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Georgia Southern music professor invited to advisory board for COVID-19 bioaerosol emissions study
August 10, 2020
A music professor at Georgia Southern University is teaming up with other researchers to study the risk of exposure and prevention of COVID-19 during performing arts activities.
Allen Henderson, D.M.A., professor of music at Georgia Southern University, was recently invited to join the advisory board of a research study at Colorado State University titled “Reducing Bioaerosol Emissions and Exposure in the Performing Arts: A Scientific Roadmap for a Safe Return from COVID-19.”
“The research group will be testing approximately 100 singers and instrumentalists of varying age and gender, measuring the amount and size of bioaerosols emitted by them when undertaking various musical activities,” Henderson said.
Bioaerosols are tiny liquid drops that are emitted from humans, similar to when liquid is sprayed from a nozzle. There’s not a lot of evidence to document the rate of aerosol release during performing arts activities and whether there are effective means to control such releases and reduce the risk for human exposure. The study seeks to be the first to enact a rigorous, data-driven approach to inform a safe return to activities for the performing arts community.
“Each singer will go through a variety of singing exercises, speaking exercises and will sing in a variety of styles so that we can provide guidance for those who sing musical theater as well as pop styles and classical literature,” Henderson said. “We will also include singers of varying ages and who primarily sing non-classical styles in the study as well.”
Henderson was invited due to his active work in the performing arts during the pandemic with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), where he helped conceive and produce one of the most viewed webinars on singing and COVID-19. He also helped produce a series of 10 other events online to educate the singing community and provide training and resources to singers and teachers of singing.