Curated from AmroMusic.com –
While there are still many unknowns about the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, one thing is for certain: the importance of music in our schools and the impact it has on student’s lives has not changed.
Educators and administrators across the country are working tirelessly to strategize ways to return to school safely. However, many of the current studies are focused on a return to the traditional academic classroom setting.
In order to ease some of your concerns and hopefully provide some peace-of-mind, we’re covering the latest research and information about returning to the instrumental music classroom in today’s blog!
Music offers a platform for students to learn skills necessary to be successful later in life: creative problem solving, self expression, and an awareness of those around us. These lessons will be even more vital as we return to life after COVID-19 and look to offset the effects of quarantine.
Additionally, we know students enrolled in music experience substantial cognitive benefits compared to their non-music peers. Because of this, students enrolled in music score higher on standardized tests, learn a foreign language faster, and can more quickly master complex math concepts. Students are also less likely to be truant, less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol, more likely to graduate on time, and more likely to go on to college. Simply put, we need music now more than ever.
While academic studies are presently underway at Colorado State University, a recent study conducted by the Vienna Philharmonic revealed “when playing an instrument they (the musicians) faced no additional risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus when performing” and that “we should not expect air exhaled by artists to reach more than 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) distance”. Additionally, the United States Army Band and West Point states “there is agreement between all of the research collected, that wind instrument playing seems to present about the same risk as normal breathing and talking.”
As many educators and musicians can attest, although the musician is blowing air into the instrument, the design of the instrument is such that the air is slowed down to produce a tone, and in doing so, the instrument retains the moisture and aerosols associated with the spread of COVID-19. Accordingly, frequently disinfecting the musical instruments in the band or orchestra program, ensuring students properly maintain their own equipment, and closely following the CDC’s guidelines recommended for social distancing will allow educators to continue offering a quality music education to students while proactively preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Orchestra instruments offer no additional risk of contributing to the spread of COVID-19. Performing on these instruments does not involve breathing into the instrument to create a tone and students are able to wear masks when playing. Additionally, because these instruments are sealed with a lacquer or varnish, the exterior surfaces of these instruments are non-porous and can be cleaned similar to other surfaces. Encouraging students not to share classroom supplies, implementing a structured cleaning regimen, following the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing, and utilizing appropriate cleaning solutions that are both effective and safe for the instrument’s finish, will play an active role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the orchestra classroom.
Here are some guidelines that all music students can follow to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
As a band or orchestra parent, I’m sure you’re aware that each instrument is uniquely comprised of a variety of materials, which help to create its characteristic sound and tone quality. Each instrument requires specific protocols for cleaning, which should be completed before beginning the actual sanitizing process.
Check out our videos about instrument care and cleaning.