After 45 years as a flute player, the idea of not being able to play due to COVID-19 made me panic. I was immediately concerned that school programs, whether K-12 or college level, would have difficulty allowing flute players to play in band or orchestra due to the amount of aerosol a flute player produces. This concern reaches professional organizations as well. I began working on a mask-type solution. We initially created a cloth face mask with an open bottom that extended to a flutist’s chest. While this did prevent the aerosol from going into the atmosphere, it was very difficult to keep the fabric away from the flute tone hole and as one played, the mask would obstruct the player’s view. I presented these issues to my husband, a production and design engineer, who in true form came up with a solution within a few hours. The Flute Air Shield was born. This shield attaches to the head joint very easily and makes it possible to play without sending aerosol forward into the atmosphere. Instead, it redirects the air toward the player. Because the shield is clear, it allows accurate evaluation of the player’s embouchure and does not obstruct the player’s view of music or conductor. It is our hope that the Flute Air Shield will allow flutists to play in ensembles, in lessons, and in music classes without creating an aerosol issue.
*Disclaimer – The Flute Air Shield does not guarantee the prevention of COVID-19 or any other virus.