BKCM COVID-19 Updates

BKCM-wide Updates

•••••

7.27.20 3:12 PM

Dear BKCM Students & Families,

I hope this email finds you well and managing through the extraordinary challenges of the times. From before COVID to better days ahead, I hope BKCM and music are something of an anchor — a source of continuity and connectedness, happiness and calm.

I wanted to update you on our latest plans for the upcoming school year. BKCM staff and faculty have been working diligently throughout the summer to develop building reopening plans and protocols. At the same time, we have been preparing for the eventuality of either in person or remote teaching.

*** After much internal discussion, and with the direct feedback of nearly 300 households and 90 staff and faculty from our reopening survey, we have made the decision that BKCM will open on a fully remote basis for the month of September. ***

To be clear, private lessons and group classes will begin, as scheduled, in September on a remote basis. If you are unsure about the status of your lesson or class, feel free to reach out to our registration desk, or your respective program director. Our administrative staff and program directors will be communicating regularly over the coming weeks as we gear up for the start of the year.

At every decision point, the health and safety of our large and diverse community of students, families, staff and faculty is the paramount consideration. We will be continually assessing the environment and consulting the relevant authorities, and plan to make a decision in mid-September concerning reopening plans for October. In person, remote, or both, as the case will undoubtedly be this year, BKCM remains committed to ensuring the excellence and continuity of music education and music therapy.

We are hosting a series of town halls, starting this Thursday, to give you more insight on how we envision resuming in person classes once that determination has been made, and the analysis and thinking that led to this decision. We will record the town halls and circulate the links if you are unable to attend. We will also be circulating the presentation materials to help everyone understand the unique challenges and virtues related to reopening our building (e.g. our studios are small…but they have functional windows! 😉)

Thank you for your commitment to music, your patience and your flexibility.

Best,

Chad Cooper

Executive Director

•••••

3.31.20 2:21 PM

Dear Friends,

 

I hope that you and your loved ones are well during this tremendously difficult time.

 

I’m writing with an update on the state of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, as we begin the second week of our reinvention as a virtual music community. I am deeply encouraged by what I am seeing across all of the Conservatory’s programs. Still, there is much to do in the coming weeks as we endeavor to relaunch our programs at our 70+ community-based organization and public school partner sites—many of which are under tremendous pressure.

 

Our onsite programs have made terrific progress in transitioning to remote learning. Across our Suzuki, Community Music School and Music Therapy divisions, we are now providing remote private music lessons and music therapy sessions to 740 students and clients. When you add our group music classes and ensembles, we are reaching 950 out of 1,000 students, or 95% of our pre-pandemic onsite student/client population.

 

When it comes to our offsite Music Partners and Music Therapy schools and community organization partners, there are many unknowns. These partners—including the New York City public school system, City and State agencies, social service agencies and many other smaller community organizations—are under-resourced and facing enormous pressure to reinvent themselves. We are doing everything we can to coordinate with our partners and create options for engaging the students and clients we serve. We will continue to keep you posted as these plans develop.

 

Onsite and offsite, we are developing, adapting and refining our online learning curricula in real time to make our programs as robust, interactive and engaging as possible. We are also adapting and refining our understanding of what it means to be a community. For BKCM, the concept of community has always been intertwined with our physical home in Park Slope. Today our community comes together virtually, from the homes of students, staff, faculty and music therapists across Brooklyn and beyond. Our building remains an integral part of the Conservatory’s identity; now, though, it is our strengths as an organization—our passion for our mission, our extraordinary people, our entrepreneurial spirit and our deep expertise in music education and music therapy—that are sustaining and even growing our BKCM community.

 

Thanks to your generosity, the financial health of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music improved significantly in the years prior to this crisis. This made a crucial difference in how we have been able to respond. As the crisis has mounted, you have been unfailingly encouraging, gracious and supportive with your offers of help, expertise and financial support. We will take you up! As we adapt to our new reality, I look forward to being in touch with ways to engage with you to help BKCM navigate through this enormously challenging time.

 

Some additional details about our programs and progress:

 

Onsite Music Therapy. In our first week of virtual learning, we conducted remote Music Therapy sessions for almost all of our 110 on-site MT clients (excluding our dayhab groups). While remote therapy may not ultimately work for everyone, we have been encouraged by the interest from our clients, and the thoughtful and creative approaches our therapists are taking to this format.

 

Community Music School. Of our 389 private lesson students in the Community Music School, all but ten are moving forward with online lessons. Group classes are a heavier lift. Each is unique, and we are experimenting with different formats and platforms to create the best learning experience. As we begin our second week of remote learning, I am happy to share that 36 of 40 of our group classes and ensembles are convening in some capacity.

 

Suzuki. Suzuki had a solid opening week. Virtually all of our 240 Suzuki students have transitioned to online. Group classes are the next wave; they are being rolled out by instrument group. Our Suzuki Early Childhood program, SECE, also kicked off this past weekend.

 

Music Partners. NYC public schools reopened via remote learning a week ago. Several of our Music Partners schools will resume their music programming with BKCM this week. Most are still in a holding pattern. For now, our teachers are experimenting with different approaches and working with our school partners to be ready with a plan and curriculum that we can plug into whatever platform our schools elect to use. We want to make it easy and additive for our partners to bring our programming back into the fold for our 4,500 Music Partners students.

 

Offsite Music Therapy. Similar to Music Partners, our offsite Music Therapy partners vary widely in their resources and their ability to retool themselves for remote learning. Our largest offsite program, the Manhattan Childrens Center, has already resumed. The Jackson Developmental Center (Queens) has cancelled. Of our eight CAMBA-funded programs, the four that rely on the City’s Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) are in the process of restarting. We hope the other four will resume in the coming weeks as well.

 

Developing Our Tech Prowess. In two short weeks we have made substantial progress on the tech front. Most private lessons are taking place on Google Hangouts Meet. Group classes are taking place on Zoom. Music Partners is looking into platforms such as FlipGridAcapellaClassDojo and BandLab, among others. We are investing in software subscriptions (such as Zoom licenses) and hardware (including Chromebooks and web cameras) to ensure that every faculty member has a high-quality device to provide lessons. We have set up a two-tiered tech support team, with our registrars acting as the frontline. The most complicated requests are transferred to our two IT specialists.

 

Looking After the Welfare of Our Staff & Faculty. We are greatly concerned about the well-being of our staff and faculty. They are the lifeblood of BKCM, the number one reason our families come to the Conservatory. For many of them, we are their livelihood. The inequities in COVID-19’s affect on differently resourced communities reverberate through our faculty. Our on-site faculty have largely resumed their prior teaching schedules, while our offsite teaching artists and music therapists are in limbo, as the fate of their programs rests largely with our partners and will take weeks to resolve. This is not to say they are idle; on the contrary, these faculty members are working diligently to develop new skills and pedagogy to engage students and clients remotely. My view is that we are one institution, not four P&Ls, and that we should look after as many of our people for as long as possible without putting the organization at financial risk.

 

Funding Needs. As of now, we don’t know what the shortfall in our revenues will be relative to our 2020 fiscal year budget. We are analyzing multiple financial scenarios. Historically, the three biggest drivers of spring revenue are our spring fundraiser, our revenues from offsite spring programming and our registration revenues for the following school year. The duration and intensity of the economic fallout from COVID-19 will have varying effects on these three streams. At the same time, we are making necessary but unbudgeted investments in hardware, software, professional development and training—all of which are critical to our new remote learning plan.

Funding Sources

We are looking at five sources to help plug the shortfall to the greatest extent possible:

– Emergency funding sources created specifically for COVID-19 response including the CARES Act

– Charitable donations from our Board, Advisory Council, families and friends

– A retooled Spring fundraising campaign

– New revenue opportunities, such as expanded private and group lesson enrollment; and

– Short-term borrowing.

 

Even in this enormously difficult time, I believe there is an opportunity to offset some of our lost revenue with new enrollment. I am keen to open enrollment wherever possible, as soon as possible.

 

Music has the power to change lives and build community. This is true now, more than ever. For many of our students and clients, music education will be a source of inspiration, expression, joy and stability during this time. With your continued partnership, we will do everything in our power to make this possible.

 

With gratitude,

Chad Cooper

Executive Director

•••••

3.17.20 4:30 PM

Dear BKCM Community,

I wanted to give you the latest update on what’s happening at the Conservatory. At the time of this writing, we are in the midst of a rapid transformation—a full paradigm shift from in-person to distance learning. For an organization that values in-person interaction, community and making music together, this is a major shift, but one that is absolutely necessary.

If our staff and faculty went above and beyond in the best of times, their commitment, thoughtfulness and creativity are all the more remarkable now. The current predicament has unleashed a wave of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and awe-inspiring dedication, as our faculty help us reconfigure our entire operation to meet students’ and clients’ needs in this new reality. We are so fortunate to have such extraordinary faculty and program leadership!

Program Updates
Our onsite music education programs, the Community Music School and Suzuki Program, are implementing a remote learning model beginning with lessons scheduled for this Friday (3/20). We will move quickly to launch online group classes, and wherever possible, ensembles as well.

For our onsite Music Therapy clients, music therapy will be offered remotely where it is logistically feasible and clinically appropriate. We are working with each family individually to address the unique needs of each client, striving to maintain continuity of care in any way possible.

Like the Conservatory, many of our offsite Music Partners and Music Therapy schools and community partners are also undergoing enormous changes. We will work alongside them, creatively and diligently, to develop options for continuing engagement for as many of our 6,500 community outreach students and clients as we can.

What Happens Next
You will hear more in the coming days from your Program Directors and Faculty members with the specific next steps for your lessons. In the meantime, a few summary points:

1. CMS & Suzuki – Private Lessons: Resume via videoconference this Friday (3/20)
Beginning this Friday, all CMS and Suzuki private lessons will resume via videoconference at their regularly scheduled times, unless you have specifically heard otherwise from your program director or faculty member.

2. CMS & Suzuki – Group Lessons & Ensembles: Will resume very soon
We will be resuming group lessons CMS and Suzuki group lessons as quickly as we can. This will happen on a staggered basis. Your program directors and faculty will be in touch with next steps.

3. Onsite Music Therapy
The Music Therapy team is reaching out to each family individually to discuss the possibilities for continuing music therapy remotely.

4. Video Conference Platforms
Our default video conference platform for private lessons is Hangouts Meet by Google. Group classes will be using Zoom.

5. Make-ups / Withdrawals / Refunds / Credits
We ask for everyone’s patience concerning make-ups, withdrawals, refunds, etc. We are using the full bandwidth of the organization at the moment to operationalize our program for as many of our students as possible. We will update you on make-ups, withdrawals, and other related enrollment and policy matters within two weeks.

Thank you again for your patience, your flexibility, and your commitment to continuing your or your child’s musical journey.

Best,
Chad Cooper
Executive Director

•••••

3.13.20 5:28 PM

Dear Friend,

As a supporter of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (BKCM), I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know how the Conservatory is responding to COVID-19.

As you well know, the situation is changing rapidly — a decision made 4 pm one day feels outdated by 9 am the next morning. If anything, this drives home the importance of being nimble, adaptable, and as communicative as we can with all of our stakeholders.

Our four programs—Suzuki, Community Music School, Music Partners and Music Therapy—are all operational at the moment, but this will undoubtedly look different in the coming days.

Our onsite music education programs, Suzuki and the Community Music School, are preparing to implement a remote learning model. This will initially be rolled out for private lessons. As the private lesson program finds its footing, we will explore ways to offer more online programming with groups classes as our next priority. For our onsite Music Therapy clients, music therapy will be offered remotely where it is logistically feasible and clinically appropriate. For many of our onsite clients this will not be an option.

Our community outreach programs, Music Partners and Music Therapy, are subject to far different dynamics. Decisions with respect to the ongoing operation of these programs lie largely with our partner organizations, and in the case of Music Partners, almost entirely with the Department of Education.

Given all of this, at the highest level, our goals right now are:

  • To make the right decisions in consideration of community health and safety.
  • To ensure the ongoing viability and health of the Conservatory.
  • To ensure the continuity of music education and music therapy for as many of our students and clients as possible.
  • To be communicative, transparent, consistent and fair.

Operational decisions will be made in consultation with the Board, our program leadership, and partners, using the best information and the resources we have at our disposal.

Like many of our peer organizations, we are choosing to postpone our Spring Benefit, currently scheduled for May 18th.  It is still very much our intention to deliver the one-of-a-kind event experience that you expect from the Conservatory. We will announce a future date as soon as we can.  Until then, two things we know for sure:

  • The event, in whatever form it takes, will surprise, delight and inspire (read: it’s going to rock); and
  • Our fundraising needs will be as vital than ever, as the Conservatory absorbs significant, new financial strains.

With all the unknowns right now, one thing I can say with certainty is that for many of our students and families the continuity of their music education will be one of the bright lights during an otherwise difficult time. It’s not so far-fetched to think that many of the people we touch through their music education and music therapy in the coming days and weeks will reflect back on this later in their lives and think of their music education as a source of inspiration and stability.

Thank you for your continued support in this time of uncertainty. We are so grateful to count you among our supporters.

Please reach out at any time with questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Chad Cooper
Executive Director

•••••

3.12.20 1:00 PM

Dear BKCM Community,

BKCM continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. We are receiving daily informational updates from local (Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene, Dept of Education, Dept of Cultural Affairs), state (NY State), and national organizations (CDC). We are also actively receiving information from the many schools and cultural institutions with whom our students, staff and faculty affiliate.*** For the time being, BKCM will continue to operate under normal business hours.  Please note: We will be closing BKCM for three days next week —Tuesday March 17th through Thursday, March 19 — to plan, train staff and faculty, and take other necessary steps to prepare for a potential transition to online learning. We intend to resume lessons on Friday 20th as scheduled. Any changes in our plans will be communicated to the community by 5 pm on March 19th. ***

Anyone whose lessons are impacted by next week’s three day closure, should plan to make up their lesson during the make up week (June 23rd – 25th). If that is not possible, we will work with you on an individual basis to reschedule your lesson.

We have prepared a detailed FAQ with critical information (updated at 1PM 3.12.20) on BKCM’s recommendations and plans related to COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to read the document. Any updates will be hosted on this page, and update notifications will be sent via email to everyone in our community.We will continue to send out frequent updates as the situation continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we prepare for potential disruption to lessons and classes. These are certainly extraordinary times, but we believe in the power of music, particularly during adverse times, to bring us joy and to bring us together (virtually, if need be!).

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best,

Chad Cooper
Executive Director

Community Music School

 

•••••

3.31.20 2:21 PM

Dear Friends,

 

I hope that you and your loved ones are well during this tremendously difficult time.

 

I’m writing with an update on the state of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, as we begin the second week of our reinvention as a virtual music community. I am deeply encouraged by what I am seeing across all of the Conservatory’s programs. Still, there is much to do in the coming weeks as we endeavor to relaunch our programs at our 70+ community-based organization and public school partner sites—many of which are under tremendous pressure.

 

Our onsite programs have made terrific progress in transitioning to remote learning. Across our Suzuki, Community Music School and Music Therapy divisions, we are now providing remote private music lessons and music therapy sessions to 740 students and clients. When you add our group music classes and ensembles, we are reaching 950 out of 1,000 students, or 95% of our pre-pandemic onsite student/client population.

 

When it comes to our offsite Music Partners and Music Therapy schools and community organization partners, there are many unknowns. These partners—including the New York City public school system, City and State agencies, social service agencies and many other smaller community organizations—are under-resourced and facing enormous pressure to reinvent themselves. We are doing everything we can to coordinate with our partners and create options for engaging the students and clients we serve. We will continue to keep you posted as these plans develop.

 

Onsite and offsite, we are developing, adapting and refining our online learning curricula in real time to make our programs as robust, interactive and engaging as possible. We are also adapting and refining our understanding of what it means to be a community. For BKCM, the concept of community has always been intertwined with our physical home in Park Slope. Today our community comes together virtually, from the homes of students, staff, faculty and music therapists across Brooklyn and beyond. Our building remains an integral part of the Conservatory’s identity; now, though, it is our strengths as an organization—our passion for our mission, our extraordinary people, our entrepreneurial spirit and our deep expertise in music education and music therapy—that are sustaining and even growing our BKCM community.

 

Thanks to your generosity, the financial health of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music improved significantly in the years prior to this crisis. This made a crucial difference in how we have been able to respond. As the crisis has mounted, you have been unfailingly encouraging, gracious and supportive with your offers of help, expertise and financial support. We will take you up! As we adapt to our new reality, I look forward to being in touch with ways to engage with you to help BKCM navigate through this enormously challenging time.

 

Some additional details about our programs and progress:

 

Onsite Music Therapy. In our first week of virtual learning, we conducted remote Music Therapy sessions for almost all of our 110 on-site MT clients (excluding our dayhab groups). While remote therapy may not ultimately work for everyone, we have been encouraged by the interest from our clients, and the thoughtful and creative approaches our therapists are taking to this format.

 

Community Music School. Of our 389 private lesson students in the Community Music School, all but ten are moving forward with online lessons. Group classes are a heavier lift. Each is unique, and we are experimenting with different formats and platforms to create the best learning experience. As we begin our second week of remote learning, I am happy to share that 36 of 40 of our group classes and ensembles are convening in some capacity.

 

Suzuki. Suzuki had a solid opening week. Virtually all of our 240 Suzuki students have transitioned to online. Group classes are the next wave; they are being rolled out by instrument group. Our Suzuki Early Childhood program, SECE, also kicked off this past weekend.

 

Music Partners. NYC public schools reopened via remote learning a week ago. Several of our Music Partners schools will resume their music programming with BKCM this week. Most are still in a holding pattern. For now, our teachers are experimenting with different approaches and working with our school partners to be ready with a plan and curriculum that we can plug into whatever platform our schools elect to use. We want to make it easy and additive for our partners to bring our programming back into the fold for our 4,500 Music Partners students.

 

Offsite Music Therapy. Similar to Music Partners, our offsite Music Therapy partners vary widely in their resources and their ability to retool themselves for remote learning. Our largest offsite program, the Manhattan Childrens Center, has already resumed. The Jackson Developmental Center (Queens) has cancelled. Of our eight CAMBA-funded programs, the four that rely on the City’s Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) are in the process of restarting. We hope the other four will resume in the coming weeks as well.

 

Developing Our Tech Prowess. In two short weeks we have made substantial progress on the tech front. Most private lessons are taking place on Google Hangouts Meet. Group classes are taking place on Zoom. Music Partners is looking into platforms such as FlipGridAcapellaClassDojo and BandLab, among others. We are investing in software subscriptions (such as Zoom licenses) and hardware (including Chromebooks and web cameras) to ensure that every faculty member has a high-quality device to provide lessons. We have set up a two-tiered tech support team, with our registrars acting as the frontline. The most complicated requests are transferred to our two IT specialists.

 

Looking After the Welfare of Our Staff & Faculty. We are greatly concerned about the well-being of our staff and faculty. They are the lifeblood of BKCM, the number one reason our families come to the Conservatory. For many of them, we are their livelihood. The inequities in COVID-19’s affect on differently resourced communities reverberate through our faculty. Our on-site faculty have largely resumed their prior teaching schedules, while our offsite teaching artists and music therapists are in limbo, as the fate of their programs rests largely with our partners and will take weeks to resolve. This is not to say they are idle; on the contrary, these faculty members are working diligently to develop new skills and pedagogy to engage students and clients remotely. My view is that we are one institution, not four P&Ls, and that we should look after as many of our people for as long as possible without putting the organization at financial risk.

 

Funding Needs. As of now, we don’t know what the shortfall in our revenues will be relative to our 2020 fiscal year budget. We are analyzing multiple financial scenarios. Historically, the three biggest drivers of spring revenue are our spring fundraiser, our revenues from offsite spring programming and our registration revenues for the following school year. The duration and intensity of the economic fallout from COVID-19 will have varying effects on these three streams. At the same time, we are making necessary but unbudgeted investments in hardware, software, professional development and training—all of which are critical to our new remote learning plan.

Funding Sources

We are looking at five sources to help plug the shortfall to the greatest extent possible:

– Emergency funding sources created specifically for COVID-19 response including the CARES Act

– Charitable donations from our Board, Advisory Council, families and friends

– A retooled Spring fundraising campaign

– New revenue opportunities, such as expanded private and group lesson enrollment; and

– Short-term borrowing.

 

Even in this enormously difficult time, I believe there is an opportunity to offset some of our lost revenue with new enrollment. I am keen to open enrollment wherever possible, as soon as possible.

 

Music has the power to change lives and build community. This is true now, more than ever. For many of our students and clients, music education will be a source of inspiration, expression, joy and stability during this time. With your continued partnership, we will do everything in our power to make this possible.

 

With gratitude,

Chad Cooper

Executive Director

•••••

3.16.20 3:27 PM

Dear Community Music School Students

We are planning to begin teaching all private lessons and group classes online beginning this Friday, March 20th. We are taking this week to train our teachers on the technology and develop best practices for continuing the learning online.

We are planning to continue with the current schedule with your current teacher and class. I will be sending individual updates to each private lesson student and group class. Please be on the lookout for an email from us in the coming days with instructions on how to login to your lesson or class.

In the meantime, if you would kindly fill out this quick remote learning assessment. We are curious to know what your online capabilities are at home so we can best assess how to deliver our curriculum in the best way possible.

Thank you again and I wish you and your family safety and health during this time.

Brian Drye
Director of Community Music School

•••••

3.13.20 5:28 PM

Dear Friend,

As a supporter of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (BKCM), I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know how the Conservatory is responding to COVID-19.

As you well know, the situation is changing rapidly — a decision made 4 pm one day feels outdated by 9 am the next morning. If anything, this drives home the importance of being nimble, adaptable, and as communicative as we can with all of our stakeholders.

Our four programs—Suzuki, Community Music School, Music Partners and Music Therapy—are all operational at the moment, but this will undoubtedly look different in the coming days.

Our onsite music education programs, Suzuki and the Community Music School, are preparing to implement a remote learning model. This will initially be rolled out for private lessons. As the private lesson program finds its footing, we will explore ways to offer more online programming with groups classes as our next priority. For our onsite Music Therapy clients, music therapy will be offered remotely where it is logistically feasible and clinically appropriate. For many of our onsite clients this will not be an option.

Our community outreach programs, Music Partners and Music Therapy, are subject to far different dynamics. Decisions with respect to the ongoing operation of these programs lie largely with our partner organizations, and in the case of Music Partners, almost entirely with the Department of Education.

Given all of this, at the highest level, our goals right now are:

  • To make the right decisions in consideration of community health and safety.
  • To ensure the ongoing viability and health of the Conservatory.
  • To ensure the continuity of music education and music therapy for as many of our students and clients as possible.
  • To be communicative, transparent, consistent and fair.

Operational decisions will be made in consultation with the Board, our program leadership, and partners, using the best information and the resources we have at our disposal.

Like many of our peer organizations, we are choosing to postpone our Spring Benefit, currently scheduled for May 18th.  It is still very much our intention to deliver the one-of-a-kind event experience that you expect from the Conservatory. We will announce a future date as soon as we can.  Until then, two things we know for sure:

  • The event, in whatever form it takes, will surprise, delight and inspire (read: it’s going to rock); and
  • Our fundraising needs will be as vital than ever, as the Conservatory absorbs significant, new financial strains.

With all the unknowns right now, one thing I can say with certainty is that for many of our students and families the continuity of their music education will be one of the bright lights during an otherwise difficult time. It’s not so far-fetched to think that many of the people we touch through their music education and music therapy in the coming days and weeks will reflect back on this later in their lives and think of their music education as a source of inspiration and stability.

Thank you for your continued support in this time of uncertainty. We are so grateful to count you among our supporters.

Please reach out at any time with questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Chad Cooper
Executive Director

•••••

3.13.20 4:39 PM

CMS Private Lesson, Group Class, SECE and Early Childhood Students,

We are suspending classes and lessons beginning Saturday March 14 to Monday March 16th, in addition to remaining closed from March 17th to March 19th.

We will be using this time to work with our faculty and staff to gear up for the transition to remote learning. Please stay tuned for updates from our staff and teachers here at the conservatory. Please be on the lookout for more information in the coming days. We are committed to putting whatever resources we can to support the continuity of your classes and lessons in an online learning environment.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Brian Drye
CMS Program Director

•••••

3.12.20 1:00 PM

Dear BKCM Community,

BKCM continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. We are receiving daily informational updates from local (Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene, Dept of Education, Dept of Cultural Affairs), state (NY State), and national organizations (CDC). We are also actively receiving information from the many schools and cultural institutions with whom our students, staff and faculty affiliate.*** For the time being, BKCM will continue to operate under normal business hours.  Please note: We will be closing BKCM for three days next week —Tuesday March 17th through Thursday, March 19 — to plan, train staff and faculty, and take other necessary steps to prepare for a potential transition to online learning. We intend to resume lessons on Friday 20th as scheduled. Any changes in our plans will be communicated to the community by 5 pm on March 19th. ***

Anyone whose lessons are impacted by next week’s three day closure, should plan to make up their lesson during the make up week (June 23rd – 25th). If that is not possible, we will work with you on an individual basis to reschedule your lesson.

We have prepared a detailed FAQ with critical information (updated at 1PM 3.12.20) on BKCM’s recommendations and plans related to COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to read the document. Any updates will be hosted on this page, and update notifications will be sent via email to everyone in our community.We will continue to send out frequent updates as the situation continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we prepare for potential disruption to lessons and classes. These are certainly extraordinary times, but we believe in the power of music, particularly during adverse times, to bring us joy and to bring us together (virtually, if need be!).

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best,

Chad Cooper
Executive Director

Suzuki Program

•••••

4.30.20 3:46 PM

Dear Suzuki Families and Faculty,

This Sunday, May 3, four performing events featuring Cello, Bass, Flute and Piano students will take place via Webinar! May 14 & May 17 events will feature Guitar, Violin & Viola.

BKCM is offering a very exciting roster of summer programs that are fun, creative, offer a big break from the usual, and there’s something for everyone. This will be in addition to our online summer private lessons. The summer session will run July 1 – August 31. Watch your BKCM emails in the next two weeks for more details.

REMINDER: BKCM will be proceeding with enrollment starting June 15 for the 2020-2021 Suzuki program. If you haven’t already, please complete the scheduling survey for each of your children AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Deadline is TONIGHT. If you aren’t able to fill it out by then, your department head will reach out to you directly, but please save them that effort if at all possible.

Find separate scheduling surveys for each instrument group here:
http://suzuki.bkcm.org/2020-21-scheduling-surveys/

Please fill out this exit survey if you are not planning to return.

Scholarships/Payment Plans:
BKCM remains committed to distributing the $15,ooo for Suzuki scholarships that we raised in January. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, email me and I will send the application form when it is ready. Additionally, we will expand our payment plan options to include a lower initial payment and several additional payments. More details will be available soon.

PERFORMING EVENTS THIS SUNDAY:
For those who are not participating (extended family, grandparents, and 1st & 2nd year piano students not playing in the festival) we STRONGLY recommend watching on Facebook. Use this link: https://bkcm.org/facebook-live-instructions/

Email me ASAP if you would like to discuss privacy for your child’s performance.

Sunday, May 3
10 AM Cello/Flute Solo Recital
10:45 AM Cello Solo Recital
11:30 AM Cello/Bass Solo Recital

Sunday, May 3
2:45 PM Piano Festival Concert

May 14 & May 17
Guitar & Violin/Viola Solo Recitals

I am looking forward to sharing these wonderful performances with our big community!

Sincerely,

Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••

4.23.2020 10:19 PM

Dear Suzuki Families,
Please join us for the Suzuki Junior Honors Recital on Saturday, April 25, at 4:30 PM. RSVP here: BKCM.org/suzhonors to receive an invitation to the online concert. The event will be BKCM’s very first remote recital, and I couldn’t be more proud. I am grateful to the ever wonderful Ruth Klukoff for coordinating and hosting this event.
Each year, the Suzuki program holds two honors recitals, one for Juniors and one for Teens. Honors performers are nominated by teachers for their high level of preparation and musical artistry demonstrated at their winter recitals.
This honor can be bestowed on any student and the next recital could include you! Come support this group of students, and enjoy performances from many different instruments.
The recital will be broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube; follow the RSVP link, or visit the BKCM Facebook page:
Finally: a friendly reminder to fill in your scheduling survey if you haven’t already, and please watch your email for further updates about more upcoming performing events.
Very best,
Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director
•••••
4.20.2020 8:22 PM
Dear Suzuki Families,
In recent weeks, perhaps you have experienced something like what I have: it has become more important than ever to listen to music. It grounds me. I will be so grateful when it is safe again to play music with others in person.
As strange as the current situation is, we are looking ahead to the upcoming school year. Though we cannot yet predict what September will look like, the department heads and I are working together to make a plan that is flexible enough to accommodate either online or on-site lessons and classes, and by exploring additional spaces in order to facilitate social distancing if necessary when we are back in the building.
With all of this in mind, BKCM will be proceeding with enrollment starting June 15 for the 2020-2021 Suzuki program. Each year I solicit information from parents about scheduling via our scheduling survey. Despite the many unknowns, please do your best to complete the scheduling survey for each of your children. If at all possible, please complete this by April 26 (or at the latest April 30).
Find separate scheduling surveys for each instrument group here: 
Note the steps for registering for 2020-2021:
1) Fill out Suzuki scheduling survey (by April 30)
2) Fill out BKCM Family Survey (May/June)
3) Receive your assigned schedule (early June)
4) Registration/first payment of tuition due (June 15-25)
For current families with beginners starting an instrument in 2020-2021:
The department heads are also working together to ensure that we will be able to provide meaningful preparation for the parents of beginners, while remaining realistic about the limits of online learning for young students. Ruth Klukoff and I will share more information in separate communications about the modifications in both registration commitment as well as curricular goals we will provide. In any case, the process to start a beginner in our program for current families is:
1) Attend Orientation (January/February)
2) Interview (February + later follow ups)
3) Receive interview follow up from Ruth via Suzuki.Enrollment@bkcm.org (March/April)
4) Select instrument and make deposit (March/April)
5) Fill out the scheduling survey above for your beginner (by April 30)
6) Receive your assigned schedule (early June)
7) Registration/first payment of tuition due alongside your child(ren) who are currently in the program (June 15-25)
All Families:
Feel free to include additional information in your survey responses; dept heads and I will be able to respond to you directly, and having the information all in one place is immensely helpful.
Scholarships/Payment Plans:
BKCM remains committed to distributing the $15,ooo for Suzuki scholarships that we raised in January. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, email me and I will send the application form when it is ready. Additionally, we will expand our payment plan options to include a lower initial payment with up to seven additional payments.
I hope that these financial options will be impactful and flexible enough to help all of our families in this new reality, while we continue to focus on our long-term goals as a Suzuki program and to keep BKCM’s commitment to our faculty.
I look forward to continuing this journey with you and with our beautiful Suzuki community!

Most sincerely,

Julianne Carney-Chung

Suzuki Program Director

•••••
4.12.20 9:27 AM
Dear Suzuki Families,
I trust and hope that you all are finding new ways to celebrate the holidays this week in new ways. Chag Pesach Sameach and Happy Easter.
We’ve been connecting online with extended family, and held an Easter egg hunt in our living room this morning. Mark is delivering an iPad to his father today, who is 98 and in good health, but whom we haven’t seen in over a month.
A reminder that there are no regularly scheduled group/theory classes or private lessons today through next Friday, due to the originally scheduled spring break.
Teachers may have scheduled make up private lessons on these days. Private teachers will have confirmed with you about this directly.
BKCM will be offering make up private lessons to those missed due to COVID-19 closures, either in the upcoming days, or in June, per individual teachers’ schedules. Group/theory classes missed during the COVID-19 transition week will not be made up.
The department heads and teachers are working hard together to put together an online performing event experience. Please watch your email for more updates on that.
When we are able to be in the same place again, I know we will cherish the privilege deeply.
Please continue to send your updates! I would love to hear how/whether your relationship with music has shifted during this experience. For me, the joy of playing, listening and sharing has been renewed.
Dorothy Savitch, our Music Partners director, shared this recent photo:
BKCM spring 2020.jpg
Thank you for reading, and stay well!

My very best,
Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••
4.4.20 2:07 PM
Dear Suzuki families,
Today the sun is shining, and I hope you are all faring as well as possible.
Please continue to send screenshots of your lessons and classes, of practicing alongside pets, or out the window to your neighbors!
Several updates within this email:
1) Upcoming performing events
2) Zoom Password – IMPORTANT
3) Spring Break & COVID Make Ups
1) Upcoming performing events

Each instrumental department is working hard to put together our upcoming performing events in an online format. We will go forward with the event calendar as scheduled as much as possible. Watch for more updates as we work out the details.

2) Zoom Passwords – IMPORTANT
“Zoom Bombing” is becoming a problem, so the Suzuki program will start using a password. (See your email.) Your teachers will be updating their lesson meetings when they are able to do so.
3) Spring Break & COVID Related Make Ups
BKCM teachers will make up the private lessons that were skipped during the online preparation week for COVID (March 15 – 19). The Suzuki program will not make up the group/theory classes that were skipped that week.
Suzuki faculty may use some of the days during the previously scheduled spring break week to teach (M-F, April 13 – 17), or they may teach later into June. Please work with your teachers on this.
Stay safe, and thank you to all of you who are essential workers and who are their support system.

My very best,

Julianne Carney-Chung

Suzuki Program Director

•••••

3.31.20 2:21 PM

Dear Friends,

 

I hope that you and your loved ones are well during this tremendously difficult time.

 

I’m writing with an update on the state of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, as we begin the second week of our reinvention as a virtual music community. I am deeply encouraged by what I am seeing across all of the Conservatory’s programs. Still, there is much to do in the coming weeks as we endeavor to relaunch our programs at our 70+ community-based organization and public school partner sites—many of which are under tremendous pressure.

 

Our onsite programs have made terrific progress in transitioning to remote learning. Across our Suzuki, Community Music School and Music Therapy divisions, we are now providing remote private music lessons and music therapy sessions to 740 students and clients. When you add our group music classes and ensembles, we are reaching 950 out of 1,000 students, or 95% of our pre-pandemic onsite student/client population.

 

When it comes to our offsite Music Partners and Music Therapy schools and community organization partners, there are many unknowns. These partners—including the New York City public school system, City and State agencies, social service agencies and many other smaller community organizations—are under-resourced and facing enormous pressure to reinvent themselves. We are doing everything we can to coordinate with our partners and create options for engaging the students and clients we serve. We will continue to keep you posted as these plans develop.

 

Onsite and offsite, we are developing, adapting and refining our online learning curricula in real time to make our programs as robust, interactive and engaging as possible. We are also adapting and refining our understanding of what it means to be a community. For BKCM, the concept of community has always been intertwined with our physical home in Park Slope. Today our community comes together virtually, from the homes of students, staff, faculty and music therapists across Brooklyn and beyond. Our building remains an integral part of the Conservatory’s identity; now, though, it is our strengths as an organization—our passion for our mission, our extraordinary people, our entrepreneurial spirit and our deep expertise in music education and music therapy—that are sustaining and even growing our BKCM community.

 

Thanks to your generosity, the financial health of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music improved significantly in the years prior to this crisis. This made a crucial difference in how we have been able to respond. As the crisis has mounted, you have been unfailingly encouraging, gracious and supportive with your offers of help, expertise and financial support. We will take you up! As we adapt to our new reality, I look forward to being in touch with ways to engage with you to help BKCM navigate through this enormously challenging time.

 

Some additional details about our programs and progress:

 

Onsite Music Therapy. In our first week of virtual learning, we conducted remote Music Therapy sessions for almost all of our 110 on-site MT clients (excluding our dayhab groups). While remote therapy may not ultimately work for everyone, we have been encouraged by the interest from our clients, and the thoughtful and creative approaches our therapists are taking to this format.

 

Community Music School. Of our 389 private lesson students in the Community Music School, all but ten are moving forward with online lessons. Group classes are a heavier lift. Each is unique, and we are experimenting with different formats and platforms to create the best learning experience. As we begin our second week of remote learning, I am happy to share that 36 of 40 of our group classes and ensembles are convening in some capacity.

 

Suzuki. Suzuki had a solid opening week. Virtually all of our 240 Suzuki students have transitioned to online. Group classes are the next wave; they are being rolled out by instrument group. Our Suzuki Early Childhood program, SECE, also kicked off this past weekend.

 

Music Partners. NYC public schools reopened via remote learning a week ago. Several of our Music Partners schools will resume their music programming with BKCM this week. Most are still in a holding pattern. For now, our teachers are experimenting with different approaches and working with our school partners to be ready with a plan and curriculum that we can plug into whatever platform our schools elect to use. We want to make it easy and additive for our partners to bring our programming back into the fold for our 4,500 Music Partners students.

 

Offsite Music Therapy. Similar to Music Partners, our offsite Music Therapy partners vary widely in their resources and their ability to retool themselves for remote learning. Our largest offsite program, the Manhattan Childrens Center, has already resumed. The Jackson Developmental Center (Queens) has cancelled. Of our eight CAMBA-funded programs, the four that rely on the City’s Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) are in the process of restarting. We hope the other four will resume in the coming weeks as well.

 

Developing Our Tech Prowess. In two short weeks we have made substantial progress on the tech front. Most private lessons are taking place on Google Hangouts Meet. Group classes are taking place on Zoom. Music Partners is looking into platforms such as FlipGridAcapellaClassDojo and BandLab, among others. We are investing in software subscriptions (such as Zoom licenses) and hardware (including Chromebooks and web cameras) to ensure that every faculty member has a high-quality device to provide lessons. We have set up a two-tiered tech support team, with our registrars acting as the frontline. The most complicated requests are transferred to our two IT specialists.

 

Looking After the Welfare of Our Staff & Faculty. We are greatly concerned about the well-being of our staff and faculty. They are the lifeblood of BKCM, the number one reason our families come to the Conservatory. For many of them, we are their livelihood. The inequities in COVID-19’s affect on differently resourced communities reverberate through our faculty. Our on-site faculty have largely resumed their prior teaching schedules, while our offsite teaching artists and music therapists are in limbo, as the fate of their programs rests largely with our partners and will take weeks to resolve. This is not to say they are idle; on the contrary, these faculty members are working diligently to develop new skills and pedagogy to engage students and clients remotely. My view is that we are one institution, not four P&Ls, and that we should look after as many of our people for as long as possible without putting the organization at financial risk.

 

Funding Needs. As of now, we don’t know what the shortfall in our revenues will be relative to our 2020 fiscal year budget. We are analyzing multiple financial scenarios. Historically, the three biggest drivers of spring revenue are our spring fundraiser, our revenues from offsite spring programming and our registration revenues for the following school year. The duration and intensity of the economic fallout from COVID-19 will have varying effects on these three streams. At the same time, we are making necessary but unbudgeted investments in hardware, software, professional development and training—all of which are critical to our new remote learning plan.

Funding Sources

We are looking at five sources to help plug the shortfall to the greatest extent possible:

– Emergency funding sources created specifically for COVID-19 response including the CARES Act

– Charitable donations from our Board, Advisory Council, families and friends

– A retooled Spring fundraising campaign

– New revenue opportunities, such as expanded private and group lesson enrollment; and

– Short-term borrowing.

 

Even in this enormously difficult time, I believe there is an opportunity to offset some of our lost revenue with new enrollment. I am keen to open enrollment wherever possible, as soon as possible.

 

Music has the power to change lives and build community. This is true now, more than ever. For many of our students and clients, music education will be a source of inspiration, expression, joy and stability during this time. With your continued partnership, we will do everything in our power to make this possible.

 

With gratitude,

Chad Cooper

Executive Director

•••••

3.27.20 2:11 PM

Dear Suzuki Families,
I hope this email finds you and your loved ones well. To those of you who are essential workers, thank you for your service.
Guitar, Cello, Bass, and Flute classes resumed group/theory classes over the past week, and Violin and Piano groups are now resuming as of yesterday, and all Sunday classes will be held.
Some classes will be held over Google Meet, and some over Zoom. If your teacher is working through Zoom please read this How To in order to prepare for that. Even if you are already familiar with Zoom for school, there are special sound settings that will help your instrumental lessons and classes function better.
Please note: due to the various factors of preparing an effective online class, the duration of the group class might not match the in-person scheduled length. This will vary from class to class, instrument to instrument, and age to age, depending on the needs of the students and the format of the assignments.
Please watch your inbox (as well as spam) for the email with link to your online classes from your teachers.
Thank you and keep me updated on how things are going. Send screenshots of your child’s class if you can!
Very best,
Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••

3.26.20 5:26 PM

Dear SECE families,

I hope this email finds you and all of your loved ones healthy and managing the current situation as well as possible. Thank you so much for your patience while the Suzuki program has been transitioning to online learning.

We will resume SECE classes ONLINE starting Saturday, Monday, and Thursday at your regular class times!

Classes will be held via ZOOM. Here is a tutorial how to get set up. Please use a laptop if at all possible, or tablet. Zoom works best through an app that you can download.

You will receive an email from your SECE teachers a day or two before your class. In that email, you will find a list of materials to prepare your home classroom, and the Zoom meeting invitation.

The children will gain even more if you continue singing the SECE songs along with your recordings every day with them.

We hope the online class gives your family a little of the structure and activity that we are all craving right now.

My very best,

Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••

3.19.20 11:28 PM

Dear Suzuki Families,
Online private lessons are starting FRIDAY, at your usual lesson day & time.
Group/theory classes will start to take place in a staggered manner, beginning with cello/bass/flute on Friday and Sunday. Guitar will also launch soon. Violin/piano will not start group/theory classes until next week. Watch your email for updates. The format and length of group/theory classes will vary depending on the need of individual classes.
Please read my email from Wednesday night and the attachment to that email: BKCM Suzuki Online Tips and Protocols if you haven’t already. Our staff has also prepared this excellent How To for Google Meet.
BKCM will be providing a level of tech support to families who need it. To help us with this, all familiesplease fill out this survey if you didn’t already. This helps us better understand your situation. 
Your teacher will be sending a google calendar invitation which includes a link to your private lesson Google Meet. NOTE: Especially for non-gmail accounts, google calendar invitations from your teachers may go to SPAM/JUNK, so be sure to check there if you don’t see an email from your teacher with the invitation.
Tech support procedure:
1) Contact your teacher in their preferred mode (text, email, etc.)
2) If teacher can’t walk you through an issue, families may call 718-622-3300 to reach registrar, who will talk families through basic trouble-shooting.
3) If you don’t get through, leave a voicemail, and a registrar will call you back.
4) If the problem cannot be resolved in real time, we will make appointments on another day with our tech savvy staff. If another platform (FaceTime, Skype, etc.) works between you and your teacher, feel free to use that platform.
More tech recommendations:
  • If you have one, use your laptop for these lessons. Students may have a better experience.
  • Attached is a brief list of recommended external mics/headphones that may help improve your experience.
Good luck and have fun!
Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director
•••••
3.18.20 10:56 PM

Dear Suzuki Families,

We are just about ready to start online private lessons! Please read these tips and protocols at least several hours before your first online lesson to give you time to prepare. This will help make your experience smoother.

Your teacher will send to you a google calendar invitation via email; within that invitation will be a link to your Google Meet. Please note that Google Meet is not compatible with Safari (Chrome and other browsers works well.) If there are issues using that platform, parent and teacher may turn to alternate platforms if mutually possible. By choosing one platform, we are able to provide some tech support to faculty and parents.

BKCM is also exploring Zoom for group classes. More information about that will become available in the next week.

There is a lot to learn for everyone, so we will all work together in this new platform. Let’s use patience and humor with each other while working diligently to keep our young musicians deeply engaged in their music.

A couple reminders:
1) If you have internet connection issues, please reach out to me. Please do not ask your teacher to go to your home for lessons. At this time, everyone must practice social distancing.

2) Online lessons are not yet standard for BKCM. Institution wide online learning is an accommodation for unusual and unprecedented circumstances, and are not yet regular practice for BKCM.

3) Please keep your regularly scheduled lesson time if at all possible. Knowing that everyone is juggling childcare and often two parents working from home in small NYC apartments, there may need to be flexibility, with the assumption that lesson times will revert to the current schedule when things resume in person. Please keep your teacher and I updated on your situation, and we will work together to resolve conflicts. Additionally, faculty will be ending lessons a few minutes early in order to send any wrap up details, and to take a short break; for those who are not accustomed to working online for many hours at a time, eyes and voices will need periodic brief rest.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••

3.16.20 4:25 PM

Dear Suzuki Families,

As a reminder, there are no classes today through Thursday this week.

I will be reaching out again later this week with more details about resuming private lessons online on FRIDAY. After we are underway with private lessons, we will begin to offer group/theory class possibilities. We will also be putting together a plan for our many upcoming performing events.

I am sure you are all taking deep breaths today while adjusting to this very new reality. I am optimistic about the possibilities – many facets of Suzuki programming can take place online. There are many great ideas and new opportunities, and faculty will be spending the next two days putting our ideas into an inspiring next phase of our program. As parents, more screentime was probably not one of our goals, but we will press forward.

The musical world is pulling together in incredible, generous ways. The Suzuki community across the country is banding together to share ideas. And, the great performing institutions have opened up their electronic vaults. Check out these resources:

Vienna State Opera- new opera posted every night
Description
Live Streaming Site

Berlin Philharmonic- free streaming for 30 days
Free 30 Day Pass
https://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/titelgeschichten/20192020/digital-concert-hall/

Metropolitan Opera- free operas posted every weeknight
Video about Streaming Service
https://www.playbill.com/article/metropolitan-opera-after-shutting-its-doors-will-offer-free-streams-from-live-in-hd-catalog

Accessibility has been an important topic in conversations this year in staff/board Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work. With the expansion into online resources, there is a chance to offer resources to people who cannot come to BKCM for services – not just through the Suzuki program, but also through our Music Therapy, CMS and Music Partners programs. There are also challenges to those who have varying access to technology in their homes.

Thank you for your patience while we dive deeply into technology that is new to many of us. We’re all in this together!

Very best,

Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••

3.13.20 5:28 PM

Dear Friend,

As a supporter of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (BKCM), I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know how the Conservatory is responding to COVID-19.

As you well know, the situation is changing rapidly — a decision made 4 pm one day feels outdated by 9 am the next morning. If anything, this drives home the importance of being nimble, adaptable, and as communicative as we can with all of our stakeholders.

Our four programs—Suzuki, Community Music School, Music Partners and Music Therapy—are all operational at the moment, but this will undoubtedly look different in the coming days.

Our onsite music education programs, Suzuki and the Community Music School, are preparing to implement a remote learning model. This will initially be rolled out for private lessons. As the private lesson program finds its footing, we will explore ways to offer more online programming with groups classes as our next priority. For our onsite Music Therapy clients, music therapy will be offered remotely where it is logistically feasible and clinically appropriate. For many of our onsite clients this will not be an option.

Our community outreach programs, Music Partners and Music Therapy, are subject to far different dynamics. Decisions with respect to the ongoing operation of these programs lie largely with our partner organizations, and in the case of Music Partners, almost entirely with the Department of Education.

Given all of this, at the highest level, our goals right now are:

  • To make the right decisions in consideration of community health and safety.
  • To ensure the ongoing viability and health of the Conservatory.
  • To ensure the continuity of music education and music therapy for as many of our students and clients as possible.
  • To be communicative, transparent, consistent and fair.

Operational decisions will be made in consultation with the Board, our program leadership, and partners, using the best information and the resources we have at our disposal.

Like many of our peer organizations, we are choosing to postpone our Spring Benefit, currently scheduled for May 18th.  It is still very much our intention to deliver the one-of-a-kind event experience that you expect from the Conservatory. We will announce a future date as soon as we can.  Until then, two things we know for sure:

  • The event, in whatever form it takes, will surprise, delight and inspire (read: it’s going to rock); and
  • Our fundraising needs will be as vital than ever, as the Conservatory absorbs significant, new financial strains.

With all the unknowns right now, one thing I can say with certainty is that for many of our students and families the continuity of their music education will be one of the bright lights during an otherwise difficult time. It’s not so far-fetched to think that many of the people we touch through their music education and music therapy in the coming days and weeks will reflect back on this later in their lives and think of their music education as a source of inspiration and stability.

Thank you for your continued support in this time of uncertainty. We are so grateful to count you among our supporters.

Please reach out at any time with questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Chad Cooper
Executive Director

•••••

3.13.20 4:17 PM

Dear Suzuki Community,

All onsite classes will be suspended beginning Saturday, March 14.

Faculty will be participating in training sessions Tuesday – Thursday next week, and we will begin to offer online private lessons on Friday, March 20.

BKCM will be providing tech support to families who need it. To help us with this, all families, please fill out this survey.

Please watch your email for additional support materials over the next week.

Once private lessons are underway we will also explore creative ways to provide online programming in place of our group classes and upcoming scheduled student performing events.

We hope to be a light in this difficult time, and I look forward to being in close virtual contact with all of you.

Our Suzuki community is a precious treasure. I look forward to continuing to nurture the potential of our young musicians in this new way while safeguarding the health of our families and faculty.

Be well everyone,

Julianne Carney-Chung
Suzuki Program Director

•••••

3.12.20 1:00PM

Dear BKCM Community,

BKCM continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. We are receiving daily informational updates from local (Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene, Dept of Education, Dept of Cultural Affairs), state (NY State), and national organizations (CDC). We are also actively receiving information from the many schools and cultural institutions with whom our students, staff and faculty affiliate.*** For the time being, BKCM will continue to operate under normal business hours.  Please note: We will be closing BKCM for three days next week —Tuesday March 17th through Thursday, March 19 — to plan, train staff and faculty, and take other necessary steps to prepare for a potential transition to online learning. We intend to resume lessons on Friday 20th as scheduled. Any changes in our plans will be communicated to the community by 5 pm on March 19th. ***

Anyone whose lessons are impacted by next week’s three day closure, should plan to make up their lesson during the make up week (June 23rd – 25th). If that is not possible, we will work with you on an individual basis to reschedule your lesson.

We have prepared a detailed FAQ with critical information (updated at 1PM 3.12.20) on BKCM’s recommendations and plans related to COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to read the document. Any updates will be hosted on this page, and update notifications will be sent via email to everyone in our community.We will continue to send out frequent updates as the situation continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we prepare for potential disruption to lessons and classes. These are certainly extraordinary times, but we believe in the power of music, particularly during adverse times, to bring us joy and to bring us together (virtually, if need be!).

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best,

Chad Cooper
Executive Director

Music Therapy

•••••

3.31.20 2:21 PM

Dear Friends,

 

I hope that you and your loved ones are well during this tremendously difficult time.

 

I’m writing with an update on the state of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, as we begin the second week of our reinvention as a virtual music community. I am deeply encouraged by what I am seeing across all of the Conservatory’s programs. Still, there is much to do in the coming weeks as we endeavor to relaunch our programs at our 70+ community-based organization and public school partner sites—many of which are under tremendous pressure.

 

Our onsite programs have made terrific progress in transitioning to remote learning. Across our Suzuki, Community Music School and Music Therapy divisions, we are now providing remote private music lessons and music therapy sessions to 740 students and clients. When you add our group music classes and ensembles, we are reaching 950 out of 1,000 students, or 95% of our pre-pandemic onsite student/client population.

 

When it comes to our offsite Music Partners and Music Therapy schools and community organization partners, there are many unknowns. These partners—including the New York City public school system, City and State agencies, social service agencies and many other smaller community organizations—are under-resourced and facing enormous pressure to reinvent themselves. We are doing everything we can to coordinate with our partners and create options for engaging the students and clients we serve. We will continue to keep you posted as these plans develop.

 

Onsite and offsite, we are developing, adapting and refining our online learning curricula in real time to make our programs as robust, interactive and engaging as possible. We are also adapting and refining our understanding of what it means to be a community. For BKCM, the concept of community has always been intertwined with our physical home in Park Slope. Today our community comes together virtually, from the homes of students, staff, faculty and music therapists across Brooklyn and beyond. Our building remains an integral part of the Conservatory’s identity; now, though, it is our strengths as an organization—our passion for our mission, our extraordinary people, our entrepreneurial spirit and our deep expertise in music education and music therapy—that are sustaining and even growing our BKCM community.

 

Thanks to your generosity, the financial health of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music improved significantly in the years prior to this crisis. This made a crucial difference in how we have been able to respond. As the crisis has mounted, you have been unfailingly encouraging, gracious and supportive with your offers of help, expertise and financial support. We will take you up! As we adapt to our new reality, I look forward to being in touch with ways to engage with you to help BKCM navigate through this enormously challenging time.

 

Some additional details about our programs and progress:

 

Onsite Music Therapy. In our first week of virtual learning, we conducted remote Music Therapy sessions for almost all of our 110 on-site MT clients (excluding our dayhab groups). While remote therapy may not ultimately work for everyone, we have been encouraged by the interest from our clients, and the thoughtful and creative approaches our therapists are taking to this format.

 

Community Music School. Of our 389 private lesson students in the Community Music School, all but ten are moving forward with online lessons. Group classes are a heavier lift. Each is unique, and we are experimenting with different formats and platforms to create the best learning experience. As we begin our second week of remote learning, I am happy to share that 36 of 40 of our group classes and ensembles are convening in some capacity.

 

Suzuki. Suzuki had a solid opening week. Virtually all of our 240 Suzuki students have transitioned to online. Group classes are the next wave; they are being rolled out by instrument group. Our Suzuki Early Childhood program, SECE, also kicked off this past weekend.

 

Music Partners. NYC public schools reopened via remote learning a week ago. Several of our Music Partners schools will resume their music programming with BKCM this week. Most are still in a holding pattern. For now, our teachers are experimenting with different approaches and working with our school partners to be ready with a plan and curriculum that we can plug into whatever platform our schools elect to use. We want to make it easy and additive for our partners to bring our programming back into the fold for our 4,500 Music Partners students.

 

Offsite Music Therapy. Similar to Music Partners, our offsite Music Therapy partners vary widely in their resources and their ability to retool themselves for remote learning. Our largest offsite program, the Manhattan Childrens Center, has already resumed. The Jackson Developmental Center (Queens) has cancelled. Of our eight CAMBA-funded programs, the four that rely on the City’s Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) are in the process of restarting. We hope the other four will resume in the coming weeks as well.

 

Developing Our Tech Prowess. In two short weeks we have made substantial progress on the tech front. Most private lessons are taking place on Google Hangouts Meet. Group classes are taking place on Zoom. Music Partners is looking into platforms such as FlipGridAcapellaClassDojo and BandLab, among others. We are investing in software subscriptions (such as Zoom licenses) and hardware (including Chromebooks and web cameras) to ensure that every faculty member has a high-quality device to provide lessons. We have set up a two-tiered tech support team, with our registrars acting as the frontline. The most complicated requests are transferred to our two IT specialists.

 

Looking After the Welfare of Our Staff & Faculty. We are greatly concerned about the well-being of our staff and faculty. They are the lifeblood of BKCM, the number one reason our families come to the Conservatory. For many of them, we are their livelihood. The inequities in COVID-19’s affect on differently resourced communities reverberate through our faculty. Our on-site faculty have largely resumed their prior teaching schedules, while our offsite teaching artists and music therapists are in limbo, as the fate of their programs rests largely with our partners and will take weeks to resolve. This is not to say they are idle; on the contrary, these faculty members are working diligently to develop new skills and pedagogy to engage students and clients remotely. My view is that we are one institution, not four P&Ls, and that we should look after as many of our people for as long as possible without putting the organization at financial risk.

 

Funding Needs. As of now, we don’t know what the shortfall in our revenues will be relative to our 2020 fiscal year budget. We are analyzing multiple financial scenarios. Historically, the three biggest drivers of spring revenue are our spring fundraiser, our revenues from offsite spring programming and our registration revenues for the following school year. The duration and intensity of the economic fallout from COVID-19 will have varying effects on these three streams. At the same time, we are making necessary but unbudgeted investments in hardware, software, professional development and training—all of which are critical to our new remote learning plan.

Funding Sources

We are looking at five sources to help plug the shortfall to the greatest extent possible:

– Emergency funding sources created specifically for COVID-19 response including the CARES Act

– Charitable donations from our Board, Advisory Council, families and friends

– A retooled Spring fundraising campaign

– New revenue opportunities, such as expanded private and group lesson enrollment; and

– Short-term borrowing.

 

Even in this enormously difficult time, I believe there is an opportunity to offset some of our lost revenue with new enrollment. I am keen to open enrollment wherever possible, as soon as possible.

 

Music has the power to change lives and build community. This is true now, more than ever. For many of our students and clients, music education will be a source of inspiration, expression, joy and stability during this time. With your continued partnership, we will do everything in our power to make this possible.

 

With gratitude,

Chad Cooper

Executive Director

•••••

3.16.20 3:27 PM

Dear Families,

I hope this email finds you well. As you may know, the Conservatory generally follows all protocols established by the DOE. Because the DOE has closed schools until at least 4/20, BKCM is following suit and transitioning all lessons and music therapy sessions to online learning effective Friday, March 20th.

We remain committed to serving you and your families and are striving to maintain continuity of care in whatever way possible. Online sessions may range from your child continuing adaptive lesson instruction; to participating in familiar songs and conversing with their music therapist; to caregiver supported check-ins to provide familiar repertoire for your child; to facilitation of support for you to musically engage with your child at home.

In keeping with our music therapy philosophy, our approach during this time will continue to be informed by the unique needs of your child, so we will be in touch with each of you over the coming days to inform you of our recommendation of which format(s) of online experience we think will provide the best support and continuity for your child.

In order to make the best recommendation, it is imperative that we receive some information from you about access to technology and instruments in your home. We would ask that you kindly submit your responses to this survey by Wednesday, March 18th: https://forms.gle/PcHmi8kCD5EgDRkLA The sooner we receive your response, the sooner we can move forward with a recommendation of services.

As always, thank you so much for your continued support, patience, and dedication to our program.

Very best,
Christina Sterrett Caliz MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy Onsite Coordinator

•••••

3.13.20 5:28 PM

Dear Friend,

As a supporter of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (BKCM), I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know how the Conservatory is responding to COVID-19.

As you well know, the situation is changing rapidly — a decision made 4 pm one day feels outdated by 9 am the next morning. If anything, this drives home the importance of being nimble, adaptable, and as communicative as we can with all of our stakeholders.

Our four programs—Suzuki, Community Music School, Music Partners and Music Therapy—are all operational at the moment, but this will undoubtedly look different in the coming days.

Our onsite music education programs, Suzuki and the Community Music School, are preparing to implement a remote learning model. This will initially be rolled out for private lessons. As the private lesson program finds its footing, we will explore ways to offer more online programming with groups classes as our next priority. For our onsite Music Therapy clients, music therapy will be offered remotely where it is logistically feasible and clinically appropriate. For many of our onsite clients this will not be an option.

Our community outreach programs, Music Partners and Music Therapy, are subject to far different dynamics. Decisions with respect to the ongoing operation of these programs lie largely with our partner organizations, and in the case of Music Partners, almost entirely with the Department of Education.

Given all of this, at the highest level, our goals right now are:

  • To make the right decisions in consideration of community health and safety.
  • To ensure the ongoing viability and health of the Conservatory.
  • To ensure the continuity of music education and music therapy for as many of our students and clients as possible.
  • To be communicative, transparent, consistent and fair.

Operational decisions will be made in consultation with the Board, our program leadership, and partners, using the best information and the resources we have at our disposal.

Like many of our peer organizations, we are choosing to postpone our Spring Benefit, currently scheduled for May 18th.  It is still very much our intention to deliver the one-of-a-kind event experience that you expect from the Conservatory. We will announce a future date as soon as we can.  Until then, two things we know for sure:

  • The event, in whatever form it takes, will surprise, delight and inspire (read: it’s going to rock); and
  • Our fundraising needs will be as vital than ever, as the Conservatory absorbs significant, new financial strains.

With all the unknowns right now, one thing I can say with certainty is that for many of our students and families the continuity of their music education will be one of the bright lights during an otherwise difficult time. It’s not so far-fetched to think that many of the people we touch through their music education and music therapy in the coming days and weeks will reflect back on this later in their lives and think of their music education as a source of inspiration and stability.

Thank you for your continued support in this time of uncertainty. We are so grateful to count you among our supporters.

Please reach out at any time with questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Chad Cooper
Executive Director

•••••

3.13.20 12:55 PM

Dear Music Therapy Parents,

I hope that this email finds you well in this stressful time.  By now you will have received an update (above) from our Executive Director, Chad Cooper, regarding BKCM’s contingency plans in response to the growing coronavirus concern.  As a follow-up to this letter, we also wanted to address some questions that are arising in response. Please thoroughly read the information in the letter as soon as possible and let us know if you have any questions.

CURRENT SCHEDULING INFORMATION

  • All sessions on Saturday 3/14, Sunday 3/15, and Monday 3/16 are moving forward as planned.
  • All sessions on Tuesday 3/17, Wednesday 3/18 and Thursday 3/19 are cancelled.
    • The above closure is a planned measure purely to allow BKCM staff time to prepare for administrative needs that may arise in the coming weeks.
    • All sessions scheduled to occur during these 3 days will be rescheduled to Make-Up Week on 6/23, 6/24 and 6/25.

ATTENDANCE

  • As stated in Chad’s letter, if your school has closed due to an exposure to the coronavirus:
    • Please do not attend your session.
    • Please immediately email both your music therapist and myself to inform us if you are unable to attend your session due the above protocol.
  • We are working to prepare additional make-up time for absences incurred in compliance to the above protocol, more information on this will follow in the weeks to come.
  • All other absences that occur for reasons other than the above protocol are still subject to our usual absence and make-up policy.
  • If you are unsure whether or not your child should attend a session, please email Toby, Melissa and myself immediately, and one of us will get back to as soon as possible to address your concern.

MOVING FORWARD

  • As stated in Chad’s letter, “The decision regarding video conference-based music therapy will be made on a case by case basis in consultation with your therapist, and the MT leadership team.” 
  • We are working to determine which individual sessions are suitable for video conference and will be in touch with each of you by the end of next week with our determinations.
  • If it is determined that your child’s individual session is suitable for video conference, you will also be receiving a survey next week to assess video conference accessibility in the home.
  • Please note the above does not apply to the closure to take place during 3/17-3/19.  All individual sessions during that window will be moved to Make-Up Week on 6/23-6/25.
  • Please also note that as stated in Chad’s letter ” We will not be able to accommodate group lessons or ensembles via video conference, nor will there be any special accommodations for make-ups.”

As you can imagine, information is changing day by day, so we unfortunately do not have any additional information (i.e. longer term contingency plans, etc) beyond the contents of this email.  Please know we are and will continue to be making every effort to keep you updated as we go.  We appreciate your patience and support during this process.  As always, our priority is to serve the well-being of you and your families to the best of our abilities.

 

Warm regards,
Christina Sterrett Caliz MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy Onsite Coordinator

•••••

3.12.20 1:00PM

Dear BKCM Community,

BKCM continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. We are receiving daily informational updates from local (Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene, Dept of Education, Dept of Cultural Affairs), state (NY State), and national organizations (CDC). We are also actively receiving information from the many schools and cultural institutions with whom our students, staff and faculty affiliate.*** For the time being, BKCM will continue to operate under normal business hours.  Please note: We will be closing BKCM for three days next week —Tuesday March 17th through Thursday, March 19 — to plan, train staff and faculty, and take other necessary steps to prepare for a potential transition to online learning. We intend to resume lessons on Friday 20th as scheduled. Any changes in our plans will be communicated to the community by 5 pm on March 19th. ***

Anyone whose lessons are impacted by next week’s three day closure, should plan to make up their lesson during the make up week (June 23rd – 25th). If that is not possible, we will work with you on an individual basis to reschedule your lesson.

We have prepared a detailed FAQ with critical information (updated at 1PM 3.12.20) on BKCM’s recommendations and plans related to COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to read the document. Any updates will be hosted on this page, and update notifications will be sent via email to everyone in our community.We will continue to send out frequent updates as the situation continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we prepare for potential disruption to lessons and classes. These are certainly extraordinary times, but we believe in the power of music, particularly during adverse times, to bring us joy and to bring us together (virtually, if need be!).

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best,

Chad Cooper
Executive Director

Music Partners

•••••

3.31.20 2:21 PM

Dear Friends,

 

I hope that you and your loved ones are well during this tremendously difficult time.

 

I’m writing with an update on the state of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, as we begin the second week of our reinvention as a virtual music community. I am deeply encouraged by what I am seeing across all of the Conservatory’s programs. Still, there is much to do in the coming weeks as we endeavor to relaunch our programs at our 70+ community-based organization and public school partner sites—many of which are under tremendous pressure.

 

Our onsite programs have made terrific progress in transitioning to remote learning. Across our Suzuki, Community Music School and Music Therapy divisions, we are now providing remote private music lessons and music therapy sessions to 740 students and clients. When you add our group music classes and ensembles, we are reaching 950 out of 1,000 students, or 95% of our pre-pandemic onsite student/client population.

 

When it comes to our offsite Music Partners and Music Therapy schools and community organization partners, there are many unknowns. These partners—including the New York City public school system, City and State agencies, social service agencies and many other smaller community organizations—are under-resourced and facing enormous pressure to reinvent themselves. We are doing everything we can to coordinate with our partners and create options for engaging the students and clients we serve. We will continue to keep you posted as these plans develop.

 

Onsite and offsite, we are developing, adapting and refining our online learning curricula in real time to make our programs as robust, interactive and engaging as possible. We are also adapting and refining our understanding of what it means to be a community. For BKCM, the concept of community has always been intertwined with our physical home in Park Slope. Today our community comes together virtually, from the homes of students, staff, faculty and music therapists across Brooklyn and beyond. Our building remains an integral part of the Conservatory’s identity; now, though, it is our strengths as an organization—our passion for our mission, our extraordinary people, our entrepreneurial spirit and our deep expertise in music education and music therapy—that are sustaining and even growing our BKCM community.

 

Thanks to your generosity, the financial health of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music improved significantly in the years prior to this crisis. This made a crucial difference in how we have been able to respond. As the crisis has mounted, you have been unfailingly encouraging, gracious and supportive with your offers of help, expertise and financial support. We will take you up! As we adapt to our new reality, I look forward to being in touch with ways to engage with you to help BKCM navigate through this enormously challenging time.

 

Some additional details about our programs and progress:

 

Onsite Music Therapy. In our first week of virtual learning, we conducted remote Music Therapy sessions for almost all of our 110 on-site MT clients (excluding our dayhab groups). While remote therapy may not ultimately work for everyone, we have been encouraged by the interest from our clients, and the thoughtful and creative approaches our therapists are taking to this format.

 

Community Music School. Of our 389 private lesson students in the Community Music School, all but ten are moving forward with online lessons. Group classes are a heavier lift. Each is unique, and we are experimenting with different formats and platforms to create the best learning experience. As we begin our second week of remote learning, I am happy to share that 36 of 40 of our group classes and ensembles are convening in some capacity.

 

Suzuki. Suzuki had a solid opening week. Virtually all of our 240 Suzuki students have transitioned to online. Group classes are the next wave; they are being rolled out by instrument group. Our Suzuki Early Childhood program, SECE, also kicked off this past weekend.

 

Music Partners. NYC public schools reopened via remote learning a week ago. Several of our Music Partners schools will resume their music programming with BKCM this week. Most are still in a holding pattern. For now, our teachers are experimenting with different approaches and working with our school partners to be ready with a plan and curriculum that we can plug into whatever platform our schools elect to use. We want to make it easy and additive for our partners to bring our programming back into the fold for our 4,500 Music Partners students.

 

Offsite Music Therapy. Similar to Music Partners, our offsite Music Therapy partners vary widely in their resources and their ability to retool themselves for remote learning. Our largest offsite program, the Manhattan Childrens Center, has already resumed. The Jackson Developmental Center (Queens) has cancelled. Of our eight CAMBA-funded programs, the four that rely on the City’s Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) are in the process of restarting. We hope the other four will resume in the coming weeks as well.

 

Developing Our Tech Prowess. In two short weeks we have made substantial progress on the tech front. Most private lessons are taking place on Google Hangouts Meet. Group classes are taking place on Zoom. Music Partners is looking into platforms such as FlipGridAcapellaClassDojo and BandLab, among others. We are investing in software subscriptions (such as Zoom licenses) and hardware (including Chromebooks and web cameras) to ensure that every faculty member has a high-quality device to provide lessons. We have set up a two-tiered tech support team, with our registrars acting as the frontline. The most complicated requests are transferred to our two IT specialists.

 

Looking After the Welfare of Our Staff & Faculty. We are greatly concerned about the well-being of our staff and faculty. They are the lifeblood of BKCM, the number one reason our families come to the Conservatory. For many of them, we are their livelihood. The inequities in COVID-19’s affect on differently resourced communities reverberate through our faculty. Our on-site faculty have largely resumed their prior teaching schedules, while our offsite teaching artists and music therapists are in limbo, as the fate of their programs rests largely with our partners and will take weeks to resolve. This is not to say they are idle; on the contrary, these faculty members are working diligently to develop new skills and pedagogy to engage students and clients remotely. My view is that we are one institution, not four P&Ls, and that we should look after as many of our people for as long as possible without putting the organization at financial risk.

 

Funding Needs. As of now, we don’t know what the shortfall in our revenues will be relative to our 2020 fiscal year budget. We are analyzing multiple financial scenarios. Historically, the three biggest drivers of spring revenue are our spring fundraiser, our revenues from offsite spring programming and our registration revenues for the following school year. The duration and intensity of the economic fallout from COVID-19 will have varying effects on these three streams. At the same time, we are making necessary but unbudgeted investments in hardware, software, professional development and training—all of which are critical to our new remote learning plan.

Funding Sources

We are looking at five sources to help plug the shortfall to the greatest extent possible:

– Emergency funding sources created specifically for COVID-19 response including the CARES Act

– Charitable donations from our Board, Advisory Council, families and friends

– A retooled Spring fundraising campaign

– New revenue opportunities, such as expanded private and group lesson enrollment; and

– Short-term borrowing.

 

Even in this enormously difficult time, I believe there is an opportunity to offset some of our lost revenue with new enrollment. I am keen to open enrollment wherever possible, as soon as possible.

 

Music has the power to change lives and build community. This is true now, more than ever. For many of our students and clients, music education will be a source of inspiration, expression, joy and stability during this time. With your continued partnership, we will do everything in our power to make this possible.

 

With gratitude,

Chad Cooper

Executive Director

•••••

3.13.20 5:28 PM

Dear Friend,

As a supporter of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (BKCM), I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know how the Conservatory is responding to COVID-19.

As you well know, the situation is changing rapidly — a decision made 4 pm one day feels outdated by 9 am the next morning. If anything, this drives home the importance of being nimble, adaptable, and as communicative as we can with all of our stakeholders.

Our four programs—Suzuki, Community Music School, Music Partners and Music Therapy—are all operational at the moment, but this will undoubtedly look different in the coming days.

Our onsite music education programs, Suzuki and the Community Music School, are preparing to implement a remote learning model. This will initially be rolled out for private lessons. As the private lesson program finds its footing, we will explore ways to offer more online programming with groups classes as our next priority. For our onsite Music Therapy clients, music therapy will be offered remotely where it is logistically feasible and clinically appropriate. For many of our onsite clients this will not be an option.

Our community outreach programs, Music Partners and Music Therapy, are subject to far different dynamics. Decisions with respect to the ongoing operation of these programs lie largely with our partner organizations, and in the case of Music Partners, almost entirely with the Department of Education.

Given all of this, at the highest level, our goals right now are:

  • To make the right decisions in consideration of community health and safety.
  • To ensure the ongoing viability and health of the Conservatory.
  • To ensure the continuity of music education and music therapy for as many of our students and clients as possible.
  • To be communicative, transparent, consistent and fair.

Operational decisions will be made in consultation with the Board, our program leadership, and partners, using the best information and the resources we have at our disposal.

Like many of our peer organizations, we are choosing to postpone our Spring Benefit, currently scheduled for May 18th.  It is still very much our intention to deliver the one-of-a-kind event experience that you expect from the Conservatory. We will announce a future date as soon as we can.  Until then, two things we know for sure:

  • The event, in whatever form it takes, will surprise, delight and inspire (read: it’s going to rock); and
  • Our fundraising needs will be as vital than ever, as the Conservatory absorbs significant, new financial strains.

With all the unknowns right now, one thing I can say with certainty is that for many of our students and families the continuity of their music education will be one of the bright lights during an otherwise difficult time. It’s not so far-fetched to think that many of the people we touch through their music education and music therapy in the coming days and weeks will reflect back on this later in their lives and think of their music education as a source of inspiration and stability.

Thank you for your continued support in this time of uncertainty. We are so grateful to count you among our supporters.

Please reach out at any time with questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Chad Cooper
Executive Director

•••••

3.12.20 1:00 PM

Dear BKCM Community,

BKCM continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. We are receiving daily informational updates from local (Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene, Dept of Education, Dept of Cultural Affairs), state (NY State), and national organizations (CDC). We are also actively receiving information from the many schools and cultural institutions with whom our students, staff and faculty affiliate.*** For the time being, BKCM will continue to operate under normal business hours.  Please note: We will be closing BKCM for three days next week —Tuesday March 17th through Thursday, March 19 — to plan, train staff and faculty, and take other necessary steps to prepare for a potential transition to online learning. We intend to resume lessons on Friday 20th as scheduled. Any changes in our plans will be communicated to the community by 5 pm on March 19th. ***

Anyone whose lessons are impacted by next week’s three day closure, should plan to make up their lesson during the make up week (June 23rd – 25th). If that is not possible, we will work with you on an individual basis to reschedule your lesson.

We have prepared a detailed FAQ with critical information (updated at 1PM 3.12.20) on BKCM’s recommendations and plans related to COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to read the document. Any updates will be hosted on this page, and update notifications will be sent via email to everyone in our community.We will continue to send out frequent updates as the situation continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we prepare for potential disruption to lessons and classes. These are certainly extraordinary times, but we believe in the power of music, particularly during adverse times, to bring us joy and to bring us together (virtually, if need be!).

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best,

Chad Cooper
Executive Director