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Secondary Ensemble Considerations (Return to Music Resources)

By Dr. James Weaver and Team on May 10, 2021 Print

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Secondary Ensemble Considerations

Depending on how your school and schedule will be structured, ensemble music educators will need to consider several areas of adjustment for Fall, 2021.

Curriculum and course offerings will need to focus on basics and skills needed for successful large ensemble rehearsal and performance, and in some cases a variety of entry-level courses for instrumental and vocal music at all levels (i.e., elementary, middle, and high school).

Scheduling at the middle and high school level will need modification to include more beginning and intermediate level offerings. This can include music educators with lower enrollment numbers in upper level courses supporting additional beginning opportunities or different kinds of music classes for students

Class sizes may change due to co-horting. This may lead to smaller ensembles, fewer or shorter meetings, and unbalanced instrumentation.  Consider resources from the Creative Repertoire Initiative, the Connecticut Music Educators Association’s Virtual Ensemble Project, or others with “flex ensemble” resources.

Concerts may not yet be allowed, so alternative methods of performance and sharing should be considered. Some examples may be live performance broadcasts from the classroom, hosting a classroom solo-ensemble festival, or individual projects shared with parents.

Teachers could consider prioritizing individual skills over ensemble skills, including etudes, recording, music analysis, and creativity (improvisation/composition).

Teachers may also prioritize the foundational elements of a comprehensive music curriculum. These include a broad range of standards across the artistic processes of creating and responding. Improvisation, arranging, composing, analyzing music, and evaluating performances provide fertile ground for engaging music instruction.

Seating Charts

It will be important to have assigned spots for your students. This will ensure proper spacing and should you need to contact trace, you will have a record of who was in proximity to whom.


Place different colored stickers on the floor that identify the choir’s spacing. Example, 7th grade choir: Blue dots, 8th grade choir: purple

Place the same colored sticker in their music folder

You could assign numbers on the dots and each student is assigned a number


Guidance for Singing in Our Schools

Aerosol Study Results and Videos