Plans for Fall 2020

Information for Incoming and Returning Students:

We are so excited to welcome you to the vibrant musical community here at Brandeis. As a music department, we are committed to guidelines based on the latest science and research about safety and musical performance. Whether your passion is playing an instrument, singing, taking part in a music ensemble, learning about how to research and write about music and its cultural contexts, or composing your own music, we are offering courses in all these areas this semester, in a mix of teaching modalities (fully online, hybrid, and in-person). The teaching modality for each of our courses is listed in the course description in the Brandeis Schedule of Classes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many of the logistical ways our department operates, and we wanted to keep you informed as best we can. Physical distancing will be required, as your health and safety are our top priority, and this will affect how we operate this fall. There is also a mandatory order to wear masks in all public places on campus, including in Slosberg music building. The full university plans for fall 2020, including health and safety measures, are available at brandeis.edu/fall-2020. The music department plans and policies, created to protect our students and our community, will be continually reevaluated as the circumstances around us evolve and are subject to change. There may be updates to this FAQ page as the summer and semester progresses, and any updates will be flagged as such.

Due to the uncertainty regarding the safety of singing and playing wind instruments and the unknown risks of coronavirus transmission, Brandeis University policy currently prohibits the playing of wind/brass instruments or singing in public spaces on campus: that is, no in-person private instruction, performance, practice, or ensembles that include voices or wind/brass instruments (provisions will be made for online participation). There is no specific monitoring standard to do an air test, get a result of the amount of virus in a sample and compare it to a "safe" exposure level since there currently is no known "safe" exposure level. Being conservative is the best method with our current knowledge (or lack thereof) to protect students and staff. Rehearsal, performance, instruction, and practice of other non-wind instruments can take place in public spaces on campus (e.g., in the Slosberg music building), provided the university's recommendations regarding face coverings, physical distancing, and cleaning of shared instruments (such as pianos) after use are followed.

In addition, because of requirements to "de-densify" buildings on campus, a limited number of practice rooms will be available for practice and private instruction, and fewer times will be available, due to the need to include 30-minutes "airing" time in between each block of use. We are therefore encouraging as many private lessons and practice sessions to take place remotely as possible, and will give scheduling priority to those who use the large shared instruments housed in Slosberg (piano, double bass, etc.). More information on private instruction and the scheduling of practice rooms will be available in the coming weeks. 

Please keep in mind that all plans remain subject to change as we learn how to work, study and create in the presence of COVID-19, and we will all need to continue to be flexible going forward.

We have included a list of Frequently Asked Questions below and we encourage you to contact the department with any additional questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Fall 2020 Music Department Showcase:


Here is the video recording of our July 22 session on how to get involved in music at Brandeis this fall:

Still from video of Slosberg Music Center Exterior

Video: Fall 2020 Music Department Showcase

Video Transcript