Last Updated: May 27, 2020, 2:30pm

In the midst of the ongoing developments related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, it is our intent to keep the School moving forward while protecting the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff, and complying with national, state, and local authorities.

Instruction will continue remotely and online for all of our classes, lessons, and ensembles. Your professors will be in touch with you about how this instruction will proceed. No instructor should meet with a student in-person in an instructional capacity.

Due to the “stay at home” order issued by the Governor for the entire State of Illinois, all of the School of Music buildings are closed. The Chancellor has also required all students who can safely do so to return to their permanent home address, and campus leadership has instructed all staff to work from home. In the interest of student safety, faculty should not expect nor encourage students to pursue off-campus experiences that would require them to leave their homes.

We as a school face a number of complex issues as we move to complete our semester without face-to-face instruction. Some of the most commonly asked questions are answered below.


Q: Are there any resources for students facing financial difficulties? [ADDED 5/27]

A: Yes! Students who are seeking emergency assistance should contact the Office of the Emergency Dean in the Office of the Dean of Students.


Q: What kind of mental health resources are available for students? [ADDED 4/22]

A: UI Student Affairs has posted a page with information about the various kinds of resources that are available to our students, whether you’re on or off campus. Please visit The State of Illinois also provides resources, which you can learn more about at Finally, our academic advisor, Rebecca Spennetta ( has been sending out emails to all of our students with lists of resources. If you’re experiencing an emergency that prevents you from participating in class or is impacting your work, please reach out to your professors and/or advisor and let us know what we can do to help.


Q: Are students able to use practice rooms?

A: No. The “stay at home” order and directives from the university prevent us from opening the building to students. Once the order has been lifted, we may be able to post new guidelines for practice room use.


Q: How will students accomplish their required recitals? [UPDATED 3/28]

A: Given the “stay at home” order issued by the State of Illinois and the pressures and restrictions that the current circumstances have placed upon all of us, we need to reconceive how we handle our recital requirements for this semester.

For those of you who were planning to present a recital this semester, one or more of the following options are available to you, depending on your circumstances: 1) delay your recital; 2) record or stream your recital; 3) petition to have your recital counted as complete based on work done to date (the “waiver option”). These options are outlined in greater detail below.


Option 1: Delay your recital until the summer or the fall semester

This option should be selected whenever possible and must be selected for any recital not essential for completing your degree on time (e.g., non-degree recitals). In short, if you can delay your recital, you should. (Please note that summer degree recitals require the permission of your applied instructor or committee.)

For those recitals that must take place this spring in order for you to complete your degree on time (junior and senior undergraduate recitals, some AD recitals, the MM recital, and some DMA recitals), there are the two other options below.


Option 2: Record or stream your recital

You may record or stream your performance at some safe location. (While the “stay at home” order is in effect, this location should be your current place of residence.) The performance can take place without accompaniment or with recorded accompaniment, as needed (this includes recitals that would originally have included multiple collaborators).

You should be in contact with your applied instructor or committee about whether they would prefer that you record or stream your recital, and work with them to accommodate any other issues you may be facing in the production of the performance. Please note that if you choose to stream your recital, you should also record it for those who cannot join the stream or in case something goes wrong.


Option 3: Petition to have your recital counted as complete based on work done to date (the “waiver option”)

If you and your applied instructor believe that you have made sufficient progress toward the completion of your recital to have fulfilled the requirement in almost every way (except for the performance itself, of course), you may petition to have the recital requirement waived. Among the activities that might warrant the granting of a waiver are:

  • Completion of a pre-recital hearing or evaluation

  • Studio class performances of a significant percentage of the music from your recital

  • Performance of a major role or solo(s) in a Lyric Theatre production, or in UI orchestra, band, or Jazz ensemble performance(s)

  • Performance of the recital material or of repertoire of similar complexity at an off-campus venue and/or with a non-UI ensemble within the past few months

  • Extensive work in your studio with a collaborative artist

  • Some other demonstration of work equivalent to a recital presentation

Your personal living and rehearsal circumstances will also be considered as part of this process.

If you wish to apply for a waiver you should speak first with your applied instructor. If the two of you are in agreement, you both should then complete the Spring Recital Waiver Request Form (click to download) and present it to the area chair for consideration and (digital) signature. (If your applied instructor is the area chair, the petition must also be approved by two other instructors in your area. Your applied instructor can make suggestions on who to contact for this.) Should there be any disagreement between the parties or should some unusual circumstances require an appeal, the matter can be brought to the Undergraduate or Graduate Committees of the School of Music, whichever is appropriate for your degree program (your instructor can arrange this).

Waivers will be considered for both junior and senior undergraduate recitals, and for most graduate recitals required for on-time degree progress. DMA project or lecture recitals are not eligible for a waiver.

We realize that most of you have been looking forward to presenting your recitals and that these accommodations do little to compensate for the disappointment you must be feeling. To help a little with this, we would be delighted to have you present your recitals as you originally intended them to be heard—in one of our halls—during the fall semester. (And we hope that those of you who are graduating will return to campus to allow us to hear the results of your hard work!) Once the university’s plans for the fall semester have been announced, please be in touch with Nathan Mandel ( to schedule a performance space.


Q: When do my online and remote classes and lessons begin?

A: Either the week of March 23 or the week of March 30, depending on the class. You will hear from your professors about when each of your classes will begin.


Q: I am supposed to graduate this semester. Will I be able to?

A: We are doing everything we can to make that possible, and it is among our top priorities. However, your means of instruction and of completing your juries, recitals, and student teaching will change.


Q: Will convocation and commencement occur normally?

A: Unfortunately, convocation and commencement ceremonies will not take place as planned this year. Diplomas will be mailed, and the campus is exploring possible alternatives such as rescheduling and/or hosting virtual events to honor the Class of 2020. Updates are expected in the days and weeks to come. Read more.


Q: Will I be able to continue having lessons with my professor?

A: Like all classes at UI during this period, lessons will occur online and remotely. Even if you are spending this period in the Urbana-Champaign area, you will need to take your lessons remotely. Your professors will be in contact with you about their preferred method for conducting your lesson remotely.


Q: How will juries work? [UPDATED 3/28]

A: Juries will be completed, insofar as is possible, in accordance with stated policies in each applied studio. Individual instructors may find it necessary to adjust methods of delivery, means of assessment, and a jury's place in the curriculum to accommodate challenges specific to online instruction.


Q: How are graduate exams (Qual 2, preliminary exams, and final doctoral project defenses) going to work? [UPDATED 4/22]

A: The Graduate College has temporarily waived the requirement for on-campus participation at preliminary and final examinations for doctoral students. They will allow preliminary and final examinations to take place fully online by temporarily waiving the current policy requirement that at least the chair and one additional member participate on campus and removing the requirement for students to petition to participate remotely. Until further notice, all preliminary exams and final defenses will take place via Zoom. These exams will be held at the originally scheduled time and Jenny Phillips ( will host the meeting on Zoom and invite all participants. The Office of Academic Affairs is now conducting DMA Qual 2 exams using remote proctoring via Proctorio.  Qual 2 exams need to be scheduled at least one week in advance.  For more information about taking your Qual 2 exam, please contact Jenny Phillips (


Q: Are public performances allowed on campus?

A: There are no public performances taking place on campus for the rest of the semester. This includes those by our large and small ensembles.


Q: Are ensembles rehearsing and performing while instruction is occurring remotely?

A: No, ensembles will not be rehearsing or performing for the rest of the semester. Ensemble directors will be in touch concerning alternative assignments or projects that will enable you to finish your course in an educational and meaningful manner.


Q: Are graduate assistants still expected to fulfill their duties?

A: Yes, but your professors may give you new assignments—please check with them. Those graduate assistants who are teaching will be expected to provide their instruction online and remotely. Those teaching lessons (for majors or non-majors) should reach out to their students to arrange for lessons through some form of teleconferencing (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc.). Those who lead sections of classes should be in contact with their professors for how to teach their sections remotely.


Q: What do I do about instruments, equipment, and keys that I have checked out?

A: All band instruments and music have already been recalled and must be returned.

Supplemental methods instruments should be returned immediately; if you have left town with your instrument already, please contact Nathan Mandel ( to arrange for its return.

Anyone leaving town and not returning after spring break should return any borrowed instruments before doing so; anyone who has already left town with such an instrument should contact Nathan Mandel ( to arrange for its return.

All rented music should be returned to the appropriate professor or graduate assistant immediately.

All keys must be returned or renewed by May 18, 2020, but you may return them now during regular office hours and they can be reissued when classes resume on campus.


Q: Will the Music Library be open during this period?

A: No. The Music Library is closed until further notice. Please consult its website for more information (


Q: What is happening with the concerto competition?

A: The finalists will be asked to submit recordings for adjudication. They will be contacted soon about this.


Q: Whom may my parents or I contact with additional questions?

A: We know that we still have some questions we need to answer and we’ll be updating this page when we have new information.

If your question pertains to academics, please contact Academic Advisor Rebecca Spennetta by email ( or phone (217-300-1392). Rebecca is able to answer questions pertaining to both graduate and undergraduate education.

For questions about remote access and other technology issues, please contact Chad Wahls, facility operation coordinator, by email ( or phone (217-265-6234).

For more specialized questions, another resource will be your studio professor.

Please note that FERPA regulations prevent faculty or staff members from disclosing specific information about a student’s status to a parent unless the student has signed a waiver.


All of these changes will be disruptive, no doubt, but by working together as a school, we will get through this effectively. Please know that all of us at the school are committed to continuing to provide you with an excellent music education.

Thank you for your assistance and patience!