COVID-19 Information for the Bienen School Community

For continued updates regarding Northwestern University's response to COVID-19, visit the link below:
Northwestern COVID-19 and Campus Updates

NOTE: This page will be updated as more information becomes available. Last updated 10/12/2021

Health and Safety Top

The Bienen School's instruction presents unique considerations during the pandemic. Therefore, in collaboration with University administration, we have developed a unique reporting protocol.

What happens if you test positive for COVID-19?

If you are identified through testing as a positive case, you may first be notified electronically before you are contacted by the NU COVID Response Team (CRT). Due to Illinois Department of Public Health regulations and scheduled batch reporting from the NU testing labs, it could be hours after the electronic notification before the same information of a positive test is provided to the NU CRT and to Bienen administrators.

As a member of the Bienen community, if you are notified of a positive test please follow these steps:

1) If you receive notification of a positive result prior to hearing from the CRT, immediately begin to self-isolate pending further guidance and call the CRT at 847-491-8422.

2) Next, and as soon as possible, please contact the appropriate individual, as follows:

This notification will provide the Bienen administrative team the immediate opportunity to consider whether certain classes, ensembles, or other activities should be canceled or moved to a remote format while the contact tracing process runs its course. Upon review, Bienen administrators will notify appropriate faculty, who will notify students of any canceled instruction.


Academics Top

As Northwestern announced in a June 25 memo, the University expects the vast majority of services and activities will return to in-person status for the 2021-22 academic year. For the Bienen School, this means all classes will resume meeting in-person, lessons will take place in teaching studios, and ensembles will be held in Bienen performance/rehearsal venues. School offices will also resume full staffing in-person. There are currently no distancing guidelines or capacity limitations in place in classrooms and administrative settings.

Given Bienen’s unique and varied teaching activities, administration strongly encourages everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to show their Green SymptomTracker badge as they arrive at a class, rehearsal or any other in-person activity. 

Academic and Performance Classes

Planned to occur in-person based on assigned locations with no current minimum distancing guidelines or capacity limitations. Faculty and students must wear masks in indoor shared public spaces when it does not interfere with singing or playing an instrument. 

Applied Lessons

All applied lessons will be held in-person in faculty studios. For added protection, faculty and accompanists must continue wearing masks. Students must wear a mask during lessons, whenever possible. Confirmation of a Green SymptomTracker of everyone in the studio is required.

Large Ensembles, Studio/Small Jazz Ensembles and Chamber Music

All instrumental and vocal ensembles are planned to resume regular rehearsal and performance schedules in their usual venues.  There currently are no minimum distancing guidelines or capacity limitations, reduced rehearsal lengths, or periods defined between activities for air circulation. Students and faculty are allowed to remove their masks during rehearsals as required to sing or play their instrument and replace them once rehearsals conclude. Confirmation of a Green SymptomTracker of everyone in the ensemble is required. 

Student Recitals

Students will resume the process for scheduling both degree-required recitals and informal recitals, including conducting and composition students. We do not anticipate limitations on the number of performers. Recitals will follow the same masking protocol as other performances. 

Practice Rooms

Student access to practice rooms resumes on a first-come, first-served basis, as provided during pre-pandemic conditions. Access to practice rooms requires an active Wildcard, and student cards are programmed with different access to certain rooms depending on a student’s area of study or specific instrument needs. Students using a practice room alone are not required to wear a mask.  Students practicing with an accompanist or other students are required to follow the masking mandate unless removing the mask is required for singing or playing their instrument. Confirmation of a Green SymptomTracker of everyone in the practice room is required.

Technology Recommendations

Students are encouraged to obtain the following items to aid in any remote coursework, should the need arise. For additional technology resources, visit the Keep Learning website.

  1. A good, independent microphone that can be positioned to capture the instrument, ideally on a tripod.
  2. An independent webcam, also positionable, so that faculty can assess student technique.
  3. A computer with a minimum i5 processor (4 years old or less), at least 8 GB of RAM, and a SSD hard drive with 30 GB available.
  4. A wired ethernet connection to an internet source or a wireless router that is less than 20 feet away.
  5. An internet connection with a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. If students are sharing their internet with others in the household during class time, this may need to be at least doubled.
  6. A good pair of headphones, so that the outgoing audio is isolated from the incoming audio.

Questions?

For questions regarding undergraduate programs, contact Linda Jacobs, linda.jacobs@northwestern.edu or Jeff Merkley, jeff.merkley@northwestern.edu

For questions regarding graduate programs, contact Patrick Zylka or Christina Wouters at musicgradservices@northwestern.edu


Concerts and Events Top

The Bienen School of Music is delighted to welcome audiences back to our concert halls this academic year. In order to continue prioritizing the health and safety of our Northwestern community, as well as our concert attendees, we are implementing the following regarding concert and event attendance in the Fall 2021 academic quarter:

  • All fall concerts will be General Admission and free of charge. Tickets will still be required for entry, and attendees are encouraged to reserve their tickets online in advance. In the event of a cancellation or postponement, ticketholders will be notified via email.
  • All audience members and Concerts@Bienen staff, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks at all times while indoors.  
  • In the event that an attendee does not have a mask upon arrival to our facilities, a disposable mask will be provided for you. Hand sanitizer will be available at all venues.
  • The Bienen School is not requiring proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test at this time. However, this is subject to change pending guidance from Northwestern University and public health agencies.
  • Visitors who wish to receive a rapid antigen test prior to attending an event may do so on the Northwestern campus.
  • Patrons must agree to comply with the Bienen School of Music's COVID-19 Safety Acknowledgment when reserving tickets online.
  • In accordance with the State of Illinois’s current guidelines, there are no capacity limits or social distancing requirements for our audiences. However, we may restrict certain seats from use based on their proximity to the stage, particularly in situations where performers are not masked.
  • Performances will include intermissions where applicable.
  • Printed programs will continue to be available at each of our venues.
  • As with all visitors to campus, audience members are required to adhere to Northwestern’s current COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines

Northwestern and the Bienen School continue to monitor health conditions and develop health and safety policies in alignment with guidance from public health agencies and Northwestern's medical partners. These policies are subject to change.

Questions?

Contact events.music@northwestern.edu


Visiting the School Top

Tours and Information Sessions

The Bienen School of Music is pleased to again offer in-person tours and information sessions to students who are interested in attending Northwestern. These events are subject to strict protocols to protect the safety of our campus community and guests. All sessions will cover the application process, audition information, financial aid, degree options, and more. The session will include time for questions. The Bienen School is also offering virtual undergraduate information sessions via Zoom.

Register for a Tour/Information Session

COVID-19 Policies for in-person Tours & Information Sessions

The Bienen School requires that all attendees acknowledge and adhere to the following policies and guidelines:

  • All visitors must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the visit in order to participate. You will be asked to provide documentation onsite when you check in at the Office of Music Admission. Do not send this documentation in advance. Plan to arrive at the Office of Music Admission at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour.
  • Visitors who neglect to bring documentation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours have the option of completing a rapid COVID-19 test on campus at the Jacobs Center, located at 2001 Sheridan Road. Those who take advantage of this option will need to complete this test and share results in order to be eligible to participate in the tour/information session. Please allow at least two hours for this process as we cannot guarantee a short wait for a rapid test. Visitors unwilling or unable to abide by these requirements will not be permitted to participate.
  • All visitors must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose while inside all buildings for the duration of their visit. If you do not bring a mask, they will be available at the entrance of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.
  • A student may be accompanied by no more than two guests during their Bienen School tour.
  • Visiting students and guests must follow all University guidelines.
  • Visiting students and/or guests who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will have their tour registration canceled. For a full list of symptoms, please see the University's health monitoring page
  • Visiting students and/or guests who do not follow safety guidelines and policies or staff instructions may be asked to leave the tour.
  • In the event of tour cancellations, the Bienen School will communicate updates via email with as much advance notice as possible. 
  • The Bienen School cannot accommodate walk-ins without reservations.
  • You must arrive prior to your tour start time in order to join the tour. Late arrivals will forfeit their reservation and cannot be accommodated.
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Sample Lessons

The Bienen School offers sample lessons to students who are interested in attending Northwestern. In-person lessons are subject to strict protocols to protect the safety of our campus community and our guests. 

All prospective students interested in taking a sample lesson with a member of the applied studio faculty must contact the faculty member directly. The faculty member will verify whether he or she is providing sample lessons in-person, remotely or both.

COVID-19 Policies for in-person Sample Lessons

The Bienen School requires that all visitors to our buildings adhere to the following policies and guidelines to participate in an in-person sample lesson:

  • All visitors must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the visit in order to participate. You will be asked to provide documentation at your lesson. Do not send this documentation in advance.
  • Visitors who neglect to bring documentation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours have the option of completing a rapid COVID-19 test on campus at the Jacobs Center, located at 2001 Sheridan Road. Those who take advantage of this option will need to complete this test and share results in order to be eligible to have an in-person sample lesson. Please allow at least two hours for this process as we cannot guarantee a short wait for a rapid test. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the cancellation of the sample lesson.
  • All visitors must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose while inside all buildings. If you do not bring a mask, they will be available at the entrance of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Mask usage during the lesson is encouraged if it is possible given the instrument. 
  • A student may be accompanied in our buildings by up to two guests. However, guests may not enter the teaching studio with the student but must also wear masks, regardless of vaccine status. 
  • Students and guests must follow all University guidelines
  • Visiting students and/or guest(s) who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 must notify the faculty member and cancel the in-person lesson. For a full list of symptoms, please see the University's health monitoring page
  • Visiting students and/or guests who do not follow safety guidelines and policies or faculty/staff instructions will be asked to leave. 
  • Faculty will communicate any cancellations via email with as much advance notice as possible.
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Questions?

For information about the Bienen School of Music, visiting campus, or admission, please contact musiclife@northwestern.edu.


Teaching Resources Top

Northwestern recommends using Canvas to manage teaching-related materials, announcements, and discussions. Zoom, which is integrated into Canvas, is the preferred method for video interactions (e.g., live classes, meetings, one-on-one teaching, etc.), sharing presentations, and recording lectures, which can be stored online and made available for download from Canvas.

Below are a few resources that faculty may find useful:

Resources

Remote Teaching and Learning Guidance (Northwestern Digital Learning)
Resources for Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely (Northwestern IT)
Keep Teaching (Northwestern Digital Learning)
Example Canvas classes (Canvas)
Getting started with Canvas (Canvas)
Zoom Learning Center (Canvas)
Northwestern Zoom Backgrounds (Northwestern Brand Tools)
Teaching & Learning Technologies: Workshops (Eventbrite)
Troubleshooting Home Internet (Northwestern IT)

Guidelines for Recording Individual Student Lessons

Instructors can determine whether or not they would like to record class sessions or portions of class sessions. Generally, students are prohibited from recording class sessions and are also prohibited from the distribution of class recordings. (See Guidelines for Recording Synchronous Remote Class Content.) However, Bienen School instructors and students may record lessons, as such recordings are legitimate teaching tools. Use of these recordings is restricted for educational use only; copyright still applies.

Questions?

Contact music-IT@northwestern.edu

See all Northwestern resources related to COVID-19

COVID-19 and Campus Updates