Guidance for full opening: schools

On 28th August the UK Governement published “Guidance for full opening: schools” (

The section on Music, Dance and Drama ( gives further information which should be read. There is some detail but for now I repeat some information I shared in my blog from June 7th.  ( TBH I am not a web genius so sometimes the link doesn’t work

In the USA, the NAMM Foundation has a batch of resources concerning instrument cleanliness.( )

“Instrument Cleaning: Guidelines and Information”, has been written with advice from the Centre for Disease Control. The full article gives a description of how various parts of instruments should be cleaned. How often is discretional but where instruments are shared then it should be noted that the virus can remain on surfaces as follows

Brass – Up to 5 Days

Wood – Up to 4 Days

Plastic – Up to 3 Days

Strings – Up to 3 Days

Cork – Up to 2 Days

There is more specific guidance for pianos from the Piano Technicians Guild here[ and for guitars and microphones here ( Remember the products referred to are American

Andy Gleadhill ( who is internationally acknowledged as an leading authority on teaching World Music comments on natural skinned instruments comments, “It is difficult to try to disinfect them as they are mainly goat skin and will react badly to strong chemicals. Also getting them wet is not a good idea as this will slacken the head and alter the tone. Sunlight is a good natural disinfectant particularly in hot weather. Other than this just good old – fashioned soap and warm water and dry the heads straight away. A hairdryer is good for this and will tighten up the skin as well.”

Don’t forget to look through this study from the USA which is education and schools focused (

There is information on ventilation here which basically I read as if the air takes one hour to change in a room then you may use it for an hour, leave it empty for an hour and use it again an hour later. Here you are going to have to ask your building managers for advice.

I can see nothing in the guidance about masks except for on transport and this guidance seems to be changing daily. However in the USA they are saying mask everything in the music classroom so that’s teachers, children and wind and brass instrument bells.

No doubt here in the UK Music Mark and the ISM will issue their thoughts in addition to the already useful guidance they have on their websites, but I hope this helps.

Published by askrichardarts

Recently retired (September 2019) after a 42 year career in Music and Arts Education I am an experienced arts educator specialising in school leadership and all aspects of arts education but with particular expertise in music and music education. From 2011 - 2019 I was Music and Arts Strategy Manager in South Gloucestershire leading the South Gloucestershire Music Hub, Arts Council England’s preferred provider of Music Hub activities in South Gloucestershire. Always regarded as a minor risk organisation it provided teaching and ensemble activities to over 4000 children a week and many ensembles achieved national recognition at the Music for Youth Proms and National Festival. From 2005 to 2011 I was National Specialist Coordinator for Performing Arts and Music at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust effectively a national adviser on arts education contributing to many national initiatives e.g. Music Manifesto, Musical Futures, Henley Review of Music Education, and Building Schools for the Future. I also provided curriculum support and professional development to over 600 schools in England and in 2010 gave a keynote speech on Music Education in the UK at Gifu University in Japan. The bulk of my teaching career was at Richmond School in North Yorkshire where I led a highly successful Music Department with over 300 students a week learning musical instruments and large classes at GCSE and A level. I commissioned a number of works for School Wind Band by composers such as Bill Connor, Adam Gorb and Philip Wilby and developed UK and Worldwide commissioning networks to commission works by Christopher Marshall and Marco Putz. As an adjudicator I have worked throughout the UK, in the Netherlands, Australia and the USA and Canada. In retirement I am a Trustee of the Music Education Council ,Independent Chair of the Music Hubs in Somerset and Torbay , and a doctoral student at the University of the West of England.

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