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Singing and long Covid

Latest Covid-19 advice and guidance

With lockdown slowly easing, the rules around teaching are changing too. Here’s a rundown of the latest Covid-19 advice.

With the vaccine rollout still humming along, and lockdown measures loosening, things are finally looking up. 

In some parts of the UK, there has been a relaxation of the rules around music teaching, with more to follow in the next few weeks (subject to infection rates, of course). 

We’ve compiled a list of the latest advice, along with a few other interesting videos and podcasts, that might be helpful to those trying to navigate the guidelines – which, we have to say, seem to have quite a few frustrating “grey areas”.

For example, the rules for England state that face-to-face lessons with children can take place – but make no mention of private adult lessons. 

As the rules don’t expressly prohibit adult face-to-face teaching, the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) sees “no good reason” why one-to-ones in person can’t resume. Meanwhile, the Musicians’ Union (MU) suggests “members may wish to consider whether some provision could remain online for now”.

As we wrote back in August when we were trying to get our heads around the guidance then, “teachers need to decide the way forward for themselves and take full responsibility for the choices they make.”

Factors that might influence your decision could include:

  • Vaccination status (yours, your family’s, and your students’).
  • The standard of ventilation in your teaching space.
  • The views of your students (who may find online lessons more convenient). 

Hybrid rehearsals

If figuring out when to return to one-to-one teaching is complicated, what about choirs where the singers themselves have differing views on getting back to in-person rehearsals?

In England, only six people can currently sing together outdoors, but even when these rules change, not everyone may want to return (especially if they haven’t had both jabs).

One idea we’ve seen discussed is hybrid choir rehearsals, where a small group of singers gather for an in-person session while the rest of the choir rehearses remotely via Zoom. 

It would take a bit of coordinating but could be an option to cover the messy in-between period before things get back to ‘normal’.

Covid guidance and advice

Musicians’ Union

This rundown from the MU covers England, Scotland, Wales and NI.

Incorporated Society for Musicians

Here is the ISM’s interpretation for each of the four UK nations.

Arts Council England

Information about the performing arts roadmap.


This advice from ACAS for employers and employees might provide useful background if you teach at a performing arts school and feel you are being rushed back/put in an unsafe position.

Tips on ventilation and air cleaning

The Naked Vocalist duo Chris Johnson and Steve Giles have put together an interesting video called Should I sing into someone’s face?

As well as covering the background science around Covid-19, the guys speak to Dr Shelly Miller, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder. 

She has some interesting things to say about aerosol transmission and some nifty advice about ventilation, humidity meters and portable air cleaners. Watch from 34 minutes for her recommendations.

Some links to hybrid choir rehearsal discussions

Choral Canada

Plans for hybrid rehearsal structure

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