Tools to Help with the Unknowns in Music Class This Fall


Planning for the upcoming school year may seem impossible as guidelines change day by day. However, this year the process is far more crucial as educators must contend with so many health and logistics components far outside their normal focus on education. These factors are requiring more flexible plans that have diverse options depending on the learning scenario.

At this point, almost every state has produced plans that provide guidance to schools as to when certain school activities can resume and when certain precautionary practices can be relaxed. Some of these plans are color-coded. Some use phases. Some have four levels, others three or five – but they all take into consideration guidance from national health experts and organizations as well as government guidance.

Since each state is unique and has been affected differently, these state documents vary greatly in some details, but there are some common threads that are woven through all of them. One of these common threads – and maybe the most difficult one for a music educator – is the idea of physical distancing.

To handle this challenge, national and state music education organizations are urging teachers to get involved to proactively advocate for music education. Hearing from music teachers will help administrators create plans that’ll help students get back to making music together sooner rather than later.

With that goal in mind, here are the most common scenarios expected this fall, along with some tools that may help at each stage – including sheet music, resource books, classroom PPE, and taxi carts for teachers on the go.

Online/Distance Learning Only or Hybrid Scenarios

Much progress was made in the spring in devising techniques to help students learn at home. However, in the 2020-21 school year the expectations may be higher as the pressure to meet standards increases despite the challenges.

To provide digital sheet music options to students, Pepper has extended its Share Music initiative through December 2020. It allows music directors to virtually share music that has been purchased in the last four years, including new purchases. View a list of currently participating publishers. More information also can be found here.

Here are some other options:

In-Person Instruction with No Groups

Many of the resources above would work for in-person instruction as well. In addition, there are other resources that can be used for individual in-person work. These include:

  • Listening: For general music, there are a number of listening resources available for elementary students. The Pepper website also has music tracks included for most compositions listed online. These can be used for listening assignments.
  • Games: Also for elementary students, there are number of classroom games that can help children learn about rhythm, sight-reading and more while remaining in their seats.
  • Composition: Secondary students can work on individual composition projects.
  • Sign-Language: If you are looking for a way to get students moving, you can incorporate music with sign language.

In-Person Instruction with Small Groups Only

There are a plethora of options for smaller ensembles and for groups that will need flexible instrumentation. Here are just some of these options:

Teachers on the Go and Movable Options

If you are a teacher who has lost your music room because of social distancing or you are regularly on the go, a taxi cart is essential. You may also benefit from having movable presentation carts and a whiteboard on wheels so rooms can be reconfigured for distancing needs in seating. View some options here.

Personal Protection Equipment

There are a number of products that can help with safety. These include face shields and acoustic music stands that can be used as dividers. Plexiglass table dividers will also be available soon in our catalog. View the options here.

If you’d like to share details on how you plan to handle the unique challenges of this upcoming school year, please complete our survey and/or add a comment below. Thank you for your dedication to music education!

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Pepper has served musicians since 1876. We hope you find our blog posts informative and a wonderful gateway to news in the world of music.


  1. These are all excellent articles. My Uncle who was a pro pianist with Alzheimers could still play concertos but had no idea where he was or who we were, He kept his grand piano until his death. Luckily he was wealthy enough to stay at home.

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