It’s that time of the year again, and the flu, among other things, is in full force. The best way for both you and your students to stay healthy this season is to make sure the area you teach in is as safe and sanitary as possible.  I know – easier said than done!  Here are a few things that I have incorporated in my classroom that might help you too!

Classroom Tips:

  • Clorox wipes (or any sanitary wipes) are your best friend! We make sure the doorknobs are sanitized every morning along with the chairs and stands at least once a week to keep germs to a minimum.
  • Keep a large supply of tissues and hand sanitizer available and near a garbage can.  Help teach kids to dispose of tissues properly. No one likes to, or should have to, pick up someone else’s used tissue!

Wind Instrument Tips:

  • Keep a roll of paper towels by each door.  Our brass players will grab a paper towel on their way into the classroom to use for spit collection and dispose of at the end of rehearsal.
  • Have a mouthpiece check.  We ask that the students wash their mouthpiece out each week with soap and warm water (you can use hot water with brass silver mouthpieces). As an added protection, they may dip their mouthpieces and reeds in mouthwash and have them air dry before putting them back in their cases.
  • Brass players can wipe down your instrument with a damp cloth once a month and daily with a dry cloth. (If they know how to wash their instrument in the tub at home, they should do that once a marking period)
  • Woodwind players should swab and wipe down the keywork and body daily. Wash the swab at home and air dry monthly.
  • Do not share mouthpieces and, if possible, do not share instruments. One of the best decisions we made was to slowly add to our instrument inventory to ensure students no longer have to double up, especially on tubas.

Percussion Instrument Tips:

  • Snare, bass, timpani, metal bar mallets, and small accessory percussion can be wiped down with Clorox wipes.
  • Wood bar instruments should be wiped down with just a dry cloth
  • Percussionists should wipe down the shafts of their mallets and sticks with Clorox wipes as well.

My most important advice – make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and fluids! You got this!!

About the Author

CAROL STRAYER, a native of Denville, New Jersey, is a co-director of the Fred J. Page Middle School Concert Bands (grades 6-8) as well as the Jazz Band director. She had previously worked as a private brass instructor in many Rutherford County, TN schools. Prior to moving to Tennessee, she taught band, strings and school musicals at Enfield Public Schools in Connecticut. Carol also taught band at Valleyview Middle School in Denville, NJ and began her career at Morris Catholic High School in NJ teaching instrumental and choral music as well as music theory.

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