Published: May 19, 2021

Shelly MillerProfessor Shelly Miller is among an international coalition of researchers whose COVID-19 transmission work has been recognized by the American Academy of Teachers of Singing.

Since the start of the pandemic, Miller and her colleagues have been at the forefront of research on how the virus spreads through tiny airborne particles. Their studies have led to the creation of safety protocols for singing and playing musical instruments to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“In March 2020 musicians around the world were stunned to learn that gathering to play wind instruments or singing may be activities that could result in significant spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said academy member Karen Brunssen. “In-person music instruction and group musical activities came to a halt in schools, homes, businesses, concert halls, theaters and in places of worship.”

After understanding the risks, the academy sought specific information on how they might perform more safely. Miller and the team delivered.

“Three research reports from the International Coalition of Performing Arts Aerosol Study provided needed information specific to instruments and voices, and suggested limitations and potential protocols, including masking, social distancing, room ventilation, and more, for the health and safety of all involved,” Brunssen said.

In recognition of scientists’ guidance, the American Academy of Teachers of Singing awarded its inaugural AATS Award for COVID-19 response to the international group of researchers on May 5.

The American Academy of Teachers of Singing is a select group of internationally recognized voice teachers and singing voice experts founded in 1922 with the express purpose of contributing to the singing profession in an advisory capacity.