Skip to main content
Skip to main content


The University of Maryland School of Music Fall 2020 resources and frequently asked questions.

This page was last updated on August 15, 2020. Please check this page frequently as we will continue to add updates.




Frequently Asked Questions

Should I come to campus this fall?

We know many of our students want to know if they should come to campus or not. That is a question that only you can answer. This is a complex choice and what is right for one student may not be for another. We urge every student to have a thoughtful conversation with their families and loved ones and decide what is right for them. Regardless if students have classes in-person or online or take up residence on campus or not, we are here to provide a high-quality educational experience. Any course needed for your music degree requirements may be taken entirely remotely.

Will my applied lessons and coachings be face-to-face?

All undergraduate and graduate applied lessons, which were scheduled to begin in a blended-learning format, will now begin online and remain online through the first four weeks of the semester in conjunction with the guidelines currently in place for large and small ensembles. Following this four-week period (August 31–September 25), the School of Music administration will reassess and evaluate current pandemic statistics in conjunction with university guidelines and policies in place at that time. Should health and safety statistics show a significant decrease in the number of COVID positive cases, students and/or faculty will have the option to return to in-person learning if deemed appropriate starting September 28. If the health situation allows, faculty and students may make the joint decision to remain online or choose to meet in-person. When choosing the in-person option, faculty and students are encouraged to alternate weeks between in-person and remote lessons in order to maintain social distancing. Please note that many lessons will not occur in faculty studios, but in larger spaces. Each student will need to bring their own personal folding stand with them to lessons to further eliminate high-touch surfaces. After November 25, all in-person musical experiences that we are able to offer will go fully online.

Will large instrumental and vocal ensembles rehearse face-to-face this fall?

Yes and no. We recognize that large ensembles are an important part of every music student’s education. We also know that large numbers of people in close proximity present health risks. Therefore, all large ensembles will begin the semester online and remain online through September 25, at which point we will re-evaluate the health risks. If the health situation allows, we will return to in-person ensembles on September 28, and these meetings will consist of small group instruction, following proper social distancing and safety protocols. Students must use their own personal folding stand in all lessons and rehearsals. The good news is that our faculty have been working diligently all summer to design valuable remote instruction, and they have created an exciting, multi-genre and multi-style experience for all students. Students may also choose to complete their ensemble work remotely if they are not comfortable returning to in-person instruction at that time.

What about chamber music, jazz and world music ensembles?

These courses will work similarly to large ensembles. All chamber music, jazz and world music ensembles will begin the semester online. We will re-evaluate the health situation in September and, if advisable, return to in-person instruction. As is the case with large ensembles, students may complete their ensemble work remotely if they are not comfortable returning to in-person instruction at that time.

Will students have access to practice rooms?

While practicing in your own residence remains the safest option, we realize this may not be a possibility for everyone. For those unable to practice at home, practice rooms will be available to music majors and minors in the fall semester beginning on or before August 27, with additional spaces such as classrooms and rehearsal rooms added when available. All rooms will have cleaning supplies either inside the room or in adjacent areas for sanitizing high-touch surfaces as well as instructions on how to use these resources. Upholstered chairs have been removed and replaced with plastic chairs to aid in sanitization. Our practice rooms have an atmosphere refresh rate of nearly three times per hour and our HVAC systems are equipped with MERV-13 filters, which are recommended by the CDC for indoor air filtration systems. When using practice rooms, we recommend opening the window for increased air circulation. Students will need to bring their own personal folding stands with them to further eliminate high-touch surfaces. Students will be required to wear a mask at all times, and woodwind and brass players must use bell covers where applicable and masks or face shields as well. Brass players must travel with their own containers in which to deposit their condensation. Based on recommendations from the university and the CDC, there may be limits to the amount of time scheduled. Read the practice room plan for more details.

Can I practice outside?

While we lack covered areas outside our building, you may practice outside the perimeter of the building. You must choose a place that is away from walkways and entrances/exits.

Will I be able to store my instrument in the building?

Instrument lockers in the School of Music will be available to music majors and minors. Lockers will be assigned using an online portal through which students will fill out a locker contract and receive their locker numbers and combinations. All instrument lockers are equipped with Master Lock combination locks. More information on this resource will come on or before August 21.

What about my academic music courses?

All academic courses in music will be offered remotely during the fall semester. Our faculty have been hard at work all summer to create meaningful and engaging virtual courses. This includes all music theory, history, pedagogy, literature, diction and class piano courses. You can expect to hear from your professors soon about how these courses will be delivered online.

What about my GA, fellowship or scholarship?

Students who meet the enrollment requirements for their financial aid will continue to receive that support. Graduate assistants should be in contact with their supervisors and division coordinators. Because of the move to virtual instruction, some GA duties are likely to change in significant ways.

Will live recitals be possible in the fall semester?

Yes. Degree recitals will proceed as scheduled. All degree recitals will have the option to be livestreamed (this is strongly encouraged as off-campus patrons will not be permitted in the venues for School of Music events during the fall semester and the number of people in the venue will be limited due to social distancing). Venues that did not previously have streaming technology are currently being upgraded. You may also hire an audio/video recording engineer to capture your performance. Students who prefer to give their degree recital(s) remotely may apply to do so.

Will special arrangements be made for those who play large instruments (piano, percussion, etc.)?

In order to limit the number of students touching surfaces in our commonly used rooms, the piano and percussion studios will have specific practice spaces designated for their use. Like other practice spaces, these rooms will be stocked with cleaning supplies. Details on scheduling these rooms will be made available on August 17.

What is the school’s policy for music stands given that they are a high-touch surface?

You will need to bring your own personal folding stand for lessons, rehearsals and when using the practice rooms.

Is it true that the University of Maryland could change the method of instruction based on guidelines from the university administration and/or the State of Maryland?

Yes. As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic is ever changing. The School of Music will be following all applicable federal, state, local and university guidelines to help keep our community safe.

If a student is not comfortable with face-to-face instruction at this time, is there an alternative method of instruction?

Yes. Any course needed for major degree requirements may be taken entirely remotely.

Who can address my additional questions and concerns?

Undergraduate students should reach out to Ms. Heather Mundwiler. Graduate students should contact Mr. Josh Thompson.

What can I do to help keep the university and the School of Music community safe and healthy this year?

While the University of Maryland is working to control the spread of infection by wiping down frequently used surfaces, door handles, providing hand sanitizing stations and increasing daily cleaning routines, the responsibility of personal hygiene and self care fall to each one of us. Helpful resources can be found at and

Returning music students will need to take these precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses on campus:

  1. In addition to the university’s guidelines to wear a face covering at all times indoors, and outdoors when other people are nearby, the School of Music recognizes that music practice presents unique challenges. Because of this, the School of Music is requiring all music students to wear masks for indoor and outdoor practice at The Clarice in an effort to keep everyone safe and to help reduce the spread of droplets and aerosols. This requirement applies to all music students including singers, pianists and string, percussion, woodwind and brass players. It applies even if you are the only one in the space, including practice rooms. When practicing, woodwind and brass players will need to provide their own bell covers and wear modified masks that allow space for the mouthpiece/reed but also cover the face and nose in a way to mitigate the spread of aerosols as much as possible.
  2. Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times.
  3. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  4. If you are sick, do not report to work, class or practice.

Any changes or exceptions to the above recommendations will be communicated to the School of Music community.

What steps are the university and the School of Music taking to keep our community healthy?

The School of Music and The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center are currently working with the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk as well as the Fire Marshal to design a pedestrian flow that maximizes social distancing. This will include the designation of entrances, exits, hallways and stairwells as one-way. Elevators will be reduced to one-person capacity. New hand sanitizer stations are being installed throughout the building in addition to the many that are already in place. In addition to being cleaned daily, our classrooms, rehearsal rooms and practice rooms will have cleaning products either inside or in adjacent areas so that users can disinfect high-touch surfaces such as piano keys, music stands and chairs. Understanding and following these and other guidelines will help us achieve the mitigation necessary to offer face-to-face musical experiences.

If there are no face-to-face music courses (applied lessons, coachings and ensembles) after November 25, what does this mean for juries? Will there be an in-person winter commencement ceremony?

Once music courses go fully online after November 25, it will follow that juries will be submitted online. Divisions will communicate the proper format requirements to their respective students. Fall Commencement is scheduled for December 21 at 3:00 p.m. in the Dekelboum Concert Hall at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Should the health and safety situation change on campus, changes to commencement will be communicated to the School of Music community.

The above policies and guidelines are subject to change as needed to ensure that the health and safety of our community is prioritized.