Ensembles Update + Protocols

flute lesson outsideAs promised at the beginning of the semester, we have continued to monitor our overall situation very carefully relative to what experiences we can safely offer and allow. Every decision made by our School of Music (faculty and administration collectively) has been and will be made with our student’s best interests in sharp focus. Our students’ well-being, overall health, and appropriate professional development will remain our highest and most important priority.

With that being said, a representative collective of our senior faculty in the School of Music has met and analyzed what opportunities may exist for a careful and highly controlled expansion of ensemble rehearsal opportunities. At this point, this is limited to ensembles which are curricular in nature, for which a student will receive a grade (directly affiliated with a designated class). In the near future, students will be receiving more detailed information from their applied studio teachers and appropriate ensemble directors about increased opportunities for group participation, but please understand this will take some time and planning and may roll out in stages. (And different ensembles will proceed differently; give it time). In everyone’s best interest we will proceed carefully.

All of this will come with very strict protocols and expectations which must be adhered to in all respects.

 As we proceed forward (carefully) the following protocols will be in place relative to all group/ensemble activities:

  1. No group rehearsals (two individuals or more) may occur under any circumstances, at any time, in any space, without prior approval from the applied faculty member and/or the ensemble director of record. The designated faculty member will also be required to submit the proposed activity for approval by the Director of the School of Music. An up-to-date record will be kept of all activities currently approved at any given time. (So, specifically, no ad-hoc or spontaneous rehearsals/gatherings are allowed or sanctioned at this time).
  2. As a reinforcement/clarification to item #1, all ensemble activities (of any type or size) will/must be dictated and coordinated by a faculty member, and approved in advance by the Director of the SOM.
  3. All activities occurring inside the building will be limited to eight participants or less. Any rehearsal activities occurring outside (open air) will be limited to 16 participants or less.
  4. All activities must be effectively socially distanced as much as is practical/possible within a given space. (10 feet MINIMUM recommended for all wind instruments and singers as is possible).
  5. The only spaces currently approved for indoor activities at this time are: a) the Concert Hall; b) the choral room (167); c) the IRR (204); d) the Recital Hall (140). We will be seeking permission for additional indoor spaces that may become available for our use on other parts of the campus closely adjacent to the Moody music building.
  6. Groups for which this would be appropriate are encouraged to consider rehearsing outside. The green spaces around the music building present excellent possibilities and we will be seeking approval for the designation of other areas for this purpose. Use of these spaces must still be approved and scheduled appropriately by a member of the faculty.
  7. Masks must be worn at all times, with the ONLY exceptions being for wind players when directly engaged in the act of playing. During any and all intervals between actual playing, masks must be in place, and absolutely no conversation should occur without a mask in place.
  8. Careful attention must be paid to the individual requirements for specific instruments. Please expect more detailed information from your individual studio teachers regarding protocols relative to your instrument and the additional safety requirements you will be expected to adhere to and follow in any ensemble setting/activity.
  9. All/any group activities will be limited to a duration of 30 minutes. At the conclusion of 30 minutes, the space must be cleared/vacated to allow for appropriate air circulation/exchange.
  10. Scheduling will be challenging, and we will simply have to share resources and do the best that we can (all of us) relative to the safest and most effective use of our space. Please remember that our situation is even more challenging at this point as we lost an entire wing of our building this semester after the fire. If all continues to go well, we may have those spaces available to us again in the spring semester.
  11. Any faculty member (specifically ensemble directors) will/does reserve the right to be as specific as they wish relative to any ensemble with which they work regarding additional safety protocols that will be observed in rehearsals.
  12. No student or faculty member will be expected (at any time) to participate in any activity or experience in/with which they are not fully comfortable relative to health considerations and potential viral exposure.
  13. As we have done to this point, the situation will continue to be carefully monitored and evaluated and will be adjusted accordingly as is appropriate over time.

This information and these protocols represent an opportunity for us to continue to move forward (as safely is as possible) taking prudent, well-informed, and intelligent steps in the right direction. Please adhere to all of these protocols very carefully. All of us must support each other, so that we can all move forward together.

We look forward to hearing our students begin to make music together again, carefully, and in very controlled settings. As has always been the case, the overall health of our students and faculty will remain at the forefront of any and all decisions, protocols, and opportunities.