Cover your Brass
HYDROPHOBIC AEROSOL DAMPENERS.
Covid Covers are a hydrophobic aerosol dampener for the bell of all brass instruments.
What does that mean?
Just like a face mask, they are made up of 3 different layers that can both repel moisture and also help to absorb any aerosols that pass through. Air flow is not the issue here, but the aerosols generated when we talk, sing, cough or play a brass or woodwind instrument.
Here is a link to some findings on aerosols and the coronavirus from July this year.
My aim has been to develop a product that will allow school bands, brass bands, students and professional musicians to interact and perform again. There are new restrictions in place preventing this under the COVID 19 safety regulations.
These regulations are in place for good reason. I am simply trying to find a solution, instead of adding to the complexities of the crisis we are in.
At this early stage I have a solid functioning design for brass instruments. The mechanics of woodwind relative to aerosol containment have made it very difficult to make a successful working prototype as yet, but I haven't given up.
I have done my best to ensure that my product meets the guidelines set out by the Australian Government's Department of Health guidelines released on the 28th of July, 2020. There's a link for this below.
My Covid Covers are a 3 layered custom design.
They are custom fit to the bell size of any horn with a unique fastening system that I have developed myself.
This not only ensures a correct preventative seal, but also looks great on your horn.
The reason I have developed these is that as a brass player myself, there is every chance we may not be able to play in groups or in public for quite a while yet, or if we do, it won't be without risk.
When I first read that Brass Bands had been halted completely in the UK, my first thought was that somebody needs to develop face masks for brass instruments.
I didn't think I would find myself here, sitting between 2 sewing machines, scratching my head over the acoustic qualities of spandex, cotton and silk.
Research from various laboratories around the world have concluded that the 2 main variables we struggle to control or monitor in this COVID 19 Pandemic are touch points and aerosols.
We have a chance of controlling the touch points by reducing contact, not sharing equipment where possible and cleaning surfaces with 70% alcohol and water solutions where we can't avoid sharing equipment.
It is the aerosols that are the most difficult to monitor and contain.
The Covid Cover is my solution to this problem.
I have added a couple of links below to some of the research that has been done to investigate the risks of playing a wind instrument and singing in a shared space.
I won't attempt to explain the details of aerosols, the voice and wind instruments.
I will leave that up to the experts.
The first one is a particularly in-depth investigation of the topic and includes references to studies that have not addressed aerosols as a risk.
The link below holds findings that question whether aerosols are as big a risk as previously thought.
Extra Links for your investigation.
We can only make our own mind up based on the information we can access.
The investigations I have done for my workplace have proven how difficult it is to get a definitive answer on any of the issues we face as it is all new ground.
I do however believe that minimising risk in any situation is the best course of action.
I have added a gallery of the samples I have made so far. Some of the great printed designs on show can have an effect on playability, others have minimal effect.
What you see are just samples of the finished product.
There is also a bit of my background to help explain how I came across the idea of these face masks for brass instruments.
My role at work has been to develop the safety procedures to enable
the safe use of shared equipment in an educational facility.
I work in a Film School.
I have been investigating the safety procedures under a COVID 19 environment from day 1 of the first lockdown back in late march, early April.
With the help of the regular Government updates, WHO, the CDC, my colleagues at work and at other facilities, a workable set of guidelines is in place and has been functioning successfully for several months now.
I am no expert.
It took me 2 months to even develop the beginning of a blueprint for risk minimisation, protection, cleaning and quarantining of equipment.
I review these procedures every day and as a new risk is exposed.
I also hold a Degree and Masters Degree in Fine Art from Newcastle University and Deakin University in Victoria. I'm pretty used to homework.
For the development of these Covid Covers,
I have tested;
Silk-Too Stifling. Muffles the sound but has great natural hydrophobic qualities
Rayon and Spandex of various densities. Excellent hydrophobic and acoustic qualities
Cotton/Poly blends for internal layers. Both absorbent and hydrophobic
100% cotton from a 100 thread count all the way up to a 1000 thread per inch cloth. Excellent for absorbing aerosols.
Back to the Covers
Yes they do effect the sound, but it's more like a portable reverb than a mute.
Fortunately they have zero impact on intonation.
There is little to no effect on range.
I have spent much time experimenting with different fabrics
to find the best 'protection versus sound' combination I can create.
Masks can be either 2 or 3 layer and still be effective but the World Health Organisation specifies that a 3 layer mask is the safest option for a home made mask. This is why I have developed the 3 layer bell cover.
Printed fabrics look great but the inks have more of a muffling effect than dyed fabrics.
So, it's funky or practical.
I've made my choice.
Prices will vary, dependent on bell sizes.
Due to the tough times we are in I have aimed to keep prices as low as I can.
There is a considerable amount of work involved in all sizes.
The smaller ones are the most difficult.
The larger ones require far more materials.
Prices are still being worked out.
Please be patient.
You may have seen sites that offer bell covers for woodwind.
It is my opinion that these are ineffective, as the aerosols from a woodwind instrument are expelled from the key holes as well as the bell.
A bell cover will only force the aerosols out of the key holes with more force.
I have begun designs for woodwind covers but it may be impossible to make them cost effective due to the amount of work required.
I'll keep you posted as I progress with them.
If you have any questions, or would like to place an order please feel free to contact me at the email address below and I will try to get back to you that day.
Please make sure you have an accurate measurement of the diameter of your bell.