How the Music, Dance, and Theatre Department will change due to COVID-19


Music students follow precautions in class. Photo by Dr. Desamparados Fabra.

Ivana Estime

As students are separated from the stage where they shine, what will happen when they return to campus? In early August, Music, Dance, and Theatre (MDT) Chair, Dr. Desamparados Fabra Crespo held a virtual meeting with the department and discussed plans for the semester.

About 300 students major in the MDT Department, many wonder how their classes will be affected this semester. Classes at the start of the semester may be online while the school prepares for in-person lessons. Classes will be hybrid which alternates between in-person and virtual formats. Online learning will be offered for students who choose not to and can’t come to campus. Dr. Fabra said, “We will accommodate those who are uncomfortable or unable to be on campus due to medical conditions.” Some lessons may be moved outside if the classes have a large class in a small room. Practice rooms at Rossey Hall will be available to students but will not always be open. Students will need to schedule when they use practice rooms beforehand. The department has invested in clear dividers to divide the students from the professor. Students will need to schedule for a practice room ahead of time.

Students asked about Recitals and there will be a 50 person limit in Rossey hall for COVID procedures. When asked about vocal lessons, Dr. Fabra said, “The University is in the process of buying broadcasting software for voice lessons and voice lessons will be online.” Chamber ensemble will also be in a hybrid model format. Students will have to speak with professors for more information about the chamber ensemble. Percussionists will be on campus as they have less contact with others on campus. All those that have woodwind or brass instruments will have to do broadcasted classes. No microphones will be used between students and the department will try to provide sound cards to students. Those that sing should buy their own microphone and music stands will be offered and disinfected. Students can also bring their own music stands. As soon as students are done with rooms or items, it will be disinfected. Music major seminars will be online because of the large volume of students. There will be accommodations for assignments. Brass players have to be on campus because their neighbors will not be so gracious when they play at home. Introduction classes will be on campus because it is easier to teach in person. A student had asked about NJCU buses and Dr. Fabra said “Buses will be limited” due to Covid-19. Another Student asked about those who do not have access to computers and Dr. Fabra said “the university will be giving away computers.”

The MDT Department experience will be heavily limited due to COVID-19 and will change the way students can perform. It will be difficult for students to let their talent shine through computer screens and delayed audio.