Inspired by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impact on the existing instruction practices within the music program, this project will empirically explore and identify the best practices for the virtual ensemble rehearsal and performance to enable the teaching of music ensembles virtually in the fall 2020.  Even if we are on campus and in residency in the fall semester, there are significant challenges in providing a safe environment for rehearsing a large group of people.  A German report released this week on the impact of COVID-19 on musicians declared there is no safe way to rehearse orchestra, choir, or wind ensemble in person.  This is primarily due to the fact that singing, and using one’s breath to play a wind instrument are high risk activities when it comes to spreading the virus.  As a result, there is an urgent need to develop an online alternative, and by doing so, seek innovative and potentially transformative solutions that will make the program more resilient to future adverse events requiring similar social distancing measures.  As reported by Medical News Today, such events, induced by climate change, may become more likely in the future.

Towards this goal, three main areas will be explored through faculty and student working groups:

  1. best technologies and practices for asynchronous ensemble rehearsals and performances;
  2. feasibility of synchronous ensemble rehearsals and performances by using either existing or developing entirely new technologies
  3. creation of new works intended to be performed via a newly identified online platform,including potentially both synchronous, as well as hybrid content (a combination of synchronous and asynchronous).