COVID-19 and Music Making

 July 28, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Greetings from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music! I know this has been a very unusual summer, and I appreciate all of your patience, flexibility, and understanding as we all try to find the best path forward. As the University of Georgia prepares for reopening and the return to campus, we want to update you on our plans for fall operations in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

We have been working diligently to learn, listen, and gather as much information as we can about COVID-19 and music-making, in an effort to determine how we can proceed safely, mitigate risks, and do our part to stop the spread of the virus in our community and in the world. We have worked with doctors, researchers, and specialists from around the nation to determine best practices as they are currently understood.

Our primary goal remains the safety and health of our entire family: students, faculty, staff, and community, and we are taking every step we can to promote safety and health in our building. As we do this, we are looking for ways to maximize opportunities and provide quality musical experiences and instruction.

This pandemic has taught us all that things can change quickly, and the information below may change as situations change around us or as more information becomes available. There are many questions that remain unanswered, and we will continue to work to find solutions. Please check your UGA e-mail regularly and monitor this page for frequent updates.


The Ground Rules

Standard guidelines of 6-foot distancing and masks are very effective at containing respiratory droplets, which are larger particles that may transmit COVID-19. Research is ongoing surrounding aerosols, which are smaller particles that hang in the air for larger periods of time.  The playing of wind and brass instruments, along with singing, may distribute more aerosols, potentially heightening risk of transmission. As research continues, we are treating these activities with caution and making modifications to some of our usual activities. 

The risk of aerosol transmission is mitigated by several factors

- Distancing

- Wearing a mask 

- Air exchange

- Limiting the number of players in an indoor space

We will be taking all of these elements seriously, as you’ll see in the guidelines below. While these will limit some of our normal activities, they will allow important live music making to continue in a safe manner, especially in applied lessons and solo recital performances.

I ask that all of you do your part: wear a mask, keep your distance, don’t congregate in the building. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently, limit the surfaces you touch in the building, and help to clean and sanitize surfaces when you leave a space. Be smart when you are outside the building to keep yourself and others safe. Know that in doing so you are helping to take care of yourself, your colleagues, and our faculty and staff. Working together, we can help stop the spread of the virus and get the HHSOM back to normal!



  • Masks are to be worn in the building at all times, per USG policy. This includes all classes.
  • UGA will be providing 2 cloth masks to each student.
  • Masks may be removed by wind players, brass players, and singers, only under certain conditions (see below) during applied lessons and performances. Even in these instances, masks should be worn at all times when not singing or playing.
  • All other instruments are required to wear masks at all times, including during applied lessons and performances.
  • Masks may be removed in the practice room, if you are the only person in the room. Other conditions apply.



  • Please maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from others at all times.
  • All classrooms have been reconfigured for this distancing.
  • Additional distancing guidelines apply to any singing or playing of wind and brass instruments.



  • Any student who wishes to have an online-only schedule may request an accommodation through the Disability Resource Center. Please see the information at:
  • Students interested in applying for this accommodation should do so as soon as possible, as the process can take 1-4 weeks. 
  • Students are also encouraged to contact individual professors and work with them to address concerns, including requests for online applied lessons.



  • Lockers limited only to those who truly need them. Keep in mind that practice time in the building will be extremely limited; consider forgoing a locker this fall.
  • No shared lockers.
  • Maintain minimum 6-foot distancing when accessing lockers. Wait for someone to finish if necessary.
  • Wipe down locker with a sanitizing wipe before and after use. Wipe any other touched surfaces.



  • Applied lessons may be offered in a face-to-face setting, under certain conditions.

  • All students must supply their own music stand. 
  • If your instrument releases condensation/saliva, you must supply your own towel to collect the condensation.
  • Expect a mix of online and live lessons; check with your major professor for plans in your studio. 
  • Scheduling/space limitations may result in some weekend and evening lesson times.
  • Students who wish to request online-only lessons may do so.
  • For face-to-face lessons for Guitar, Harp, Percussion, Piano, and Strings:
    • Remain masked at all times
    • Maintain 8-foot distancing
    • Live lessons limited to 50 minutes
    • Studios will be vacant for 30 minutes after each lesson for air exchange
  • For face-to-face lessons for Brass, Voice, and Winds:
    • Masks may be removed only when playing (wear mask at all other times)
    • Lessons will be moved to large rehearsal spaces
    • Bell coverings required for wind and brass instruments
    • Maintain 20-foot distancing
    • Live lessons limited to 30 minutes
    • Spaces will be vacant for 60 minutes after each lesson for air exchange
    • Due to space limitations, live lessons are likely to be once every 2-3 weeks



  • Masks worn at all times.

  • Maintain 6-foot distancing.
  • Most classes will be on a “hyflex” model, with some in-person meetings and some online meetings. 
  • Singing and playing wind and brass instruments will not be allowed in class, unless certain safety conditions can be met. (This will not be possible in most cases.)
  • 5 minutes has been added to the break in between each class period, pushing class start times later during the day. See the new schedule here.
  • All instruction will be online after Thanksgiving Break. 


  • Due to safety concerns, ensembles of masked instruments will be limited to 10 or less.
  • Ensembles of unmasked instruments (brass, winds, voice) will be limited to 5 or less.
  • Mixed ensembles may have no more than 5 brass, winds, or singers, and no more than 10 people total.
  • Distancing conditions apply (8-foot for masked instruments, 20-foot for unmasked).
  • Rehearsal times limited to 45 minutes for masked instruments and 30 minutes for unmasked.
  • Hodgson Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony will be fully online. All wind, brass, and percussion music majors should register for one of these ensembles, or for Jazz Ensemble if appropriate (contact Mr. D’Angelo re: Jazz Ensemble).
  • Hodgson Singers and the Glee Clubs will be fully online. All freshman vocal music majors should register for a Glee Club. All other vocal music majors should register for Hodgson Singers.
  • University Orchestra will meet to rehearse in groups of 10. All string music majors should register for University Orchestra. Groups will meet once per week.
  • Symphonic Band, University Chorus, and Philharmonia will not be offered this fall.
  • Please check with faculty members for the status of any other ensemble.


The following choirs WILL be offered in online formats only:

  • Women’s Glee Club (MUSI 4710)– JD Burnett, conductor
  • Men’s Glee Club (MUSI 4700) – JD Burnett, conductor
  • UGA Hodgson Singers (MUSI 4760/6760) – Daniel Bara, conductor

For music majors and minors who need choir to fulfill a large ensemble credit this semester for degree requirement, students should enroll as follows: 

  • First-year students should register for Men’s or Women’s Glee Club as appropriate. 
  • Second- year and transfer students may choose to enroll in one of the Glee Clubs or Hodgson Singers
  • Third and fourth-year students, graduate students, and those singers who were in Hodgson Singers last year should enroll in Hodgson Singers

Returning singers who are non-music-majors who wish to be part of this online choral community are welcome to enroll in the choir that you were in last year or most recently.  New singers to the UGA choirs are welcome to enroll in the Glee Clubs.


The following bands WILL be offered in online formats only:

  • Hodgson Wind Ensemble - Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor
  • UGA Wind Symphony - Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor
  • UGA Symphonic Band is canceled for this semester.

For undergraduate and graduate music majors who need wind band to fulfill a large ensemble credit this semester for degree requirement, students should enroll as follows: 

  • First and second-year students should register for UGA Wind Symphony  (MUSI 4839/6839)
  • Third and fourth-year students, graduate students, and those students who were in HWE last year should enroll in Hodgson Wind Ensemble (MUSI 4840/6840)

Returning wind/brass/percussion players who were in Symphonic Band last semester should enroll in Wind Symphony. Students might be moved from one course to another based on numbers of enrolled. 


University Orchestra (MUSI 4740/6740) will meet for limited in-person rehearsals of small string-only groups, following safety protocols. These groups will be limited to music majors and minors only. All string players should register for University Orchestra. Wind, brass, and percussion players should NOT register for Orchestra, but should choose Hodgson Wind Ensemble or Wind Symphony based on the guidelines noted for those ensembles. Philharmonia will not be meeting this semester. 



  • Recitals will be limited in size, scope, duration, and audience presence. Student degree recitals will be prioritized.
  • No more than 2 performers in Edge Hall.
  • Minimum 8-foot distancing for masked players, 20-foot distancing for winds, brass, and/or voice.
  • No public audience is allowed. Major professor can sit in the back of the auditorium.
  • No more than 2 immediate family members may be allowed to sit in the back of the auditorium, with permission. Students must obtain permission for this no later than two weeks before the recital. Details about requesting permission will be forthcoming.
  • Performance times may be limited.
  • The hall must be vacant for 60 minutes of air exchange before the next event.
  • All recitals will be streamed. All streaming fees will be waived.
  • Undergraduate recital attendance will not be required this fall. The recital attendance fee will be waived. Students are encouraged to stream recitals.
  • Standard recital fees will remain; optional video-recording fees will remain.
  • Due to space and safety concerns, access to pianists is likely to be limited.



Practice rooms are small, shared spaces with limited air exchange that present additional safety concerns. Due to this, there will be limited use of the practice rooms, with specific conditions. We know that practicing is important, and we are sorry to limit use, but safety and health must be our top priority.

  • All practice room usage in the HHSOM must be reserved in advance. Details about the reservation process will be forthcoming.
  • First priority will be granted to those students/instruments who absolutely cannot practice outside the building.
  • Practice rooms will be available for 60-minute blocks.
  • Only one person in a practice room at a time. No visitors.
  • No teaching in practice rooms.
  • After each use, the practice room must remain vacant for 90 minutes of air exchange.
  • All touched surfaces must be wiped upon entry and exit of the practice room. Wipes wll be provided in the hallways.
  • Instructions for disinfecting piano keys will be posted in each room.
  • All music stands will be removed; students should supply their own music stand.
  • All condensation/saliva must be collected and removed. Students should supply their own towel for this purpose.
  • Practicing is a privilege. Any student found violating these conditions will have their privileges immediately revoked. This includes practicing in a room without a reservation and remaining in a room beyond your reserved time. 



The following guidelines are designed to reduce traffic in our building and keep students, staff, and faculty safe. While we know how much everyone enjoys the “family” environment at “the Hugh,” for now we are asking everyone to enter the building only when they have a scheduled class, lesson, rehearsal, or practice time.

  • We are limiting building access to HHSOM students, faculty, and staff, along with those who are taking classes in the building.
  • The building will be closed on weekends.
  • The building will close at 9:30PM on weekdays.
  • Please avoid congregating in the lounge spaces, hallways, and other spaces.
  • Please limit touching shared surfaces, and do your part to keep the building clean.
  • Please email or call staff first; do not just go their offices.
  • All meetings, advising, committees, etc. will be held online.
  • Limit library use to library work only.


In all cases (as noted below) communications should be handled via email and/or phone. 

  • Undergraduate Advising: all communication via Zoom, email, or phone (  or 706-542-9783).   
    • Distanced meetings scheduled with faculty/staff/students only when absolutely necessary.  
    • No walk-ins will be accepted.  
    • Additional information related to Undergraduate Advising will be posted outside Room 324C or on the bulletin boards outside the Advising Suite on the third floor.  
    • For more information on scheduling an advising appointment, please go to this link: 
  • Graduate Administration Office: all communication will be by email or by phone. 
    • Face-to-face meetings should be scheduled in advance through Kathleen Powell at or 706-542-2743.  
    • All advising forms and other degree-related forms will be handled electronically. 



All potential student visits to campus will be virtual. Communications will be via email ( or phone (706-542-2005) to Marshall Williams. Information on admissions to UGA and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music can be found here: 



  • Hours Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Closed on weekends.

  • Service Desk Open primarily for pick up/drop off

  • Copier/Scanner available for use and will be routinely wiped down after use

  • Study tables and pubic terminals will be closed and unavailable for use

  • Stacks will be closed, and Music Library staff will retrieve requested items.  Please review request procedure here:

  • Patrons are encouraged to use electronic resources. Reference questions can be addressed through email, Twitter (@UGAMusicLib), and Instagram (@ugamusiclibrary).