Fellow Choral Musicians,
Singing together, a foundational component of the shared human experience, has connected us, sustained us, and enriched our lives as human beings. The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed how we sing together, but through innovation and technology, music and singing have continued to be a part of the shared human experience, despite our distance from one another.
Mississippi ACDA insists that elementary, general, and choral music education continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We highly discourage school administrators from eliminating music educator teaching units and/or choral programs during this time. Our Mississippi music educators are resilient, innovative, and committed to building inclusive communities. As an organization, we are committed to supporting and advocating for these educators as they prepare to adapt their instructional strategies in order to safely deliver quality teaching and learning experiences during these challenging times.
We’ve created a brief document in agreement with our national office that outlines our best ideas to sustain choral music excellence across the state of Mississippi. We’ve also included resources to help teachers follow these recommendations to the best of their ability. We certainly hope that you will take the time to read the recommendations of each division, but our greatest hope is that we have provided teachers, professors, and conductors a sound strategy to create choral music in a safe and healthy way in their classroom or rehearsal hall. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any other ACDA board member if you need anything. Thank you for striving for choral excellence on a daily basis. Together we will get through this, and we will sing with more joy and gratitude than ever before.
Yours in service,
**DISCLAIMER: Research continues on the spread of COVID-19 through group singing. Teachers and administrators are responsible for equipping themselves with the most current information regarding COVID-19 and should seek guidance from local, state, and national organizations to ensure the safety and well-being of their students and themselves.
Mississippi ACDA Elementary COVID recommendations:
- Teachers should modify play and singing games for students to still move but stay socially distanced.
- Teachers should adapt traditional classroom instruments to “once use” materials or individual “baggies” that the same individual student can use over and over.
- Teachers should require masks for music class
- Students should maintain social distancing standards as much as possible
- Instead of relying on traditional classroom instruments, students should use body percussion.
- If singing is absolutely not allowed, students should adapt by chanting text, making musical speech, and humming
- When singing, students should be distanced by at least 6 feet while wearing a mask.
- Teachers should adjust the goals and expectations you have for this school year to be streamlined and simplified
General Arts Education Resources:
Laban Efforts (can be non-locomotor)
- Some basic information about Laban efforts, including an attached PDF containing recommendations from Phys. Ed. Colleauges https://www.theatrefolk.com/blog/the-eight-efforts-laban-movement/
Body Percussion Resources
- This site also has ideas for body percussion. https://teachingwithorff.com/tag/rhythm/ =
- This link is another way to conceptualize body percussion. https://www.bodypercussionclassroom.com/lesson-plans.html
- More advanced body percussion ideas https://global-music-campus.net/what-we-do/body-percussion-tutorials/
Rhythmic Speech and Ostinati
- https://teachingwithorff.com/?s=rhythmic+speech (several examples)
- https://teachingwithorff.com/good-better-best/ (example of an spoken ostinato lesson that could be modified for COVID times)
- https://teachingwithorff.com/ has some good (and free) resources. Like all/most it can be a mixed bag.
- With modification, this is a good resource for folks who are looking to expand their tool kit for lesson planning. https://sites.google.com/site/eurhythmicfritz/subjects-and-lessons/original-lessons
Teaching from a Cart
General Improv/Composition Advice
- basic advice for class composition with elementary students: https://www.thedomesticmusician.com/teaching-songwriting-in-elementary-music-isnt-scary/#:~:text=The%20simplest%20way%20to%20compose,to%20improvise%20for%2016%20beats.
- more ideas for composing with elementary (also Jay Broker is amazing) https://www.mrsmiraclesmusicroom.com/2016/01/composing-in-music-room.html
Ipad ideas: (no sharing, just the teacher using the tech to facilitate activities)
Mississippi ACDA Jr. High/Middle School COVID Recommendations
Virtual/Hybrid Instructional Tools:
- Screencastify Google Extension (easy video lesson recording)
- Sight Reading Factory ($34.99 for teachers, student accounts vary in price)
- My Choral Coach ($50) https://matchmysound.com/my-choral-coach/
- Google Classroom, Musictheory.net (free)
- If district allows, record your in-person rehearsals and post for your virtual students to self-teach.
- Embrace the Flipped Classroom model - https://www.schoology.com/blog/flipped-classroom
In Person Instruction:
- Students should sing with masks and social distancing (ideally 6 ft.) to the best of their ability (outdoors is best, but large, well ventilated spaces are necessary)
- Teachers should pre-record performances separately for each ensemble and livestream them as a virtual performance
- Teachers should separate ensembles into smaller sectional rehearsals whenever possible
- Teachers should limit open-mouth singing time by focusing more on theory or rhythm
Mississippi ACDA High School COVID Recommendations:
General Safety Guidelines:
- Students should be screened when they arrive for rehearsal. Any students having symptoms or has been in contact with a person that has tested positive should not participate and immediately inform the director.
- We strongly suggest that students and teachers wear filtered masks covering their nose and mouth while rehearsing in a closed space/classroom.
- Students and teachers will practice social distancing protocols prescribed by the CDC and the WHO regardless of their rehearsal environment.
- Students should sanitize their hands upon entering the choir room.
- The choir room should be sanitized between each class period and at the end of each school day.
- There should be designated doors for entering and exiting the classroom.
- There should be no congregating in common areas. Students should enter the classroom and immediately go to their assigned area.
Rehearsal Strategies to help maximize safety:
- Each student should be strategically placed with suggested physical distance.
- Section leaders should be used to facilitate division into smaller groups.
- Use of humming during the learning process rather than open mouth singing
- Extended use of audiation (singing in your head without making sound) as an instructional strategy
- When possible, and with the safety of students as the primary concern, choral rehearsals should take place outdoors.
- Students should not share materials; each student will have their own folder and copies of music. Students should keep up with their own folders, they will not be stored in the choir room.
Fall/Winter concerts should not occur in a performance space where social distancing cannot be maintained for both the audience and the performers. Alternative solutions should include virtual concerts streamed live or recorded and made available via web services such as Facebook Live or YouTube.
Social and Emotional Considerations:
- Students should be provided with discussion time to help vary the pace of rehearsal (ex. Question of the Day and journal discussion)
- Students should be allowed the opportunity to share both musical and nonmusical aspects of their lives via guided assignments. (ex. Soundtrack to my life assignment or picture collages of their favorite musicians, food, etc.)
- College and Career readiness: Class Zoom sessions with college recruiters, composers, and people in different career fields
Pivoting to Online Instruction:
- Assignments will be given primarily through your school’s distance learning program (Canvas, Google Classroom, Schoolology, etc.)
- Increased focus on individual part learning with rehearsal tracks – choraltracks.com
- Sightreading Factory
- Small group rehearsals/sectionals via Zoom
- My Choral Coach
Secondary Choral Resources:
- Western Region ACDA Task Force on Middle School/Jr. High learning during COVID :
- University of Colorado Boulder Aeorosol Study https://www.nfhs.org/articles/unprecedented-international-coalition-led-by-performing-arts-organizations-to-commission-covid-19-study/
- Article by Christian J. Kähler (Prof. Dr.) and Rainer Hain (Dr.) of University of the Bundeswehr Munich https://drive.google.com/file/d/14DBLNcKMNwWKfmAUTj0NjvaMgOWqYyfz/view?usp=sharing
- Indiana University, Bloomington https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_A9cgnuLHSMr3ArxmvGN6-0ZyRYZ7XT_/view?usp=sharing
- Facebook Group: Dialogues on a Safe Return to Choral Singing https://www.facebook.com/groups/260857678364436/
- Professional Choral Collective: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/17H3E69HcThQTdwn_7MyX59arYHqnMgIA
COVID-19 Resources for Music: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10JUZlb2-FCZlHB8J34jlFoGSAYcsh2y3goo8ExbD-Ko/edit#gid=0
- 7. HEPA Filter/Air Purifier (example): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01L9UT1YU/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1
- Resonance Singer’s Mask with Disposable Biofilters: https://www.mymusicfolders.com/product/resonance-singers-mask-with-disposable-biofilters/
- Broadway Relief Project Singer’s Mask:
- Two-Year and Four-Year College/University COVID Recommendations:
- All persons should wear a mask at all times, including while singing.
- Face masks for directors and singers during rehearsal. If appropriate, plexiglass barriers, such as a drum shield, for directors may be used.
- Utilize learning materials that incorporate music-making without singing: clapping songs, hand drums, handbells, etc.
- Limit rehearsal time to 20-30 minutes if indoors.
- Limit ensemble size to 15-20 members if indoors (varies based on room size).
- Provide students with choral folders that contain their music. Eliminate any music sharing.
- Clean chairs, stands, etc. after each rehearsal.
- Use separate points of entry and exit.
- Some may choose to postpone singing in rehearsals for a few weeks if their institution is in a “hot spot”.
- Create a plan that allows all students the option of doing online only. Every student (as well as parents) should have a choice that allows a personal comfort level in regard to safety from the virus.
- For directors who have the option on how they will do their instruction (face-to-face, Hybrid, or Remote), consider your current health and level of risk.
- Be prepared for moving to all online, remote teaching.
- Utilize online resources for note-learning, for example MyChoralCoach.
- Utilize zoom for students who are not participating in “face-to-face” rehearsals.
- In considering rehearsal locations for “face-to-face” singing, consider outdoor locations.
- Outdoor rehearsals are safer than indoors. Large tents with open sides all-around can provide protection from the sun, yet still allow for fresh air flow for mitigation.
- Create a plan for evaluation protocol, which can include temperature checks and questions regarding symptom check and exposure.
- Utilize distancing between singers at all times.
- Use a space calculator for determining safe number of students per rehearsal space if engaging in “face to face” singing.
- Determine what to accomplish in a “face to face” rehearsal that only lasts a maximum of 30 minutes if rehearsing indoors.
- Perhaps utilize an amplification system for conductor to avoid voice projection.
- When possible, utilize digital scores to avoid additional surface contact.
- Review/create a cleaning protocol for your space(s).
- Review with your Facilities Management how your HVAC system can be improved to help with ventilation and air exchange. Ask if HEPA filters and air purifiers are an option and what level of MERC filters are being utilized.
- Performance options include:
- Compilation of recordings produced into a concert video for play on social media.
- Consider utilizing a large venue where the singers are located in the audience seating area to allow for proper spacing. (Plan your entry and exit of students).
- Avoid using a live audience.
- Consider an outdoor performance location.
- Most college/university programs are not allowed to travel this fall, so this avoids concerns
- ACDA - My Choral Coach
- GoReact – get.goreact.com
- Soundjack.eu (for reducing lag in ZOOM sessions)
- The Singer’s Mask - https://www.broadwayreliefproject.com/singersmask
- AccoAppcompanist - https://www.appcompanist.com/
- Professional Choral Collective: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/17H3E69HcThQTdwn_7MyX59arYHqnMgIA
COVID 19 Resources for Music: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10JUZlb2-FCZlHB8J34jlFoGSAYcsh2y3goo8ExbD-Ko/edit#gid=0
- ACDA COVID Resources: https://acda.org/advocacy/
- NAfME COVID Resources: https://nafme.org/covid-19/
- ChorAmor: https://www.choramor.com