Returning To Campus (Fall 2020)

A Message from John W. Richmond, PhD, Professor and Dean
Originally posted on June 23, 2020updated regularly.

Greetings from the UNT College of Music! I am looking forward to welcoming each of you to campus in just a few weeks. It has been much too quiet on campus these last few months, with none of the music making, discussion, and study in our buildings which makes UNT so famous and distinctive.

I know you have so many questions about how this is all going to work during this time of COVID-19, and I want to remind you of the many steps we have taken to ensure your health and safety while also thriving in our identity as one of the world’s premier places for music study. The summary below is organized by topic and presented as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with accompanying answers. Please keep in mind that these topics, questions, and answers represent what we know and can explain now. If we’ve learned anything in the last five months, however, it’s that circumstances change and, as they do, we will continue to course-correct nimbly and effectively in response to them.

Let me close by reminding you of the Mission Statement of the UNT College of Music – “to serve our diverse musical culture with excellence, integrity, and imagination.” This mission guides every decision we make on your behalf. We look forward to an historic and profoundly memorable year together in Denton. I can’t wait to welcome you to this special place.

Take good care. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Practice your music! We will see you soon.


  • Will I have lessons face-to-face with my applied teacher this fall?
    The answer for most of our music students is yes. We know that most of our students want face-to-face lessons with their teacher in the teacher’s studio each week. These lessons will happen with appropriate social distancing standards and masks/shields/plexiglass barriers. This will be our “new normal” until we have highly effective COVID 19 therapies or a safe and effective vaccine. However, please understand we have some music faculty in high-risk groups and we have some students in high-risk groups. In such cases, we will support remote applied instruction on the Zoom platform to ensure that we are providing the right accommodation for those with such needs.
  • Are we planning to have band, choir, orchestra, jazz bands, etc. this fall?
    Yes. We know how crucial these experiences are to music students and we are planning for a superb experience for our ensembles this fall. It is likely that these ensembles will function in a somewhat smaller format with varying kinds of rehearsal rotation throughout the semester in order to maintain social distancing. Band, choir, and orchestras will be offering a face-to-face sections but will also have remote options available. The Jazz Bands will be continue to meet F2F, but with a different rehearsal schedule. See UNT’s Schedule of Classes for updates. Masks/shields/plexiglass barriers will play a consistent role to protect the College of Music community, and our faculty is leaning into this challenge with commitment and creativity. Recording projects, expanded webcasting capabilities, and related innovations are being planned and prepared now to ensure that our work is truly consequential, satisfying, important, and safe.

    Wind Studies

    • All students can choose between face-to-face and remote modalities for Wind Studies concert ensembles, and will retain academic progress and scholarship eligibility. For planning, it is important for students to indicate their choice during the audition registration process.
    • All students, regardless of instructional modality, will audition. Audition registration begins on August 3. More details can be found on the Wind Studies website:
    • Face-to-face modality: Each band will operate in a number of smaller ensembles or “units” in order to adhere to strict social distancing, approximately 8–12 members per unit with some flexibility. Repertoire will range from advanced chamber wind repertoire, brass chamber/ensemble repertoire, stand-alone movements of very specific instrumentation, and brand-new pieces being written in flexible instrumentation. These smaller units will rehearse in short segments: 30 minutes at a time with 30 minutes between each unit. To supplement this shorter rehearsal commitment, all students in face-to-face modality will also participate in the “Wind Studies Weekly” lecture series.
    • Remote modality: This format will include a weekly synchronous lecture (see “Wind Studies Weekly” lectures below), and performance-focused projects that can be accomplished remotely. We have been involved in think-tank discussions with colleagues across the country to develop innovative opportunities that are unique to the remote setting.
    • “Wind Studies Weekly” Lecture Series: This will occur once per week, and all students in Wind Studies ensembles will participate, regardless of chosen modality. This series will be offered both synchronously and archived on Canvas and will include lectures and discussions by UNT faculty as well as many international guest lecturers.
    • Risk mitigation procedures and expectations for any Wind Studies face-to-face modalities will be distributed to all students at the start of the semester.

    Choral Studies

    Student safety is our top priority, and all choral singers will be provided with the option to participate in face-to-face or remote only, according to their stated preference on the audition form. With all choirs, we will utilize 9-foot distances between singers in all rehearsals and performances, and all singers must wear masks. All choir rehearsals will be 30 minutes in duration with 30 minutes for the air in the room to clear between rehearsals, according to best research practices.

    The A Cappella Choir will utilize face to face instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week. Students will practice their music individually on Fridays. Monday and Wednesday will consist of sectional rehearsals. Tuesday and Thursday will consist of tutti rehearsals in Voertman Recital Hall. Goals for the semester will include advanced ensemble skill building and recording projects, as well as preparing additional performance repertoire for the spring semester. Accommodations for the semester will include a smaller choir size and shorter rehearsal period.

    The University Singers and Kalandra (a new advanced trouble choir conducted by Dr. MacMullen) will be divided into chamber ensembles of 8-12 students throughout the fall semester. To minimize exposure, each ensemble will rehearse in person 1-2 days per week. Each ensemble will prepare independent repertoire in addition to preparing two combined pieces for the full ensemble. This repertoire will be presented by a pre-recorded concert to be shared via streaming services. When not in rehearsal, students will participate in online/collaborative learning. As weather allows, rehearsal will be conducted outdoors.

    Concert Choir will be divided into smaller chamber ensembles of approximately 16 singers, each rehearsing their own separate repertoire face to face 1-2 times per week. On the other days, singers will engage in group projects (synchronously), individual projects, and individual practice. Each chamber ensemble will present a pre-recorded performance via our streaming services. Concert Choir is also accommodating a remote only section, including the synchronous group projects, individual projects, individual practice, and a weekly meeting/rehearsal with Dr. Nápoles virtually. All singers of both sections will participate in a collaborative virtual choir experience with other high schools and universities.

    In past years, the UNT Men’s Chorus and UNT Women’s Chorus were independent choral ensembles. Beginning in the fall of 2020, the two choirs will combine under the name Chorale. This ensemble will prepare SATB repertoire as well as music written for SSAA and TTBB voices. The UNT Chorale will offer both a remote-option experience and a face to face experience. Students must choose one option or the other. Students who are participating in the face to face choir will attend rehearsals four days a week, Monday through Thursday. These 30-minute rehearsals will vary from sectional rehearsals to full rehearsals. The face to face choir will prepare choral repertoire to be shared in a prerecorded streamed concert at the end of the semester. The remote only students will be given weekly assignments to be completed online. These singers will also participate in a virtual choir to be shared in a streamed concert at the end of the semester.

    Orchestral Studies

    The following information is for all String students. Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students should refer to the UNT Wind Studies website at: [Harp students please speak directly with Prof. Haefner]
    • There are no orchestral studies auditions for the FALL 2020 semester.
    • All string students have the choice of remote learning (online) OR in-person learning (orchestra rehearsal). There may or may not be orchestra performances scheduled for this fall. That decision will be made once the semester begins.
    • Students choosing remote learning need to enroll in CONCERT ORCHESTRA (MULB 1805.501 for undergraduate students; MULB 5172.501 for graduate students). This remote course emphasizes a curriculum that enhances the traditional performance model through project-based opportunities (mock auditions, online rehearsal observations, repertoire discovery, program notes, guided score study and analysis, critical listening, etc.) coupled with weekly lectures from UNT Orchestral Studies faculty and esteemed guest artists on a variety of topics. More details will be provided in Canvas before the first day of classes.
    • Students choosing in-person learning need to enroll in SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (MULB 1805.500 for undergraduate students; MULB 5172.500 for graduate students). Twice weekly rehearsals/reading sessions of exploring string orchestra repertoire. Performances TBD. Student musicians will be social distanced at least six feet apart on single stands during rehearsals. The first rehearsal is Wednesday, August 26 at 2:15pm.
    • For students who have already enrolled and are in the incorrect course based on their choice, please change courses ASAP. Both orchestras will be taught by Professor Itkin and Dr. Couturiaux.
    • Orchestral Studies Audition Information for SPRING 2021 will be posted at a later date.

    Jazz Studies

    The University of North Texas Jazz Lab Bands and Jazz Chamber Music will meet in person for the fall semester. Until such time as the University or College of Music’s precautionary policies dictate otherwise, all Jazz Ensembles will meet with the following adjustments to protocol:
    • The securing of large rehearsal spaces for all groups, ensuring that there is adequate space for proper distancing measures.
    • Per UNT College of Music policy, all ensembles (lab bands or combos) that include aerosol-producing instruments will meet for a maximum of 30 minutes for each rehearsal.
    • All Jazz MULB’s will rehearse either in the “square” set-up for the duration of the semester in room 258 or in the designated plan for room 282. These configurations will ensure maximum distancing between ensemble players/director while remaining both practical and effective for the ensemble. These set ups will guarantee a minimum of 9 feet (side-by side), distance between players of like instruments and 9-30 feet between the four different sections of the ensemble.
    • Jazz Chamber Music (combos) will rehearse and perform with similar measures of distancing included in their daily set-up.
    • Lab Bands will record via Video/Audio at the Murchison. Date TBD
    • Jazz Chamber Music will record in a recording studio with 30 minutes of music to be mixed and finalized. This can be used for digital archiving on the website and competition purposes.
    • Auditions for all jazz groups will take place during the week prior to the semester. Please contact any jazz faculty member for more information.
  • Webcasting? So, will we be able to perform for live audiences this fall?
    No. We are relying on our extensive experience in webcasting with HD audio and HD video around the world. Don’t forget that we now have a webcasting audience of some 300,000 viewers on 6 continents and some 1,200 cities. This massive audience tunes in to us for views of roughly 1 hour each. In addition, we now are restoring our webcasting capabilities in the Voertman Concert Hall and installing webcasting in a number of other performance venues where we have not had capacity previously.
  • What kinds of music classes are being offered online/remotely this fall?
    We have been hard at work preparing our academic courses (music theory, music history, ethnomusicology, and music education) for a mix of remote, online, hybrid, and face-to-face formats this fall. In some instances, these courses will be truly “online” (asynchronous learning). Others will be remote (delivered via Zoom at meeting times during the week). Still others will blend online instruction and face-to-face experiential learning while adhering to social distancing protocols. This combination of formats allows us to place experiential instruction in rooms large enough to provide social distancing.
  • What about UNT Opera?
    We plan to stage the Fall Semester opera, Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti, under social distancing guidelines. The production concept is designed for this: Lucia is in an isolation ward. Professor Eaton affirms that the approach is highly imaginative, turns a deficit into an advantage, and will garner positive attention. Orchestration will be very light, consisting of only seven performers: piano, clarinet, recorder, two percussion, guitar, and cello.
  • What about the peer laboratory groups (Conductors Chorus, Orchestral Conductors Lab Orchestra, and Upfront – the choral music education peer lab choir)? Will they be meeting this fall?
    Yes, they will be offered this fall with appropriate social distancing and masks/shields.
  • What about the jazz bands, vocal jazz ensembles, and commercial music groups?
    All of these jazz/commercial ensembles will be offered this fall with social distancing and masks/shields/plexiglass barriers. Indeed, the One O’Clock Lab Band® is recording their annual CD this summer to keep that decades-long tradition alive and experiment with alternative performance and recording techniques.
  • What about chamber music?
    Chamber music ensembles will be offered this fall with social distancing and appropriate masks/shields/plexiglass barriers. Classrooms that will not be used for academic music courses can be reassigned as spaces for our chamber music groups, thereby making the scheduling of them more conducive to the complexities of student schedules.
  • What about recitals? Will I be able to schedule my recital for the coming semester?
    Yes. Recent renovations to the Spec's Charitable Foundation Courtyard, Choir Room, Voertman Concert Hall, Recital Hall and MEIT, have increased and improved our recital resources, so this should not be a problem. We also plan to be able to record recitals for our Music Library archives.
  • Are facemasks required on campus and in classes?
    Yes. On June 25, 2020 the UNT community was notified of the new requirement to wear face masks at all of our campus locations. Masks are required for applied lessons, performing ensemble rehearsals and concerts, with exceptions for students performing on wind instruments. Information on the face mask policy may be found at: There is also currently an Executive Order from the Texas Governor regarding the requirement to wear masks. See:
  • What about accessing the Music Practice Buildings?
    The Music Practice Buildings now require a reservation. To make a reservation during the summer, email: Starting on August 17, students should make online reservations at:
  • Graduate recital procedures related to Covid





  • What steps are being taken beyond the College of Music to ensure health and safety?
    To make sure we are keeping everyone as safe as possible, things will look a little different than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, we are mapping existing courses to new rooms and in some cases new times. These changes are to accommodate social distancing. The typical classroom will be able to accommodate approximately 25-40% of normal capacity to allow for social distancing. We have secured additional spaces typically used for meetings and events and will be scheduling these for instructional use. The university will continue to hold classes six days a week just as we have in the past, but will teach more classes later into each day and on Saturday. Hand sanitizer stations will be strategically placed throughout our campus. There will be other measures designed to keep us all safe.
  • What steps are being taken to address the quality of remote/online instruction at UNT?
    For those participating in remote or online classes, UNT is investing in faculty/staff training and technology this summer that will allow even higher-quality instruction.
  • University life is more than classes and rehearsals. What other campus resources will be available to me?
    You also should know that facilities and offices that support students will be open on campus this fall. This includes UNT Libraries, computer labs, advising offices, the Career Center, the Pohl Recreation Center, the Learning Center, Student Veteran Services, and all of the other services upon which we all rely. We also look forward to the resumption of student clubs and organizations on campus.



Social distancing - Close contact is defined as: a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case -

Corona Virus Updates from the University of North Texas


Information for New and Returning Students
with Scholarship Awards

The information in this section excludes new international students prohibited from US entry or unable to secure a visa. For all other new and returning students:

  • If a student chooses to enroll full-time in Fall 2020, either remotely or on-campus, their music award will disburse normally. It has been communicated to us that this also applies to UNT academic awards. Students should verify this with UNT Student Financial Aid and Scholarships and/or Toulouse Graduate School as they consider their options.  
  • If a student chooses to not enroll or chooses to enroll part-time, their music award will not disburse. This also applies to UNT academic awards and is true for both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.
  • If a student chooses to enroll part-time in Fall 2020 (or defer to Spring 2021 for new students), the spring portion of their award could be reserved for them, at the recommendation of the area faculty and with the approval of the administration, assuming the student enrolls full-time in Spring 2021. Please note that typically, UNT academic awards are forfeited beginning the semester a student fails to enroll full-time. New students planning to defer to Spring 2021 should contact Joel Wiley immediately if they have not already done so.
    • If the total award is $1000 or less, the full award could be moved to spring, upon approval.
    • If the total award is between $1000 - $2000, $1000 could be moved to spring, upon approval.
    • If the total award is greater than $2000, the entire spring portion of the award (usually ½ the total award value) could be disbursed in the spring, upon approval.  
  • If a student enrolls part-time or does not enroll for the year, their award will expire. They may apply/audition for reinstatement through the area faculty. The student may need to reapply to their program if they do not enroll at all during 2020-21.
  • For students who are on a music scholarship that includes registration in at least one Music Laboratory (MULB), the following policy applies for the Fall, 2020 semester:
    • If students enroll part-time, they do not need to enroll in an MULB (part-time students are not eligible for a scholarship);
    • MULB curricular requirements for music majors remain unchanged.  Students will still need to complete the total number of MULB requirements listed on their degree plan (not enrolling in an MULB does not mean the degree requirement is waived);  
    • For students who are on a music scholarship and are enrolled full-time, the scholarship requirement for MULB participation is waived for Fall 2020 ONLY.  Students will not lose their scholarship for non-participation in an MULB for the Fall 2020 semester.

Information for New International Students
Unable to Enter the US:

The university has provided different guidance for NEW international students who are not able to leave their home countries because of visa issues or travel restrictions. The information in this section applies to scholarship awards issued to these students (not TATF appointments or TBP) who enter UNT’s Remote Start program. Please visit the UNT International website for full details:

  • The student must be newly admitted to their degree program for Fall 2020.
  • The student must remain in their home country for Fall 2020.
  • The student must complete the Remote Start e-Form to begin the enrollment process and must enroll in coursework in Fall 2020.
  • The College of Music will allow students who participate in Remote Start to receive their music scholarship awards, even if enrolled part-time, however UNT academic scholarships will be forfeited with part-time or non-enrollment.