Music in Schools and COVID-19 Myth Buster (May 2021)
Understandably there remains some confusion about what can take place in schools with regards to Music, especially singing. We have put together some common myths alongside information from the relevant Department for Education guidance (correct as of 24/5/21)
- MYTH – Schools shouldn’t be teaching Music at the moment
Schools should still be offering a broad curriculum which includes Music.
“You should continue teaching music, dance and drama as part of your school curriculum, especially as this builds pupils’ confidence and supports their wellbeing.”
- MYTH – You aren’t allowed to sing or play wind/brass instruments
Children are allowed to sing and play wind/brass instruments, but ventilation and space are key. You can sing together as long as socially distancing is in place and there is good ventilation. Also avoid singing too loudly (keep background music down and use microphones if necessary).
“There is some evidence that additional risk can build from aerosol transmission with volume and with the combined numbers of individuals within a confined space. This is particularly evident for singing and shouting, but with appropriate safety mitigation and consideration, singing, wind and brass teaching can still take place.”
“Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups such as choirs and ensembles, or assemblies unless significant space, natural airflow and strict social distancing and mitigation can be maintained.”
- MYTH – You aren’t allowed to sing or play indoors
As ventilation is important, singing and playing outside is preferable. However, if it’s a large space with good ventilation, it is possible to sing or play indoors.
“Playing instruments and singing in groups should take place outdoors wherever possible. If indoors, use a room with as much space as possible, for example, larger rooms, rooms with high ceilings are expected to enable dilution of aerosol transmission.”
“If playing indoors, limit the numbers to account for ventilation of the space and the ability to social distance. It is important to ensure good ventilation.”
- MYTH – Peripatetic teachers aren’t allowed in schools
Visiting teachers are allowed in schools to deliver instrumental/vocal lessons. Lessons should be delivered in spaces which allow for social distancing and have good ventilation.
“Schools can continue to engage peripatetic teachers during this period, including staff from music education hubs.”
“Supply staff and other temporary or peripatetic staff can move between schools. Such staff and visitors must follow your school’s arrangements for managing and minimising risk based on the system of controls.”
- MYTH – Schools are not allowed to offer any extra-curricular music activities such as after school choir
Extra-curricular music activities are allowed but fall under the Government’s Out of School guidance for cross class/bubble activities:
“When children are singing or playing wind or brass instruments, you should also ensure:
- children sit down where possible to help maintain social distancing
- back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face) is used whenever possible, to ensure for example, air from instruments does not blow on to another player
- use microphones where possible or encourage children to sing quietly - if possible, do not share microphones; if they are shared, follow the guidance on handling equipment and instruments
- if indoors, use a room with as much space as possible, for example, larger rooms; rooms with high ceilings are expected to enable dilution of aerosol transmission
- limit the number of children to maintain social distancing and increase space ventilation.
- improve ventilation whenever possible, through the use of mechanical systems or opening windows and doors
- limit the length of activity as far as possible, considering the need for breaks”
Music in schools falls under guidance from the Department for Education (and not DCMS guidance which applies to adult music activities such as adult community choirs)
The full documents can be found here –
- Schools Coronavirus Operational Guidance
- Protective measures for holiday and after school clubs and other out of school settings
If you have any questions, please contact the Hub office: