The Telegraph: “School orchestras replace wind instruments with ukuleles as they adapt to post-COVID rules”

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School music directors say they are bringing in new instruments for junior players ahead of the planned full reopening of schools next month. In this article, The Telegraph reports that schools are integrating a greater variety of string instruments into musical sessions because they are deemed more hygienic…

This is an interesting article that we recommend you read. We know that DIY music creation has been on a high during lockdown. With time to spare, musical beginners are diving in by purchasing instruments for the first time, and as we know, the ukulele is the perfect starter instrument.

Now, schools are having to adapt to the new COVID-19 rules, and they are doing so by introducing more stringed instruments such as ukuleles to their orchestras. We are pleased to hear that schools in the UK are coming up with ideas to ensure that in person music making continues, and that the demand for ukuleles is rising. However, we would like to see the guidance for schools be inclusive of the wind and brass instruments that so many people enjoy playing.

The DfE says they will provide additional guidance on music making, which we’re all waiting for – hopefully it will include more specific advice for all kinds of musical instruments.

Musical Instrument Hygiene

Here is some guidance we have provided in the past to help with questions surrounding the hygiene of instruments.

We have created a series of videos from manufacturers and distributors which show retailers how to clean the products that they provide. This well help support the shop staff and ensure the safety of customers.

  • Stephen Wick of Denis Wick Products Ltd. showing you how to clean mouthpieces – click here
  • Jonty Hines of Warwick Music Group on cleaning and caring for your pInstruments – click here
  • Nick Fraser, Technical Manager for PRS Guitars on sanitising guitars – click here

Here is an excerpt from the article published by The Telegraph and written by

“The harmonious interplay between the woodwind and brass sections of a school orchestra has long brought delight to the ears of proud parents listening intently from the audience.

But junior ensembles will soon strike a different note, as they adapt to new Covid-19 rules by integrating a greater variety of string instruments into musical sessions because they are deemed more hygienic.

Schools should consider the “additional risk of infection” potentially posed by wind and brass instruments when played, Department for Education (DfE) guidance suggests.

So, in order to resume in-person “music-making” in line with the rules, some directors have resorted to buying ukuleles for their junior musicians to play in limited, socially distanced groups.

Consisting of four strings with a small guitar-like body, it is considered safer than more commonly used orchestral devices such as trumpets and flutes, or class instruments like recorders.

Music stores have reported a surge in demand for ukuleles since the lockdown began, with many children picking it up as a hobby while stuck indoors and away from school friends.”

You can read the full article on The Telegraph’s website here: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/school-orchestras-replace-wind-instruments-ukuleles-

It includes a comment from Bridget Whyte, CEO of The UK Association for Music Education, Music Mark, who the MIA work closely with.