So things are a lot better these days, for musicians. In many places, we can perform again, we can go to live concerts, we can teach in-person again, we can hold music classes in person again.
But this pandemic business ain't over, and it's still been necessary to honor certain rules designed to keep each other from contracting COVID. One of them has been the continued wearing of masks, and for us string players, that can mean playing the violin, viola or other instrument, while wearing a mask.
In my own life, I've been able to teach in-person, but we wear masks, especially when the lesson involved a child that is not yet vaccinated.
When it comes to performing, the live performances I've done in the last few months have all required wearing a mask, and this seems to be the case for all orchestras in my region. At a recent LA Phil concert, all the string players wore masks. (Funny enough, this fact did not even cross my mind until halfway through the concert, I'm so used to it!)
So this means that for many in-person situations, string players are either required to wear masks or choose to do so. It's something we accept so we can play, but the situation has its challenges and I think it's okay to acknowledge that, and to share coping strategies.
For me, the biggest pain is that I wear reading glasses when I play in orchestra, and they get fogged up unless I perch them at a bit of a weird angle. Also, in fast passages that require a lot of exertion, I notice that I get "winded," for lack of a better word. Fortunately I have a lot of homemade all-cotton masks that fit me well, and I think the "breathability" of those masks helps.
I find it easier to wear a mask while teaching because I'm simply not playing all the time. But I've noticed that it drives some kids a little crazy, especially if their masks are a little big or ill-fitting or made of polyester.
How are you doing, when it comes to playing with masks? Any good strategies for the fogging-up-glasses situation or other things? Do you play with a certain kind of mask, and does that help? Anyone have a good source of good black masks that work well for concerts? Please participate in the vote and share your experience. Note: let's keep the conversation focused on the particulars of wearing a mask to play; no political comments, please.
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