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The University of Maryland School of Music Spring 2021 resources and frequently asked questions.

This page was last updated on February 15, 2021. Please check this page frequently as we will continue to add updates.


Spring Semester Update

January 18, 2021

Dear School of Music Community,
I trust this message finds all of you well rested, safe and healthy. As we look forward to the start of classes next week, I want to share some new information that has developed since we were last together. 
While the university’s guidelines regarding the safe return to in-person activities have not changed, the external variables have in fact changed exponentially for the worse. As of this date, the number of weekly COVID positive cases in Prince George’s County has nearly quadrupled since mid-November with positive cases nearing 3700. In addition, we have seen an uptick in the number of positive cases within the School of Music as well as the Clarice. Given the new variants of the virus, as well as a slower than expected rollout of vaccines, we must take bold steps to protect each other. 
Following last week’s meeting of the SOM senior administration team, I met with ARHU Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill, David Cronrath (special assistant to the provost, in charge of instructional operations), Erica Bondarev Rapach (Clarice) and Maura Keefe (TDPS) to discuss the large performance events and activities scheduled to occur prior to spring break. We decided it was necessary to modify the spring semester’s list of scheduled events. Scaling back the number of large academic performance events will minimize the number of people involved (students, faculty and staff) and reduce the co-mingling of personnel among multiple performances. Therefore, some events will be cancelled entirely, some reduced in scale, and some adapted to digital format, while all large ensemble instruction will remain online through spring break.  
All academic music classes will be online for the entire spring semester. These will include such courses as music history, theory, aural skills, class piano, pedagogy and literature, and all graduate seminar courses. 
All applied lessons, studio classes, noon recitals and/or one-on-one coachings will be offered in a blended/hybrid format beginning Monday, February 15th. Students and/or faculty will have the option to decide which format would be most appropriate based on the personal health and safety concerns of either individual or any other extenuating circumstances which might include but not limited to child care or the care for aging family members. Face-to-face lessons and/or coachings can occur until Friday, March 12th and may not resume until Monday, April 5th which upholds the university’s mandate for online instruction for the two-week period following spring break. Options for blended learning may also resume Monday, April 5th. 
All Degree Recitals scheduled in Gildenhorn and/or Ulrich will proceed as scheduled. However, students who wish to present a virtual version may choose to do so in consultation with their applied instructor. 
All Chamber Music Groups and Large Ensembles (Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, University Band, Repertoire Orchestra, Jazz Bands, Maryland Opera Studio, Choirs and Asian/World Music Ensembles) will begin online course instruction on Monday, January 25th and remain online through Friday, March 12th. For the first two weeks following spring break (March 22–April 2), all chamber music and large ensembles will remain online. During this two-week period, the SOM administration will reassess and evaluate current pandemic statistics. Should statistics reveal a decline in COVID positive cases, chamber music groups and large ensembles will have the option to return to in-person activities for the remaining 5 weeks of the semester. However, students and faculty who have concerns for their own safety, health or well-being may elect to remain online for the remainder of the spring semester. In addition, students and faculty who feel that returning to campus might jeopardize the safety, health or well-being of those with whom they reside may also opt to continue with online instruction for the remainder of the semester. 
Although we certainly recognize the disappointments that these decisions may bring, we remain steadfast in our commitment to prioritizing the safety of our entire community.
Gregory E. Miller
Professor and director, School of Music




School of Music Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

What are the protocols for returning to campus facilities in the spring semester?

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 three weeks of the spring semester in conjunction with the guidelines currently in place for large and small ensembles. During this three-week period (January 25-February 14), the School of Music administration will reassess and evaluate current pandemic statistics in conjunction with university guidelines and policies. 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 February 15. 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. For the two weeks following Spring Break (March 29-April 4), all in-person musical experiences that we are able to offer will go fully online again. Beginning April 5 we will resume in-person lesson opportunities.

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 spring semester beginning on or before January 25, but students MUST be compliant with testing and symptom tracking protocols outlined above (links are in the answer to the first question). Additional spaces such as classrooms and rehearsal rooms can be reserved when available for degree recital rehearsals. 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. 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. You will still need to wear a mask or modified instrument mask when practicing outside when others are nearby.

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 are 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. For those students that were not here in the fall, please reach out to to request locker access.

What about my academic music courses?

All academic courses in music will be offered remotely during the spring semester. Our faculty have been hard at work 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 spring semester?

Yes. Student degree recitals will proceed as scheduled, including those scheduled during the online-only periods. All degree recitals will have the option to be livestreamed (this is strongly encouraged as off-campus patrons are still not permitted in the venues for School of Music events and attendees in the venue will be limited to performers and faculty/committee members ONLY). If you need an archival copy of your performance, you can either record it yourself using the school provided Zoom camera or hire an audio/video recording engineer to capture your performance. Copies of the livestream will NOT be available for download. 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.

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 university 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. Brass players must travel with their own containers in which to deposit their condensation.
  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.
  5. You are only to use School of Music facilities when assigned/reserved. Using unoccupied rooms because they are vacant can cause a negative effect in the scheduling for the day, put others at potential risk and is a violation of student conduct.

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 have worked 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 includes the designation of entrances, exits, hallways and stairwells as one-way. Elevators remain reduced to one-person capacity. Hand sanitizer stations are installed throughout the building. In addition to being cleaned daily, our classrooms, rehearsal rooms and practice rooms 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.

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