Conservatory Guidelines for Spring 2021

James Day, Director of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, updates the Conservatory community regarding guidelines for the Spring 2021 semester.

January 27, 2021

Dear Sunderman Community,

This information is intended to provide you with important details regarding the Sunderman Conservatory experience this spring.

On this page:

As you review the information below, you will find that the majority of our protocols for making music safely in person remain the same as Fall 2020. However, there are a few important updates:

  • Distance requirements for wind players and vocalists have been updated. Wind players must maintain 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) physical distancing for all instruments except trombone, which should be 10.5 ft distance from the bell. Masking and bell cover requirements described below remain in effect. Masked vocalists must maintain a minimum of 10 ft of physical distance when singing. Flutists may continue to utilize a wind deflector attached to the head joint. Distance requirements for masked non-wind instrumentalists remain 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center).
  • Ensemble size limits have been updated. The maximum group size for instrument and vocal ensembles shall be determined by the COVID-19 occupancy limit of the space, outlined in the physical distancing guidelines. However, regardless of the size of the room, at no time should a musical ensemble exceed 50 individuals. This is a change from the fall policy, which limited all ensembles to 10 persons regardless of room size.
  • You can reserve your own practice space! Following a successful pilot program in the fall, students will be able to reserve practice spaces themselves through 25Live this semester. You will need to allow 48 hours for approval, but will be able to see availability across all spaces. Students will be notified in the coming days as the system becomes available.
  • You can collaborate! Practice spaces for small, registered ensembles of 2-6 persons may also be reserved through 25Live. All participants must adhere to distancing, timing, and mitigation guidelines for their instrument or voice as outlined in the Conservatory guidelines below. Due to limited space availability, students must be registered for the ensemble they are reserving space for. Students will be notified in the coming days as this option becomes available.

Applied Lessons

Private Voice Instruction:

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times.
  • In-person lessons of no more than 30 minutes with a minimum of 10 ft of physical distancing between the student, pianist, and teacher.
  • Students may complete 60-minute lessons through a combination of in-person and remote instruction, or by splitting the hour between two spaces. Conservatory spaces will be provided for students completing remote lessons on campus.
  • 30-60-minute room vacancy is required between each lesson for air exchange. Air exchange rates vary by room; specific rates for each room are available from the Conservatory Office.
  • Faculty/students are responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces via provided disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.

Private Instruction in Winds and Brass:

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see options for modified masks for wind and brass players). Bells of instruments should be covered with an appropriate bell cover.
  • In-person lessons of no more than 30 minutes with physical distancing of 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) for all instruments except trombone, which should be 10.5 ft distance from the bell.
  • Students may complete 60-minute lessons through a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Conservatory spaces will be provided for students completing remote lessons on campus.
  • 30-60-minute room vacancy is required between each lesson for air exchange. Air exchange rates vary by room; specific rates for each room are available from the Conservatory Office.
  • Faculty/students are responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.

Private Instruction for Strings, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, and Composition:

  • Masking for all participants.
  • In-person lessons of no more than 60 minutes with physical distancing of 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) between the student, pianist, and teacher.
  • Students may complete lessons through a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Conservatory spaces will be provided for students completing remote lessons on campus.
  • 30-minute room vacancy is required between each lesson to allow for adequate air exchange.
  • Faculty/students are responsible for disinfecting music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.
  • Please note all composition lessons will be conducted virtually in Spring 2021.

Instrumental Ensembles

During the Spring 2021 semester, instrumentalists will continue to have the opportunity to work on a variety of repertoire in small group collaborations, including an exciting new recording project that will engage in-person and remote students across multiple ensembles. Our intention is to continue to provide students with the opportunity to learn and experience a significant amount of repertoire in advanced reading sessions, as well as to record projects without necessarily requiring a traditional public performance. 

General considerations:

  • Where auditions are required, auditions will be completed via recording.
  • Students and faculty must sanitize their respective work spaces before and after rehearsal, including the music stand, folder, and chair. 
  • All musicians must wear a mask at all times, properly fitted to cover the mouth and nose. This includes all vocalists and wind players, even while singing/playing. 
  • Winds (woodwinds and brass) must wear masks with slits or other openings cut into them while playing. Flutists may utilize a wind deflector attached to the head joint. 
  • Instructors/conductors must also wear a mask, properly fitted to cover the mouth and nose. It is recommended that instructors/conductors utilize amplification of their voice rather than projecting “teacher voice,” which has been shown to increase aerosol production. 
  • Following the rehearsal (either 60 minutes or 30 minutes per guidelines below), all students and faculty must leave the room for at least one complete air change (room must be vacant during this time). The time for one complete air change is dependent on the HVAC and conditions in each room. This varies room-by-room. In general: the minimum time for one complete air change is typically 20-30 minutes; the maximum time for one complete air change can be as high as 2 hours. Air change information by room is available from the Conservatory Office. 
  • After concluding rehearsal in one space based on the time limits below, ensembles may move to a second space to begin a new session.

All non-wind instruments (strings, percussion, piano, etc.):

  • Must wear their masks throughout the entire rehearsal.
  • Physical distancing of 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) when playing, as well as before and after rehearsal is expected.
  • Number of participants must not exceed approved classroom/rehearsal space capacity as approved for physical distancing (noted in 25Live as **Physical DISTANCING NEW setup and MAX #** )
  • All instrumental ensembles, including only non-wind instruments (strings, percussion, piano, etc.), may rehearse for 60 minutes. Setup and teardown in this situation can occur outside of the 60 minutes, but time for air exchange must be allotted in-between setup and the beginning of rehearsal.
  • Following the rehearsal, all students and faculty must leave the room for at least one complete air change (room must be vacant during this time).
  • Percussionists should not share sticks and mallets. Where this is not possible (e.g. bass drum and gong mallets), mallets should be disinfected prior to use, as well as before sharing with the next musician.
    • Every percussionist should properly disinfect and store every shared instrument (e.g. marimba, timpani, and cymbals).

Winds:

  • Winds must wear their masks throughout the entire rehearsal. Masks should have a small slit cut into them to allow for the placement of the mouthpiece. Student-provided disposable masks are recommended for this purpose. Flutists may utilize a wind deflector attached to the head joint.
  • Physical distancing of 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) for all instruments except trombone, which should be 10.5 ft distance from the bell.
  • Bells of instruments should be covered with an appropriate bell cover.
  • Water (spit) from water keys must be collected. Disposable collection pads will be provided for this purpose. Students may also wish to consult their applied teacher for other mitigation strategies.
  • All instrumental ensembles that include/contain woodwinds and brass (all wind instruments) are limited to 30 minutes of rehearsal. Setup and teardown may happen directly on either side of this 30-minute period so long as a total time of 60 minutes is maintained (e.g. students set up room at 4:00, begin rehearsal at 4:15, end rehearsal at 4:45, teardown room before 5:00).
  • Following the rehearsal, all students and faculty must leave the room for at least one complete air change (room must be vacant during this time). 

Percussion:

  • Percussionists must wear their masks throughout the entire rehearsal.
  • Physical distance of 6 ft when playing, as well as before and after rehearsal, is expected.  
  • Students should not share sticks and mallets. Where this is not possible (e.g. bass drum and gong mallets), mallets should be disinfected prior to use, as well as before sharing with the next musician.
  • Every percussionist should properly disinfect and store every shared instrument (e.g. marimba, timpani, and cymbals).

Choirs

The overall goal of the choral program continues to be for singers to learn about music and singing through the medium of the choral art, and to foster a community around choral singing. Due to the limitations of in-person meetings outlined below, performances this semester will be in the form of recordings. As much as possible, these recordings will be made during in-person rehearsals and recording sessions. If the College must switch to remote learning at a later date due to COVID-19 concerns, contingency plans will be in place to continue projects online.

In-person meetings:

  • Will take place during the normally scheduled class times for each ensemble.
  • It is possible that not every singer will meet in person during each scheduled rehearsal time.
  • Will involve appropriate physical distancing between all personnel. Participants must maintain a minimum of 10 ft of physical distance from others when singing.
  • Rehearsal size shall be determined by the COVID-19 occupancy limit of the space, outlined in the physical distancing guidelines. However, regardless of the size of the room, at no time will an occupancy exceed 50 individuals.
  • Will last no longer than 30 minutes in any room; however, movement between spaces is allowed, so that 30-minute blocks of rehearsal time may be combined in different spaces. For instance, a cohort might rehearse for 30 minutes in one room, then move to another room for another 30-minute block of time.
  • All personnel will wear properly-fitted masks at all times, including while singing.
  • Rooms will have vacancy between rehearsals to allow for adequate air exchange between uses.

Remote meetings:

  • Singers will likely have some remote learning every week. They may or may not have an in-person rehearsal in a given week.
  • Music learning—learning the notes—will primarily take place outside of rehearsal, using online tools that will be supplied to assist this process.
  • Some of this remote work can take place asynchronously, at a time of the student’s choosing. Some remote work will take place during normal class meeting time.
  • Students must be available for online meetings during the normally scheduled time for the class.
  • There will be ways for students who are not in residence (i.e. remote cohort) to participate in choirs.

Choir Auditions/Voice Checks:

  • Will take place remotely, online. For details, see the choir webpage.

Opera Workshop

Opera Workshop will continue to be a performance-based course, providing in-person and remote students the opportunity to learn and perform an opera. Due to the limitations of in-person meetings outlined below, performances this semester will be in the form of a recorded final project. This recording will be made during a series of in-person performances. If the College must switch to remote learning at a later date due to COVID-19 concerns, contingency plans will be in place to continue our project online.

COVID-19 protocols require certain methods to maximize the safety of everyone in our community.

General considerations:

  • All personnel will wear properly-fitted masks at all times, including while singing.
  • Music and staging will be rehearsed during the normally scheduled class times.
  • It is possible that not every singer will meet in person during each scheduled rehearsal time.
  • Singers must maintain a minimum of 10 ft of physical distance from each other, the pianist, and the teacher when rehearsing and performing. Staging will maintain appropriate physical distancing between all personnel.
  • Rehearsals will last no longer than 30 minutes in any room; however, movement between spaces is allowed, so that 30-minute blocks of rehearsal time may be combined in different spaces. For instance, a cohort might rehearse for 30 minutes in one room, then move to another room for another 30-minute block of time.
  • Rooms will have vacancy between rehearsals to allow for adequate air exchange.
  • Accommodations will be made for students who are not in residence (i.e. remote cohort) to participate in opera workshop.
  • Faculty/students are responsible for disinfecting music stands, props, and other surfaces via provided disinfectant wipes before and after each class.

Performance Opportunities

Studio Classes:

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see modified masking for wind and brass players).
  • Voice: In-person classes of no more than 30 minutes with at least 10 ft of physical distancing between scheduled performers, pianist, and teacher.
  • Strings, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, and Composition: In-person classes of no more than 60 minutes with at least 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) of physical distancing between scheduled performers, pianist, and teacher.
  • Winds and Brass: In-person classes of no more than 30 minutes with at least 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center) of physical distancing between scheduled performers, pianist, and teacher.
  • Faculty/students are responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces before and after each class

Degree Recitals:

  • Masking required for all individuals at all times (see modified masking for wind and brass players).
  • In-person performances follow timing and distancing guidelines above.
  • Recitals involving wind instruments or voice that exceed 30 minutes will be divided between two different performances.
  • All recitals will be viewable to virtual audiences via Livestream.
  • We will begin the semester with no in-person audiences for any of our performances, aside from up to 10 essential personnel, including performers, faculty evaluators, stage mangers, recording and Livestream technicians, all following physical distancing guidelines. This decision was not made lightly, but was made out of an abundance of caution as we begin the semester. However, as the semester progresses, we will re-evaluate this decision and work with the College administration and our health consultants to determine if it is possible to open degree recitals to a limited number of audience members later in the semester.
  • Faculty/students are responsible for disinfecting music stands and other surfaces before and after each recital.

Now Hear This:

  • Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we do not expect to be able to host NHT performances during the Spring 2021 semester. We will continue to monitor restrictions as the semester progresses.

Practice Spaces

  • Reservation and mask required
    • All practice spaces MUST be reserved through 25Live, following instructions provided by the Conservatory Office. Please allow 48 hours for your request to be approved. Please note reservations made at the end of day on Friday through noon on Saturday will be approved the following Monday. Students must be clear from quarantine to use practice spaces.
    • Masks must be worn at all times by all individuals, regardless of instrument or voice, including while practicing alone; wind players must also use bell covers; flutists may use a wind deflector attached to the head joint and/or other mitigating devices as approved by the Conservatory.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect before and after use
    • Using the disinfecting supplies provided, students must wipe down all surfaces at the start AND end of their practice session, including: music stands, chair, mirror, doorknobs, light switches, piano keys, and other high-touch areas before and after use. 
    • DO NOT spray cleaner directly on the piano or piano keys. This can damage the instrument. Instead, please spray cleaner on the paper towels provided and wipe down the instrument and keys with the dampened towel or use pre-moistened disinfectant wipes if provided. (Please contact the Conservatory Office if the cleaning supplies are low or completely out.)
    • Please leave the piano key cover in place when not using the piano.
  • Practice rooms are single occupancy only. No one else should enter your practice space during use or during required vacancy periods. This includes the following spaces: SCHM 101-108, 205, 300 C-F.
  • Practice spaces for small, registered ensembles of 2-6 persons may also be reserved through 25Live. All participants must adhere to distancing, timing, and mitigation guidelines for their instrument or voice as outlined in Conservatory guidelines above. Due to limited availability, students must be registered for the ensemble they are reserving space for. This includes Schmucker classrooms such as SCHM 210, 214, 215, and 302 when available. 
  • Adhere to your reservation time/respect vacancy time to allow for sufficient air exchange. Required vacancy times can range between 30-90 minutes depending on the space and will be factored in when approving reservation requests.

Given the fluid nature of this pandemic, the Sunderman Conservatory is prepared to update these plans as new research and best practices become available. If you have questions about any of the items specific to the Conservatory covered in this email, you can email sundermanreturn@gettysburg.edu. More general inquiries may be directed to covidupdates@gettysburg.edu.

We look forward to commencing the spring semester with you on February 1.

With best wishes,

James M. Day, DMA
Director, Sunderman Conservatory of Music