Fall Semester Instruction Update

Dear Colburn Community,

With the start of summer, I write to inform you of the Colburn School’s plans for the Fall semester. But first, I want to thank and congratulate each and every member of our Colburn community for their hard work, resilience, creativity, commitment, and support of one another in the midst of what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging times in recent memory.

In the last three months, I have witnessed firsthand students making huge strides—progressing, learning, challenging themselves, and finding new ways to perform and communicate. Together, we’ve celebrated virtual graduation ceremonies, reimagined kitchens as dance studios, honed our Zoom and microphone skills, and tuned in for Performance Forum, Friday Night Recitals, masterclasses, studio classes, and weekly live streams of Beethoven Quartets. This past weekend, as part of the New Venture Competition, we shared fourteen innovative and creative ideas from Colburn students and alumni that aim to address the unique needs and opportunities of this time. And through it all, our brilliant faculty have continued to impart their knowledge and artistry with incredible dedication.

We’ve also grappled with the enduring racism that continues to be a part of our nation’s narrative and we have committed to taking action in order to make change as a community of performing artists and educators. We know that the work ahead to create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive community is crucial, and we also know that we can’t do it without your involvement and participation. We are in an ongoing dialogue with constituents from across our institution and will announce School-wide diversity initiatives next week to build on our current work, respond to the present, and invest in the future.

As we have pivoted and adjusted to our collective new reality, Colburn has also continued to carefully monitor reports and recommendations related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 from the CDC and other local, state, national, and global health agencies. The Colburn School’s guiding principle when making decisions is how best to protect the health and safety of everyone in our campus community—our students, faculty, staff, parents, and audience members.

Though we have all hoped to see a speedy conclusion to the COVID-19 pandemic, local and global infection and transmission rates have unfortunately changed little since we closed the campus. In fact, parts of the United States, including Los Angeles, have seen an increase in cases in the last few weeks. After very careful consideration and months of planning, the Colburn School has determined that it will begin the Fall semester online and remain online until such time as we determine it safe to fully reopen our campus. Since such a reopening is dependent on a significant decline in cases locally, an effective treatment, or a tested vaccine, we expect that much, if not all, of the fall semester will remain online.

While we know it is painful to consider the fact that we will not be able to gather in-person to start the School year, we also believe this is the best decision we can make in order to protect all of the treasured members of the Colburn family.

I want you to know that the School’s academic leadership and faculty have spent countless hours exploring best practices in online learning, investigating new resources, and planning a variety of unique opportunities for students in each unit to create the most enriching, rewarding, and effective learning experience for all our students. Below are just a few examples of the benefits that will be offered to students in the Fall semester:

Institutional investment: The Colburn School is devoting resources to new online learning platforms for both applied private and group instruction and academic courses. In addition, the School is building a new on-campus video infrastructure to support streaming and post-produced performance and content creation.

Tailored curriculum: The School has developed summer sessions for degree-seeking students to move ahead on academic coursework and gap-year packages for students planning to defer their undergraduate studies.

Expanded resources: Students will benefit from one-on-one advising on the use of technology, expanded resources for wellness support, and in-home piano tuning.

New artistic experiences: The Fall semester will include cross-unit master classes with celebrated guest artists, collaborations with noted choreographers, and at-home online performances.

Staying connected: Students will have increased opportunities for virtual interaction with department and school leadership, as well as opportunities to connect with each other.

The Community School of Performing Arts, Conservatory of Music, Music Academy, and Trudl Zipper Dance Institute will send a message with more details on the specific offerings for each unit later today, and the most up to date information is available below.

We will continue our careful monitoring of the COVID-19 situation and will keep the community updated as we know more. We are currently implementing a number of cleaning protocols and health measures on our campus that will allow us to reopen quickly when it is safe to do so.

In spite of the disruptions, challenges, and uncertainties, this is also a time for hope and optimism—a moment to experience a unique and rewarding new curriculum, perfect technique, build musicianship and artistry, develop new ways of learning, explore promising opportunities, and to emerge with valuable skills and insights that will last a lifetime. We are prepared and look forward to supporting each of you in the months ahead.

With warmest regards,
Sel

Sel Kardan
President and CEO
The Colburn School
 

Academic Unit Updates
Important Dates for Fall 2020

August 1: Registration begins for returning students
August 15: Registration begins for new students
August 17: Early Childhood Orientation for new students
August 31: First day of classes
December 21: Beginning of winter break
January 4: Classes resume
January 10: Last day of classes

New for Fall Semester

Gap year packages: For students who are planning to defer their undergraduate studies, these packages will provide comprehensive lessons and theory curriculum.

Master class series: Available and open to all registered students and will complement other institutional master class offerings.

New online group classes: The school will offer courses in Music Production and Music Appreciation for Adults.

Private Music Lessons

Lessons are full-year registrations (32 weeks). Special incentives will be available prior to the first day of classes. Details will be forthcoming. Free payment plans are available from August through April, and the $50 Registration Fee will be assessed beginning September 1.

The Community School anticipates offering students the choice of continuing to take lessons remotely once faculty and students are able to return safely to campus. These arrangements will be made directly between the student and faculty member, and it will be at the discretion of each private lesson instructor to determine what platform is in the best interest of the student.

Group Classes

All Group Classes—Early Childhood, instrumental group classes, Jazz Workshops, chamber music, and drama—will begin the semester through remote instruction. The school will continuously monitor public health and government guidelines to determine when it will be safe to return to campus.

Music Theory
The school anticipates theory classes will remain remote for the entirety of the 2020–21 academic year. Students registered in 32-week lesson packages are able to receive a 50% discount for theory classes for Elementary Music Theory II and levels above.

New Jazz Theory class
Students registered in a Jazz Workshop class will be able to receive Jazz Theory at a 50% discount.

Large Ensembles

Choral Ensembles
The Community School will not be offering choral ensembles for the 2020–21 academic year.

The practice of singing is particularly dangerous in the current global pandemic, given the ease and mode of transmission of COVID-19. Knowing this, even when a return to campus is possible, as long as there are social distancing guidelines in place, it will be impossible to resume choral ensembles.

Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble
The Community School will not be offering bands for the 2020–21 academic year.

Due to social distancing guidelines and available space on campus it has been determined that there is not an adequate area to be able to facilitate band instruction on campus for the 2020–21 academic year.

Orchestras
It is unlikely the school will be offering orchestras during 2020–21 academic year.

As the school continues to monitor social distancing guidelines, if it’s feasible, smaller string and orchestral ensembles will resume.

For string players interested developing their skills and technique in a supportive environment, check out the Violin Sight Reading class and String Workshops. Auditions are required.

Important Dates for Fall 2020

August 11–25:  Online orientation
August 26: First day of classes
December 7: Last day of classes
December 8–11: Exams

Technology

The Colburn School is currently exploring new technology platforms that should enhance the teaching and learning experience for applied lessons, with lower latency, higher fidelity and minimal compression in the transfer of the audio. Details will be made available when it is decided that one of these new platforms is a preferred option for faculty and students to use for an improved lesson experience.

All Colburn Conservatory students will be supported in learning from home. Students will be assessed individually to determine their needs, whether it is a loan of equipment to assist with high quality audio for lessons or resources to enhance internet connectivity.

Orientation

Online orientation activities will be scheduled during the time frame of August 11th through August 25. Exact dates will be determined within the next few weeks. Activities will include placement exams; webinars on home studio set up, use of the online Learning Management System, and other important topics; meetings with advisors; and activities designed to introduce students to each other, faculty and the administration.

Academic Classes

All classes will be managed through a learning management system called Canvas, which will allow students to have a singular, consistent virtual classroom setting. With flexible and highly individualized advisement, students will be carefully guided through this new online environment. In consultation with their applied teacher and academic advisor, degree students will participate in academic activities suitable to their individual situation, while maintaining a minimum class load appropriate to enrollment requirements and progress towards their degree. Classes will also be carefully scheduled to allow for participation across a variety of time zones.

Performance Classes

Currently, it is not possible to have ensembles take place virtually due to latency issues. The faculty are exploring options to have students engaged in various aspects of chamber music and orchestral training that might be successful in an online format. Similar consideration is being given to required recitals. Further information will be shared before the start of the semester.

Fees

The Comprehensive Fee will be reduced from $3,000 to $1,500 for the 2020–21 academic year. Health insurance will not be billed until students return to campus, and rates have not yet been set by our insurance company. Students who need Colburn insurance for the entire year will be able to opt-in; further information will be available in early July.

Wellness

In order to continue to support the social and emotional development of our students, we will continue to provide resources and programming to sustain mental and physical health, as well as the human connection that is essential to our wellbeing:

  1. Free access to our two psychotherapists via phone or videoconferencing;
  2. Free consults with our physical therapist via TeleHealth;
  3. The Healthy Musician, a seminar class which provides essential information to support healthy practice and performance habits for musicians; and
  4. The creation of opportunities such as online discussion groups or meetings to connect with key members of the community who would normally have interactions with students if on campus, including but not limited to the President, Provost, Dean, and other key administrators and faculty.

We have outlined three goals for students in the Colburn Connected virtual dance program this fall: Engagement, Progression, and Inspiration. Please read below for more information on how these goals will be addressed. Even in the students’ at-home studios, the study of dance is productive and meaningful. There are many ways to keep students connected to their Colburn family in their dance technique and in their personal artistry while staying safely at home.

Important Dates

Late July: Family update meeting
August 24: First day of classes
December 21: Beginning of winter break
January 4: Classes resume
June 5: Last day of classes

Additional Opportunities for Fall Semester

In addition to the enhanced engagement in the virtual dance program curriculum, students may also take advantage of offerings including:

  • Master classes with notable professional artists
  • Opportunities to be part of new choreography
  • Creation of solo dance videos for advanced students
  • Creation of high-quality audition videos for advanced students
  • Increased and expanded cross training classes
  • Access to videos and dance films through the Colburn Library
  • Lectures on personal wellness and professional wellness
  • Incorporating a dance history curriculum to instruct students on impactful artists from all racial backgrounds
Engagement

Every upper-level student will receive a 30-minute virtual private lesson followed by a 15-minute meeting with their Chair or Dean to assess progress and set achievable goals. There will be a follow up private lesson in the spring, and overall class sizes will be small for all levels to increase the amount of personal attention each student receives.

Progression

Each individual student will be made aware of their technical goals for the year and will work with their teachers to accomplish those goals. We will support student progress by increasing their strength and stamina with cross-training opportunities and helping them to create an optimal home studio learning environment.

Inspiration

The faculty and staff of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute will work to inspire students by adding film and choreographic projects for all levels that will provide the students an outlet for their creativity, keep them dancing, and help them develop their artistry in new ways.

Important Dates for Fall 2020

Early August: Family and student update meeting
August 25: Online orientation
August 26: First day of classes
December 12: Last day of classes

Technology

Music Academy students will be supported in learning from home. The individual technology needs of students will be assessed to determine whether a loan of equipment is necessary to assist with high quality audio for lessons or if additional resources need to be allocated to enhance internet connectivity. Directed staff support will be available to assist students and faculty in an evolving online learning process.

Orientation

Online orientation for the fall semester will occur on August 25, but additional connections with students will occur prior to that to build community, ensure familiarity with a new online learning management system that will support academic classes, and to provide webinars on home studio set up to optimize the private lesson experience. Students and families will have individualized meetings with the Provost in advance of the start of the fall semester.

Academic Classes

All academic classes will be managed within a learning management system called Canvas, which will allow students to have a singular, consistent virtual classroom setting. Classes will be carefully scheduled to allow for participation across a variety of time zones, in both synchronous and asynchronous ways to facilitate student learning. Additionally, some limited classes will be offered this summer to maintain student engagement and to help in building community within the student body, including topical seminars, classes in English as a second language for non-native speakers, movement, and music history seminars.  A refocused weekday curriculum will be open to all Music Academy students in the fall.

Performance Classes

The Colburn School is currently exploring new technology platforms that should enhance the teaching and learning experience for applied lessons, with lower latency, higher fidelity and minimal compression in the transfer of the audio. Details will be made available when it is decided that one of these new platforms is a preferred option for faculty and students to use for an improved lesson experience.

Currently, it is not possible to have ensembles take place virtually due to latency issues. The faculty are exploring options to have students engaged in various aspects of chamber music and ensemble training. Similar consideration is being given for performance recitals. Further information will be shared before the start of the semester.

Master class opportunities and other seminar opportunities will be available to Music Academy students as appropriate, in alignment with offerings across the Colburn School.

Wellness

Music Academy students will be able to participate in a number of wellness workshops that will be supportive of their physical and mental wellbeing. Additionally, students will be able to participate in a number of forums with key Colburn administrators during the course of the semester.

The Center for Innovation and Community Impact will continue to offer programs designs to equitably engage students from the local community. The Jumpstart program will shift to an online model focusing on private instruction and most students will receive music theory in the Fall.

The Center has already transitioned its current offerings to an online format, including Summer Encounter 2020, Colburn’s annual arts immersion camp, and the New Venture Competition, where fourteen innovative and creative ideas from Colburn students and alumni are currently vying for the audience choice prize.