As the country moves closer toward a reopening that we all hope will not be regretted, the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing has shared a list of considerations for reopening studios. The organization stresses that the considerations are not meant to supersede local guidelines, but rather complement them with specifics for the recording industry, as informed by numerous studio owners, engineers and others who are striving to keep the music community safe while getting back to work.
Interim Recording Academy president/CEO Harvey Mason jr., who is a veteran producer and musician with his own studio (over the years he’s worked with Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton and Jennifer Hudson, as well as film and television hits like the forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, “Dreamgirls,” “Pitch Perfect” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”), has taken a strong interest in the initiative.
While many of the 20 recommendations seem obvious (make adjustments to ensure social distancing, wear cloth face coverings, limit the number of people in the studio, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, etc.), two in particular seem well worth emphasizing to studios:
- “Microphones should be monitored and cleaned before and after all sessions. Consider requesting that musicians and vocalists bring their own personal pop filters and sanitize them themselves. Isopropyl alcohol is recommended for cleaning (see link to Sennheiser cleaning recommendations below and remember alcohol is highly flammable!)
- “If possible, request that musicians and vocalists bring their own personal headphones with ¼-inch jacks and sanitize them themselves.
- Relatedly, that musicians ensure that their instruments are clean: The document also provides links to important COVID-19-related guidelines from Sennheiser on microphone cleaning: en-us.sennheiser.com/ microphone-hygiene and from NAMM and NFHS, NAfME, and the NAMM Foundation on instrument cleaning: www.nfhs.org/articles/ covid-19-instrument-cleaning-guidelines/