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General Information for Music Students Fall 2020



Dear KU Music Students:

Welcome back to campus for Fall 2020! Whether you are new to KU or are returning to campus after our unplanned hiatus since last March, Fall 2020 will be unlike anything any of us have experienced before. We learned last spring that we are in a very fluid situation, and things can change very quickly. Being flexible and prepared for changing scenarios will be important as we progress through the semester.

The Music faculty deserves a huge shoutout for the job they did, pulling off the unplanned move to remote teaching last Spring. Usually, faculty use the summer months to engage in research or participate in music festivals around the world. This summer, our faculty spent considerable time studying the research on COVID-19, learning new technologies, and preparing for any eventuality that may or may not lay ahead. The same is true for our incredible professional staff. The sacrifices made by the faculty and staff over the summer should not be underestimated.

Fall 2020 is about taking an educational journey with new resources and an expanded horizon of learning and musical growth. We are continuing our increased use of new technological enhancements, successfully putting old wine in new bottles and solving longstanding challenges with innovations for learning. I challenge you to take on any unforeseen obstacle that circumstances of the pandemic may present and be more determined than ever to develop your skills and ready yourself for a career as a music professional.

The list of topics below addresses many questions we have received about the upcoming semester. In some instances, we have included additional links to more information to help you prepare for the start of classes on Monday, August 24.

Additionally, we will have a School of Music Town Hall informational meeting for students and parents next Tuesday, August 18, at 6:30 pm. An email with the link and more information will be sent very soon. Also, you will be able to submit additional questions in advance. For those unable to attend live, the webinar will be recorded and posted on the School of Music website.

Please carefully read the information below. I anticipate an extraordinary year ahead and look forward to our time together next week.

Rock Chalk!

Robert Walzel, written by hand

Robert Walzel, DMA
Dean, School of Music


How do you get into buildings if you do not have a smart phone?

You can download the paper assessment form at https://cvkey.ku.edu/ to complete and bring to campus with you.

What is the plan for practice rooms this year?

Practice rooms are locked for safety and have been apportioned to the applied music areas in the SoM – Brass, Jazz, Organ, Piano, Strings Voice, & Woodwinds. Check with your applied instructor for more information to schedule a practice room.

What do I do if I need a locker? If I asked to keep locker from last semester, do we get to keep it or does everyone have to sign-up for a new one?

Contact Leslie Ellen loneil@ku.edu

What will online classes for piano look like if we do not have access to a piano?

Your instructor is the best source for this information.

Are we still able to rent instruments from the School of Music? How and when can we do that?

Yes, contact Leslie Ellen loneil@ku.edu

How will we sign up for ensemble auditions?

There are informational links on the front page of the School of Music website. For more information, you should send an email message to the ensemble director.

Is practicing in dorms frowned upon?

Hashinger Hall has 4 practice rooms.

Will there be more than one check-in station and does this control the door locks?

CVKey check-in stations for Murphy Hall are located in the west lobby entrance to Swarthout Recital Hall, the first floor loading dock entrance near Baustian Theatre, and the second floor west entrance near the music library. Doors are unlocked between 7:00am and 10:00pm. The building is closed at night.

How will using MEMT instruments for performance clinics work?

Your instructor is the best source for this information.

What is the contingency plan for Spring 2020 degree recitals are postponed again? Will this delay student progress toward graduation?

Contact McCorkill, Laura lmccorki@ku.edu. Students should not have their graduation date impacted by any change of plans or restricted access to campus.

In regards to choir, has there been any conversation pertaining to specialized singers’ masks?

Absolutely. Once we complete our online auditions, we will start choir rehearsal remotely to discuss our protocols in detail. We will also discuss appropriate masks for singers.

Will we have access to the bell covers and specialized face masks before the placement auditions?

These will not be necessary for auditions since it will be only one person at a time for 5 minutes at a time.

Questions about Music Study and Performance

Should I wear a mask?

How will I receive private lessons from my applied teacher?

Applied studio instructors have been given autonomy in determining the methodology for delivering private lessons in Fall 2020. Instructional methods may include face-to-face (in-studio, larger room, or outdoors), remote (Zoom, FaceTime, etc.), on-line (recorded submission with remote direct interaction between the faculty member and student), any combination of these, and other possibilities. Students without quality WIFI off-campus will be able to use remote private lesson stations in Murphy Hall. Check directly with your private instructor to discuss options they have available to you. Email is the best means of communication with faculty and staff members.

How will large ensemble rehearsals be organized?

Generally speaking, all large ensembles will rehearse in Murphy Hall rehearsal rooms at regularly-scheduled times. In consideration of safety concerns, rehearsal times will be reduced, and smaller instrumentation employed when appropriate. Masks are required at all times, and social distancing will be practiced (6 feet for instrumentalists and 12 feet for singers). Ensembles will also offer online options for students who are not comfortable with in-person rehearsals. For more information, go to the ensemble webpages: BandChoral, JazzOrchestra. Email the ensemble director for more information.

Will there be live performances of the bands, choirs, jazz ensembles, and orchestras or instead, will concerts be webcasted?

We are hoping for some live performances in Fall 2020. Whether in front of live audiences or broadcast live via internet webcast remains to be seen. Livestream links from Swarthout Recital Hall and the Lied Center of Kansas are located on the front page of the School of Music website: http://music.ku.edu.

What about degree recitals?

Degree recitals will take place as usual in Swarthout Recital Hall or Bales Recital Hall. Until conditions with the pandemic improve, only family members, a few select close personal friends, and the student’s major professor and graduate committee members may attend recitals. No more than 36 individuals are allowed in Swarthout Recital at any one time. All recitals in Swarthout Recital Hall will be broadcast via Livestream (link found on the front page of the School of Music website: http://music.ku.edu). Conducting recitals will be handled in consultation with the individual faculty advisor. Laura McCorkill, whose office is 460 Murphy Hall, can assist in scheduling recitals. For priority scheduling dates and procedures, see Recital and Lecture Policy (pdf).

What about KU Opera and Voice?

KU Opera is facing the same challenges that programs all over the country are dealing with. We are postponing live performances with audiences until it is safe to do so. But that does not mean that we will sit back and take it easy until we can be in front of the footlights again. Graduate students will be working on "Love in the time of COVID" featuring songs and arias about people in isolation, experiencing loss - loss of one's beloved, one's homeland, one's dreams. An interesting project about the dawning of baseball in America, highlighting the Negro Baseball League, will also be workshopped. Opera workshop for undergraduates will be an online class that will include topics such as monologue and recitative study, scene study, opera and Zarzuela arias, and Zoom presentations by noted opera professionals like John Baril, Music Director of Central City Opera, and Lindsay Ohse, a rapidly rising opera star who made her debut at the Met last season, and is also a KU alum. We may be at a physical distance from each other, but our minds and hearts will meet in song.

How do hybrid courses work and what is a “cohort” offering?

There are two types of hybrid courses.  One is called "hybrid classroom".  A hybrid classroom meets in person regularly but has additional work online.  The other is called "hybrid online", which is mostly online but meets occasionally in person. To comply with a given classroom's requirements for social distancing, some hybrid courses must be split into "cohorts". For courses that meet more than once weekly, the cohort to which you've been assigned should appear on your schedule.  Some courses that meet once a week are also split into cohorts that meet every other week.  If you have such a course on your schedule, your instructor will contact you about which cohort you've been assigned to.

Questions about Murphy Hall and Campus Protocols

What are the most important steps in staying healthy and not becoming infected with COVID-19?

Be vigilant to maintain social distancing of at least six feet at all times when on campus. Wear a mask. Thoroughly wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently. When away from campus, avoid situations where you are in larger groups of people for extended time periods. Always wear a mask whenever having contact with other individuals.

Do I have to wear a face mask when I am on campus?

Yes. When inside a building, wearing a mask is required. A mask is not required when alone in a practice room. When outdoors, a mask is not required if you can maintain a minimum of six feet social distancing with others.

How do I enter and exit Murphy Hall?

Entry and exit points will be limited this fall, please use the following points of entry into Murphy Hall:
  • main entrance by Crafton-Preyer
  • south entrance on the first floor (by the loading dock)
  • west entrance across from the parking garage
  • fourth-floor entrance on the north side of the building 
Please complete CVKey application before arriving at the building. All doors can be used to exit Murphy Hall.

Are hallways and stairwells one-way direction only?

Stairwells and hallways are not one direction only; however, please stay on the right-side of the hallway when moving throughout Murphy Hall.

What hours will Murphy Hall be open?

Beginning August 17, Murphy Hall will be open 7:00am to 10:00pm every day. Students are required to leave the building by 10:00pm.

What if I have classes both in-person and on-line at a scheduled time? Where on campus should I go to attend the on-line class?

Because communal areas in Murphy Hall and other buildings on campus will be closed or have severely restricted occupancy limits associated with social distancing guidelines, white tents with electricity and internet access have been erected in several locations across campus. Tents with the closest proximity to Murphy Hall are 1) between Murphy Hall and the Law School immediately west of the parking lot to the west of the circle drive entrance to Swarthout Recital Hall and Crafton-Preyer Theatre, and 2) immediately outside the west entrance of Robinson Hall to the south of Murphy Hall. To promote social distancing guidelines, students are discouraged from congregating in Murphy Hall between classes, as is common in more normal circumstances. This directive includes all areas of Murphy Hall. Students may be able to find workplaces in the Music & Dance Library or the DeBruce Center attached to Allen Field House.

What administrative offices will be open in Murphy Hall?

The Office of the Dean (446 Murphy Hall) and the Communications and Event Center (460 Murphy Hall) will be open Monday-Friday 10:00am to 3:00pm. Other offices in the School of Music will not maintain regular office hours, as staff members in these spaces will be working remotely. Students should contact individuals usually working in other offices via email. A staff email directory can be found at http://music.ku.edu/staff, or download this guide to resources, including contact info for staff. 

Will I be able to have access to the practice rooms?

Although students are encouraged to find practice spaces away from Murphy Hall, practice rooms on the Fifth Floor are available. Unlike in the past, with availability provided on a first-come-first-serve basis, practice rooms will be locked and proportioned among the different performance areas according to the number of students enrolled and those not able to find practice spaces away from Murphy Hall. The faculty area coordinator will work with other area faculty to develop a rotational plan for practice room access for students needing practice spaces in Murphy Hall.

How often is Murphy Hall being cleaned/sanitized?

Murphy Hall will be cleaned and disinfected once each day by the University custodial staff. Additionally, classroom and rehearsal room spaces will be treated with disinfecting fog each evening after 10:00pm.

Will hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes be available or will I need to bring my own?

Hand sanitizer refill stations are located adjacent to elevator doors throughout Murphy Hall. You should bring a small container for storing small amounts of hand sanitizer. Classrooms will have disinfectant wipes for students to use to clean surfaces in personal spaces (desks, tables, chairs, music stands, etc.). Students are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes with them in the event supplies in campus spaces are temporarily depleted.

What else is being done to make Murphy Hall as safe as possible?

No air will be recirculated in campus buildings. Instead, air supplies for HVAC systems will use outside air. Return air will be expelled outside of the building and not recirculated. Classroom and rehearsal room spaces will be treated with disinfecting fog each evening after 10:00pm. The School of Music has acquired HEPA air purifiers for use in all rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and some smaller spaces in Murphy Hall.

What do I do if I feel sick?

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and contact your health care provider. Many providers, including Watkins Health Services (785-864-9507; http://studenthealth.ku.edu/coronavirus/?utm_source=banner&utm_medium=digital&utm_campaign=coronavirus), are able to test for COVID-19 through commercial testing labs and will be able to provide results in three to five days. In some instances, testing can be expedited for quicker results. For more information, see https://protect.ku.edu/students-and-employees.

How do I contact staff or an office that is working remotely off-campus?

A staff email directory can be found at: http://music.ku.edu/staff
Music and Dance Library Operations Fall 2020

Hours of Operation (starting 8/24):

Monday – Friday: 9 AM – 4 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 12 PM – 4PM (please note the change here)

Circulation Procedures:

Our items will be available for circulation, but the stacks will be closed.

We are encouraging all faculty, staff, and students to follow a “digital first” policy for library items. If an item is available digitally through our online catalog, we would ask that you use that version in lieu of a physical copy. We are also continuing to receive temporary access to non-public-domain works through HathiTrust, and you will also see links to HathiTrust on the online catalog records for these items.

If the item you need is unavailable through either of these digital options, you can continue to place requests via Retrieve from Shelf:


Retrieve from Shelf items will be held at the service desk starting 8/24. Curbside/doorside pickup services will be suspended.

We encourage you to use Retrieve from Shelf for physical items so that we can have the items ready for you at the desk when you arrive. We will be able to pull items from the stacks upon request from patrons at the desk, but we will need to limit volume per visit for these “impromptu” requests.

Returning Items:

We would like to request that you return all items to the back book drop (in the hallway next to the library doors) or to the outside book drop by the service road. For the safety of our employees, the book drop inside the library will be closed off and we are also asking that you do not return books directly to the desk staff.

You will notice a delay between when you return items and when they are actually removed from your account. This is due to our need to place all books in a quarantine for a matter of days before we can handle and re-shelve them. I will be sure to back-date any items that we receive to ensure that you do not receive unwarranted fines.

Computers and Printing:

A limited number of public computers will be available for student, staff, and faculty use. The printer will be available for use.

Study Rooms:

Room 240A (the seminar room) will be available for reservation for groups of up to 8 people plus an instructor.

Rooms 240B and 240C will be available for reservation by a single individual at a time.

Room 240D will not be available for reservation at this time.

Thank you for your patience as we’ve worked out how to offer library services while simultaneously following health and safety guidelines. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Chris Bohling
Operations Manager
Thomas Gorton Music and Dance Library
KU Libraries
(785) 864-3397

Other Useful Information

School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.