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 bell cover
Author: LenS 
Date:   2021-08-23 20:36

Hello fellow clarinetist! Advice needed. I tried playing the clarinet with a bell cover and I couldn't get middle B out. Do you have any recommendations for any bell covers without this problem?
Thanks for your help!

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 Re: bell cover
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-08-23 20:41

What's a rationale of covering the bell? Muting the sound?

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 Re: bell cover
Author: LenS 
Date:   2021-08-23 20:45

New band policy:"Bell covers are now mandatory for all woodwind and brass instruments." :-(

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 Re: bell cover
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-08-23 21:09

Are you using a commercial cover. I won't start on how worthwhile I think they are, but the kids in our youth band last spring had to use them, and they didn't seem to have a problem with getting anything to speak. It may have to do with what the material is.

Karl

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2021-08-23 21:10

farabout - such a stupid remark.

LenS - Did you buy this as a 'bell cover', or have it made? No proper bell cover affects the E/B play-ability. If it is home-made and is blocking the air that would change those notes. If there is a string inside, it may be touching the pad.



Post Edited (2021-08-23 21:16)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-23 21:41

The best thing is don't bother using a bell cover as they're a completely useless idea on woodwind instruments and is the cause of the trouble you're having.

I thought this whole bell covers for woodwinds and masks with holes madness had gone by the wayside.

If your band director insists in everyone using them, then they have absolutely no idea how woodwind instruments work.

Chris.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-08-23 22:00

Chris P wrote:

> The best thing is don't bother using a bell cover as they're a
> completely useless idea on woodwind instruments and is the
> cause of the trouble you're having.
>

Chris, I agree with you.

But if people are playing in situations where covers are required, they have to decide either to fight the requirement or put up with a cover. School boards are extremely lawsuit-averse and will require them to cover their rears more than the instruments. Independent adult groups who decide (by Exec Board fiat, membership vote or some kind of local government mandate) to require covers (and masks) will just ask you not to attend if you won't comply.

So the bottom line is, if you're required to use a bell cover, either buy a cheap one made for the purpose at a music instrument outlet or experiment with your own to find a fabric that works. But they shouldn't seriously interfere.

Karl

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2021-08-23 22:33

We’re facing the same policy in a Community College orchestra. Despite protests and data that most/all air that may leak from a clarinet (or other winds) exits from toneholes, and complaints that we cannot swab our instruments or keep them on pegs (for fast A/Bb/Eb changes), the college is intransigent. The biggest laugh is that FLUTES must also cover the end of the instrument, but there is no concern about the powerful airstream that flows across the lip-plate!

I’ve been issued a Protec bell cover to try (we even have to buy our own!) and it does significantly muffle the long B.

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: bell cover
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2021-08-23 22:43

I don’t think farabout made a stupid remark Ken. For all we they may we’ll be outside the US Bell covers are not required or mandated or indeed masks to play any wind instrument because here in Europe the science has been proven that aerosols don’t significantly contribute to the spread of covid.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-23 22:45

How are people meant to use stands/pegs when doubling if these jobsworth band directors insist on using bell covers based on some half-arsed research? They're completely impractical.

I may be in the high risk group, but I draw the line on using something as useless and impractical as a bell cover. I was given one to use on my bari sax and wore it on my head instead as it looked absurd either way.

Chris.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-08-23 22:52

Why not covering the tone holes as well?
Or: what's the limit to authoritarian nonsense?

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-23 22:56

Bob - Your comment about the flutes is the first genuinely hilariuous thing I've heard about covid. Thanks so much for pointing out the absurdity.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: DougR 
Date:   2021-08-23 23:02

the problem with a lot of the "studies" / research about bell covers, distancing and the rest of it, is that they were all done on the Alpha variant of COVID-19; there's nothing been done as far as I know on the much more transmissible/contagious Delta variant; so bell covers may very well be stupid kabuki, but until we get reputable studies on the Delta variant, my official position is, "nobody knows anything."

Here's a link to a study done by the Minnesota Orchestra in cooperation with scientists at the U of Minnesota; it's reassuring, BUT it deals with the Alpha variant.

https://mnorch.vhx.tv/interviews/videos/safety-in-the-spotlight

Until we get reputable studies on the Delta variant vs woodwinds, OR until the virus starts to fade, we may be in for a lot of "stupid kabuki", and it may not actually be (because, again, no one knows anything about it) all that stupid. (OK, flute covers on the stub end of the flute will ALWAYS be stupid, but they're not intended to actually work anyway, merely to show that school authorities take the pandemic seriously--which is OK in my book, for now.)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: LenS 
Date:   2021-08-23 23:02

Thanks Bob Barnhart, kdk, Chris P, Ken Lagace.

It's no wonder the bell cover I tried on didn't work—it's a homemade one.

It will have to be bell cover over not playing at all :-(

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-23 23:24

Hi Doug,

I think your point is very sensible.

All members of my immediate family have had both Alpha and Delta covid and honestly, for all that we tried to quarantine to avoid passing it on, it seemed to be an entirely fruitless effort. The door handles looked lovely after all the bleaching, but that was all it achieved.

Having said that, my son's friend also caught Delta, and passed it onto no one at all in his immediate family. So I think the science of transmission may be quite complicated, once you get down to the individual level.

I do see your point about showing institution-level responsiblity too though. I think that being seen to take the situation seriously is a good thing, on both an institution and individual level, and must reduce anxiety for people.

I suppose if the flautist is willing to put the silly hat on their instrument, there's a decent chance that they would also be willing to take a test before coming out if they had symptoms. At that level, the social signalling really does count for something.

Jen



Post Edited (2021-08-23 23:26)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-08-23 23:34

They've been selling face masks for flutes with a pouch or pocket in front of the mask's mouth opening. The pouch has openings on either side to put the flute's head joint into and the fabric blocks (to what extent I don't know) the breath flow (and aerosols it carries) or at least (in theory) limits its range of travel.

I don't know how it doesn't interfere with the flute's tone production, but the kids were using them and were able to manage.

YMMV

Karl

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-08-23 23:44

There has to be more germs in one brass player's spit valve spray than the whole woodwind section all together.

I know this is completely unrealistic, but seeing as how unreasonable the policy it is, I would try to get the clarinet section to go on strike for better working conditions. Maybe as a compromise you can advocate that the band not play anything with a concert A in it.

I really don't think I would be able to put up with such nonsense. Having school administrators and school boards develop policies for musical instruments is kind of like asking musicians to develop best practice standards for oceanographers.

I guess "bell covers" are "where it's at" for some people. They would do better to check everyone's temperature.

This reminds me of being a painter and "shoe coverings". Paint and dirt on a shoe cover gets on a carpet just as easily as on a shoe, except with shoe coverings the painter is about 10x as likely to fall and break his neck on your property, you are MORE likely to get paint on your floor because it doesn't come off on the drop cloths, it costs you more because he has to fool with it every time he goes to the van, or he decides NOT to do something because going to the van is such a pain, OR he's just going to wear the shoe covers outside which picks up more dirt than shoes would. IDK, "shoe coverings" are where it's at for some people. Never mind that there's drywall dust, old moldy residue, and displaced accumulated crud everywhere while you are working, not to mention open buckets of paint. But it's better to have shoe coverings because the Big Mac crumbs in the van won't get on the hardwood floor, even if he's going to catch the paint tray on the poofy covers and have "Annapolis Blue" flying everywhere.

- Matthew Simington


Post Edited (2021-08-23 23:46)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-24 00:07

Matt - I'm not sure I agree on this. One of the things about covid, as I understand it, is that the severity of symptoms varies with the size of the inoculating dose of virus particles.

So if you get infected with a blast of air that contains a million virus particles, then you are more likely to get severely unwell, than if you get infected by a small puff of air carrying 200 virus particles.

There is a discussion of this here:
(https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection/article/review-of-infective-dose-routes-of-transmission-and-outcome-of-covid19-caused-by-the-sarscov2-comparison-with-other-respiratory-viruses/8607769D2983FE35F15CCC328AB8289D)

From my point of view, I think I would rather have the little puff of infected air from a tone hole of a clarinet, then the big fire-hose shot of infected air from the bell (if that's how it works?)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2021-08-24 01:45

Basic misunderstanding of how woodwinds work. Not worth the fight generally.

"We ain't no trumpet!"

What are they doing for flutes?

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 Re: bell cover
Author: MartyMagnini 
Date:   2021-08-24 02:05

Chris and others.

Some of us (high school band director here) are required by our districts to have students use masks and bell covers. We can debate on how useful they are (and I agree that they're pretty useless), but bottom line is many people are in situations where we have to use masks and bell covers. So helpful advice on the ones that are less intrusive is constructive - telling us they are useless is not.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-08-24 04:59

Matt74 wrote:

> There has to be more germs in one brass player's spit valve
> spray than the whole woodwind section all together.
>
Some groups are asking the brass players to bring puppy-pads or newspaper to dump their water keys/spit valves into.

> I know this is completely unrealistic, but seeing as how
> unreasonable the policy it is, I would try to get the clarinet
> section to go on strike for better working conditions.

I wouldn't. There's enough hostility surrounding all of this without bringing it into a band or orchestra rehearsal where everyone just wants to make music.

Karl

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 Re: bell cover
Author: donald 
Date:   2021-08-24 05:17

I agree that the bells covers are PROBABLY a bit dumb, clearly indicate a lack of understanding how woodwind instruments work AND are pointless on the flute.
I also accept that some people may be put in the situation described by Karl above- it may be best to comply with the rules and not argue.
HOWEVER just to put the Delta CV19 in perspective....
Here in NZ there was a documented spread WITHIN a quarantine facility because... two doors were open at the same time (carrier didn't even leave the room).
Our latest community outbreak has not been explained yet- we know the source but not HOW it was spread to the community. One (most likely) explanation being that a member of the public walked NEARBY an asymptomatic Delta patient when he was being transferred between facilities!
Delta is a whole new ball game.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-24 09:47

MartyMagnini - I totally get what you mean. Children grow up awfully fast and I think a lot of schools are having to find a way to just push on through, so they can get the teaching done. My son starts secondary school in two weeks, so that will be us quite soon.

So the question really is - does anyone have a cover that works, and can they shout out the brand name and where they got it? Is that right?

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2021-08-24 12:16

One of the problems with skipping the science on this - couldn't a person make a bell cover that was basically window screen or fishnet-stalkings and meet the ensemble's criteria? If so - then the rules are meaningless. If not, then what is the common, scientific, medical, measurable standard being applied to all of the commercial bell coverings?

I don't understand how bell covers can make medical claims without running afoul of the FDA in the US.

Sorry - got sidetracked: I guess the point of my post is actually to ask whether or not less restrictive homemade solutions could be used? Instead of two layers of X material, maybe two layers of lighter Y material could be used instead...or one layer? What would the schools use as justification to deny one covering over the other?

It would make more sense to me if the schools/ensembles just said: you must buy (and use) brand X, Y, or Z in order to play in our ensemble. Seems odd to do that, but at least there would be some continuity.

Fuzzy
;^)>>>

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-24 14:23

That does seem very sensible, if the cost is not prohibitive for students.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2021-08-24 15:47

One college band just sent out info on required PPE. They're recommending bell covers from Band Shoppe, which you can find online. They require masks to be worn at all times, with flautists using "pass through" type masks and other woodwinds using slitted masks with lift-up flaps.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-24 17:22

That must be these:

https://www.bandshoppe.com/shop/health-safety/instrument-bell-covers-701001/

It says they have a 5 week lead time for orders, which could be tricky.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2021-08-24 18:00

Why are you thinking about ordering one SunnyDaze? They are not needed in the U.K.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-24 20:03

Hi Peter,

I'm not actually thinking of buying one.

I'm just commenting because I'm a mum of a secondary school child, a biomedical research scientist, and a clarinet player, so I sit at the intersection of all the different interests in this thread. I'm sort of optimistically trying to help, but I may not be. :-)

Jen

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-08-24 20:30

Fuzzy wrote:

> One of the problems with skipping the science on this -
> couldn't a person make a bell cover that was basically window
> screen or fishnet-stalkings and meet the ensemble's criteria?

No. And that's because the ensemble's criterion is to create the appearance of a solution to spreading germs. This only comes with the use of a standardized bell cover, that even if actually capable of allowing air to pass for E3 [E3], but not infectious material, would be like the metaphorical "closing the windows but keeping the door wide open" in that--as has so many times been already stated--clarinet air passes through the next available hole: which is only the bell for full fingered notes.


> If so - then the rules are meaningless.

Pretty much correct: barring the actual mythical bell cover I described while the band played my premiere piece for clarinet entitled "themes in E3 [E3] and only E3" ..if you catch my drift.


If not, then what is
> the common, scientific, medical, measurable standard being
> applied to all of the commercial bell coverings?

There is none.

>
> I don't understand how bell covers can make medical claims
> without running afoul of the FDA in the US.

Bell cover manufacturers can make medical claims about their bell covers efficacy no differently than that baldness tonic reverser manufacturers can about their product: it's permissible (sadly) until you're caught.


>
> Sorry - got sidetracked: I guess the point of my post is
> actually to ask whether or not less restrictive homemade
> solutions could be used?

Of course they can, considering the whole dang lot of them is all but ineffective. The point is that allowing flexible in the remedy, and not portraying consistency in the "solution," creates optics that suggest the truth: that the solution is all but ineffective: consistent or not.


Instead of two layers of X material,
> maybe two layers of lighter Y material could be used
> instead...or one layer? What would the schools use as
> justification to deny one covering over the other?
>

Absolutely nothing--at least science based as even the rare effective bell cover only has efficacy, as stated, when playing E3 [E3].

> It would make more sense to me if the schools/ensembles just
> said: you must buy (and use) brand X, Y, or Z in order to play
> in our ensemble. Seems odd to do that, but at least there
> would be some continuity.

Here's why that doesn't make sense. Because the bell cover solution is no solution at all, a school district that mandates a particular make and model of cover has only managed to more delusionally "drink the coolaid" that is bell covers prevent the spread of infection. Legally speaking, if no solution works here, and none does, a district that makes no specifications on gear is less on the hook.

An analogy, the diving school that mandates you use XYZ breathing regulator, worse, insists you buy it from them, is more on the hook for its catastrophic failure in a student than the school which lists acceptable manufacturer's gear to use on a dive, from which the student may pick their brand and seller.






>
> Fuzzy
> ;^)>>>



Post Edited (2021-08-24 20:35)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: johnwesley 
Date:   2021-08-24 20:36

The world has gone absolutely bonkers.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-08-24 20:49

johnwesley wrote:

> The world has gone absolutely bonkers.

On this subject matter I am afraid I agree with you that you are correct.

Sadly, when faced with threat, it is often irrational thinking, rather than science, when ironically enough it is the latter that is needed most, that becomes the order of the day.

For me, this irony is not unlike the fact that the more difficult the clarinet passage, the more we have to not tense up as players to play it correctly, and yet the more likely we are to tense up because of the passage's perceived difficulty: which ironically enough on this alone makes it more difficult.



Post Edited (2021-08-24 20:49)

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 Re: bell cover
Author: ahebert 
Date:   2021-08-24 21:00

My wife is dealing with this.
she has one of those "flap" masks, about $30. She says it's impossible to play with, and a total waste of money. So what she's doing is taking an N-95 mask and cutting a gaping hole in it for the mouthpiece. Over that she's putting one of the usual disposable masks with the elastic ear loops. The over-mask goes on after the mouthpiece goes in her mouth.

It's all ridiculous, but what are you going to do? Rules may be stupid but you gotta deal with them, especially if you're in a school organization with a Board or a Principal who is clueless.

As for a bell cover, I'd get some gauze medical cloth and a rubber band. It will do nothing to prevent any aerosols from coming out the end of the bell but it satisfies the rules.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-24 22:18

The other thing you can do is if you've been issued with a bell cover is to keep it to hand so you can prove you have one at rehearsals, but that doesn't mean you have to use it whilst playing.

Chris.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: gwie 
Date:   2021-08-24 22:34

From a playing perspective, the instrument masks from Torpedo Bags work very well, much better than a lot of the other solutions out there:

https://torpedobags.com/product/chop-slots/

My flute players in particular, have found their funny-looking flute mask much more realistic to play in than some of the other ones, which essentially don't work well at all due to the range of differences in face/body types.

My oboists report their horizontal zipper mask being much more amenable to different embouchures and instrument angles.

My brass players find that the vertical zipper mask doesn't get in the way at all, and being able to set the height of the opening with the zipper reduces the impact it has on their embouchures.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-25 03:15

Imagine getting your lip caught in the zip!

Chris.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: gwie 
Date:   2021-08-25 03:42

The zipper is far away enough from your chops that it isn't an issue. The whole point of the design is to accommodate a wide range of embouchure and facial shape.

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 Re: bell cover
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-25 20:15

It's still a shite idea no matter how it's done or how much it costs.

Everyone who advocates the use of wind instrument masks are complete idiots. No exceptions.

Chris.

Post Edited (2021-08-25 20:16)

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