Guidance and Suggestions for Music Education

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“Recent efforts in research and standards policy lends credence to an argument that music educators have made for years: that music education helps students in their social and emotional development. Even a cursory glance reveals several compelling explanations why this might be the case: music itself and the activities it involves are laden with *social and emotional processes; music educators often work with the same students for multiple years, positioning them well to positively impact students’ individual growth; all people, especially youth, appreciate some music, and students frequently report that participation in music is their favorite part of school (p. 18).”



  • Suggest focus on percussive, rhythmic, pitched instruments that do not require breath (p. 14).
  • Instruments should not be shared. Percussion students must not share mallets without properly disinfecting them—or students can wear gloves.
  • Students should not play recorders in school until the results of the COVID-19 aerosol study are complete.
  • If teaching recorder, each student must have their own instrument. Recorders must not be kept in a common storage area in the classroom.
  • Consider providing each student with a personal music kit that includes common classroom instruments (rhythm sticks, mallets, etc.).
  • Training and proper PPE must be provided to those who are responsible for cleaning.
  • Music educators may need to be prepared, especially in elementary school settings, to teach “music on a cart,” bringing music education into classrooms to limit student movement throughout the building. 


  • NAfME related musical activities to National Core Standards, pay attention to RESPONDING (p. 15), the focus of this coming fall semester maybe under this category. 
  • Possible strategies to keep students engaged in music-making until “music” instruction begins include (p. 16):
  • Teaching musical fundamentals including note-reading, terminology, etc.
  • Incorporating an introduction to each instrument/voice through virtual means (videos).
  • Exploring other modes of music learning including composition, music technology, popular music, etc.

“The best time to begin a conversation about the budget with your administration is now. There is a lot of uncertainty in the coming months. Planning ahead and letting school administrators know what the potential needs may be will help ease those conversations later once the reality of the coming school year becomes more focused (p. 5).”


  • Students must not share music stands and sheets. Additional sheet music may need to be purchased.
  • Be prepared to work appropriately with students who have pre-existing health conditions and work with school nurses or other health officials to take additional precautions as needed.
  • When possible, conduct instrument demonstration and fitting outdoors.
  • If outdoors is not possible, schedule instrument fittings using 30-60 min sessions with up to 12 students per 60-minute session (one every 5 minutes) per classroom.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, p. 7


  • Read page 6-7 carefully.
  • And p. 16-17.
  • If it is determined that face-to-face or virtual beginning instrumental music instruction is not possible or must be delayed, it may be necessary to advocate administrators to retain existing music educator to staff and temporarily re-allocate the time they are scheduled to teach beginning students to “resection” or team teach middle or high school music classes that exceed the limit for social distancing guidelines (p. 8-9).


  • While choral and general music students will not be singing in person, they can sing and join together to learn singing technique and songs virtually (p. 14).
    • Information about choral teaching can be found on ACDA site (or see below).  
  • Suggest focus on small ensemble and chamber music - with musicians appropriately spaced within current safety guidelines (p. 14).
  • If possible open windows and use fans to circulate the air.
  • If a larger space such as a gymnasium is used - multiple stations may be set up as long as each station is separated from the other stations by a distance ranging from 20-30 feet. A 20 min buffer between sessions is recommended to allow the air to refresh before beginning the next session.
  • If school performances are permitted, they may be streamed online without live audiences. The school must have a proper public performance license (see further info on p 5). 


1) We will not able to teach the same way as we did. We need to adapt our strategies. Even we have to teach less; we still need to do it effectively.

2) We need to focus on students' social and emotional learning. Music is a powerful tool; we can use music as a useful tool to reach this goal.

  • Mask - surgical mask, ideally change every 4-5 hours, or cloth masks. 
  • May consider face shield. Young children should wear face shield, and not masks. 
  • Social distancing, 4-5ft apart.
  • Alcohol wipes (99%) - clean instruments/ hand sanitizer (clean hands).
  • May use disposable gloves.
  • We realize elementary music teacher teaches hundreds of students in one school; it is unrealistic to have a music kit for each student. We suggest teachers focus a few instruments for each grade. Then, rotating the instruments among the classes after some weeks with proper sanitation. Teachers can supplement with body percussion or use everyday classroom items for sounds. Please note that teachers need to sanitize the bars and mallets after each class.


Phase I (***CDC)

***For States and Regions that satisfy the gating criteria.
Page 4.

Page 4.

Phase 2 (***CDC)

***For States and Regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a second time.

Page 5.

Page 5.

Phase 3 (***CDC)

For States and Regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a third time.

Page 6.

ACDA (Choral setting)

Guidelines - Asia

Countries Size of Classes Mask Social Distancing Activities After school program
China 55 Required, once enter the classroom, may take off masks.

One meter apart. Once enter the schools, will stay in their individual classrooms. Students have music in their classrooms.

Singing is allowed.

"Music hours" are used to "catch-up" the curriculum.

***Korea 25 Required One meter apart. Once enter the schools, will stay in their individual classrooms. Students have music in their classrooms. No singing and playing instruments.  Choral, Band & Orchestra - all canceled
Malaysia 15-20 Required One meter apart. Once enter the schools, will stay in their individual classrooms.
No singing and playing instruments.  Choral, Band & Orchestra - all canceled
**Singapore 40 Required one meter apart No singing and playing instruments.  Choral, Band & Orchestra - all canceled
*Taiwan 24-30 Required. If no mask, students need to keep 1.5 m apart.

one meter apart.

Students walk to the music classroom.

Lower elementary - stay in their classrooms.

Singing and playing instruments allowed. When singing and playing instruments, students are 1.5 meter (5ft) apart. Choral, Band & Orchestra - resume

*Taiwan - zero case the past eight weeks.


  • Can my child use a face shield instead of a face mask in school?
    • COVID-19 is spread predominantly through droplets. The design of face shields typically leaves a gap between the face shield and the face which droplets can pass through, whereas masks that are worn closely and completely over the nose and mouth do not have such gaps. Hence, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has just announced that with effect from 2 June, masks will now be required as the default when we are outside our home.


  • The guidelines also require schools to take the temperatures of all students and teachers twice a day. If any coronavirus case occurs, the school will close, and classes will be held online.