This quarter, band students began using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for any student who plays a wind instrument. Each student who plays an instrument that needs air to create sound has an instrument/bell cover and a playing mask. The covers are from a company called McCormick's, and the playing masks are from a company called Director's Assistant.
The woodwind instrument covers completely seal the instrument so that no air can escape as they play. Brass instruments use a bell cover that fits their instrument tightly and prevents air from leaving as they play. We are using this equipment based on the aerosol study of wind instruments conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder in the United States. The National Association for Music Educators and the National Federations of State High School Associations have supported this research and publicized guidelines for music programs worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The school leadership team, Ms. Sevey, and our school nurse met to create policies that fit the expectations of the SMOE while still allowing room for student growth. The band program at YISS is incredibly blessed to have an administration team that has been supportive and proactive during this challenging time.
This January was the first time band students were able to play all together since last February. When students were first introduced to the PPE, I was very impressed with how enthusiastic and positive they were with these new adaptations. When showed how everything works, the students had an attitude of, "Okay, let's figure this out so we can play." It made the whole experience a very positive one!
After eleven months of not being able to hear my students play in person, I have been so uplifted by the implementation of the PPE allowing us to play together. I believe the students are also excited to be able to enjoy making music together again!