Music Education Recommendations/Suggestions

South Dakota Fall 2020

This document is a collaborative effort from the following organizations:

South Dakota American Choral Directors Association

South Dakota American String Teachers Association

South Dakota Bandmasters Association

South Dakota Music Education Association

South Dakota National Associations of Teachers of Singing

Updated: 7/31/2020

Implementation of any suggestion or recommendation must follow guidelines set forth by the CDC, South Dakota Department of Health and local and district officials. Every district, performing arts group and situation is different, especially considering the wide range of rural and urban settings in our state. We are providing ideas that may be implemented in a variety of settings with cooperation between administrators and instructors.  Please note that this is a live, working document and will evolve as results from the NFHS/CBDNA aerosol study become available.

Music is an important part of every student’s social and emotional well-being, especially during this unsettling COVID-19 crisis.  We provide the unique opportunity for students to be creative and express themselves in a safe way and place not found in other areas of education.  We encourage an open discussion between each music instructor and administrator to determine what scenario best fits their setting. Please reach out to your district’s music department as they can help guide with what is most feasible for your program.  It may be possible to keep ensembles and classes at regular attendance with temporary modifications to curriculum.  While using the same music literature, directors can now focus on history, appreciation, improvisation, performance practice, composition, arranging, literature, and individual technique. Below you can find more guidance and considerations.

If you are seeking specific ideas related to in-person or remote teaching recommendations, please feel free to contact any of the officers of our SD music organizations that are listed at the bottom of this document.  Thank you!

General considerations:

  • Use HEPA filters for all indoor rehearsal spaces.(click here for NFHS/CBDNA risk estimator  document for band and vocal rooms, general classrooms, buses etc)
  •  If it is not  possible to use the music/band room due to class sizes, investigate the ability to use larger spaces, such as the school gym, multipurpose room, theatre, cafeteria, community center, etc.
  • When possible, use the outdoors to rehearse while adhering to the recommended social distance standards.
  • If a larger space or outdoor rehearsal is not possible, consider creating alternative schedules where the group is divided into smaller groups that do not rehearse at the same time.
  • Create performance opportunities in the largest areas of your school and record/stream it for families and the community, etc. While following social-distancing guidelines to include as many students as possible, spread out as needed to put on performances. Multiple performances can be scheduled so all students can be involved. Be sure to follow appropriate copyright laws.
  • Aerosol emissions are reduced by wearing surgical masks when singing and playing wind instruments.  It is recommended that masks be worn by individuals in these situations.  Aerosol emissions are also reduced when wind instruments also have a “mask” or bell cover on/over the instrument.  Please click  here to view the NFHS/CBDNA aerosol study for the latest considerations and recommendations.
  • Please click here for instrument cleaning guidelines from NFHS.

Elementary General Music

  • Please click here for elementary general music considerations.

Middle School Vocal

  • Please click here for middle school vocal considerations.

High School Vocal

  • Please click here for high school vocal considerations.

Beginning Band

  • Please click here for recommendations on fitting/trying out students and selecting an instrument.
  • Please refer to Middle and High School Band recommendations below for recommendations once instruments have been selected and playing has begun.

Middle and High School Band

  • Please click here for middle and high school concert and marching band considerations.

Elementary, Middle and High School Orchestra

  • Please click here for elementary, middle and high school orchestra recommendations.


NFHS Performing Arts COVID-19 Resources (including NFHS/CBDNA aerosol study results, proper instrument cleaning, return to marching band etc):

Arts Ed NJ – September Ready (Recommendations for Performing Arts)

Overlapping face masks for instrumentalists (2 patterns) (scroll approximately ½ way down the page for patterns)

Social Emotional Learning in Music Education Fall 2020

Be Part of the Band – Scott Lang  Customized recruiting material available—Use drop down menu in upper right corner of main page and click on Music EducatorSite

Covid 19 Planning Considerations Guidance for Schools Re-Entry

ACDA COVID 19 Response Committee Report

Bethany Amundson, President, South Dakota Music Education Association

Jon Bakken, Past-President, South Dakota American String Teachers Association

Mike Bossman, President-Elect, South Dakota Music Education Association

Kim Bruguier, Past-President, South Dakota Music Education Association

Mary Cogswell, President-Elect, South Dakota Bandmasters Association

Moriah Gross, President, South Dakota American String Teachers Association

Jonathan Nero, President-Elect, South Dakota American Choral Directors Association

Jeff Patzlaff, President, South Dakota Bandmasters Association

Andrew Robinette, President, South Dakota National Associations of Teachers of Singing

Kaye Waltner, President, South Dakota American Choral Directors Association