Online Learning

After thoughtful and careful consideration, the Colburn School has determined that it will begin the 2020–21 school year online.

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 order to protect our community, the educational activities of the School will remain online until we determine it is safe to fully reopen. We will continue our careful monitoring of the COVID-19 situation and will keep the community updated as we know more.

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


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.


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.


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.