Playing brass instruments safely in school during the COVID-19 pandemic
As schools gradually return to delivering a broad, rich and deep school curriculum, much discussion and research has taken place to ascertain what steps can be taken to make music on wind instruments as safe as possible.
Warwick Music - the company that brings us favourites such as pbuzz and the pTrumpet - has compiled the key findings of research into Covid on musical instruments and singing, and suggested best practice that has emerged from these findings.
Of course, it isn’t possible make brass playing, or any activity, 100% COVID safe but they believe that these are key steps to making brass playing as safe as reasonably possible.
The Music Industries Association (MIA) sister organisation in France, La Chambre Syndicale de la Facture Instrumentale (CSFI), with funding from various music industry companies and the French Ministry of Culture, have investigated the impact of Covid on musical instruments and singing.
This is research of the highest quality and is currently undergoing peer review, prior to publication. With the formal research being completed last month, this project is one of the most important pieces of research in Europe, if not the world. The project is called PIC-PIV which stands for “Protocoles pour les Instruments face au Coronavirus et Pratiques Instrumentales et Vocales”.
• It is possible to disinfect all musical instruments against Covid following the guide
methods proved. Alcohol based disinfectants (in the right concentrations) were most effective in reducing the virus exposure.
• Hydrogen peroxide was not as effective.
• The lifetime of Covid on musical instruments varied based on the material e.g.
quarantine period for instruments made of ABS instruments was after one day, after three days in brass, after six days for cane reeds.
• Wind & brass instruments do not generate additional significant airflow.
• Water droplets may be deposited on the walls inside the instrument and
could stream, hence why the disinfection protocols are required when sharing
• Volumes of aerosols produced by instruments and singers are very small.
• Masks and bell covers are very effective. See what we sell here
• The first and most obvious advice is that an individual mouthpiece for each player is going to be key, both to containing infection and building confidence.
• If instruments are shared either with another school, cohort or within each class or group then an appropriate disinfection and/or quarantine protocol must be in force.
• Natural ventilation from open windows and doors is beneficial but air con and
fans could simply distribute infection more evenly throughout the space.
• Some form of bell covering radically decreases the distribution of aerosols.
• Any condensation that has escaped or been released from the instrument must be cleared and disinfected.
• Each school will have an individual view on the wearing of face masks before, during and after sessions that must be included in any delivery.