Please refer to the information below to get MSU College of Music guidelines and policies regarding COVID-19.

Link to Info from MSU

Link to info from State of Michigan

Responses and solutions to situations that arise due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 are changing regularly, and the College of Music is working to keep answers to frequently asked questions updated. If you are a student, faculty or staff at MSU, please check your MSU email address frequently and carefully for updates. 

[updated April 15, 2020, 6:35 pm]

MSU Music FAQ for COVID-19

Are performances canceled at the College of Music?

All ticketed and free events open the public, including guest lectures and masterclasses, etc., are canceled through the remainder of the semester. For patrons who have purchased tickets, please see the message from the dean.

Classes and Ensembles  |  Studios and Applied Lessons  |  Juries, Orals, Defenses and Comps  |  Recitals  |  Advising  |  Facilities  |  Health and Safety  |  Work and Travel  |  Other Policies  |  Admissions  | Contact

Classes and Ensembles


Are classes and ensembles canceled?

No, classes are not canceled. As of noon on March 11, academic classes transitioned to online instruction through the remainder of the semester.

What is the plan for large ensemble rehearsals and performances?

All large ensemble rehearsals and performances will be suspended through the end of the semester. Each conductor will determine additional assignments and the basis on which grades will be assigned for the semester.

Studios and Applied Lessons

Will studio classes be cancelled?

Studio Classes cannot be offered in-person, but they may be offered remotely at the discretion of the instructor.

How will applied lessons be handled?

Applied lessons may NOT be taught in ANY one-on-one environment. Students may NOT be taught off-campus (i.e. in faculty homes, etc.). Lessons can be delivered via Zoom, Facetime, Skype or another remote platform.

Zoom is free to all MSU faculty, staff, and students using your MSU NetID and password. Information and tutorials on using Zoom are located at the link provided.

All music facilities are currently locked and inaccessible to students. Any student who is without an instrument for practice or lessons (piano, percussion, etc.) should consult with their applied teacher.

Are in-person lessons possible?

In-person lessons may NOT be taught in ANY one-on-one environment. Students may NOT be taught off-campus (i.e. in faculty homes, etc.). Lessons can be delivered via Zoom, Facetime, Skype or another remote platform..

Will collaborative pianists be available?

Assigned collaborative pianists are not available for in-person lessons or rehearsals. The Piano Area has allowed the option for accompanists to record piano parts and send them to professors and students.

Juries, Orals, Defenses and Comps

What about juries?

Each area will develop a jury protocol that serves the needs of students, ensures no one-on-one contact, and maintains the integrity of degree programs. More information from each area will be forthcoming.

How should I handle my MM Orals/DMA/MA or PhD defense?

MM Orals/DMA/MA or PhD defenses must be administered via Zoom or remote platform. The performance portion of a lecture recital defense will be performed without a pianist or with virtual accompaniment. The actual ‘performance’ of a lecture recital, following the defense, may be in any venue. No audience is necessary, but students must submit a recording and program to the Graduate Office.

How will DMA comprehensive exams be administered?

DMA comprehensive exams will be administered virtually on Saturday, April 11, the previously scheduled date. All students who signed up for the exams have been notified via email. Any student who intends to take the exams and was not notified should contact Susan Hoekstra immediately.


Will recitals be held?

No. All recitals are canceled.

What about required BA, BM and MM degree recitals?

Any student who intended to graduate in May or August and was required to perform a recital to complete their degree (BA, BM in performance and music education and MM students in performance) will have the recital requirement waived. The supervising faculty member must complete this form and submit to the respective associate dean.

What about DMA recitals?

For DMA students who have passed the pre-recital hearing, the recital requirement will be considered to have been met by the hearing and no performance will be necessary.

For DMA students who were planning to do a solo recital this semester but have not yet passed a pre-recital hearing, the following protocol is available in an effort to avoid lengthening the time-to-degree:

  • Pre-recital hearings will be waived.
  • Collaborative pianists may not be used, with the exception of a family member or person with whom the student resides. Electronic accompaniments may be used, or the repertoire may be performed without the accompaniment. DMA students in piano must use a grand piano.
  • With the approval of the teacher the student may submit a video performance of the repertoire to the applied teacher and others whom the area designates as the hearing committee (minimum of teacher + 2 faculty).
  • Applied teachers should send a single email to the Graduate Office and to the other committee members with a statement indicating whether or not the recital has been approved. Committee members should be instructed to hit REPLY ALL to indicate their approval, in place of a signature.
  • Students should submit the program to the Main Office in the usual manner. The Main Office will continue to produce programs for archival purposes. Once the recital has been passed, students should submit the recording to the Graduate Office in the usual manner.

What about DMA chamber music recitals?

DMA chamber music recitals may not be performed. If the pre-recital hearing has been passed, the recital requirement will be considered to have been met by the hearing and no performance will be necessary.

For this semester only, the Piano Area has developed a separate protocol for chamber music recitals and collaborative recitals. Please contact your applied teacher for information.


Can I still make an appointment with my advisor?

Yes, but in person advising will NOT be done. Students have the option for advising via phone or Zoom.

What if I have questions about scholarship renewals?

Contact the Admissions office at or (517) 355-2140.

What is the Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory grading option for Spring 2020?

The Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory grading option for Spring 2020 is a one-time grading option introduced in an effort to alleviate some of the stress students are experiencing during this challenging time. This policy gives most students the option of selecting an ungraded designation for their transcript, should they select to do so. No one is required to take this option. More information on this Spring 2020 grading policy, as well as FAQs, may be found here.

Am I allowed to take an incomplete if I am unable to complete a class under the current circumstances?

Incompletes may be allowed in certain circumstances, but you need to check with your teacher, primary professor or the chair of your area first.

What if I have questions about my career, finances or summer plans?

A COVID-19 Career and Funding FAQ For Musicians has been created by our Running Start program.


Will the Music Building and Music Practice Building be open?

No. The Music Building and Music Practice Building are closed. Only faculty with a remote teaching-related need will be allowed to enter the facilities.

If my presence falls under essential operations what forms do I need to fill out?

To ensure compliance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, we have provided a Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Workplace Health Screening form to be used by faculty, staff and students involved in essential operations EACH TIME you are visiting an MSU-affiliated facility during the affected time period.

Can I still access practice rooms?


Can I still access the computer labs?


Will libraries remain open?

The Main Library is closed. Virtual services are still offered. No late fees will be assessed on overdue interlibrary loans. Renewals of MSU library books can be done online with no limits. The same is true for the Music Library. Please contact the Reference Desk if you need assistance.

Are the Community Music Schools open?

No, although faculty continue to teach some lessons through various on-line platforms. Click here to get the latest information about the CMS - East Lansing location and the CMS - Detroit location.

Health and Safety

How can I get counseling if I need to speak with someone during this time?

The MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services office (CAPS) has modified their operations, but they are still available to support students in need. Details can be found on the CAPS web site, or contact your academic advisor for more campus resources.

What do I do if I need to talk to someone to get help right away?

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) launched a statewide mental health hotline. Calling it a "warmline," the intent is to connect individuals with certified peer support specialists who have lived experiences of behavioral health issues, trauma or personal crises, and are trained to support and empower the callers. The warmline will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753).

Individuals in crisis, including those considering suicide, are urged to contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 at 800-985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-8255.

What if I need more food?

The MSU Student Food Bank welcomes MSU students and visiting scholars to utilize their program at no cost. Until further notice, the MSU Food Bank will be open by appointment only. Students are allowed 1 visit per week. Click on this link to register for a slot during their variable open hours.  (

If utilizing the MSU Food Bank is not an option for you, and you are in dire need of food, please contact Dr. David Rayl via email (

Work and Travel

Should I return to my home country or remain in the U.S.?

OISS website: 

It is your decision to go home or to stay here in East Lansing, but it is important to consider the impact this may have on your immigration status. If you choose to return home, please contact an OISS advisor.

  • If you choose to leave the U.S. and return to your home country, please check the expiration date of your visa, as there will be delays in visa processing due to the closure of embassies and consulates.
  • If you are completing your studies in May 2020 and wish to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), please note that you are not eligible to apply for OPT while outside of the United States. If you want to apply for OPT, you must do so before you depart the U.S. OISS remains open and can help you with your OPT application. Please schedule a virtual advising appointment to discuss this process.
  • If you are departing the U.S. and need a travel signature or if you have immigration-related questions, please contact OISS. You can schedule an on-line appointment or speak with an advisor during Live Chat Advising hours from 1:00-3:00 pm.

If I leave now and am out of the U.S for longer than 5 months, will this impact my immigration status?

OISS website: 

Current immigration regulations state that a temporary absence of more than five months that is unconnected to study, makes you ineligible for re-entry to the U.S. It is unclear how this rule will apply to current circumstances, but OISS recommends that students who depart now plan to return within five months, approximately mid-August 2020. OISS is seeking further clarification on this issue from the government and will continue to provide further updates on this matter and other issues related to your visa status.

If I am a student in work-study, do I have to stay on campus to earn my tuition dollars?

Emergency funding through the U.S. Department of Education is available for work study students who are returning home and are unable to work as a result of the impacts of the coronavirus. However, students should first contact their employer and MSU’s financial aid office to access those funds. Students can call the financial aid office at 517-353-5940.

Are study-abroad programs canceled?

Effective March 12, MSU has suspended all academic year 2019-20, spring 2020 and summer 2020 education abroad programs. This suspension also includes 2020 First-Year Seminars Abroad. The Office for Education Abroad is communicating directly with all impacted students, program directors, and partners. Students currently abroad have been advised to depart for the U.S. immediately and no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Visit the Office for Education Abroad web site for information on possible refunds.

What resources are available to help me work remotely?

MSU Central Human Resources has an FAQ with answers to the most commonly asked work-related questions. Access the HR FAQ here. This information covers all MSU employees including faculty, executive management, academic and support staff, GA’s, temp and on-call employees.

Other Policies

What if I can’t go home or MSU is my home?

Going home or not is a choice each student needs to make individually for their situation. MSU recognizes home means different things to different Spartans, and not all have a permanent home they can return to. If you plan to stay in on-campus housing, please complete the Intent to Stay form in your My Housing account at It will help with safety and security on campus if the university knows who is intending to stay on campus.

What about commencement?

All commencements have been postponed.


Who can I contact if my situation is unique and I need clarification or special assistance?

Start with your primary professor or the teacher of your class. If there are issues not being addressed or for which you still have questions, undergraduate students should contact Associate Dean Michael Kroth or and graduate students should contact Associate Dean David Rayl.

Who can I contact if my question is not addressed in this FAQ?

The full list of College of Music staff can be found here.


What do I need to know if I am a student currently or planning to apply to the MSU College of Music?

MSU has canceled all in-person admissions events through May 1, 2020. This includes any individual meetings with professors that might have been scheduled directly with that individual. The MSU College of Music apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and assures every applicant that it is still very committed to connecting with applicants and their families about becoming a Spartan. For questions and concerns, please contact the College of Music Admissions Office.


Please refer to the Michigan State University site with the latest coronavirus information,