Opening Up (Literally) for Coaching

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Opening up for ventilationOpening up for ventilation

Now that up to 6 people can meet indoors in England, and non-professional singing groups of up to 6 can also re-start indoor rehearsing, I am once again able to welcome individuals and small ensembles for coaching. I’ll send you a copy of my formal risk assessment on booking, but here are the key safety measures I’ll have in place to protect us all:

  1. Ventilation. This is, for singers, the most important way to mitigate the risks from the aerosols we emit in vocalising, and fortunately my house is particularly well-equipped to let in air. The entire back end opens up (hence the ‘literally’ in my title), and if it is too rainy to do that, large windows at the front and rooflights at the back create a strong through-breeze. It can actually be a bit too much like a wind tunnel for a living room, but will be excellent for our purposes.

    I have calibrated the ventilation rates thoroughly with a CO2 monitor over recent weeks, and will keep this on during coaching sessions so that all participants can be confident in the airflow.

  2. Masks. Unless everyone involved is fully vaccinated, we will continue to wear masks indoors. People who have been vaccinated can still carry covid asymptomatically, so we need masks to prevent us spreading it unwittingly to those still waiting for their jabs.
  3. Distancing. Although a lot of people who come to me for coaching become personal friends, I won’t be hugging you for now. I still love you, but for the time being I’m expressing that through keeping a cautious distance from you.
  4. Sanitising. I will disinfect all the door handles prior to your arrival, and there will be wipes available for us to clean any shared surfaces during the session. I will provide paper towels in the bathrooms. Whilst it feels unhospitable not to provide glasses and a carafe of water for visiting singers, bringing your own water bottles will be safer.
  5. Testing. I will take a lateral flow test the day before your booking. Whilst I don’t require you to take one as well, I would recommend it if you are going to be travelling together.

These precautions will be familiar to singers from your risk assessments for the chorus activities we had thought we could also start from this week (and indeed still can in Wales),* so this should all feel quite familiar, even if you haven’t had the opportunity to do much indoor singing yet. The key thing that may be different from chorus rehearsals is travel: the trip to your regular rehearsals is probably shorter than coming to me, and probably doesn’t involve a full car.

So, if you are travelling any distance as a group, I would encourage you to think through how you keep each other safe in transit. Vaccination status makes a difference, and lateral flow tests will increase your confidence. Do ventilate well, and consider wearing masks when inside the car together.

And, cautious soul that I am, I would rather coach you remotely than have you feel unsafe during the journey. I know how to keep you safe once you’re here, but if you are in any doubt about the travel, then you can meet locally to each other and I’ll join you virtually. There are things you can do in in-person coaching that can’t be fully replicated in online coaching, but with the members of an ensemble together to make music, that still leaves a lot we can achieve remotely.

So, have a look at my availability calendar, and let me know when you’d like to spend some time with me growing as musicians and performers.

* Background for those outside the UK: we learned on May 18 (i.e. a day after the guidelines were due to be applied) that singing groups were to be specifically excluded from the guidelines for indoor rehearsing that apply to the other performing arts in England and which we had been planning to for the previous 2 months, and were to be limited to a maximum of 6. Choirs in Wales on the other hand can have up to 30 people indoors, while those in most of Scotland are still waiting to be able to meet indoors at all.

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