School of music

School Notes: School of Music
November/December 2020

Robert Blocker |

Yale-led effort yields Zoom upgrades

In early September, Zoom released a new “high fidelity music mode” that enables users to turn off some features that hinder music-making while taking advantage of a sampling rate that’s much higher than it was previously. The new functionality was created at the request of more than two dozen music schools in a Yale-led effort. 

Zoom’s engineering team reconfigured the existing Opus codec and redesigned the user interface in the settings menu, explaining in an August 20 blog post that the enhanced functionality allows users “to disable echo cancellation and post-processing and get rid of compression,” and increases the “audio codec quality from 22kHz to 48kHz, 96Kbps mono/192Kbps stereo, for professional audio transmission in music education and performance applications.”

The enhanced functionality is a useful tool for teachers and students who are adapting to the moment while looking forward to a return to in-person music-making.

Faculty appointments

Conductor and composer André J. Thomas was appointed visiting professor of choral conducting and interim conductor of the Yale Camerata for the 2020–21 academic year. Thomas, who was previously on the faculty at Florida State University, has directed ensembles around the world. His book Way Over in Beulah Lan’: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual (Heritage Music Press) is considered an important resource in the subject area. 

Professor Elaina B. McKie was appointed lecturer in musicianship and analysis for the fall 2020 semester. McKie is a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Her forthcoming dissertation, “The Business of Music Theory: Problems of Disciplinarity and Canon as Manifestations of Intersectional Inequity,” presents a history of music theory that reveals ways in which its canons have been informed and enforced by institutional structures in American higher education.

School launches Instagram account

The School of Music is now on Instagram, having created and launched an account,, in late August. The school plans to share more behind-the-scenes visuals that depict how YSM is adapting to the pandemic and celebrating students’ ongoing music-making.

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