations being planned.

I’M GIVING MY STUDENT RECITAL THIS FALL – CAN MY FAMILY ATTEND IN PERSON? We are hopeful that a few family members can attend. This will be based on University and PA State travel restrictions.

WILL YOU BE HIRING STAGEHANDS? Yes. Please contact Chris Wahlmark [cjw249@psu.edu].

CAN I HAVE A RECEPTION AFTER MY RECITAL? No.

WIIL BACH'S LUNCH, COMMON HOUR, AND STUDIO CLASS STILL HAPPEN? Yes. There are several innovative presentations being planned.

HOW WOULD JOINT RECITALS WORK? Each request will be considerend on a case by case basis. 


CONSEQUENCES:

WHO DO I TELL IF I HAVE CONCERNES AND I AM UNCOMFORTABLE TELLING THE INSTRUCTOR? For concerns where you are uncomfortable speaking with an instructor, please speak with Russell Bloom, the Pandemic Safety Officer, or Dr. Frego, the Director. 

HOW WILL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR NON COMPLIANCE TO WEARING A MASK, ETC.? Please review the information found here https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/support-safety-conduct/student-conduct/conduct-information-faculty-staff related to student, faculty, and staff responsibilities and consequences of non-compliance of policies. Students should familiarize themselves with the Penn State Code of Conduct https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/support-safety-conduct/student-conduct/code-conduct