Taking it outside...

April 26, 2020, 9:32 AM · Following is a message I sent to the parents of the Young Musicians I teach:

Listening to the radio this morning, having coffee with Linda and looking outside I started thinking about the Young Musicians. As the weather improves we could have some outdoor lessons. Stands at least six feet apart, clothes-pins to keep books open and pages down, and highly weather dependent (rain and high winds would make it impossible) and we would maintain a no-touch (tune your own instrument) policy. It would be in public but it could work and being outside with a breeze the potential for any transmission of viral particles is so slight as to be insignificant.

Think about it, discuss the idea, and let me know what you think.

FWIW: I live in a suburban community single family houses and very little foot traffic so there aren't a lot of people out-and-about.

Replies (8)

Edited: April 26, 2020, 9:54 AM · I like the idea. The studio I work for was getting things set up so this would be possible, even cutting plexi glass to cover the music on the stand to protect from wind. I had one lesson with a 7 year old, it worked really well and we both enjoyed it. Right after that one lesson, though, our stay at home order was issued and all my students moved to Skype. I personally like the idea and would continue with it once it's allowed in our area.
April 26, 2020, 1:48 PM · That still wouldn't be legal here in Illinois, but I think it is a great idea once shelter-in-place orders are lifted.
April 26, 2020, 2:01 PM · I think a lot of states still have orders prohibiting any non-life sustaining activities.

I am not sure about going back to studios with a/c for lessons so semi-outdoor space with good ventilation sounds good to me but my daughter would be paranoid about dropping her violin, etc.

April 26, 2020, 2:32 PM · As long as stay-at-home-except-essential orders are in effect, I wouldn't do it. When(!) those restrictions start being loosened, I assume it wouldn't be everything at once, free-for-all, so it's hard to say without knowing exactly what's being lifted. My current measure is if children aren't supposed to be in their day schools, they shouldn't be meeting for violin either. Once "summer break" hits (mid/late June), the decision will have to be made based on something else.

Logistically, I taught in a suburban-ish home studio one day a week and otherwise mostly in urban-ish home studio. The previous location and schedule don't matter while everyone is on a distance learning plan. Outdoor lessons wouldn't work in my urban area, and it would be a burden to arrange for the suburban families to have sometimes outdoor lessons and sometimes online (i.e., depending on weather).

I've had a few students drop off or pick up instruments or books though and in one case, I stopped by a student's house while taking my daily exercise walk. Were those really essential? I'm rationalizing by viewing those actions as the same as what mail and delivery carriers do.

April 26, 2020, 5:57 PM · My neighbors (across the street) proposed an interesting idea that seems legal. We would rehearse trios at the end of our driveway (using an extension cord to power up my digital stage piano) and, they would sit in chairs at the end of their driveway and drink wine.
Edited: April 27, 2020, 7:41 AM · HVAC-borne transmission is usually associated with legionnaires disease, but the concept certainly extends to anything that is transmitted through aerosols. One thing to remember is that not all restaurant ACs are created equal. And the kind of AC that is used in an office building in downtown Atlanta or a university academic building is not the same as the kind that is used in a 50-seat restaurant. The filtration, condensing, heat-transfer, and air-handling units are different in engineering, not just in scale.

It's good to be cautious but we can't get too panicky either. Watch the numbers. They seem to be cresting. Maybe that suggests you can't get COVID-19 all that easily just by sharing a jogging trail with someone who's breathing heavily 100 feet ahead of you.

Edited: April 27, 2020, 11:41 AM · Business Insider! Ranks right up there with JAMA. (Sorry, that was a cheap shot.) I skimmed the original article and noted that it's a very limited study. Also, the diagram showing the tables in the restaurant that were affected suggested to me that they might also have been served by the same wait staff and the same dim sum cart. "Smear samples from the air conditioner were all nucleotide negative." One wonders if a restaurant has a fan blowing over an infected person or any other device that creates airflow, whether anyone downwind of an infected person would be at risk. Likewise it seems to me that the "six foot rule" only works if there's no wind.

There are other conclusions one might draw. I see a group of scientists (without regard to their nationality, mind you) who are beholden to perverse incentives (which are the same everywhere) and who wanted to get a quick paper out because they knew it would garner citations. Sorry to be a grouch, but I've been a university professor for 25 years and I know how the game is played. Working against my cynicism is the fact that the article was published in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal with a pretty decent impact factor (7.4).

April 27, 2020, 11:44 AM · I chat with my neighbors from a suitable distance away and at least one has had friends over, socializing from the front stoop and the sidewalk. What would be the social difference of having one student plus the accompanying parent on my driveway? Nothing really, except that I have more than one and couldn't have a stream (well, trickle) of them throughout the day/week.

My neighbors could all coordinate sitting on our stoops with food and drink or whatever if we wanted to, and authorities couldn't very well tell us we can't sit outside our own front doors. I imagine it would be the same thing with hanging out on your own driveway/property. The issue for me would be organizing such a thing, which could start a slippery slope.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Sejong Music Competition
Sejong Music Competition

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine