Frequently Asked Questions

UW-Madison has adopted new measures to enhance the safety of the campus community during the spring 2021 semester. Learn more about UW’s COVID-19 response.

The following list of FAQs offers more guidance on operations specifically related to the Mead Witter School of Music during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans may change in response to current community health guidelines, so please check this page often for updates. Questions related to the School of Music can be sent to

The information contained in our FAQs has received scrupulous oversight by multiple university offices, especially as it relates to how we’re occupying our buildings and how faculty are carrying out music instruction.

UW-Madison’s COVID-19 response site will also be continuously updated. General questions related to campus operations can be sent to or call Campus and Visitor Relations at 608-263-2400.

While the responses found in our FAQs below are directed toward activities within the School of Music, students, faculty, and staff should follow all state, local, and university guidelines at all times to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Advising and instruction

How will studio lessons work?

While studio teaching formats will vary among instructors, there are a few common elements. Lessons will generally be taught online, an approach that worked very well in Spring 2020. Some instructors will be willing to teach face-to-face, depending upon the student’s comfort level, but this will always take place with appropriate distancing and, when possible, wearing masks. 

Whether these lessons can be in faculty studios will depend upon the size and configuration of the studio. Master classes (studio classes) may be held weekly or periodically, and whether these can be held as in-person gatherings will depend upon availability of appropriate space. 

For wind instruments and (especially) vocalists the need for distancing will be much greater, and the School of Music is still working with the University to arrive at a policy for lessons, chamber music, rehearsals, and performances. Please contact your instructor for more specific details.

Originally posted August 10
Updated September 2010
Updated January 2021

How will lecture classes work?

Most lecture classes in the MWSoM’s Spring course listing will be offered online. There are some courses that will meet face-to-face regularly or occasionally. Communicate with your instructor regarding course details.

Originally posted August 10
Updated September 10
Updated January 2021

How will discussion sections work?

Most discussion sections will be held online, an approach that proved very effective in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020. Teaching Assistants are up to date on the latest techniques for online instruction.

Posted August 10
Updated January 2021 

What technology do I need to participate in virtual studio instruction?

Needs will vary according to the performance medium, but most studio faculty find it useful for the student to be able to make a good recording of one or two practice sessions during each week. A laptop with video is generally preferable among faculty for online lessons. We recommend the Blue Yeti Mic, or most USB microphones from Audio Technica and Rode. We will make the mics available to incoming students via their studio faculty. Students should plan to pick up mics if they’re on campus or arrange to have the mic sent to them.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

Where should I go for additional tech resources and support?

A good place to start for tech resources support is In the section “Academic Support,” there is a column titled “Virtual Learning” that has valuable resources.

For tech support, you can also reach out to the DoIT help desk. Different options of how to connect with DoIT can be found at the bottom of this link:

Posted September 2
Current as of January 2021

Will I be able to attend 100% remote and take all the classes I need to stay on track?

In general, yes. While faculty are encouraged to make fundamental materials available online for students, in some cases there may be difficulty accessing lectures that are not recorded asynchronously.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

Will all courses have a remote section?

No, some courses will only have in-person offerings. Some courses will only have remote sections. There is no requirement to have both modalities (in-person, remote) available for every course.

Posted August 20

Are instructors of in-person classes being asked to monitor and ensure daily Safer Badgers compliance of the students in their in-person classes?

No, there is no expectation that instructors routinely require students in their in-person classes to display their badge. They may, however, do so if they so choose. Primarily, instructors are asked to promote understanding of and participation in the Safer Badgers program.

Posted January 2021

Can I opt out of attending f2f instruction in the fall if I don’t have a medical related reason? What if a remote option is not offered for a class?

Yes. Any student can take all of their courses remotely this spring. You don’t need to demonstrate any particular justification and don’t need to secure anyone’s approval or even advise anyone of that decision.  

Students are advised to go to to make adjustments to their schedules. The FAQs there include instructions on how to narrow the course search to find only remote courses. Students who need assistance (for example, a student who needs a course to graduate or progress that isn’t offered remotely) are advised to contact their academic advisor.

Posted August 10
Updated January 2021

What will happen if one of my instructors gets sick?

As has always been the case, we will do everything we can to find an instructor with comparable knowledge and background to cover for the instructor during any extended absence.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

What is the instructor’s role if a student tests positive?

The instructor’s role is to provide reasonable accommodations for students if they are unable to attend class because they must quarantine, self-isolate, or are experiencing possible COVID-19 related symptoms. It is a student’s responsibility to tell instructors they need to miss class and need accommodations for their illness.

In-person instructors will be notified if an enrolled student in their class has tested positive, but they don’t need to take additional action (and won’t be told who tested positive). Contact tracing, notification, quarantine and all the other related public health actions are the responsibility of public health officials and UHS. Because of processing steps, instructors may hear from the student who has tested positive before UHS contacts them.

Posted September 9
Current as of January 2021

Will the SD/UD grading option be available in the fall?

The SD/UD grading option for Spring 2020 was offered due to the unexpected disruptions caused by Covid-19. The SD/UD grading option will not be offered for the Fall 2020 semester, as comprehensive plans are in place to ensure continuity of instruction. All standard grading and drop policies will remain in effect.

Posted August 10

Can I choose to take the Spring semester off?

Admission to the MWSoM is based not only upon a student’s audition, but also on there being a place for that student in a faculty member’s studio. If you are considering taking a semester or year off, be sure to check first with your instructor to assure that there will be room in the studio for you in future.

You may attend part-time. However, if you receive financial aid, you may not be eligible for it if you enroll part-time.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

How will any disruptions affect my music scholarship eligibility?

For undergraduate students, the usual rules for full-time enrollment, satisfactory progress in the major, minimum GPA’s, and enrollment in a large performing organization are all in effect for Fall, 2020. If a student does not meet these requirements, the scholarship will be forfeited for the semester; however, if the student chooses either to take reduced enrollment or take the semester or year off, the scholarship will usually be resumed as long as the student meets enrollment requirements by the next semester or by Fall, 2021.

For graduate students, funding is usually specific to a particular semester. Taking a semester off from enrollment may mean forfeiting the funding for that semester. There may be exceptions. Check with the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Admissions and Funding Coordinator for details.

Posted August 10

How can I tell what the mode of instruction is for my courses?

If a student is not able to find the courses they need in the modality they want after going through the steps found at, they should contact their advisor. Advisors are likely receiving many requests for help right now, so there might be a delay in their response and longer wait times for an appointment.

Posted August 10

Will I be able to take the practical Music Ed classes required for certification?

Yes. All classes originally scheduled for Spring 2021 remain in the Course Guide and will be offered, including field experience courses such as practica and student teaching.

Posted August 10
Updated January 2021

How do I acquiring an electronic keyboard for Musica Practica 1?

Owing to the virus, Musica Practica 1 will be meeting online in the fall. Musica Practica 2 will meet online in the spring as well.

As a means of making singing and eartraining easier to do, we’re asking everyone in the course to purchase an electronic keyboard—it’s a requirement. We will be using these keyboards (1) for singing and eartraining, (2) in acquiring basic piano skills, (3) as a means of dealing with music in two or more voices, and (4) in doing assignments. You will need a keyboard with 61 or more keys—five octaves across. You may use an electric piano if you already have one, but electric pianos tend to be more expensive; we anticipate that nearly everyone in the course will be using an electronic keyboard.

Some of you may already have one, in which case you’re set. For those who don’t, we have arranged for a group discount on a YAMAHA PSR-E273 from Full Compass Systems in nearby Middleton, Wisconsin. The discounted price is $125.36; it includes expedited ordering and free shipping. To take advantage of this offer, call Full Compass at 1-800-356-5844 and reference account number CUC2502148; the name on the account is UW–MADISON/MUSICA PRACTICA. Phone orders only; the discount is not available on the Full Compass website.

UW–Madison receives no proceeds from these sales. The Yamahas will ship in 7-10 business days, so please place your order as soon as you register for the course.

You will be using this keyboard at every single section meeting. You will be seated in front of or next to the keyboard while attending sections. Without a piano of some sort, we won’t be able to do much eartraining, which is our main brief. For a complete list of required materials for this course, see the course listing for Music 121 in either the Search Course & Enroll or the Courses widget in MyUW.

Posted August 12
Updated January 2021

Building operations and safety

What are the spring 2021 updates on instructional spaces?

  • Availability is now extremely limited especially for larger spaces. We may not be able to accommodate new requests for additional teaching spaces.
  • Air purifiers may still be requested from Brian Heller.
  • For f2f aerosol-producing studio classes, classes will meet for up to 50 minute blocks and then either move to a new location or allow for a 30 minute break for air circulation.
  • All students must use bell covers when playing in lessons, rehearsals, coaching and studio class.
  • All students must wear a mask when singing in lessons, rehearsals, coaching and studio class.
  • All spaces used for lessons, coaching, studio classes, rehearsals will be cleared between each instructional session for a minimum of 30 minutes, to allow for air circulation and the mitigation of aerosol spread.
  • After each session, students will be required to clean up the condensation emptied from their instrument using Clorox wipes. The use of puppy pads or other disposable coverings to catch instrument condensation is encouraged.

Posted March 2021

What is the Safer Badger app and how does it apply to music facilities?

As part of the spring COVID-19 response, UW-Madison will be using a combination of the Safer Badgers app and designated employees to monitor access to select facilities. The intent of supervising access is to reduce the likelihood of virus transmission by ensuring individuals are in compliance with campus safety protocols.

Regardless of whether a facility is actively monitored, any student or employee entering a campus building must be in good standing with their COVID testing requirement as well as the following additional criteria: not having a positive test on file in the previous 10 days, not self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms, and not being required to be in quarantine or isolation. An individual’s Badger Badge can be found on the Safer Badgers app by scrolling down to the “Your Health” section and tapping the “Show Badger Badge” button.

Invited visitors (individuals who are not UW students or employees, such as patients and those with appointments) are not expected to test before entering a building. However, only scheduled visitors on university business will be admitted (except for some buildings such as the Chazen Museum and certain libraries). They are to be escorted by the person with whom they have business or a designee and they must follow all campus health protocols (e.g., wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing). Visitors are encouraged to arrange their own COVID-19 test before they come to campus and to reschedule their visit if they are experiencing symptoms.

Uniformed first responders, vendors, and contractors do not need to be escorted but must follow all campus health protocols (e.g., wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing). Signs will be posted at the entrances of all facilities stating the building is closed to the general public.

Posted January 2021

What are the spring semester testing requirements?

  • UW–Madison will begin offering saliva-based tests the week of Jan. 11 at selected sites. These fast, accurate tests ultimately will be available at 12 sites on campus seven days a week. Results are expected to be available within 24 hours, often sooner.
  • Beginning Jan. 25, faculty and staff working on campus or using campus facilities will be required to test regularly. At a minimum, any time you are coming to campus for any reason, you will need to have tested negative within the previous eight days. (Certain employees will be asked to test more often, given their role on campus. If you are affected, you will be notified by your supervisor.)
  • An appointment system will avoid lines and help the testing process go quickly. You can schedule appointments via the Safer Badgers app and website.
  • The testing will be offered at no cost to UW–Madison employees and students.

Posted January 2021

Who on campus is authorized to check my Safer Badgers badge?

Those who are authorized to check another person’s badge include:

  • Badger Wellness Ambassadors (BWAs), who are UW-Madison employees, will be stationed at entrances of high-activity buildings that do not normally control access. They will be wearing yellow/green vests to identify their role. These buildings were determined using a variety of data sets to estimate in-person density and traffic patterns. BWAs may be stationed at facilities continually or on an intermittent basis.
  • Authorized staff who have responsibility for monitoring entrances in facilities like University Libraries, University Housing Dining Centers, Recreation and Wellbeing facilities, and office settings.
  • An individual hired or designated to monitor access to a facility, or a unit within a facility, at the expense of the school, college, division, or research center. These individuals are to be clearly identified as having this assigned responsibility.
  • University employees with an authorized business responsibility including instructors in relation to students they are teaching in person, supervisors in relation to their direct employees, and lab managers in relation to personnel in research settings.

Posted January 2021 

Can I invite a guest into School of Music buildings?

When an invited guest is coming, that appointment should be shared in advance. That information is forwarded to a coordinator so that the ambassadors can have this information when guests arrive. The host of an invited guest should meet them at the door. The host should arrive first and make sure the ambassadors have their information straight. 100% documentation is required for invited guest visits.

Faculty/staff will post details about any invited guests for their students or themselves with the guest name and date/time of the appointment, at least two business days before the appointment. Also indicate what the appointment is for. The faculty or student will arrive in advance to confirm ambassadors are aware of the visit and meet their invited guest(s) at the door.

Use this form to report invited guests:

You must be logged in to Google with your Wisc NetID to use this form.

Only scheduled visitors on university business should be allowed into Mosse, the Hamel Music Center, or Music Hall. Invited visitors are to be escorted by the person, or their designee, with whom they have business, and they must follow all campus health protocols (e.g., wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing).

The School of Music is requiring that visitors are show their SoM host a negative COVID-19 test from within the past eight days. Non- UW employees must arrange for their own testing, as campus testing sites are not open to the public. The School’s EMS/space request form will be revised to include this information about invited visitors and will state that faculty/students filling out the request form take responsibility for their invited guests.

Posted March 2021

What is being done to make the Mosse Humanities Building safer?

A safety protocol has been developed by the administrative team at the School of Music and approved by the Dean. This protocol establishes safe room occupancy limits, traffic flow to minimize contact, cleaning instructions for classrooms and common areas (including restrooms) and the requirement and proper use of PPE. 

All upholstered furniture in the Strelow Lounge, a former common area accessible to all in 1st floor Humanities, has been removed and stored where it cannot be accessed. A small number of study carrels—spaced at least six feet apart—were available for student use, but we have eliminated this option for now.

Physical Plant has ensured that the air filters in the HVAC systems are the best that can feasibly be used in the air handlers. That does not mean HEPA filtration, but the filters used provide as much air cleaning as possible while still allowing sufficient air flow.

Posted August 10
Updated with additional information on Strelow Lounge September 1
Updated January 2021

What are the cleaning protocols for classrooms by instructors and students?

Instructors and students are responsible for cleaning their immediate area (desk, seat, lectern, lab equipment, etc.) when they arrive in a classroom or lab, using the provided cleaning and disinfection supplies.

In each classroom there are big tubs of pre-wetted wipes.  Please use them to wipe the entire surface to be cleaned and allow it to air-dry. In scheduled classrooms, FP&M staff will wipe down and disinfect desks, podiums, and lecterns, and remove trash, on a daily basis.

Posted September 9
Current as of January 2021

How should I access the Humanities Building? What about elevators?

Music students, faculty, and staff should enter the Humanities Building via the music entrance on the west side (Park Street) and exit via the southwest stair. This pattern maintains a one-way flow of traffic as much as possible. The elevator will be indicated for use by people with accessibility needs and limited to single occupancy as much as possible. This pattern will also reduce cross traffic with people coming for the Art Department and non-music classes in 2340 (Mills Hall).

Posted September 1
Current as of January 2021

What if I need access to Music Hall or Hamel Music Center?

Music Hall will be open for classes. Hamel Music Center has electronic locks. All faculty, staff, and students who need access will be added to the Access Control system for card access only.

Posted September 1
Current as of January 2021

How will the safe movement of students in the Mosse Humanities Building be enforced?

Signs will be posted throughout the Mosse Humanities Building that clearly mark the safe flow of traffic and remind occupants of proper social distancing guidelines. This will include restroom occupancy guidelines. It will be up to all of us to remind one another of the best safety protocols.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

Will cleaning and sanitizing supplies be available for use?

Cleaning and sanitizing supplies will be located at several points throughout the Humanities Building for cleaning beyond what the Physical Plant provides for classrooms.

Posted September 1
Current as of January 2021

Will masks or other PPE be provided by the School of Music?

The School of Music will have hand sanitizer and sanitizing cleaner publicly available.  Masks will be provided by the school on an emergency basis.

Students are expected to bring their own masks. Campus is also providing safety kits for students this fall, including two reusable cloth face coverings. Everyone on campus will be required to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, and outside when physical distancing is not possible. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those unable to do this for medical reasons.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

Will I have access to the music library on campus?

Visit for the latest information.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

Recitals and practice

Will I be able to give a recital during the spring 2021 semester? If so, can it be streamed?

Yes, you can give a recital this spring. With advanced registration, a required student recital can be streamed from the Hamel Music Center on the School of Music Youtube channel. As of the spring 2021 semester, all streaming fees will be waived for required recitals. You are not required to stream your recital. Streaming is an added benefit.

Audience members will likely be very limited, if any are allowed at all.

If you need a permanent copy of your recital, audio and video recording fees still apply. All live streams are removed from the School of Music YouTube channel following the performance. Not all recitals can be streamed. The School of Music reserves the right to decline streaming for any recital, for any reason, at any time. The live streaming of performances is entirely at the discretion of the School of Music.

To book your recital, you’ll need to: 

Step 1: Book the space in EMS.

Step 2: Pay your recital fee in the Facilities app.

Step 3: Complete the recital intake form. If applicable, select the live stream option on this form.


For licensing purposes, the School of Music is only able to stream repertoire found in the ASCAPBMI, and/or SESAC catalogues, as well as works in the public domain. Please verify that your repertoire meets the licensing requirements before proceeding with the live stream registration process. If your repertoire is not covered by the major PROs or in the public domain, the School of Music may not be able to stream your recital.

Please contact us if you have questions about licensing and streaming your repertoire.

Posted August 10
Updated January 2021

What are the spring 2021 performance protocols?

  • Non-aerosol, masked and distanced collaborative performances can take place for groups of up to 30 players for up to 50 minutes while masked before a break is needed.
  • Aerosol producing, distanced ensembles may perform in groups of up to 15 players/singers for up to 50 minutes when using bell covers/masks. Singers need to wear masks for the entirety of their group performance. Wind/brass instrumentalists need to use bell covers for the entirety of their group performance.
  • Solo performers, when bell covers or masks are not required, and there is no collaborator on stage, will be limited to a 40 minute performance before a break is needed.
  • Solo performers, when bell covers or masks are not required, and there is a masked collaborator on stage, will be limited to a 30 minutes before a break is

Posted March 2021

Are there any performances planned for spring 2021?

Yes, but audience capacity is limited.

  • Up to 25 students/faculty/staff may attend recitals/ensemble performances seated in the audience and distanced. All attendees must have a green Badger Badge for entry. Non UW-Madison guests are not allowed.
  • There will be no seating allowed in the first 5 rows of either performance space.
  • Pre-registration will be required for attendance. The faculty member in charge of the performance will need to collect names of audience guests and provide that list to Brian Heller within 24 hours of the performance. If no list is provided, there will be no guests. There will be no person admitted at the door without prior registration.
  • Faculty in charge, or a designee, will need to check badges of attendees before they can enter the HMC’s performance spaces. The name of the person that will be checking badges needs to be provided to Brian Heller within 24 hours of the performance. There will be new signage about distancing.

Updated March 2021

Will I have access to the practice rooms and pianos on campus? Will practice rooms be cleaned after each student? Will there be breaks scheduled after each practice room is used to allow for adequate airflow?

Yes, but things will run differently.

The keydesk will be open for key checkout. Students will be assigned a room for the semester, and they must negotiate a schedule for the room between themselves. Based on the practice room schedule from last year, we expect three to four people per room. 

Students must clean the room EVERY time they use it, making sure to wipe the stand, bench, piano keyboard (if open) and music rack, and door knobs. If the piano is not used, the keyboard lid must be left shut.

There must be a minimum one hour break between users in the room, and only one person is allowed in a practice room at a time. PPE must be used as much as feasible. If playing is possible with a mask or adapted mask, the mask must be used. Singers must remain masked.

Students in auditioned ensembles will have access to practice rooms.

Cleaning supplies will be available at the keydesk and in the practice room area.

Spit from brass instruments, while not aerosol, can be safely handled by depositing or emptying it on an absorbent surface. Indoors, there are consumer products readily available for this which we will provide along with other cleaning supplies.  Outdoors, provided the spit is deposited directly onto the ground and absorbed, there is no concern.

Posted August 10
Updated August 13 with details on students in auditioned ensembles
Updated September 1 details on cleaning supplies availability at the keydesk, and details on spit from brass instruments
Current as of January 2021

What are the practice room hours?

Practice room hours are 8 am-11 pm Monday-Saturday, and 9:30 am-11 pm Sunday. Humanities will be locked at 10 pm every night. You can continue practicing until 11 pm, but you must enter the building before it’s locked at 10 pm.

Added September 4

Can I use the practice rooms if I’m a resident of the quarantined Sellery and Witte Halls?

We’ve confirmed with University Housing that the practice rooms in quarantined Sellery and Witte Halls are open 9am-10pm M-F and 12-10pm Sat/Sun and that cleaning protocols are in place for their safe use by our students.

Posted September 10

If the last nine days of the semester are remote, how will juries and recitals happen?

We’re encouraging students to carry out recitals earlier and to consider our live streaming potential. 

Posted August 10
Updated January 2021

Will I have to pay practice room fees?

Updated September 15

Yes. All fees will be paid through the School of Music Facilities App.  Currently, practice rooms will remain open even if we move to remote instruction. In keeping with the current guidelines set by the university, students will receive a 100% discount if they leave before September 11, and a 50% refund if they leave before September 25.  After that date, there will be no refunds unless UW-Madison closes campus and practice rooms are no longer accessible. This also includes locker rental.

Note that the fees will be structured a bit differently this year. Due to the changes and uncertainty, we are not offering the option for a full year, only a semester at a time. Also, the package is no longer available. 

This fee schedule does not apply to instrumental rentals.

Posted August 10

Yes. All fees will be paid through the School of Music Facilities App. If campus shuts down practice room activity by September 25, 2020, we will issue a 75% refund. If campus shuts down practice room activity between September 25, 2020 and October 30, 2020, we will issue a 50% refund. There will be no refunds issued after October 30, 2020. 

Note that the fees will be structured a bit differently this year. Due to the changes and uncertainty, we are not offering the option for a full year, only a semester at a time. Also, the package is no longer available. 

This fee schedule does not apply to instrumental rentals.

How does the instrument rental process work?

  1. Fill out the instrument rental request survey:

Reminder: You MUST be enrolled in a course to be eligible for instrument rental. If you submit this form before you are enrolled, your request will be denied. 

  1. Monitor your email for a digital contract sent via DocuSign.
  2. Your fee owed for the rental will be included on your contract. Pay your fee using the Music Facilities App at Print your confirmation to a PDF file or take a screenshot of your confirmation.
  3. Complete, sign, and initial your contract. You will be required to attach your proof of payment to the contract.
  4. Upon receipt of contract including payment confirmation, you will be contacted via e-mail to arrange a pick-up of your instrument.

Posted August 10
Current as of January 2021

What about student practice in the dorms?

September 9: Updated with quarantined dorm information

We’ve confirmed with University Housing that the practice rooms in quarantined Sellery and Witte Halls are open 9am-10pm M-F and 12-10pm Sat/Sun and that cleaning protocols are in place for their safe use by our students.

Housing is planning to have music practice rooms in each hall/area available to students this fall. Housing is making the decision to close down some shared spaces (such as the computer labs) in order to mitigate the risk of community spread. However, the music rooms are overwhelmingly used by just one student at a time and Housing felt they could safely continue with resident access. Housing will require that music practice rooms are used by only one occupant at a time this fall. They will also ask students to use wipes and hand sanitizer provided in these rooms to help clean the area before and after use.  

There will continue to be noise restrictions up on the floors and Housing typically discourages students practicing an instrument in their room.

Posted August 10

Do non-Music majors in auditioned ensembles and students enrolled in credit-bearing Music classes have access to practice rooms?

Yes, non-Music major students in auditioned ensembles and students who are enrolled in credit-bearing Music classes do have access to the practice rooms for an additional fee.

Posted September 11
Current as of January 2021

Are audiences allowed at recitals/concerts in the spring?

Yes, but rules and restrictions apply.

  • Up to 25 students/faculty/staff may attend recitals/ensemble performances seated in the audience and distanced. All attendees must have a green Badger Badge for entry. Non UW-Madison guests are not allowed.
  • There will be no seating allowed in the first 5 rows of either performance space.
  • Pre-registration will be required for attendance. The faculty member in charge of the performance will need to collect names of audience guests and provide that list to Brian Heller within 24 hours of the performance. If no list is provided, there will be no guests.
  • There will be no person admitted at the door without prior registration. Faculty in charge, or a designee, will need to check badges of attendees before they can enter the HMC’s performance spaces. The name of the person that will be checking badges needs to be provided to Brian Heller within 24 hours of the performance.
  • There will be new signage about distancing.

Posted March 2021


How will large instrumental ensembles work?

The following applies to the three University Bands, All University Strings, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble.

The ensembles abide by the University’s COVID-19 Response rules and regulations for the safety of everyone involved. The faculty and administration are continuing to assess the situation on COVID-19. Conducting faculty are regularly attending online meetings of national professional organizations and faculty at peer institutions. Studies are being conducted by scientists that examine the impact of exerted aerosols as it pertains to the playing of various instruments.

As such, instruction for string players in the Symphony Orchestra will be primarily in-person with appropriate safety protocols in place. Online instruction can be individually requested for COVID related reasons. All University Strings students will have in-person and online options. For all other instruments and ensembles, instruction will be online with synchronous and asynchronous projects focused on skill development, learning repertoire, and professional development. Projects can include professional-level excerpts (from orchestras and service bands), guest lectures covering various topics (entrepreneurship, studio development, score study, etc.), collaboration, and mentorship. The projects are focused on the continued musical development of our students. As always, the conducting faculty will be available to students for additional input, consultation, and support. We are confident that the ensemble curriculum will prove to be fruitful and meaningful to our students.

Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Symphony Orchestra will not hold placement auditions for the 2021 spring semester. New students should email for more information about ensemble placement.

Posted August 10
Updated December 14

How will chamber music work?

Professor Parry Karp will try teaching “in person”  if scheduling is possible in the halls or large rehearsal room at Hamel Music Center to do so. Everyone without exception will have to wear masks 100% of the time. If the university goes back to only online instruction, Professor Karp will teach the kind of online course he taught at the end of the spring semester.

Faculty in the Brass Area will be teaching a chamber music course titled The Brass Quintet. The course will be taught entirely remotely. Students will be placed into ensembles that approximate brass quintet orchestration. Each group will contain either freshmen/sophomores, juniors/seniors, or graduate students. Students will study 10 important pieces in the brass quintet repertoire, studying scores, analyzing different recordings, and learning passages to play on their instruments. In addition to playing and listening assignments, each coaching session will include discussion about relevant topics, including but not limited to preparation and score study, diversity in classical music, programming , arranging and composing, stage presence and protocol, recording and technology, and other topics.

Posted August 10
Updated with Brass Area details August 12

How will choral ensembles work for the spring 2021 semester?

COVID-19 created a host of challenges that continue to make it uniquely difficult to provide the high-quality choral experiences we want for our majors and non-majors.

Due to the nature of the virus and the insurmountable challenges of singing together safely, and on the recommendation of our incoming Director of Choral Activities, Mariana Farah, we made the very difficult decision to cancel all choral ensembles for the spring 2021 semester. This includes Concert Choir, Chorale, Madrigal Singers, and Women’s Chorus.

With the cancellation, we also waived 1 credit of large ensemble for all voice, music education (choral track) and guitar majors who would otherwise have been required to enroll in a large ensemble this Spring.

Updated January 2021

How will jazz ensembles work?

During the COVID-19 crisis, the UW Jazz Ensembles will move online as recording ensembles. Under the production guidance of the ensemble directors, students will record songs / projects that are made up of layered instrument tracks recorded individually by the students. Students will sign up for a single section of MUS 262 (undergraduate students) or MUS 562 (graduate students), which will be team-taught by four ensemble directors, Johannes Wallmann, Les Thimmig, Peter Dominguez, and Nick Moran. Personnel will vary for each project, and performers will be assigned to projects based on instrumentation needed, experience, and personnel interests. Over the course of the semester, each student will participate in multiple projects, covering a range of different jazz styles.

The jazz ensemble class will meet weekly online on Wednesdays, 6-8 pm, to discuss logistics and technology, assign personnel to new projects, and listen to completed recordings and works-in-progress. Individual recording projects will work largely asynchronously under the direction of a project producer who may also schedule other online check-ins or discussion.

No prior recording experience is necessary, and students new to multitrack recording will be guided through the process. Minimum hardware requirements will be any setup that allows the student to play back an audio file through headphones, while recording themselves playing along with the audio file. A relatively inexpensive USB-microphone is optional but can enhance students’ experience; however, we recommend that students do not make any such purchases until they have met with their studio instructors (in the case of music majors) or have received notice of a successful audition (in the case of non-majors). The recording software for the jazz recording ensembles is Audacity, which is a freeware program available for Mac, Windows, and Unix.

Pending several factors, including the successful suppression of viral spread on campus and exemptions to the state, county, and university mask requirements for wind players, optional-attendance in-person rehearsals and a live or live-streamed performance of some of the recording projects may be scheduled for November.

Posted August 10

What is the status of the Marching Band?

Individuals who participate in the UW-Madison Marching Band are enrolled in Music 42 (Varsity Band), which has a curriculum focused on improving individual playing skills, establishing and developing sight-reading skills, developing music memorization skills, developing and maintaining the embouchure, improving the individual’s grasp of essential elements of music, and refining the links between kinesthetic movement and music. Performing for athletic events as well as the general public is only a part of the course’s focus.

Given this, the Marching Band will continue to study music, rehearse, and prepare for the future. This is no different than what athletic teams will do; the Marching Band, just like the athletic teams it supports, will continue to train and its members will continue to hone their skills.

Information about auditions for the 2021-22 season will become available spring 2021.

Posted August 11
Updated December 23

How will the Marching Band rehearse?

The Marching/Varsity Bands will begin the 2021 spring semester with remote instruction.  As the semester progresses, if weather and public health conditions allow, the course may shift to hybrid or in-person instruction, following the University’s COVID-19 Response guidelines.

Posted August 11
Updated December 23