• Home
  • Articles
  • Unprecedented International Coalition led by Performing Arts Organizations to Commission COVID-19 Study

Unprecedented International Coalition led by Performing Arts Organizations to Commission COVID-19 Study

By Chairs, Mark Spede (CBDNA) and James Weaver (NFHS) on November 09, 2021 music directors & adjudicators article Print

11/8 Update

Disclaimer: All information provided through the study is to be used strictly for general consideration. This information will be updated (NEWEST MATERIAL AT THE TOP) when it becomes available, please share the link to this webpage instead of the individual documents.


It's OK to Play Music - Helpful Infographic (November 8th)

Click to access the infographic link. Make sure to click on all of the pictures and the header for helpful information and graphs to appear. 

Link to share: https://bit.ly/NFHSAerosolCOVID



New Published Paper as Aerosol Study Continues (August 31st)

“Measurements and Simulations of Aerosol Released while Singing and Playing Wind Instruments”

A variety of methods were used in this study, including flow visualization, aerosol and CO2 measurements, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to understand the different components that can lead to transmission risk from musical performance and risk mitigation. 

        Read the full published paper


A Conversation on Mitigations for Fall 2021 (Speech, Debate, Theatre, Music, and more!) (August 27th)

Dr. James Weaver (NFHS), Dr. Mark Spede (CBDNA/Clemson), and Bob Morrison (Arts Ed New Jersey) have an in-depth conversation on mitigations and recommendations for various music, speech, debate, and theatre activities. This conversation is a view of best practices on the date of this recording and any action should be in consultation with your local and/or state health departments.

Watch the Video Conversation


Updated Guidelines for Fall 2021 Activities (August 12)

These suggestions are meant to provide some best practices.


Assessing the Risk of Music Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic (June 23)

A survey was conducted beginning April 28, 2021 to assess the level of spread events that occurred in school-based music programs. 3,000 surveys were returned and analyzed in June 2021. Click the link above to read the report

Watch the Video on the Report




COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Choir - Short Video (April 30th)


COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Percussion - Short Video (April 30th)


COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for String Instruments - Short Video (April 30th)



COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Wind Instruments - Short Video (April 21st) 

Learn about the COVID-19 mitigation strategies developed from the research done at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland in the Wind Instrument Aerosol Study.


Scientific Study Prepress Paper (40+ Pages) (April 15th)

A scientific preprint of the research paper: "Measurements and Simulations of Aerosol Released while Singing and Playing Wind Instruments" based off the aerosol study is now available for public consumption as it is peer reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.


"Band Practice in the Age of COVID-19" - article from the Wall Street Journal (April 14th)

An article written based off the results and recommendations from the aerosol study with quotes, links, visuals and animations is available to read and share.


Safer Schools and Campuses: U.S. Department of Education Clearinghouse for Best Practices for Music Education Submission Template (April 14th)

The U.S. Department of Education has put out a call for real-life examples of successful back-to-school risk management practices for pre-k through college classrooms that will then be available to teachers and administrators in a clearinghouse as they plan to return to in-person learning.


Updated Statement on United States CDC Distancing Guidance (March 19th)


3rd Release of Preliminary Results (shared on November 13th at 1pm Eastern)

Written Report of Data

Video Conversation of Results (with Lead Researchers and Co-Chairs)

Let's Talk About Transmission (Video)

NFHS Press Release on 3rd Round of Data


*Have a question? Want to leave a comment? Please visit the FAQ page*


2nd Release of Preliminary Results were shared August 6th

Infographic Focused on Top 5 Key Recommendations (purchase a poster for your school)
YouTube Presentation (Clean and Updated Audio)
Press Release on 2nd Round of Preliminary Data
PDF with 2nd Round of Preliminary Results
The Voice - Column by Dr. Karissa Niehoff


Preliminary results for woodwinds and brass were released July 13th

Preliminary Recommendations from International Performing Arts Aerosol Study Based on Initial Testing Results

Press Release on Initial Findings

PDF with information about how the study was conducted, preliminary results and general considerations

YouTube Presentation on Round 1 of Results


*Have a question? Want to leave a comment? Please visit the FAQ page*


A number of performing arts organizations have joined forces to commission a study on the effects of COVID-19 on the return to the rehearsal hall. It is important to understand what risks exist in performing arts classrooms and performance venues.  Specifically, the study will examine aerosol rates produced by wind instrumentalists, vocalists, and even actors, and how quickly those aerosol rates accumulate in a space. Although not yet proven, strong anecdotal evidence suggests that the COVID-19 virus can travel in the microscopic droplets expelled from a person with the virus, even when asymptomatic. The only way to determine what risk level exists or to create best practices for reducing infection risk is to understand how aerosol disbursement works in a performing arts setting. 

Once the aerosol rates are better understood, the study will focus on remediation of aerosols in confined spaces like rehearsal rooms (both educational and professional), classrooms, and performance settings in order to develop better understanding, policy, and practice for a safe returning to performance and education. 

Dr. Shelly Miller at the University of Colorado will lead the scientific study and says“Aerosol generating activities have the potential to transmit COVID as the research shows, but we have very little data on what kinds of generation happen when playing instruments.  We will be studying this phenomenon (hopefully with funding) in our aerosol laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder and with this data, will be able to provide better evidence-based guidance.” 

Several national and international performing arts education organizations are combining resources to study the effects of COVID-19 aerosol transmission in performing arts performance settings. The study is a massive undertaking that will require a focused effort from all of us. This effort will be a duplicated study and will test how aerosols can spread from brass and woodwind instruments, the four vocal ranges, theatrical speech, and aerobic breathing. We are calling on any performing arts educational organization to join our research council.  Your organizational support is the most important. Together we can create scientifically proven methods for our return to performing arts education in a safe way with research showing us best practices and advocacy. 

Statement of Work



The coalition is being led by a committee made up of the following: 


-Mark Spede, President of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and Director of Bands, Clemson University 

-James Weaver, Director of Performing Arts and SportsNational Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) 


The organizations in the coalition to date include: 

*College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) 

*National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 

*National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) 

*D’Addario Foundation


*Alabama Music Educators Association

*American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) 

*American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA)

American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

*Arts Ed NJ

Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS)

*Athletes and the Arts 

Association Européenne des Conservatoires/Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) 

*Association for Body Mapping Education

*Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM)

*Association of Concert Bands 

*Barbershop Harmony Society 

Buffet et Crampon

Bundesverband der deutschen Musikinstrumentenhersteller e.V

*California Youth Symphony Association    

*Canadian Band Association (CBA)

Chicago Children's Choir

Children's Chorus of Washington

*Choral Canada

Chorus America

*Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA)

*College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) 

Confederation of European Music Industries (CAFIM)

*Country Music Association Foundation

Drum Corps International (DCI) 

Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) 

European Choral Association - Europa Cantat 

*Fargo-Moorhead Orchestral Association

*Florida Music Education Association (FMEA)

*French Musical Instrument Organisation (La Chambre Syndicale de la Facture Instrumentale, CSFI)

*Gala Choruses

*Halifax Concert Band Society

HBCU National Band Directors' Consortium

High School Directors National Association (HSBDNA) 

*Indiana Choral Directors Association

*Indiana State School Music Association

*Indianapolis Children's Choir

International Conductors Guild 

*International Double Reed Society (IDRS)

*International Music Council 

International Society for Music Education 

*Kansas Bandmasters Association (KBA)

*Kappa Kappa Psi 

*Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA)

*Lakeville Area Community Band

*League of American Orchestras

*Lesbian & Gay Band Association

Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA)

*Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA)

*Manitoba Band Association

*Mid Penn Band Organization

MidWest Clinic 

Minority Band Directors National Association 

*Music Association of California Community Colleges (MACCC)

*Music for All 

Music Industries Association

*Music Learning Band Program

*Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

*Music Publishers Association

Musical America Worldwide 

*National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

*National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 

*National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) 

National Dance Education Organization (NDEO)

National Flute Association (NFA)

*National Guild for Community Arts Education

*National Music Council of the US 

*National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) 

*New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA)

*New York State Band Directors Association 

*New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA)

*North Carolina Music Educators Association

*Nova Scotia Band Association

*Oahu Band Directors Association   

*Ohio Foundation for Music Education (OFME)

*Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) 

*Opera America

*Orcas Island Community Band

*Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada

*Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) 

Percussive Arts Society (PAS) 

*Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA)

*Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia

*Quadrant Research 

*Saskatchewan Band Association

Save the Music Foundation

*Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies

*Sing A Mile High International Children’s Choral Festival

*Slate Valley Singers

*Songwriters Guild of America (SGA)

*South Dakota Bandmasters Association

*South Dakota Music Education Association

*Surrey Music Educators Association

*Sweet Adelines International (SAI) 

*Tau Beta Sigma 

*Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA)

*Texas Bandmasters Association

*Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA)

*The College Music Society and The CMS Fund

*The Main Street Singers, Inc (Main Street Children’s Choir)

*The National Catholic Band Association

*The Sinfonia Educational Foundation

*The Voice Foundation

United Sound

*Virginia Music Educators Association                  

*Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA)

WGI Sport of the Arts

*Wisconsin School Music Association 

*Women Band Directors International (WBDI)

*World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE)

*Young Voices of Colorado


Collegiate Conference Band Associations:  

*ACC Band Directors Association 

*Big 12 Band Directors Association 

*Big 10 Band Directors Association 

*PAC 12 Band Directors Association 

*SEC Band Directors Association


Individual Schools:

*Clemson University Bands

*Linn-Benton Community College





*Bob Morrison

*Bob Rogers Travel 


*D’Addario Woodwinds



* Organizations have provided financial support

(Updated as of 8/17/20 at 2:30 PM)


For more information or questions contact, please visit the FAQ webpage


Here's a collection of articles and studies relating to COVID-19 that pertain to our study:



Click here to see more NFHS COVID-19 Resources