Distance Learning

Distance learning, where utilized, presents unique challenges with regard to organization and communication. You should log into Moodle daily and check email no less than three times per day. We suggest creating folders in Outlook labeled with the names of your courses. Once you’ve read an email, save it in the folder and tag it if it’s one you want to revisit. Note, students are strongly encouraged to utilize their Millikin Outlook account rather than forwarding correspondence to a personal account. Moodle’s Quickmail block can be caught in spam/junk filters for email services outside the university resulting in lost communications.

Read all written correspondence carefully

Emailed instructions, syllabi, assignments, etc. The online learning experience requires independence, focus, and meticulous organization on your behalf. At Millikin, students tend to rely on each other for support. This network may be diminished for non-residential students.

Prepare for your online learning experience.

A laptop or desktop computer is recommended for all online learning scenarios as smartphones and tablets may not accommodate the full range of course participation requirements. Consideration of and planning for sufficient Internet bandwidth is essential, as well. Students should utilize hardwired Ethernet connections when possible.

Recommendations for Applied Study

If you already have an equipment setup that is satisfactory for both you and your applied teacher, there is no need to change. We recommend that an external microphone be used for online lessons as this is the factor that most significantly affects the quality of sound that your teacher hears.

Obtaining an external microphone should be a priority; while headphones should be used, earbuds that you most likely already own will suffice. Each external microphone that is recommended works relatively well with all voices and instruments.

  1. External USB microphone (price range: $50-$150) Example include:
    1. Blue Snowball Ice or similar for vocal or instrumental $49
    2. Movo M1 USB Lavalier or similar–vocalists only $35
  2. Headphones: plug-in if possible, earbuds or open-back recommended, closed-back is possible for recording applications (price ranges: earbuds $20 and up; open-back $160; closed-back $65-$80)
  3. If recording is a part of lessons, Garage Band or Audacity software (both free)

Applied Instruction for Instrumentalists

We expect to offer face-to-face private lessons for strings, winds, percussion, piano, and composition in accordance with the guidelines below. Contact your instructor if distance delivery is your preferred option.

  • Masking and/or shield for all participants
  • Teaching studio must accommodate social distancing of 6 ft (7.5 ft on-center)
  • Lessons of no more than 60 minutes
  • 30-minute room vacancy between each lesson to allow for adequate air exchange
  • Daily sanitizing following recommendations for classrooms
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson 
  • Practice water key etiquette for winds. Drape water valve and collect condensate in towel or WindSorb
  • Disinfect towel/WindSorb after use
  • Instrument bell should not be directed towards others

Applied Instruction for Vocalists

The voice faculty are continually monitoring the latest research as it becomes available. At this time, it appears that most voice instruction will be delivered remotely. Two practice rooms will be assigned to each instructor for use by residential students during their lesson time. Usage will alternate in order to accommodate air exchange between successive lessons.

  • Lessons of no more than 60 minutes
  • 30-minute room vacancy between each lesson to allow for adequate air exchange
  • Daily disinfection following recommendations for classrooms
  • Students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson 
     

Any face-to-face voice instruction will include multiple mitigation strategies:

  • Lessons will be held in a large enough room to allow for (at minimum) the recommended 12' distance when singing.
  • The student will wear a specially designed singer's mask (the instructor will purchase information) to facilitate reduction of droplet and aerosol spread while accommodating the articulatory movement necessary for singing.
  • Window(s) will be up where possible (and weather permitting) for ventilation to the outside.
  • To further allow for adequate air exchange:
    • 30-minute room vacancy between each lesson, and/or;
    • Additional air filtration with room air purifier will be used when possible.

Instrumental Ensembles

Instrumental faculty continue to assess the latest research in relation to ensemble rehearsals of various types. Although current findings are not yet conclusive, data trends reflect a greater concern over the capacity of wind instruments to spread aerosolized particles than their counterparts in the string, keyboard, and percussion instrument families. As such, variances exists regarding guidelines for each.

  • Masks required of all individuals. Removal by wind players only when playing.
  • Social Distancing of a minimum of 6 feet for all musicians, more for winds (12-15’). Trombones will allow a space of 6 X 9 feet to accommodate the slide.
  • Straight lines will be observed in a normally arched situations…all facing the same direction.  Woodwind and brass bells should not be directed towards others.
  • Strings, KB, and percussion gatherings limited to 50% of room capacity. Winds limited to    15 performers plus the director/coach not to exceed 50% of room capacity. All guidelines   assume adequate ventilation.
  • Rehearsals limited to 60 minutes.
  • 30 minutes room vacancy between rehearsals to allow for adequate air exchange.
  • Students should cover the bells of their instruments with nylon mesh or similar material to minimize aerosolization.
  • Practice water key etiquette for winds. Drape water valve and collect condensate in towel or WindSorb
  • Disinfect towel/WindSorb after use. Appropriate products will be provided by the university.
  • All music stands, pianos, percussion equipment or any other shared use equipment must be cleaned with the provided disinfectant product before and after rehearsals.
  • No music stand will be shared due to distancing standards.
  • All mask and instrument coverings must be washed with frequency.

Vocal Ensembles and Opera

NOTE – Choirs will begin the semester participating in outdoor rehearsals only.

Outdoor Rehearsals

Choirs: Fairview Pavilion
  • Social distancing of 12 ft.
  • Face covering required when not singing. Talking restricted when not singing.
  • Rehearsals limited to 30 minutes
VJ/small groups/sectionals: PMC Northwest access area
  • Social distancing of 12 ft.
  • Face covering required when not singing. Talking restricted when not singing.
  • Rehearsals limited to 30 minutes
Opera (and Indoor Rehearsals for Choirs)

NOTE – The science regarding singing indoors with face coverings is still being evaluated.

  • Masking required for all individuals (singers, faculty, everyone) at all times, including while singing. Specialized “singing masks” currently being evaluated as an additional safety measure.
  • Social distancing of 12 ft
  • Limit to no more than 10 individuals per room (conductor/coach plus 9 students)
  • Rehearsals of no more than 30 minutes
  • 30-minute room vacancy between each rehearsal to all for adequate air exchange
  • Daily disinfection via mister/fogger and/or disinfectant wipe down
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each rehearsal

Millitrax Studios

Millitrax studios will be closed to personal use and ensemble recording sessions for the Fall semester. We will continue to monitor this status in order to make the best decisions for our students. Courses, however, will continue to utilize the recording studios. These include:

  • Recording Studio Techniques I
  • Intro to the Recording Studio
  • Recording Studio Practicum
  • Songwriter’s Band

Each course will adhere to all SOM policies regarding social distancing, PPE use, cleaning/disinfecting, time intervals between scheduled usage, et al. Course syllabi will include specific information regarding studio policies and practices pertinent to that course.

  • Tech I lab sessions will be designed to accommodate three students and a MTX studio manager (as the tutor). Two students will work at opposite ends of the console while a third student is out in the studio. Students will rotate at intervals so as to experience each of the tasks associated with that day’s exercise. Lab sessions will include a 30-minute period between sessions.
  • Intro to the Recording Studio will be delivered largely remotely.
  • Recording Studio Practicum students will be assigned scaled back recording sessions (as opposed to the projects normally assigned in a non-pandemic year) wherein the studio space will be divided into socially distanced workspaces–three students in the main studio and one in the isolation booth. Practicum students will be assigned to work with members of the Songwriter’s Band in order to combine the curricular goals of two courses.

Kaeuper Hall and KFAC have been equipped with updated live-stream and site recording capabilities. Millitrax managers, students from the recording classes, and various sound related crews should utilize this opportunity to become familiar with these essential (and relevant) technologies.