messages from the dean

Ensemble curriculum update and practice room availability

August 17, 2020


Dear YSM students,

I write to inform you of two updates to our plans for the fall term. I also want to stress the importance of reading and following the policies and procedures found on the YSM return to campus webpage and the Yale Health and Safety Guidelines webpage. The two most critical pieces of information, as you prepare for your return to New Haven, are the COVID-19 testing protocols and the quarantine rules of the state of Connecticut.

Chamber and voice ensembles

The school has been working closely with the Yale Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department to address the largest risk mitigation issue facing the school: unmasked individuals using indoor spaces as it regards to wind, brass, and voice performers. Currently, EHS is testing the large spaces in the Adams Center and Divinity School to determine our ability to mitigate against droplets and aerosols of COVID-19 that could infect people if someone were asymptomatic.

They are first reviewing the large spaces for one-on-one instruction, which seems to be acceptable with the strategic placement of teacher and student, wearing masks when talking, and the use of fans.

There is concern about in-person chamber ensembles of unmasked players. While EHS will continue to model a plan through the early fall, there is a possibility that we will enter the performance block (October 14) without their approval.

Due to this possibility, we are preparing remote options for ensemble courses while working with EHS to determine if there are any solutions to hold these courses in-person for wind, brass, and voice students. Please note that the use of practice rooms and, depending on the faculty member, in-person private lessons are still allowed for the fall term.

If, based on the information above, students wish to alter their on-campus plans for the fall, please contact the Office of the Deputy Dean as soon as possible.

Practice rooms

The Adams Center practice rooms will open on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Spaces are only available by advance reservation in ArtsVision–instructions for reservation will be communicated separately. The practice rooms are only available for individual practice. After Sept. 8, classrooms and other spaces will be available for reservation, including faculty studios in Leigh Hall.

And finally, please read the YSM student newsletter sent every Monday to your address for important updates, weblinks and reminders, and other helpful information as we prepare for the start of the semester.


Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we prepare for your safe return to campus.

Melvin Chen
Deputy Dean