MANSFIELD MUSIC DEPARTMENT FALL 2020 COVID-19 FAQs
We are looking forward to welcoming back music majors and music ensemble participants to the Butler Music Center on Monday, August 17. Our on-campus FA20 course work will conclude on Friday, Nov. 20, with final exams being offered Monday, Nov. 30 through Thursday, Dec. 3. Some studio areas may choose to hold juries during the weekend of Nov. 21 & 22.
Each student’s education is important to us! Of equal importance is the health and safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff. Maintaining a safe environment on campus will only work if EVERYONE agrees to the importance of mitigating strategies. See the university’s Health and Safety Plan at https://www.mansfield.edu/health-and-safety-plan/. It is imperative that all are aware of these policies, and are prepared to adhere. Social distancing and wearing of face masks will be required.
The Music Department is actively monitoring developments from the CDC, PA government, PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), and those conducting research regarding COVID-19 and music-related activities. Preliminary results of ongoing research regarding aerosol production from wind instruments and singing were published on July 13. Much of this information has been useful to the music faculty in developing our FA20 plan for ensembles and music-making activities. Updates will be forthcoming. Details and recommendations can be found at https://www.nfhs.org/articles/unprecedented-international-coalition-led-by-performing-arts-organizations-to-commission-covid-19-study/. As of today (July 24) governor’s orders prohibit gatherings of more than 25 people – this does not apply to instructional settings, but does apply to non-instructional settings (concerts, athletic events, etc.)
Q. What changes should we expect for ensembles?
A. We will continue to stay abreast of CDC guidelines for educational settings, music performance activities, and group gatherings. Large ensembles will likely meet in smaller groupings for shorter periods of time (research suggests 30 minutes of sustained music activity with groups of wind instruments or voices). We are working on covered, outdoor rehearsal venues for best ventilation, when weather permits. Of course, the marching band will rehearse exclusively outside. Students will be expected to remain masked whenever possible. Face masks and other devices for winds and voices are available (see below REQUIRED COVID-19 MITIGATION EQUIPMENT FOR MUSIC ENSEMBLE PARTICIPATION). Brass players will be asked to bring disposable “puppy pads” to indoor rehearsals for emptying of spit valves. To limit the need for disinfection between all rehearsals, all students using music stands should plan to purchase their own – see REQUIRED COVID-19 MITIGATION EQUIPMENT FOR MUSIC ENSEMBLE PARTICIPATION below for music stand resources and other mitigation requirements. See instructions on the Student Resources page (https://music.mansfield.edu/student-resources.cfm) for ensemble audition procedures.
Q. What changes should we expect for concerts and recitals?
A. It is likely that all ensemble performances will be either live-streamed, or recorded and made available online. Recitals should be able to proceed as scheduled. Audiences for both concerts and recitals may be limited or unavailable as restrictions related to COVID-19 fluctuate through the semester. We are currently installing a state-of-the-art, high-definition, four-camera streaming system in Steadman Theater. A similar system is also going into Straughn Auditorium.
Q. What changes should be expect for master classes and our weekly recital series (Promenade)?
A. Some master classes that have traditionally met in studios will be moved to larger rooms. Some master classes will change meeting day from Tuesday to Thursday (still noon to 12:50p). A couple of voice master classes will meet in Straughn Auditorium. Promenade will likely meet virtually in an asynchronous format (recorded performances streamed via D2L for student viewing).
Q. What changes can we expect for one-on-one lessons?
A. Applied music lessons (private lessons) could be offered in a variety of modes. Music faculty share similar concerns as students with regards to safe environment in private lessons. How close is too close for virus safety? How far is too far for educational effectiveness? How effective are online lessons? Some of you may have lessons as normal – in the studio, each week, nothing different. Some of you may move to larger rooms, use plexiglass barriers between student and teachers, employ air purifiers, make use of periodic virtual lessons, etc. Your teachers are working on finding the safest ways to most-effectively teach you. If you have concerns, please share those with your teacher(s). All music faculty are willing to work with you in the environment that is best for you.
Q. What will FA20 final exams and juries look like?
A. Final exams will occur Monday, November 30, through Thursday, December 3. Any exams or assessments offered during this period will be online or virtual (synchronous or asynchronous). Some faculty may choose to offer a “final exam” prior to the last day of classes (Nov. 20), with a class meeting, assignment, or activity scheduled for the final exam period. The final exam schedule is available at https://esd.mansfield.edu/registration-information.cfm. Juries will either be during the last week of classes (Nov. 16-20), the weekend following the last day of classes (Nov. 21-22), or during the final exam period (online, Nov 30-Dec. 3). Your private teacher will let you know early in the semester which of these will be available for you.
Q. What changes can we expect for music lecture/methods courses?
A. Your individual instructors should be contacting you prior to the beginning of classes (Aug. 17). In general, most classrooms (102, 202, 136, 163, Piano Lab, Music Computer Lab, Steadman Theater) will hold few students to accommodate social-distancing measures. If participants are playing wind instruments or singing, these rooms hold even fewer. Because of limited room capacities, most courses will employ some sort of hybrid model – some of the learning occurring in the classroom and some occurring online (synchronously or asynchronously).
Q. How are practice rooms changing?
A. When you arrive to campus you will find sign-up sheets on all available practice room doors. Find a room convenient for you and sign up (no more than 5 per room). You will work out a weekly practice schedule with the others assigned to your room. Sign up for only one room. Students assigned to any room will be responsible to disinfect the room upon each entry and exit (sanitizer will be available). No personal items may be left in rooms (lockers are available through Dr. Laib). Percussionists should utilize only the percussion practice rooms, unless time is needed for piano practice.
Q. Will music student organizations be able to meet and conduct business?
A. Yes! These organizations are important to our department and important to your education. The Office of Student Activities is recommending organizations hold virtual meetings as much as possible, particularly for groups of 25, or more. Face-to-face meetings will have to occur in spaces large enough to allow for social distancing. Please be sure to reserve meeting space(s) with Music Department Secretary, Sara Herbst (email@example.com or 570-662-4710).
Q. What can other COVID-19 mitigation components can we expect?
A. The university will supply face coverings and hand sanitizer bottles (refill stations will be available across campus). Social spaces in Butler will really not exist – expect to see most hallway furniture removed.
Q. What resources are available for students who need learning accommodations (including fully-online instruction)?
A. Students who require accommodations for learning, disability, or health-related needs should contact Melinda Phillips at the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-662-4691, 147 South Hall, https://www.mansfield.edu/ssd/).
Q. How can I complete a music department admission audition for a SP21 or FA21 start?
A. Audition information is available at https://music.mansfield.edu/auditions.cfm. Options for online (Zoom) auditions and video-recorded auditions are available for students attempting to start either SP21 or FA21.
Q. I have a student work-study position in the music department. Will this continue?
A. We believe all previously existing work-study positions will continue for the 2020-21 school year. Position duties and assignments may change a bit. Students interested in applying for music department work-study positions should correspond with the music department secretary, Sara Herbst (email@example.com).
Q. How will student concerns be addressed?
A. The Music Student Advisory Council will reconvene early in the FA20 semester to help address student concerns (we will be looking for a couple of freshman representatives). Questions, comments, or concerns can be sent to the chairperson of the music department, Dr. Nathan Rinnert (firstname.lastname@example.org).
REQUIRED COVID-19 MITIGATION EQUIPMENT FOR MUSIC ENSEMBLE PARTICIPATION
- Music Stands (if needed) – contact Dr. Rinnert by August 10 to have these items delivered to the music department by August 17 (pick up and pay in the office) – or order directly from Robert M. Sides and pick up yourself. Also, great products offered at other outlets like amazon.com.
- Face masks and/or face shields
- The university will be supplying all students with an MU-branded face mask. Students should plan on bringing a supply of generic face coverings for daily use. String players and percussionists will be asked to wear these at all times in ensemble settings.
- Brass & Woodwinds (clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bassoon) are asked to use a surgical style mask with a slit for the mouthpiece
- Singers are asked to wear a standard mask to the first rehearsals. Face shield and/or masks designed for singers will be available for specific meetings (there will be a cost to participants associated with such masks).
- Flutes will be asked to use the Win-D-Fender (https://win-d-fender.com/, approx. $40.00) along with a “flute sock” attached to the foot (see https://youtu.be/7if6TMZy5OM). Correspondence with Dr. Moulton will be necessary to coordinate all of this.
- Bell Covers (brass) – recent aerosol studies suggest that brass instruments produce significant aerosol emission at the bell – more for louder playing, less for softer playing. Brass players will be required to utilize a bell cover in all playing environments (rehearsals, practice rooms, lessons, etc.). Bell covers can be purchased from companies like:
You can feel free to make your own – for some smaller instruments, nylon panty hose will do the trick. Some have also suggested using nylon (swimming) pool skimmer socks (designed to keep debris out of pool filtration systems), which may come in a variety of sizes. The university will purchase covers for marching brass (mellophones, baritones, and sousaphones) – other brass will need to supply their own.