Fall 2020 Welcome from Music Department Chair, Karl Hagstrom Miller

I want to send out a big welcome to new and returning students from the UVA Department of Music.  As usual, our department this fall will offer a wide variety of courses, ensembles, and private music lessons.  Students can play or learn about classical music, jazz, bluegrass, popular music, hip hop, computer music and a variety of other styles and techniques.  You can study music theory, history, and ethnography.  You can work on your recording chops. You can begin or continue your voice or instrumental study.  All of our courses are open to majors and non-majors alike.  We are looking forward to a great semester of musical listening, learning, and growth.  And we invite you to participate in our Music Department community. 

As you know, this Fall semester at UVA will be like no other.  You have learned about the safety protocols issued by the University.  Here, I want to share some information about the Fall specific to the Music Department.  If you have any other questions please write music@virginia.edu, and our staff and students will find the answers for you.

First, I want to let you know that all of our offerings—courses, ensembles, and lessons—are available for remote enrollment and learning.  Some of you are planning to return to grounds for the semester.  Others are planning for an online semester.  Everyone will have access to our full pedagogical offerings and can plan on gaining the music credits you need to progress in your music technique, towards graduation, or in completing your major.

For those who will be returning to grounds, things will operate a bit differently in the Music Department.  In-person courses, complete with required masks and social distancing, largely will take place in the OCH auditorium and in some New Cabell Hall classrooms that have been reserved for the department for the semester.  This includes some ensembles and chamber groups that can perform while masked.  University policy this Fall will prohibit any group singing or playing of brass and woodwind instruments indoors.  The UVA team of scientists and engineers responsible for a safe semester has reviewed national studies on the production and circulation of aerosols while singing and playing wind instruments.  The team determined that it is not safe for students or instructors to sing or play wind instruments together indoors.  These ensemble instructors are designing alternate modes of delivering for-credit ensemble courses that will not require group playing but will enable students to proceed in their learning about instrumental and vocal techniques, repertoire, and performance practices that will help students perform better once we can return to in-person music making.  Other instructors are designing solo or group recording projects to be able to make music together while remaining remote.

Our faculty are designing courses that will be delivered in different formats.  Some will be all online.  Others will be a hybrid of in-person and remote participation.  Within each of these options, faculty are developing innovative course designs.  If you would like more information about the format of a particular course, feel free to contact the instructor.

All students enrolled in music courses will have access to solo practice spaces in Old Cabell Hall and New Cabell Hall.  In order to cut down on traffic and waiting times, we will be posting a schedule for the practice rooms for you to reserve a particular time to practice.  Solo singers and wind players will have access to practice rooms along with other instrumentalists.  We will also have spaces reserved for you to take private lessons, either socially-distanced or via Zoom with your instructor.  We encourage those who can practice and take lessons from their residences do so in order to free up our Music Department spaces for those who cannot.  We will also be renting lockers for those who need to keep their instruments in Old Cabell Hall.  More information about locker rental is available on our website.

Finally, I want to urge you to participate in Music Department offerings this semester.  Like always, the department is home to a thriving community of people from across the university who come together—virtually or in person—to listen, learn, and make beautiful sounds.  In these stressful times, music is particularly important.  It calms the spirit, brings joy and discipline, and offers both an escape from daily pressures and an opportunity to engage and reflect the world around us.


If you missed our office hours or just have some questions, we invite you to write music@virginia.edu with any questions.  Our staff will direct your questions to the appropriate individuals.  We can also connect you to one of our student ambassadors who are excited to welcome you to UVA Music and help you settle in.

Links to some pages with information about the fall of 2020: 

Virtual Days on the Lawn with UVA Music Faculty (recording of Zoom meeting)
UVA Arts in the Fall 2020 Town Hall (recording of Zoom Town Hall)

Links to some of our most popular pages:
Ensembles (Fall 2020 Curricular Ensembles)
Lessons and Lessons Faculty
Music Major
Performance Concentration

Handouts on Music Classes, Ensembles & Private Lessons
Academic Classes (PDF)
Performance Ensembles (PDF)
Private Lessons (PDF)



UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu