As Ontario enters Phase 2 of reopening, and restrictions are starting to ease, I know that we all are eager to return to a sense of normality. Of course, every business owner is asking themselves not only how they can reopen now, but when they will be able to regain full capacity. It seems to me that for singers, singing teachers, and choir directors, at this point a return to business as usual is unlikely until we have a vaccine.
It’s very important to me to prioritize my students’ safety and make sure I’m continuing to offer my services responsibly. In the age of COVID-19, singing is considered a high risk activity. Although more research is needed, evidence suggests that singing projects respiratory droplets further than other activities like talking or breathing. The tragic case of the Washington choir group who rehearsed together shortly before the virus was declared a global pandemic, resulting in two deaths, is foremost in every singer’s mind. Despite some choirs’ attempts to rehearse responsibly with physical distancing measures, the virus has continued to spread in these environments.
I can certainly see the risks of returning to lessons in an indoor studio. Vocal warm-up exercises such as panting, lip rolls, and other breathing techniques absolutely come with a bit of a spit zone. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine being able to effectively coach a singer who is wearing a mask. Vowel placement and vocal strain are often indicated on the face of the singer.
Going forward, all my lessons will remain online for the foreseeable future. My Self-Isolation Special rates allow folks to continue to improve their voices very affordably. I am still seeing lots of success from my students doing online lessons, and there are some great advantages, too. Sharing screens for music and videos, recording lessons, and zero commute time have all created a unique experience.
That being said, I am hosting an outdoor Laneway Open Mic on Tues Aug 18. My students will have the opportunity to perform for my neighbours in an outdoor setting. If you’re interested in coming or performing, ask me how!
In the meantime, here are some tips for safe singing in the age of coronavirus.
- Sing by yourself. Practice, practice, practice.
- Perform for friends and audiences online. Take advantage of live-streaming on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Record your performance on your cell phone and upload it to your account or a group. Host or participate in Zoom Open Mics to sing for others.
- Conduct all group singing activities outside, at least 10 feet apart. Enjoy the summer weather. Host a bonfire or a songwriting circle in a park or backyard. If your choir must rehearse, let it be outside.
- Explore home recording. Now is the time to put together that nifty home recording studio you’ve always wanted and make your own music at home. Check out my post for building a basic home recording studio.
- Get into video editing. Amazing video performances like this were created from editing together pre-recorded performances. You can make one in iMovie with your friends or family!
- Use your own microphone. If you do participate in a performance, I recommend not sharing mics. If you happen to have disinfectant wipes—you lucky minx—wipe it down before using it.
Stay safe! How do you feel about online singing lessons vs. in person? Let me know in the comments.