Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society
The FluteShield is a simple contraption which has been devel-oped in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Designed to stop the air from the flute from blowing directly forward, it aims to protect those in close proximity from the airflow — in a similar way to a mask. There are no claims from the manufacturer that this prevents the spread of Covid-19 or other viruses or bacteria, nor is it to be considered as PPE. The device is marketed as a ‘listening and performing tool’.
The FluteShield is very easy to mount onto the flute; each end of the transparent plastic sheet has a hole for the headjoint, and it is supported by elastic rings which hold everything in place. Keeping in mind that most of the air emitted from playing the flute is angled downwards (rather than directly across), the shield is deeper at the bottom than the top. The position is easy to adjust, meaning that players can find exactly the right set-up to suit how they play.
had wondered how putting something immediately in front of the flute would change the sound; I detected some reflection of sound (making it louder and much more tiring on the ears) and also some deadening of the tone, but both of these results were much more marked when the shield was positioned higher up, rather than in a position where it would catch the air. I would personally combine its use with earplugs to protect my ears from any unwanted reflections, especially when playing loud and in the high register. In some positions I could also feel interesting breezes around my face as the air was being deflected—demon-strating at least in part that the device was moving the air from its usual position.
While it is impossible to know if this device has any impact at all in protection from Coronavirus without significant scientific testing, it is perhaps useful in situations where other musicians are wearing masks and we cannot. It won’t do anything to stop aerosol transmissions, but in a well-ventilated space it may help to control the spread of droplets in the direct air flow, assuming the player has positioned it correctly. I would welcome some rigorous scientific testing to find out exactly what impact the FluteShield can provide, but it is nevertheless a well-made and easy-to-use device.
The Flute Shield - A Listening & Performing Tool
Sunday 28th June 2020:
By using this device the airstream is effectively reflected back at the player and reduces the onward projection of the airstream , enabling you to hear your own sound really accurately, apart from also being a very useful way of keeping your airstream to yourself! It's unobtrusive and comfortable to use too.
As a teaching or practising aid I think this can be invaluable, as you hear your sound reflected back from very nearby, enabling you to hear what other people hear - and then you can make adjustments to your sound using this feedback.
NB: the strong flow of air comes out of your mouth only. Sound-waves emerge from the end of the flute and from the tone-holes (you can measure this using a candle flame if you are interested!)
The Flute Shield will fit the following flute headjoint diameters:
- Cork End: 17 - 19mm
- Body End: 19 - 22mm
The Flute Shield does not stop the spread of Covid-19 or any other viruses or bacteria. The Flute Shield simply allows a player to not blow directly at whatever is in front of them.
A Flute Shield is not Personal Protective Equipment. In circumstances where Personal Protective Equipment is recommended you should consult a healthcare professional.