COVID-19 Updates / FAQs

Please refer to the information below for the latest COVID-19 updates from the Collinsworth School of Music at CBU.


Joseph Bolin Headshot

Dear students, colleagues, and friends,

The faculty and staff of the Collinsworth School of Music at CBU, along with our entire university administration, has worked with great diligence over the past five months to prepare for a fall semester that delivered on-campus face-to-face learning in a safe and effective environment. However, due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and a lack of long-anticipated higher education guidance from our governor, CBU has made the unavoidable decision to move most of our Fall 2020 course offerings online in a remote/synchronous delivery format.

Obviously, this decision carries with it ramifications for our entire CBU community, and among these are changes in delivery strategy for most of our music courses. However, what has NOT changed is our commitment to providing an academic experience for our students that is excellent, effective, engaging, personal, and memorable. In short, I am absolutely confident that we can and will, this fall, successfully advance our mission in the lives of every one of our students this by “inspiring them to the highest standards of musical craft and personal character, preparing them for eternal impact in our world.”

We have crafted this webpage to be a hub of developing information for our students, faculty, and affiliates. It not only articulates specific plans related to each element of our music program but also addresses numerous and important questions that are likely to emerge as you navigate your academic journey for the Fall. To supplement this site, I am planning to host open WebEx forums for all CBU music students from Noon-1PM, Mon-Thu, Aug. 3-6. These forums entitled “Lunches with Dr. Bolin” will be open to all students and parents and can be accessed by clicking here during one of the scheduled meeting times.

Friends, we find ourselves living in extraordinary days; days of substantial challenge, positive change, and numerous unknowns. Certainly, I have never lived through a season when anxiety and unrest grip our culture as it does today. Yet, it is in the midst of these unprecedented circumstances that the value and necessity of our shared mission become all the more vivid. Truly, like never before, our world needs individuals who can harness the incredible language of music to extend hope to a world in need -- to mourn with each other and to set a platform for healing -- to unite together and advocate for truth and justice -- to give voice to our inexpressible feelings and inspire our culture to noble, beautiful, and transcendent ideals -- and most importantly, to speak eternal life to those who need to encounter the embodiment of hope, the Lord Jesus Christ. That vision of utilizing music as a “language of hope” is an ideal to which I feel led to call our entire SOM community—students and faculty—to explore together this fall. And I am humbled to enter the conversation in a spirit of active listening, self-reflection, respect, and love. The opportunity to impact, educate, and transform our world through the power of the arts has always been the heartbeat of the mission of the Collinsworth School, and it is why we are doing all we can to facilitate its successful advancement this fall, one student at a time!

I love you all and so look forward to embarking on a new chapter of your academic journey in just a few short weeks. May God’s protection and blessings rest on each of you until then.

With great optimism,

Dr. Joseph E. Bolin, Dean


The Fall 20 semester will begin on Monday, Aug. 24 with the last day of fall finals being on Tuesday, Nov. 24. 

revised July 5, 2020

Due to the new Fall 20 semester dates and the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we have decided to CANCEL OUR PRE-SEMESTER REHEARSAL CAMP WEEK for the Fall 2020 semester.

revised Aug. 1, 2020


The act of singing is considered a “super-spreader” in the vocal/medical community due to its production of “small particles/aerosols” that hang in the air and can build up and circulate in a poorly ventilated space. When singing, these particles are generated at an enhanced rate from speaking, roughly comparable to a sustained cough. Along with the existing research, several recent anecdotal accounts of large COVID-19 spreads being traced back to indoor choir rehearsals have been documented.

It is of note that large particles (air thrust) generated in singing fall to the floor within half a meter/less than 2 feet. So, with proper social distancing (6 feet), the large particles are not a risk factor, but rather the aerosols that can hang in the air and, in an unventilated space, can spread up to approximately 16 feet, potentially infecting others in said proximity.

Because even face masks and face shields have been proven ineffective in arresting small particles (aerosols) from spreading in a confined space, not to mention the risks they themselves carry for active singers, solutions for safely facilitating collective and individual singing lay in the ability to increase ventilation in the performance/rehearsal environment. These solutions include moving outdoors or, if indoors, creating conditions for expansive separation between “singer and audience” or between “singer and singer” and increased ventilation and/or sanitation of the space.

revised Aug. 1, 2020


There is little to no COVID-19 spread risk associated with the playing of string and percussive instruments (such as pianos/keyboards, guitars, timpani, strings, drums, and other percussion) as long as basic sanitation is employed. However, in regard to wind instruments, risk does exist due to aerosol spray. Developing research suggests that measures such as 6-8 ft. separation between instruments, specialized instrument coverings, and enhanced sanitation measures are effective in mitigating spread risks within an enclosed performance or rehearsal setting.

revised Aug. 1, 2020


All CBU ensembles will be active for Fall 2020.

The Fall 20 ensemble experience at CBU will integrate the following components to achieve an engaging, communal, and yes, virtual performance environment for all students:

  • Full, chamber, and personal virtual rehearsals featuring challenging repertoire specific to the style of each ensemble.
  • Various virtual performance experiences throughout the Fall semester including produced video deliverables for distribution on institutional and social media platforms. Professional production specialists are being contracted to produce each virtual performance experience.
  • All-ensemble participation in a SOM-wide Master Teacher Series featuring all SOM conductors entitled, Fundamentals of Professional Ensemble Musicianship. 
  • In conjunction with the Master Teacher Series, each ensemble will host interactive discussion forums surrounding the craft of ensemble performance, technique, participation, pedagogy, style, and philosophy.
  • Activities designed to build community and foster interpersonal connection and support within each ensemble.

revised Aug. 1, 2020

All applied instruction (private lessons) will be delivered remotely via a series of specialized virtual platforms. To greatly enhance the remote lesson experience, a Blue Yeti Microphone is being purchased for every student and faculty member engaged in private instruction. These microphones will be available for pick-up in the SOM office for those living on campus, and for those living off-campus, will be shipped to their home address.


revised Aug. 1, 2020

Performance Juries:

End of semester juries will be performed via video and submitted to each student's applied instructor for committee faculty assessment and final grading.

Performance Leveling (for music majors only):

Advancement in performance leveling will be considered for each student by applied faculty panels when assessing the student's jury submission.

revised Aug. 1, 2020

Students who must perform senior and graduate recitals in the Fall of 2020 will have the following two performance options upon passing a mid-semester faculty hearing (hosted live face-to-face or via synchronous video):

  1. Submit a video recital with a SOM provided or acquired accompanist (if applicable) to be performed at a remote location convenient to the student. Video recitals will be assessed by faculty and a final grade assigned.
  2. Perform a live recital on campus (in HMUS 108) to be viewed by a limited and pre-scheduled live audience (due to capacity restrictions) and streamed real-time for the entire community to enjoy. Live recitals will be assessed by faculty and a final grade assigned. (University approval pending on this option)

revised Aug. 1, 2020

  • All applied vocal students, other than ones performing a senior or grad recital, will use pre-produced accompaniment tracks generated either by a subscription resource (Appcompanist, iRealPro, etc.) or a CBU piano major.
  • All applied instrumental students, other than ones performing a senior or grad recital, will generally prepare for and perform their end of semester juries without the use of a live accompanist or accompaniment tracks. In the event that an accompaniment track is needed for a particular instrumental major, the track request can be made to Prof. Jennifer Cruz. 
  • Applied students, not giving a recital, who need an accompaniment track but are unable to acquire it from a professional service, may request a track be created by contacting Prof. Jennifer Cruz with all pertinent information. If approved, Prof. Cruz will utilize either a student piano major (with collaborative duties assigned for scholarship) or the SOM staff accompanist to prepare the requested track. A SOM practice room has been prepared as a recording studio for accompaniment track creation. Recording sessions can be scheduled through the school of music office by contacting Courtney Ladd.
  • For senior and grad recitalists, staff accompanist, Lara Urrutia, will be assigned as their principle accompanist for the Fall semester. Lara will be available to create performance tracks, rehearse live with recital students in certain controlled environments, and perform live with those students who plan to offer their recitals in a live format on the CBU campus. Accompanist details related to student recitals will be coordinated through recital classes.
  • Piano students who have been assigned a collaborative duty (as described above) will coordinate with Prof. Cruz for specific details relating to their assignments and/or track production.

revised Aug. 18, 2020

All lecture-based music courses teaching theory, musicianship, history, methods, and literature will be transitioned to a live/synchronous format for the Fall 20 semester.

These courses are being reimagined and restructured to optimize their effectiveness in the online format and will all feature an integration of the following:

  • Live/synchronous teaching during scheduled class periods for active learning and engagement
  • Additional snackable learning videos and content exposures
  • Readings, activities, projects, and assignments
  • Individual assessments and personal feedback/coaching between student and professor
  • Office hours for personal attention between faculty and individual students

All lecture-based courses will utilize Blackboard to provide the best of both synchronous engagement and module-based learning. Additionally, all of our SOM labs (Commercial Music lab, computer lab, piano lab) will be available for student use and faculty/staff will be working from campus and available, as always, to meet with, counsel, advise, and tutor students in their coursework this Fall.

revised Aug. 4, 2020

Last year, the Collinsworth School of Music embarked upon the pioneering a new opera program. This initiative culminated in the presentation of a Spring Opera Gala featuring current and former CBU students along with professional opera singers and our 2019-2020 artist in residence, international operatic tenor, Bruce Sledge.

The School of Music has been making plans to consummate its burgeoning opera program with a full-scale production of one of the world's most beloved operas, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) by W. A. Mozart, in the spring of 2021.

These plans are continuing to move forward and casting, workshops, staging, and production courses/preparation will continue in the Fall of 2020 towards a full opera production in the spring of 2021. Should the limitations surrounding COVID-19 linger into the spring of 21, the opera production will be produced and performed via a virtual platform.

revised Aug. 4, 2020

While all commercial courses will be offering in a live/synchronous format, students will able to access and utilize the NEW Commercial Music Laboratory coming this fall to the SOM.

Effective this fall, the School of Music is converting its largest and most celebrated space - Room 101 (UCO rehearsal room) - into a Commercial Music Laboratory for our commercial music studio production and performance majors. This studio lab will feature well over a million dollars worth of state of the art studio production equipment specifically designed to facilitate hands-on student learning in the art of commercial music production. This space will function as a lab and will be available throughout the semester to commercial music students for personal student projects, performances, and recordings. Social distancing, face coverings, and other enhanced sanitation protocols will be observed to ensure student safety.

revised Aug. 4, 2020

Worship Arts and Ministry Majors will continue to participate in weekly Worship Forum sessions. These forums, hosted online, will continue to feature guest speakers, class discussions, and worship leadership masterclasses and practica.

WAM student internships will continue to be assigned/coordinated for all WAM students in the Fall 20 semester.

revised Aug. 4, 2020

Due to our inability to perform live for one another during the Fall 20 semester, the Performance Forum course will be dedicated to weekly teaching sessions with Dean Bolin. In these virtual forums, Dr. Bolin will unpack specific life habits that are essential for personal and professional success and host engaging conversations surrounding the fall semester's SOM theme of "music: a language of hope."

revised Aug. 4, 2020

Fall 20 Testing Strategy

The Piano Proficiency exam is typically offered during Rehearsal Camp prior to the beginning of the fall semester, and during finals week in both fall and spring semesters. Students may elect to perform the entire exam or selected skills during this time. For students seeking the Bachelor of Music degree, the entire Piano Proficiency exam (15 points) must be passed in order for the student to be eligible for Registration in MUS 431 (Senior Recital class) and for graduation.

In lieu of Rehearsal Camp week, the Piano Proficiency Exam will instead be offered on Thursday, August 20, from 10:00 AM-3 PM. These exams will be proctored live/ synchronous (face-to-face) in a virtual format (i.e., WebEx, Zoom, Facetime, etc.).  Students who plan to attempt any part of the Proficiency Exam are encouraged to sign up.  For more details, click here to access the 20-21 Piano Proficiency Guidelines.

Scheduling Details

  1. Click here to sign up for a 15-minute slot on  Please refer to any specific instructions to properly secure an exam time.
  2. Click here to download the Summer 2020 Proficiency packet on Box.  This packet serves as your test materials, and includes a description of the skills and examples you will be expected to play. The requirements are different in each division, so please sure to download the proper packet.
  3. Prior to your scheduled exam, your assigned proctor will send you an invitation link to their meeting room – on WebEx, Zoom, Facetime, or another online platform.
  4. Keep in mind that there are three (3) Divisions of Piano Proficiency: Taking the Piano Proficiency Exam on August 20th is not required.
    • Division I is for Bachelor of Music (BM) majors whose primary instrument is piano.
    • Division II is for BM majors whose primary instrument is not piano (there are separate packets for Instrumentalist and Vocalists in Div. II)
    • Division III is for Worship Arts and Ministry (WAM) majors.
      • [Note:  For Commercial majors, please contact Tom Brooks for more info.]
  5. Taking the Piano Proficiency Exam on August 20th is not required.
  6. It is being offered as an opportunity for students who want to pass some or all (15) of the required skills. Those students who pass eight (8) skills may move on to Class Piano II or Class Piano for Worship Arts II.
  7. You should only attempt those skills for which you have adequately prepared. Please announce to your exam proctor which skills you are attempting before you play them.
  8. Questions - Contact Professor Jennifer Cruz ( or the SOM Office.

revised Aug. 8, 2020


The Collinsworth School of Music is committed to doing whatever it takes to provide you -- our students -- with the best possible academic experience this fall, no matter the modality of delivery method. We truly care about you. We believe in you. And the privilege of investing in your future constitutes the principal drive of our faculty and staff. We are collectively committed to preparing you for success and impact in the world, no matter the cost and regardless of the circumstances.

Other turn-key academic options, while on the surface may seem more economical, will not provide the level of individual attention, personal mentorship, spiritual and emotional support, and quality of academic cultivation that CBU is committed to providing you during this unprecedented season of unrest and uncertainly. As you consider all your options for this fall, as prudence demands, be careful to consider your long game objectives, and how the quality of educational experience that you engage in now will have a lasting impact on your future goals and professional objectives.

revised Aug. 1, 2020

One of the most difficult elements of living through the past few months has been the isolation that has been so prevalent in our culture. This has been especially apparent amongst Generation Z (those ages 5-25), of whom, a recent survey found, two-thirds expressed that the pandemic had increased their anxiety and/or depression due to the "unknown," social distancing, and self-isolation. This is not surprising. God expressed in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good nor natural for individuals to live in isolation. Humans were made for community! And, in these unprecedented circumstances, there has never been a time where community has been more important  -- especially those who are still developing and preparing for success in life.

One of CBU's distinctives is, anchored in a setting of academic excellence, an intentional cultivation of authentic community around a spiritual worldview. Now, more than ever, young people who are preparing for life need this network of support, fellowship, and guidance during their formative years. If there was ever a time to lean into a network of fellowship and spiritual support, it's now. Certainly, it is a consideration when deciding where to plant during this continued season of unprecedented stress and anxiety.

revised Aug. 3, 2020

Music is a unique course of study amongst its peer disciplines. It’s not like English or some other standard college major where the first two years of study are dedicated to general education classes and the majority of degree-specific courses are taken in the third and fourth years. Music courses are integrated into every semester (freshman to senior) of the 4-year university experience.

And, If you take time off during those four years, you risk jeopardizing that continued progress toward your four-year graduation. It is important to note that not all music courses are offered every semester, and, if you exit the program for a semester or year, you will likely, upon return, find yourself in a prolonged scenario (additional semesters or years) in order to take all the music courses necessary to graduate.

Can courses be transferred from one institution back to CBU? The answer is yes -- if they have been approved by the registrar's office and listed in CBU's current articulation agreements. A listing of these agreements can be found on the Inside CBU website at 

At the end of the day, it is important, if you are considering taking a gap semester/year with another institution, to ensure that the courses you are taking will transfer back to CBU when you return. In addition, it is important to ensure that the disruption of your CBU course sequence will not demand an extension of additional semesters/years onto your academic calendar.

For information and personal counseling regarding academic sequences and institutional variances, please contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Guy Holliday, at

revised Aug. 3, 2020

One last consideration when contemplating whether or not a gap semester/year is advantageous to you is financial in nature.

This subject is not without complexity and best unpacked via a series of Q&A below.

  • Will I have to pay an outfit fee this semester? Answer: No.
    • No SOM outfit fees will be charges to CBU students in the fall of 2020.
  • Will I still retain my music scholarship if I’m not a full-time student? Answer: It will be renegotiated.
    • Students who choose to decrease their unit load to less than 12 units will have their scholarships amended until such a time as the student resumes full-time status with the university. This process will be handled through the office of the Dean of the School of Music.
  • If I take a gap semester/year away from CBU, will my current music scholarship be there for me if/when I return? Answer: It cannot be guaranteed.
    • While my heart as the Dean (this is Dr. Bolin) would be to reinstate your scholarship along with your return, the reality is, given the fluidity of the university's financial circumstances, it cannot be guaranteed. Please understand, this is not because I’m trying to play hard-ball in any way, but because I owe you an honest answer. As is the case with all institutions in our society, things are incredibly fluid right now. The truth is that, depending on how things turn out this fall, the School of Music may or may not have the same scholarship support we’ve had in the past, and, in the case of a reduced budget, would need to prioritize the scholarships of existing students. Therefore, by necessity, all scholarships held by students who choose to leave CBU for a semester or longer, will be reassessed upon re-entry, and cannot be guaranteed to equal the original amount offered.
  • If I remain at CBU as a full-time student this fall, will my current music scholarship be guaranteed in the future? Answer: Yes.
    • The university is fully aware of the commitment that both student and institution made to one another upon the student's entry to CBU. Furthermore, CBU and the Collinsworth School of Music is committed to fulfilling its scholarship obligations to all its students out of a spirit of responsibility and integrity.

revised Aug. 3, 2020


Answer: Yes.

All practice rooms will be available for music students during the Fall 2020 semester. Practice rooms will open on Monday, September 1, and will operate on a scheduling system. Students can sign-up for a one-time or recurring practice room reservation starting on Wednesday, August 26. The link to sign up will be posted here on Wednesday, August 26.

Enhanced sanitation protocols are being implemented throughout the building, including all practice rooms, to ensure a clean and safe environment between student use of these spaces.

Tentative practice room hours (will be finalized by August 26)
Weekdays: 8AM - midnight
Weekends: Noon - midnight

revised Aug. 20, 2020

Answer: Yes.

Both the piano lab and the computer lab will be available for music students during the Fall 2020 semester. These labs will open on Monday, September 1, and will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, up to the maximum capacity of the lab. If a room is full, students can elect to be added a waiting list and will be called as soon as space opens for them in the lab.

Enhanced sanitation protocols are being implemented throughout the building, including both labs, to ensure a clean and safe environment for these spaces.

Tentative lab hours (will be finalized by August 26)
Weekdays: 8AM - midnight
Weekends: Noon - midnight
*except when classes are being taught from these spaces

revised Aug. 20, 2020

Answer: Yes.

All School of Music faculty and staff will be working from campus and will be available, as always, to meet with, mentor, counsel, advise, and tutor students in their coursework throughout the fall semester.

revised Aug. 3, 2020

Answer: Yes.

The new commercial music lab will be available for commercial music majors to work on assigned and personal projects. Student access will be coordinated through individual appointments. Enhanced daily sanitation protocols will be implemented to ensure a safe environment for students and faculty.

revised Aug. 1, 2020

Answer: Yes.

Other than just a few very large instruments, we are prepared to ensure that you have access to an instrument if it is needed for an ensemble or for a techniques class. If you are in need of an instrument this Fall, please use this link to submit your request.

revised Aug. 3, 2020

Answer: Performances -- Yes. Live Concerts -- No.

While each ensemble will prepare and perform repertoire this fall, our ensemble performances will be virtual experiences utilizing remote and video modalities. Due to state safety guidelines and the unique spread risks associated with corporate singing and wind playing in an enclosed space, all live concert experiences for the Fall 20 semester have been canceled.

revised Aug. 1, 2020

Answer: No.

Due to local and state guidelines, CBU has arrested plans for on-campus community activities. Therefore, this year's production of A CBU Christmas will be postponed until December 2021.

However, the SOM is looking into the possibility of producing a "Video Christmas Card" for the community that will be distributed on online and social media platforms and feature all CBU students/ensembles.

revised Aug. 1, 2020

Answer: No.

Due to the unique structure of fall ensemble courses, outfits will not be purchased for the Fall 20 semester. Therefore, no outfit fee will be charged to students.

The university is currently in the process of refunding/removing this fee from all music student accounts.

revised Aug. 1, 2020