Covid and whistles

Covid and whistles

I am a bit reluctant to play my whistle at the group I attend. It is a folk group rather than a session. Are whistlers welcome back yet?

Re: Covid and whistles

In short, Yes.

Re: Covid and whistles

Imperial College in London did a detailed scientific study and found that wind instruments produce less droplets than vocalisation.

Multiple reports on the WWW at the time,
https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2021/june/perform2-study.html
is from Bristol University.

Not worth getting into an argument about of course!

Re: Covid and whistles

At our sessions, for the brief time when we were back indoors before Delta community spread took off, we were all vaccinated and had no issue with whistles or flutes.

Re: Covid and whistles

I’ve been to sessions last weekend with flutes and whistles and felt safe enough. Indoors too but we were all well "socially spaced".

On Monday, we managed to have a few tunes in my local pub(First time since March 2020) and there was even a GH Piper there.
Everything was fine but I daresay time will tell. πŸ™‚

Re: Covid and whistles

It will depend on the group of course, and more likely to be an unworried crowd if everyone in the group is vaccinated. I’ve played flute in a few house sessions where nobody was concerned because we were all vaccinated.

You might want to be a bit more discreet that usual about drips and clearing the airway. The study mentioned above probably didn’t take that into account. Condensation drips can freak some people out even in more normal times. πŸ™‚

Re: Covid and whistles

For at least couple of months now, in London, Europe, ever since we were allowed back inside, all the pub sessions (& everything else) have been as per normal pre-covid. So no worries, no hassle with whistle or absolutely anything else.

Re: Covid and whistles

To piggyback on CB’s point: I play flute exclusively and I find it better to swab the flute every 3 or 4 sets rather than blowing the moisture out. Takes more time, but works better, in my experience.

Posted by .

Re: Covid and whistles

"Condensation drips can freak some people out even in more normal times." I’ve seen Covid guidance online, for a wind band I think, saying wind players should take a towel to mop up after themselves.

I don’t drip much from the end of the flute but usually get wet fingers. End of the evening in other people’s kitchen has led to another of those biosecurity rituals - leave flute case open while playing, swab flute, put flute and swab in case, rub alcohol gel on hands (and gel container), *then* close case.

Most people seem happy than flute is not much different to talking and laughing.

Re: Covid and whistles

"Imperial College in London did a detailed scientific study and found that wind instruments produce less droplets than vocalisation."

In that case, all face-to-face conversation should be replaced with swannee whistles until further notice.

Re: Covid and whistles

Thanks for the encouragement.
I feel a bit naked without my whistle.
I normally play the melody then sing a bit
I may play another chorus in the middle or at the end.
I’m not playing constantly, just a couple of songs.

Re: Covid and whistles

Are there any good β€˜swabs’ for small whistles?

Re: Covid and whistles

Makes sense to me that for most wind instruments there would be less droplet projection than for vocalization since the entire airstream is directed through the instrument. Flutes are another matter, but then again the lip opening of one’s flute embouchure is tiny compared to the gaping maw of a singer. Still, I decided to invest in a flute/piccolo mask and have been experimenting with it at some local outdoor sessions. One unanticipated benefit of the mask for outdoor flute playing: it seems to mitigate the effect of wind countering one’s breath at the embouchure. Does take some getting used to, of course, and the process of getting the flute’s head joint up to my lips looks rather ungainly.

Re: Covid and whistles

Not surprisingly most members are anxious to get on with sessions exactly as they were before the pandemic
& before the recent surge in positive cases & before the emergence of Delta. In short I base my session commitments on local data (county & city) and how any given session is set up. Here in the city of Chico,
Butte Co. CA it looks like we may have peaked in the numbers and cases may be going down. Although, if I’m reading it correctly, the numbers matched the previous surge from 8 months ago. I assume this is due to our relatively low vaccination rates, transmission of the Delta variant & the relaxation of earlier guidelines.
We may see some guidelines reintroduced.

My point is it all comes down to the numbers locally regarding pandemic fluctuations. Conrad, I’m impressed by how the data is presented in Northhamptonshire, U.K. It appears very comprehensive. Admittedly I struggle with my local online resources.

Having said that our local session was playing house sessions, everyone in the session got the jab as they were able, it’s been outdoors w/distancing & recently the session began returning to public (indoor) venues.
I did not attend though I think some distancing was maintained as best everyone was able. I’d have to look at our schedule. It’s not that I’m being safe because I do plan to play another session before October. It’s just on the backburner because of my work. Some of us still work. Fortunately for me I love the work I do.
Long live sessions!
Ben

Posted by .

Re: Covid and whistles

β€œ In that case, all face-to-face conversation should be replaced with swannee whistles until further notice.”

πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Re: Covid and whistles

mkchen, I’m sure you are generally right, but just technically, I don’t think the relative safety of flutes over singers has a lot to do with the size of the mouth-hole when playing vs. singing. Isn’t it rather the vocal chords themselves? A couple of bits of mucus-lubricated soft tissue flapping against one another, now being pushed open by air pressure from below, then slamming shut again as the air picks up speed and drops the pressure according to the Bernoulli principle, hundreds of times a second. Same principle as a reed instrument (not a free reed), though the details differ. So when we vocalize by talking or singing we operate a device for generating airway-aerosol; when we play a flute we don’t.

Posted by .

Re: Covid and whistles

I strongly suspect that aerosol droplets and larger droplets are produced by the vibration of a wet surface. Vocal cords vibrating are known to produce far more droplets than simple breathing. Wet lips of brass players have the same action. The moist reed of a clarinet or saxophone would do the same.

But whistles and flutes produce sound purely by the vibration of the air column within. My guess is they would be as safe as a person breathing. As I recall, studies of various orchestra instruments confirmed this.