Slight easing of rules governing the playing of brass instruments

Thursday 27 August 2020

SBBA has given a cautious welcome to the Scottish Government announcement this week that it is easing the COVID-19 restrictions regarding the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups.

From 24 August, according to the latest strict guidance, non-professional brass and wind players should only play in groups outdoors (not indoors) and the group size should be limited to that permitted by social gathering guidance.

This currently allows for meetings of no more than five households and no more than 15 people in total outdoors. The two-metre distancing rule should be maintained and instruments should not be played face to face or in front of an audience.

There are many relevant additional mitigations advised for playing brass and wind instruments in the guidance at

The results of further research into the playing of brass instruments will lead to updates in this guidance.

SBBA has been liaising with Prof John Wallace and a Music Education Partnership Group (MPEG) Scotland advisory group on scientific research into the aerosol effect of playing a brass instrument. The group is expected to report its findings to the Scottish Government before the end of this month.

Prof Wallace told SBBA: “Our study will be bringing together the findings of over 100 research projects. We are also doing a big project on online learning, how effective it is, and how safe it is with regard to child protection.”

In the meantime, SBBA’s advice to its member bands is to continue to be guided by the government’s recommendations.

Carrie Boax, SBBA president, commented: “SBBA has at all times been driven by the current official advice throughout this pandemic and we welcome this week’s development in the Scottish Government guidelines on playing brass instruments.

“Whilst this is definitely a step in the right direction for our banding community, safety has to be our number one priority and a return under these guidelines is not a return to banding as we knew it before lockdown.

“Nevertheless, having the opportunity to come together if it is at all possible under these strict guidelines is definitely welcome. As always, I am happy for bands/players to contact me in the utmost confidence for any help and support during these challenging times.”


Got a story?

Email Nigel Martin: