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2020/2021 Information

Dear Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance Community,

As we approach the halfway point of the Winter semester, I hope that you have been able to remain well during these extraordinary times.  We have been working diligently to maintain a safe learning environment for our students and we remain committed to offering the excellence of instruction you expect from Grand Valley State University. 

The university continues to maintain and update current information on our response to the pandemic: https://www.gvsu.edu/lakerstogether/.

Within our department, we continue to take steps (that you can access below) to ensure optimal health and safety for our students, faculty, and staff while maintaining our curriculum to allow normal degree progression.  Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon and we are preparing for a more normal semester in the Fall.  We greatly appreciate your support during this most unique period in our history.

With Very Best Regards,

lakers together

danny phipps


Danny K. Phipps
Chair and Professor of Music
Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance

social distance

2020/2021 Information

Public Performances

In order to comply with the government and university guidance, live performances for public audiences have been cancelled for indoor spaces for the Winter semester.  We are using livestream performances as our primary alternative to meet curricular objectives.  The number of students on stage at one time is limited to allow for appropriate physical distancing.  The length of time performers are on stage has also reduced ensure proper air exchange is achieved.

Music Instrumental Ensemble Rehearsals

We are holding in-person instrumental ensemble rehearsals with significant modifications and limitations.  There is one ensemble for string players, one ensemble for wind players, and one ensemble for percussionists.  Per university guidance, an online-only ensemble experience is available for students who request remote-only instruction.  Large ensembles are being broken into smaller ensembles to allow proper physical distancing.  Instrumental rehearsals are being scheduled in 40 minute or less blocks, with 20- to 30-minute breaks between ensembles to allow for air exchange in the rehearsal space.  A high-capacity HEPA air purifier is being used during the breaks to increase air filtration.  Wind players have been provided bell covers to help reduce the spread of aerosols.  Students are using their own folding stand to use during rehearsals to eliminate the need to sanitize music stands between rehearsals.

Music Vocal Ensemble Rehearsals

We are holding in-person vocal ensemble rehearsals with significant modifications and limitations.  Per university guidance, an online-only ensemble experience is also available for all vocal students who request remote-only instruction.  Rehearsals are being scheduled in 30- to 40-minute blocks, with 20-minute breaks to allow for air exchange.  Large ensembles are being broken into smaller ensembles to allow proper physical distancing.  A high-capacity HEPA air purifier is being used during the breaks to increase air filtration.

Applied Lessons

Face-to-face applied instruction continues to take place with a number of modifications:

  1. Applied string and wind instrument instruction is taking place in the three large studios on the second floor (PAC 2755, 2757, 2759) and PAC 1525 to allow for required physical distancing
  2. Applied percussion instruction is taking place in the Percussion Studio (PAC 1505) as the space is sufficient in size to allow for physical distancing
  3. Applied voice and keyboard instruction is taking place in SVS to allow for required physical distancing
  4. Physical distancing of at least 12 feet is being maintained throughout the lesson for wind instrument and voice students and at least 6 feet for all others
  5. Applied teachers and accompanists must wear masks at all times unless they must remove it to demonstrate
  6. Students must wear masks throughout the lesson if possible (keyboard, percussion, and string students) or, if not possible (wind instrument and voice students), when not playing for long periods (e.g., discussions)
  7. Lessons are being scheduled with 20- to 30-minute breaks between students to allow for sufficient air exchange*
  8. A HEPA air filtration device (recommended by GVSU Facilities) is being used in each applied lesson room
  9. Student requests for online only lessons will be honored**

Applied Music Studio Classes

Studio classes will be online only for Winter 2021. Instructors will notify students if the studio class will be synchronous at the time previously scheduled or asynchronous.

Music Student Recitals

We are planning to conduct degree-required recitals only this semester.  All recitals will take place in PAC 1515 and will be livestreamed.  Recitals will only be open to the applied instructor and the immediate family to attend.  Hour recitals will include a 30-minute intermission with the room being vacated during this time.  A high-capacity HEPA air purifier will be used during the intermission to increase air filtration.

Music Practice Rooms

Music practice rooms will be utilized with the following guidelines:

  1. Only one student at a time can be in a practice room
  2. Students must use their own folding stand
  3. Practice rooms is being signed out on a one hour open/one hour closed schedule to allow for proper air exchange with consideration of the intensity of aerosol production and the small size of the space
  4. After use, the student worker will sanitize the keyboard

Double Reed Room

The double reed room will be utilized with the following guidelines:

  1. Only one student at a time can be in the room
  2. The room is being signed out on a one hour open/one hour closed schedule to allow for proper air exchange with consideration of the intensity of aerosol production and the small size of the space (Dr. Vavrikova is maintaining the schedule)
  3. The student must wear a mask unless actually testing a reed
  4. After use, the student must sanitize all equipment
  5. Lockers in the room will only be used to store reed-making supplies

Music Lockers

To reduce student density, we have limited the use of lockers in the storage room to larger instruments (for e.g., baritone saxophones, trombones, tubas).  Music lockers are signed out through the Department Office.   

Public Performances

In order to comply with the government and university guidance, live performances for public audiences have been cancelled for indoor spaces for the Winter semester.  We plan to livestream performances as our primary alternative to meet curricular objectives.  The number of students on stage at one time is being limited to allow for appropriate physical distancing.  The length of time performers are on stage in being reduced and the length of intermissions will be extended to ensure proper air exchange is achieved.

Theatre Lab and Classroom

Students are required to wear masks during classes in the Theatre Lab (PAC 1721) and the Theatre classroom (PAC 1506) in accordance with university policies.  Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.

Public Performances

In order to comply with the government and university guidance, live performances for public audiences have been cancelled for indoor spaces for the Winter semester.  We continue to consider outdoor venues, weather permitting, but plan to livestream performances as our primary alternative to meet curricular objectives.  The number of students on stage at one time is being limited to allow for appropriate physical distancing.  The length of time performers are on stage is being reduced and the length of intermissions will be extended to ensure proper air exchange is achieved.

Dance Rehearsal Studios

Dance performance classes have been rescheduled to allow 30 minutes between classes for air exchange.  A high-capacity air purifier will be used during the breaks to increase air filtration.  Dance performance classes have also all been redesigned in Hybrid/Online formats to reduce student density in the space and to allow remote learning/instruction as needed.  Temporary dance surfaces have been placed in the Dance studios to allow for frequent sanitizing.  A student worker is assigned to sanitize the floor after each class.

Dance Locker Rooms

The Dance Locker Rooms are closed for the Winter semester.  The attached restrooms are open.


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The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is a student-centered learning community that prepares students to be productive citizens, performers, teachers and scholars while contributing to the enrichment of society through creative and excellent teaching, performing, active scholarship, and public service. 

The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance will provide a vibrant, personalized, and learning-centered environment which emphasizes individual attention, independent thought, and collaboration among students, faculty, and the wider community. Through the fostering of creativity, critical thinking and analysis, and the understanding and application of historical knowledge through scholarly and artistic expression, our students will further the cultural advancement of West Michigan, the state, and the nation. 

We believe in music, theatre, and dance which inspires students to the highest level of artistry and creativity.

We believe in providing education which is challenging, contemporary, and comprehensive. 

We believe in education which is focused on the student.

We believe all faculty should regularly engage in scholarly and/or creative activity which is profound and conducted with integrity.

We believe in engagement with the artistic, scholarly, and global community around us.

We believe in a community that is inclusive, collegial, and collaborative.

The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance belongs to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 
a student-centered and diverse learning community that engages in critical inquiry, extending knowledge to enrich and enliven individual and public life.
Learn more at gvsu.edu/clas/.

Grand Valley State University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.