Resources for Students

Department of Music FAQ's Regarding Return to Campus & Music Courses Spring 2021

This list of Frequently Asked Questions and other information will be updated as new questions and information become available. Check back often and check for new questions under the "NEW" section below. 

COFAC/Department of Music Mask Policy

QUestions: (Click on the question to see the answer)

1. Where can I find general information about health and safety on campus?

Health Guidelines 

TU is following the health and safety recommendations of state, local, and national health officials. Guidelines for health and safety on campus can be found by following the link above.

2. I’m unclear if I am required to attend a class that has a face-to-face component.  What do I need to know about class modalities and my choices?

No student is required to attend a class face-to-face (in person) if they feel they cannot do so. No one may pressure you to attend in person or otherwise challenge your decision to join the class remotely. Only you can make this decision, but please know that the University and Department have taken extreme precautions to insure that face-to-face instruction provides a safe learning environment.

Any student can be required to attend a class synchronously online at the scheduled class time in PeopleSoft (as it appears in your student center course schedule). These courses may happen as a hybrid (some students in the classroom and some attending remotely), or as fully synchronous online (all students in the virtual classroom at the scheduled time).

Courses that are fully asynchronous will occur as such courses normally do.

Attendance policies for any course will be articulated in your syllabus and would apply if you are in person or remote.

3. 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 at the scheduled class meeting time or as articulated by your professor.  If you are unable to attend an ensemble in person and do not wish to take the class remotely, your advisor and the Chairperson will work with you to insure that you can complete your ensemble requirements in another semester.

4. I have work that interferes with my class schedule. What do I do about my class?

Just as if we were living in normal times, you would not schedule work that conflicts with a class that is required for your major or you would plan to take that course in another semester. The same applies in these unusual times. You have to balance your priorities and needs around planning your course schedule in a way that allows you to progress through your academic career.

If you choose to enroll in a course in any modality where face-to-face or synchronous online instruction is a component, you are also committing to being present for that course as articulated by your professor. You should not schedule work on top of a course as this will likely have negative repercussions in your learning experience, assessments and final grade.  

5. What precautions are being taken in the CFA and, especially, the Department of Music?

The University has installed (and continues to install and stock) sanitation stations throughout the CFA and campus in general.  High-level cleaning of bathrooms and high-touch areas will be normal cleaning procedure.  Plexiglas shielding has been installed at the main desk of the Music Office.  High-use classrooms like CA 3069, 3071 will most likely have their own sanitation stations installed as well. Absorbent disposable pads will be provided to wind and brass players for insuring proper collection of fluids.  All classrooms have been arranged for safe social distancing and with signage about the room occupancy restrictions.  More information on practice rooms is found below in the question related to practice rooms.

 6. Will my lessons and coachings be taught face-to-face or on-line?

Lessons can occur in person, remotely, or with a mixture of the two, determined by applied faculty member in conversation with the student.  Applied lessons may be synchronous remote, in person, or a combination of the two.  You can check your applied lesson course and section number in PeopleSoft and look at the class notes to find information about how your applied lessons will be delivered.  These notes will be updated if anything changes.  Further, you can expect to hear from your applied teacher soon about their preferences.  You should let them know about yours.  You can always reach out to your professor by e-mail to ask questions.

While maintaining social distance protocols for music, The Department plans to use larger classrooms in addition to some faculty studios, depending on type of lesson.  Brass, winds, & vocalists should not have face-to-face lessons in a faculty studio.  Those spaces are too confined for your type of music making.  Piano, strings, guitar, percussion, composition, and technology lessons can occur within faculty studios so long as social distancing is practiced and the professor and student is willing to do so.  Regardless of the type of lesson, everyone involved must insure that social distancing, mask use, air exchange, and sanitation protocols are followed.  

7. Will I have to wear a mask while I’m playing or singing?

Yes and no. Towson University has issued the following mask policy for all TU students, faculty, and staff. In addition to this, the Department is requiring that all instrumentalists wear a mask while playing.  Special masks for winds and brass players will be provided to students free of charge or at a significantly reduced cost.  Additionally, bell covers will be provided to wind & brass students as well as faculty.  Singer’s masks are being explored for viability from several manufactures including patterns for homemade singer’s masks. Mask use and social distancing protocols must still be followed when/if a class, lesson, or rehearsal is happening outside.  Under no circumstances should anyone take off their mask during an applied lessons taught within a faculty studio.

 8. What are the guidelines for social distancing of musicians?

TU is following the recommendations of state, local, and national health officials.  Guidelines for health and safety on campus can be found here.

Where music is concerned, remember this social distance “combination:”

6’six-feet apart as a general rule with mask on for all music making/learning that does not move a significant volume of air (strings, guitar, piano, composition, music technology, lecture classes, normal speaking).

12’twelve-feet apart as a general rule for wind and brass instruments that move a significant volume of air and using a bell cover on the instrument. This is especially important if your mask is removed as allowable by TU mask guidelines. However, winds and brass should plan to wear a special mask (one provided to you) with a pillow slit (overlapping opening) for the mouthpiece.

20’twenty-feet apart for singers as a general rule. This is especially important if your mask is removed as allowable by TU mask guidelines. However, singers should plan wear a special singer’s mask (one provided to you), a mask with more space in front of the mouth and one that holds its shape.

 9. I’m concerned about touching music stands and other equipment.  What should I do?

All students are encouraged to provide their own collapsible music stand wherever possible. Students may wish to wear gloves (latex or other) to handle chairs and stands within a rehearsal room. As a general rule, you should grab a disposable cleaning wipe from a sanitation station before entering a room and wipe down your stand, chair and any other shared equipment. Dispose of the wipes and then sanitize your own hands before playing with sanitizer that you carry with you at all times or using sanitizer provided by the University.

 10. What about making music outside?

There is a reservation process for teaching & making music outside.  We plan to have some ensembles, combos, lessons, and coachings happen outside whenever possible and feasible.  The West Village Garage bottom floor may be one space in which some large ensembles can meet and rehearse, but there will be no stands or chairs housed there.   Mask use and social distancing protocols would still need to be followed when/if a class, lesson, or rehearsal is happening outside unless other guidance allows for those restrictions to be waived.  Outside space use of any location on campus that requires a reservation would need to be reserved accordingly.  If you have been given permission to use a space outside of CFA, noise that may interfere with classes happening inside the building must be consideration.  Be a good citizen. Move well away from the building for any outside pedagogy that requires making noise.

11. Will large instrumental and vocal ensembles rehearse face-to-face this spring?

We understand that large ensembles are an integral part of learning for many students within the Department of Music and that ensembles contribute greatly to the overall breadth of every music student’s education. Studies have shown that gathering as large groups of musicians in a room filled to even 50% capacity (even with appropriate personal protective equipment [PPE]) can cause the spread of coronavirus. For this reason, the University conducted a room density survey and established safety numbers for our large ensemble rooms and concert venues, (the number of “Tigers” that can be in a room at that same time). Signage to this effect is posted on all classrooms. This means that we can have far fewer people within our normal rehearsal rooms than we are accustomed. However, ensemble directors are hard at work to provide students with a quality music making experience for those who can be face-to-face and to work with those students who will attend virtually. You can contact your respective professor of your large ensemble(s) if you have specific questions about what will be happening in your large ensemble this fall. Their names and contact information is found below. The ensemble directors, along with Dr. Collister, will evaluate the rehearsal situation continually and make adjustments to delivery, if required, as the semester progresses.

– TU Symphonic Band and Orchestra
– TU Chorale, Women’s Choir & Choral Society 
– TU Men’s Choir
– TU Marching Band
– TU Percussion Ensemble
– TU Music for the Stage & Opera in a Can
– TU Jazz Orchestra

12. What about small ensembles, chamber music, jazz/commercial and world music ensembles?

These courses will work similarly to large ensembles, however, the restrictions on room use are significantly easier since the groups usually have small numbers of participants.  Contact the director of your small ensemble(s) to inquire of plans for rehearsal. The ensemble directors, along with Dr. Collister, will evaluate the rehearsal situation continually and make adjustments to delivery, if required, as the semester progresses.

13. Will concerts by large and small ensembles occur in the spring semester?

Some concerts will proceed as planned while others will be canceled or changed into some form of virtual event.  The Department is urgently working on solutions to live-streaming of concerts since outside patrons, (general public, your family, off-campus friends, alumni) are not permitted in performance venues until further notice unless they are a currently enrolled TU student.  At this time, we are still working on how we could have an audience of our peers in concert venues and insure public safety.  Check with your ensemble director to see if/how your usual end-of-semester concert will occur.

14. Will live recitals be possible in the spring semester?

Yes, but with restrictions. Degree recitals will proceed as scheduled unless you and your teacher request for reschedule to the fall 2021 term. Outside visitors and patrons (general public, your family, off-campus friends, alumni) are not permitted in TU performance venues until further notice. You will be performing your recital for a panel of faculty adjudicators and, potentially, a select group of your peers who are currently enrolled TU students. The Department is actively working on live stream options for student recitals and will help guide or assist you with live-streaming or video recording. Other options will include video recording of your recital using a Department HD camera. You would need to provide an SD card for the camera.

As we normally would, The Department plans to provide the ability for students to request and hire an audio recording engineer using this form. You may also hire your own video recording engineer to capture your performance. At this time, stage managers will not be provided during the Spring semester due to safety concerns in the back stage areas of our venues. This will be reevaluated as the semester progresses.

We understand that recitals are one of the most important events in the life of an upper level music major or minor. It is further understood that not being able to have your family or close friends from off-campus attend is difficult and even heartbreaking. It is important to understand that the recital is a capstone of your work that is part of the curriculum and a requirement for degree completion. While delaying your recital may be an option, it is strongly encouraged that students proceed with their scheduled date as we have no way to know how delaying your recital may delay your graduation. The Department will do all we can to assist you in making sure your family can view your recital as a live-stream or via recording and thus share in your success for this most important event in your University career.

If you are planning to reschedule your recital for any reason you must first discuss this with your teacher who will in turn contact the Chairperson and Assistant to the Chair to discuss options.

15. Will students have access to practice rooms?

We recommend that students practice in their residence as the safest option.  However, we know this is not possible or practical for many.  For those unable to practice at home, practice rooms will be available to music majors and minors during the spring semester.  Other non-majors who are enrolled in a large ensemble and vetted by their professor may be allowed limited access to practice rooms. Additional spaces such as classrooms and rehearsal rooms may be added for student use when available and if proper security of those rooms can be assured. The online sign up system for practice rooms which would include black-out times in the practice rooms to allow for air exchange between uses of the room can be found at https://towson.siso.co/cofac/.  See also sanitation protocols for practice rooms below.

16. What are the sanitation and social distancing protocols for practice rooms? 

Social distancing is required in the practice room suite. Students may not congregate in the corridors leading to the practice room. Only one student per practice room is permitted.  If students need a room to accommodate rehearsal with more than one person, the Department of Music office can assist in signing out a room. All students should sanitize the room before and after use. Proper cleaning protocols for pianos/keyboards will be posted above each piano.  Sanitation supplies will be provided in or near the practice rooms.  Violation of the protocols established will be treated as a student conduct issue and may be subject to suspension of use of the practice room suite.

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

Instrument lockers in the Department of Music will operate as normal.  Contact for information. However, students must be cognizant of their surroundings and willing to social distance to allow your colleagues access to and egress from the narrow spaces between banks of lockers.  As usual, students provide their own locks.  A limited supply of locks are available through the main music office.

18. What about my academic music courses?

You can check the learning environment modality (asynchronous, synchronous online, or hybrid [face-to-face with synchronous on-line]) using PeopleSoft. If you have any questions about how your class will be delivered you can contact your professor directly for more information. Professors will be reaching out to you to instruct you which days to attend class face-to-face if you have elected to attend in person.

A Note About Music Theory and Musicianship Courses. For spring 2021 all music theory and musicianship courses will be delivered in synchronous on-line format. This means that your class will meet at its appointed time but on line. Additionally, a large number of online delivery formats will be deployed to aid your learning in a proven system of student interaction via a service called Harmonia. The license for this service will be provided to each student enrolled at no cost to the student.

Our faculty have been hard at work all summer to create meaningful and engaging courses in a variety of formats. You can expect to hear from your professors soon about how these courses will be delivered and what is expected of you.

19. Is it true that Towson University 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 Department of Music will be following all applicable federal, state, local and university guidelines to help keep our community safe.

20. What if I have other questions not answered here?  Who can address my questions and concerns?

Undergraduate students should contact  
Graduate M.M. students should contact
Graduate M.S. students should contact
Anyone may contact the Department Chair,

21. Will May Commencement happen this spring?

Information about University Commencement and any updates to planning may be found here.

22. What do I do if I need technology that I can’t afford in order to attend my classes remotely? 

Towson has an emergency fund for students with an easy application process.

Also, you can contact the Chairperson,  to see if any technology assistance is possible from within the Department or College.

23. If I’m taking a methods class, piano class, or other course that requires specific instruments or equipment but I won’t be attending face-to-face, how will I get that equipment?

Your professor will be in contact with you about instruments or equipment that you need for your class that is loaned to you on behalf of the Department.  In the case where a student is not comfortable coming to campus to get the required items, a family member or fellow student can be utilized for the retrieval and delivery. Still further, it may be possible to deliver the gear to you directly depending on where you live.  Any equipment on loan from the Department must be returned in good working order with no damage.  An instrument loan form will be used to record any instruments or equipment that leave our storage areas for face-to-face or remote learning.

24. What if I am a member of a student music group and we want to use a room in the Department?

Just like normal, all student groups (even ones that have a music related focus) must schedule rooms via the 25Live request system.  Different from normal is that any such group may not be permitted access during this time.  All student groups are being requested to meet virtually during Spring 2021.  No student group may bypass this procedure by having a faculty member let them into a room or schedule a room via the Department Office.  All requests are managed via 25Live which in turn is routed to the COFAC Events and Operations Office.

25. If I begin classes face-to-face (in person) but later feel uncomfortable or concerned for my health and safety, do I have to continue coming to the class in person?  What about the other way around?  Can I choose to do face-to-face later if I want?

You may choose to switch from face-to-face (in person) instruction to remote online synchronous instruction (meeting at the class time) throughout the semester. While you are encouraged not to waffle back and forth between modalities due to learning environment consistency, if you have concerns about your health and safety by being present in the physical classroom, you have the option to move to the virtual classroom. Before doing so, you should first discuss this with your professor or the Chairperson to see if there are things that can help improve your situation.

Likewise, you may choose to attend in person after being in the virtual classroom, but you must communicate with your professor before simply showing up to class one day. Professors must closely monitor the number of students in the physical classroom to insure physical distancing measures are maintained. We don’t want you to miss out on a class because there is not a seat for you in the classroom on any given day.

 

The Department of Music has developed a mandatory advising system to help music students with their uniquely complex schedules. The department’s Advising Committee comprises four faculty advisers and the Assistant to the Chair/Academic Program Coordinator. Freshmen are required to meet with their assigned adviser at least twice per semester.