COVID Policies: Performance Faculty FAQ

Thank you to all of our performance faculty for everything that you do, and for your understanding and flexibility during this difficult time. We hope these answers to frequently asked questions might be useful as you develop your remote lesson plans. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions!

Answers from Department Chair Wendy Heller

Will I get paid if my students are unable or unwilling to do their lessons?

As long as you are willing to teach the rest of the semester and are making a good faith effort to do so, we want to continue paying you for your contracted amount of lessons. If you decide that you would prefer not to teach under these circumstances, we will adjust your appointment accordingly. We may end up with a situation in which some lessons for non-seniors are postponed until the fall either instead of or in addition to regular lessons. We just have to see how it goes. But our main goal is to keep your income as steady as possible, as long as you are making the effort to teach.

What if technology failures make it impossible for me to teach?

We urge you to work with your students to come up with viable solutions. If you have questions about using Zoom or other platforms, please touch base with Michael Langley
. If you are having trouble with your own WiFi it might be possible to use one of the Woolworth or Effron studios, as long as you do so alone. You may want to try to some of the other solutions suggested below.

If students are willing to come to my house or meet me at Princeton, may I teach them?

No. Failure to adhere to this rule, strictly enforced for everyone's safety, will jeopardize future employment at Princeton. No exceptions.

Are there alternatives to synchronous, online lessons?

Yes, and I urge you to think creatively about the possibilities. You can certainly have students record excerpts and then provide them with comments and criticisms. You might also explore other possibilities: group classes, either synchronous or asynchronous (recorded) might be a great way to get your students together to either talk about repertory, technique, or even play for one another. This is also an opportunity to have your students do some analytical or historical research about the pieces they study (ok, I’m a musicologist, but I still think it matters), do comparative listening, keep practice journals, etc. If possible, think of this as an opportunity to engage with them in a different way. You might have students work together in pairs on line; or start an online community for your group (see below about that).

What about guest lecturers?

I’m so glad you asked! I’m sure many of you are concerned about the many freelance musicians who are being negatively impacted by cancellations. If you would like to organize a studio class and invite a colleague to come and speak, we will be happy to pay for that. I’m assuming a $250 honorarium for most guests. This would be a great opportunity to help support your friends who need extra help now if you feel that they have something important to contribute.

I know how to teach a single student online – how do I teach a class?

We’re prepared for this, too! To help you with this, I have asked Reba Wissner (, a musicologist, musician, and instructional designer, with broad pedagogical experience, to serve as a departmental consultant during this period. If you tell her what you would like to accomplish with your students, she will help you figure out how to do it! I urge you to reach out to her. If you want to set up online communities, video sharing, etc. Reba can help you!

Are there other resources for learning about online teaching?

I’m sure you’ve all begun to hear from colleagues about online teaching, as the entire world is contemplating these issues. We have put together a folder on Google Drive. As we gather more resources, we will add them to this folder. You might also want to check into The College Music Society home page as they are sharing resources as well. I will also be asking your area supervisors (Gabriel, Rudresh, and Michael) to keep in touch about resources specific to your areas. Please stay tuned!

I am teaching lessons for credit – is there anything special I need to do?

Obviously lessons for credit are hampered by the same constraints, but the expectations need to be higher regardless. We will be doing virtual juries at some point; but for students who are getting credit for lessons (and faculty who are paid more to teach lessons for credit) the stakes are higher. We need you to find ways to connect with your students and given them substantive material, be it listening and reading assignments, online communities, etc.

What if I am unable to complete 10 hours of lessons for each student?

At the end of the semester, we will be asking you to complete an evaluate form for your students; this will also give you the opportunity to indicate how many lessons or lesson equivalents you missed. At that time we make adjustments in billing and/or arrange for makeups, if possible. We trust that everyone will eventually fulfill their obligations, at least as long as the students are willing and eager to do so.

What if I am sick or feeling overwhelmed with other issues?

Please reach out to me, Gabriel, Michael, Rudresh, or Ryan. We are here to help!