Preliminary Results Released – Aerosol Study

Last night, Steve Selfridge and I had the chance to view a webinar on the preliminary findings from the much-anticipated aerosol study.    I highly encourage everyone to take a look at the full preliminary report.  While it does go pretty deep into the science, the visualizations and videos that are included are quite helpful.
While this is a scientific study, these are just preliminary results and have not been peer reviewed yet.   The results were released in an effort to aid schools across the country and world in their return to school plans for the fall.  The first wave of results focused just on wind instruments.    The next wave of results at the end of July will focus on singing, acting, and playing general music instruments such as recorders.
  • Masking should be utilized by all students and staff in a rehearsal environment.    Masks that have a slit for mouthpiece access would be preferred.
  • The 6′ social distancing space should be employed as suggested by the CDC.
    • Trombones need an additional 3′ of space back to front.
  • Masking over instruments helps reduce the amount of particles that are expelled.
  • Straight lines in rehearsals as opposed to curved setups help minimize exposure.
  • Precautions should be taken for common place procedures such as spit valves and access to instrument storage rooms.
  • Teachers should consider using a portable PA system to help keep their voices at a conversational tone as opposed to projecting over a large group.
  • Existing HVAC systems should be fitted with HEPA filters that are appropriate to the size of the rehearsal space.
  • Rehearsal times should be limited to approximately 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, a rehearsal room needs about an hour for the complete circulation/filtration of the air.
After going through the presentation, both Steve and I feel that this is better news than to be expected.  We all know that performing is going to look different this year: this, along with the other resources that are out there, should be one more tool that you can use to help maintain music education as much as possible within your school!
We also want to share one more document with all of you that can help in your discussions.  This comes from New Jersey, but is absolutely applicable here in PA as well.
This is an unprecedented time for education, and we realize that everyone has their own views and opinions on just what school is going to look like.   One thing that we hope you will keep at the forefront of discussions within your district is this: arts education HAS to be an integral part of the educational offering!
-Justin McAdams, D12 President
-Steve Selfridge, D12 President-Elect

Additional Resources


Two important “news dumps”, if you will!

ACDA has finally released a set of recommendations and strategies for choral groups.    You can view that here.     Of importance to note are different scenarios for face to face, hybrid, and virtual instruction for a variety of teaching levels.



CBDNA held their virtual symposium a few weeks ago, and all of the videos for that event are now available for viewing.   In addition to some great material presented by Dr. Greg Martin and Adam Gumble from WCU, there are a LOT of other presentations on a variety of topics that can be adapted for all levels.





PDE Guidelines released by the state

Remember: If you’re not at the “table”, you’re “on the menu”!

PDE issued their Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools this morning (6/3/20). It details the guidelines that school districts are to follow preparing and implementing reopening of schools.

The first requirement is to form a “pandemic team” to determine the detailed responses for the school district’s Health and Safety Plan to be approved by the School Board.

PMEA District 12 is strongly recommending that you volunteer to participate in the appropriate committee(s) that your district will be forming in order to decide the details surrounding your schools reopening.

It is important to note that this guidance does NOT specify that any specific courses or activities be removed from the curriculum.  It does reference current state and federal health recommendations, as well as general requirements to consider for planning.  Several of these will likely impact some aspects of the delivery of music education. Remember, our message is “Change the HOW, not the WHAT” (we might need to modify, but we can and should still be teaching our students music)!

Please let us know if you have questions, concerns, or if there are circumstances we should know.  PMEA and NAfME continue to make resources available for your help in this important task.

From the Reopening Guidance Document

“Consider the unique needs of music programming (e.g., band, orchestra, choir) and transmission risk-mitigation protocols to address hygiene, disinfection of equipment, distancing during practice and competition, and numbers of participants. Due to potential increased risk of droplet transmission, physical distancing should be prioritized for wind instruments.” p10

D12 General Membership Meeting – Save the Date

We will be holding a virtual general membership meeting for all D12 members on Tuesday June 2nd from 7pm-7:30pm.   

The primary agenda item is a vote on the updated bylaws and constitution: you can find them here. 

A short update on events for the upcoming school year in regards to fests and festivals will also be available as well.  All current members are invited to log in attend: we will send the link out mid-day on June 2nd to access the meeting.


D12 President Updates – May 22nd

We are starting to see some great information beginning to be generated for music education: real concrete information that you can use as we begin planning for what our fall classrooms are going to look like.

Preface before continuing: the majority of this post is centered on instrumental music education, but can be applied to all other disciplines as well!


On Tuesday night, an OUTSTANDING webinar was conducted featuring various professional organizations across the country.   I’d encourage you to spend the time to watch it (warning: it is almost 2 hours long, so you might want to speed it up).  The major points that came out of it are as follows:


  • MANY Resources are going to be making their way to you very soon. 

If you’re an elementary instrumental music teacher, you are most likely very worried about those beginning days of how to teach to get a sound out – or even just putting the instrument together.  There are going to be a series of videos put together in the coming weeks that deal with those fundamentals for every instrument.    We know you’re going to have to create a lot of content for this fall – hopefully this is one thing you won’t have to worry about.

  • There are TWO scientific studies being run right now on aerosol dispersants in regards to music making.   

Run by both the University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado State University, their initial findings should be available in the beginning of July.   I believe that every one of you will be able to use this data to help your districts make decisions on just what is possible this fall.


You can view the webinar in its entirety here:


The first of the reports mentioned in this webinar became available last night.   There are MANY great resources in this document that can easily be adapted to ensembles of all levels in our region.

CBDNA COVID-19 Response Committee Report


Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

D12 President Updates – May 17th

Colleagues –

I had the chance to sit in on a few webinars this week about where we are and where we are headed.    I’ll link them both below, but wanted to share some bullet points that I feel are very important for each and everyone one of us as we begin to close out this school year and look to the future.  Credit and thanks go to Bob Morrison and Scott Lang for the work they put into both of these presentations!


Whatever the teaching structure is that we’re going to involved with this fall, remember that the components of the curriculum shouldn’t change!    Every single of us will need to adapt in some way, and the quicker we’re able to do that, the better off your situation will be.


We know all of the “soft skills” that music education fosters in students – and we use them constantly in our recruiting and retention efforts.    Now is the time to really take stock of those and how you can let those in your community know as well!


Students WILL seek out music programs that offer what they want if your program can not give it to them in a new environment.    The same can be said for any program that exists in your school district.



While you may not have heard about anything in your own district, every district has been having this conversations, even if it’s just at the administrative level. I would strongly recommend that someone in your department reach out now and offer to be a part of the conversation.    The last thing anyone wants is to be 


PMEA, PIAA, and other organizations state wide have begun conversations on how to create a unified approach to whatever happens to education.  Personally, this is the best news that I’ve read about the state of education in PA in the last month!    You need to approach this the same way within your districts.  What is good for music is going to be good for every other encore, special, related arts or athletic endeavor.    



Bob’s session this week was part of the larger one hosted by NAMM. I’d recommend skipping to 50:00 in the presentation to listen to his portion.

Scott’s session from Friday is available here.


Like I said last week – there is a LOT out there, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.   The same goes for every single person in your building – up through and including your superintendent.

PLEASE keep me posted if you run into any “red flag” conversations within your school systems.  The more we know, the more prepared we can be to assist you!


Scholarship Deadline and Grant Information

D12 Scholarships:  The deadline for applications is this Friday, May 15th.  Students must have participated in a District sponsored HS level festival and be entering the field of music education.

District 12 Scholarship Form Available

Grant Updates:  We will be opening up the application for teacher grants for the upcoming year soon.  Considering how much of the fall right now is “up in the air”, we are going to wait until the summer to begin this process.

Constitution Bylaws

The District 12 board has updated our bylaws to reflect language and policy that is in line with what we are both currently doing and what the state board reccomends.

You can view these changes here.

We are planning on having a virtual vote on these changes in early June.  Thank you to Erin Kauppila on compiling all of these changes for us!

2020-21 Student Festival Information

At the current time, we are moving forward with the preliminary planning for all festivals.    

The current rotation of D12 hosts is available here. The long range dates for PMEA events is available on the state site.

Audition materials for students will be available after June 1st here on the website.

Questions on audition material can go to our current VP, Steve Selfridge.

Questions on festivals and hosts can go to our Festival Coordinator, Jeff Hart.

We are also planning on running our elementary and middle school fests this year as well.   Some of the hosts who had their events cancelled last year will be rehosting this year around the same time frame.  Questions on these can be directed to Kathleen Boyer.    


Board Positions Open

We have two positions that will be open for the upcoming school year.  If you are interested in these, please contact me via email!


Communications:  This person would be responsible for assisting in updating the website and establishing a social media presence for the region.    They also would be the record keeper of all board actions and minutes at meetings during the year.  The website is built in WordPress, which is very easy to navigate.  Social media presence will include linking website information to various platforms viewed by parents, teachers, and students to create more interactivity and connection.

The communications position is a *NEW* position this year.

Curriculum & Instruction Representative:  This person would serve on the state Curriculum & Instruction council.  This council is responsible for discussion, research, and recommendation of best practices in instruction to all PMEA members.   More information is available here.

Our current C&I representative is Scott Cullen who is our state President-Elect: he can’t do both!