Before 2020, whoever thought that singing could be dangerous? Well, maybe if you were too near a window during one of those soprano-singing-glass-shattering high notes moments, but otherwise, it was relatively safe to sing in public, alone or with other singers. Then, the pandemic hit, and the singer’s world was turned upside-down.
Not only did so many singers and actors lose work, but now singing around others was suddenly considered too risky. Along with our ability to project our voices comes the all-too-common occurrence: SPITTING! We singers generate not only lots of spit, but lots of fast-moving aerosols, those microscopic potentially-virus-carrying particles that hang in the air for a long time, even several hours in some cases. Aerosol transmission has been found to be a key factor in the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
So how can we work with our singing teachers, choruses, or rehearse with others, especially if you’re not sure if everyone is vaccinated? The safest way to do this is outdoors, or indoors with excellent ventilation, social distancing of even more than 6 feet, and masks. But wait, you say, how am I supposed to sing with a mask on? How do I warm-up and do lip trills or even just breathe deeply without having a conventional paper or cloth mask sucked into my mouth or impinging upon free lip and jaw movement?
Enter the singer’s masks. There are now several types on the market. When we made our video demonstrating the effectiveness of singer’s masks, we had only the Singer’s Mask from the Broadway Relief Project, and the Resonance Singer’s Mask from My Music Folders. Check out the TMF Mask; you can surely find others on the market now. (Please note: the TMF mask was supposedly researched as the safest mask in particle containment by Colorado State University aerosol study on singers).
By the way, for those singers and choral directors who are interested in implementing all the mitigating factors to be used for singers to sing together safely, check out this short informative video: https://youtu.be/aesWEkmHYYc ).
As you will see in our video, the singer’s masks transmit sound very well…so well, in fact, that when I used what I affectionately refer to as my “big opera voice”, the sound distorted on my Blue Yeti mic. (New Shure mics have since been purchased; I’m hoping for a better recording quality for singing).
Remember, performing opportunities will be increasing in the weeks and months to come. Stay safe, get vaccinated, make sure there is excellent ventilation with exchange of outside air or air filtration/air handlers/air purifying systems, and wear a singer’s mask!