Preliminary results of ground-breaking research project into the impact of Covid-19 on musical instruments and singing

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The MIA hosted a hugely informative webinar on 25th February 2021 on Music Instrument Disinfection and Wind Instrument Aerosol Production during COVID-19.

Our sister association in France, La Chambre Syndicale de la Facture Instrumentale (CSFI), with funding from various MI companies and the French Ministry of Culture, have investigated the impact of Covid on musical instruments and singing. With the formal research being completed this month, this project is one of the most important pieces of research in Europe, if not the world. The project is called PIC-PIV which stands for “Protocoles pour les Instruments face au Coronavirus et Pratiques Instrumentales et Vocales”.

With hundreds of thousands of euros in funding, the seven strong team of music and scientific experts was supported by professional virologists to ensure credibility of the research process. Two key team members who presented their preliminary conclusions were Fanny Reyre Ménard, a violin maker in Nantes, France, since 1988 and Michael Jousserand, a research engineer at Buffet Crampon since 2006.

Fanny has studied at the Welsh School of violin making and repair. She has been a member of the CSFI since 2011, and has been vice-president since 2015. She carried out the issue of rosewood regulation in international negotiations with CITES from 2017 until 2019 and has been coordinating the COVID-19 research study programme since May 2020. Michael specialises in materials engineering and wind musical instruments. He is the deputy director of the Joint Laboratory called LIAMFI (Laboratoire d’Interface Acoustique Musique et Facture Instrumentale) and Professor at the Institut Universtaire Technologique Génie des Matériaux of Paris Saclay University. Since 2016 he worked on the CITES Dalbergia issue on the Behalf of CAFIM and CSFI and on the COVID-19 research study programme since April 2020.

Because the research is still being formalised, the Powerpoint slides are not being shared, but a number of guides and supporting documents for retailers and teachers are available in English and directly relate to the findings of the research. Please scroll to the bottom of that page for the English language versions.

This hour-long Webinar presents the key findings which will be relevant to our industry in order to support the return of wind and brass playing and singing by disinfecting instruments correctly and using protective measures to limit the transmission of Covid through music making.

The key conclusions (which are still preliminary and subject to formal presentation of the research in the coming weeks) were:

  • It is possible to disinfect all musical instruments against Covid following the guide methods proved. Alcohol based disinfectants (in the right concentrations) were most effective in reducing the virus exposure. Hydrogen peroxide was not as effective. [Module 1]
  • The lifetime of Covid on musical instruments varied based on the material e.g. quarantine period for instruments made of ABS instruments was after one day, after three days in brass, after six days for cane reeds, etc [Module 5]
  • Wind instruments do not generate additional significant airflow
  • Large droplets will be deposited on the walls inside the instrument and could stream – hence why the disinfection protocols are required when sharing instruments.
  • Aerosols produced by instruments and singers are very small
  • Masks and bell covers are very effective

The PIC-PIV team are preparing some scientific papers about their research including for peer-review and will be working with other studies globally to share their findings.

We would encourage you to watch the 1 hour webinar below and ask Alice if you would like any further support or information.