Instrument hygiene: Preventing the spread of COVID-19 when performing or teaching

As performing and face-to-face teaching resume, how can musicians, music teachers and students perform and clean their instruments in a way that prevents the spread of coronavirus? There is government advice on this topic and many organisations from different countries have carried out research or produced guidance. Here we provide a list of these articles, which we will continue to monitor and update as the situation develops.

We hope that you find this list useful. Please note that the list exists to offer guidance only and should not be construed as advice.

Page updated: 6 August 2020

General guidance

Music Industries Association (MIA) has offered guidance on playing and cleaning musical instruments.

Three American organisations: National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and National Association for Music Education (NAfME) have together made recommendations for use by music educators when teaching students and for parents when cleaning their children's musical instruments.

British Columbia Music Educators’ Association has produced guidance on how to safely offer music in schools, including guidance on hygiene.

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has released a policy brief about performances of orchestras during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infection Control Today (from America) has produced an article on whether sharing musical instruments also means sharing germs.

The School of Music at the University of Nevada in America has carried out research on instrument hygiene.

A National Post article (Canadian Newspaper) looks at work by Canadian researchers on ventilation in buildings and the spread of coronavirus.

The Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton has produced a research article looking at the spread of coronavirus from touching contaminated materials.

Guidance relating to specific musical instruments

The Texas Centre for Performing Arts in America has provided guidance, by way of videos, for students on how to clean specific musical instruments.

Yamaha has produced guidance relating to disinfecting specific musical instruments, including digital pianos, drums and percussion instruments, keyboards, guitars, pianos, and wind and string instruments. There is also guidance relating to disinfecting professional audio equipment.

The Piano Technicians Guild has offered guidance on cleaning pianos.

The Royal College of Organists’ virtual campus iRCO has provided guidance on cleaning keyboards (organ or piano).

Connolly has offered guidance on how to clean brass instruments.

University of Iowa Health Care has carried out research looking at the risk of infection when playing wind instruments.

The International Journal of Environmental Health Research contains an article on microbial contamination of musical wind instruments from Tufts University School of Medicine in America.