I got wind of an article in BBC news about the risks of singing and Covid-19. The title of the article: 

Singing ‘no riskier than talking’ for virus spread

Read the article here

I have been reading posts from vocal instructors who have apparently read the headline, and not the article.

In the article, it states that singing is no riskier than speaking IF one is singing at a level similar to speaking. And yes, while some singing students sing that quietly, well we knot that most do not. The article goes on to say this….

“This allowed researchers to analyse the aerosols produced by specific sounds”.

They found that the volume of the voice had the largest impact on the amount of aerosol produced.

For example, there was some difference – albeit not very substantial – between speaking and singing at a similar level. Whereas singing or shouting at the loudest level could generate 30 times more aerosol.”

So to me that makes the study incomplete. In addition, the article goes on to say the following.

“Dr Julian Tang, honorary associate professor in respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester, said: “The risk is amplified when a group of singers are singing together, eg singing to an audience, whether in churches or concert halls or theatres. It is a nice study but not exactly representative of the real whole choir dynamic, which really needs further study to truly assess the risk of such large volume synchronised singing vocalisations/exhalations”.

The conclusion, at least for me, is that the risks of singing and Covid-19 are no different than they were before. Now that there is a vaccine, isn’t it worth waiting until your choir members and students are vaccinated before teaching live?

Obviously, if you must teach live, since you cannot wear a mask, take ALL of the precautions:

  • keep 3-4 meters distance
  • Air the room and wash down every surface between students
  • Use a face Shield or a Poly room shield

Safe Singing!