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'Music masks’ allow Milton Middle School band to play safely indoors

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Milton Middle School band is making sure there is room for music, even in a pandemic.

Students like 7th grader Aiden Reichelt, an alto saxophone player, said this year looks a lot different, but is glad to be playing together.

“We had like five months off not being able to see our friends and stuff like that, and just being able to be here and play is awesome,” he said.

The Milton School District’s hybrid model allows for some students to attend in-person throughout the week, but the Band Director Jessica Westlund took some extra creative steps to keep music education alive even in the age of COVID-19.

“Our flutes are using a flute shield to block air from going straight out. We are using puppy pads on the ground for the brass players for when they let their spit out," she said.

In addition to that, an anonymous donation to the school allowed for Westlund to get special bell covers and masks made for the musicians.

'Music masks’ allow Milton Middle School band to play safely indoors
'Music masks’ allow Milton Middle School band to play safely indoors(NBC15)

“There were a lot of anxious feelings leading up to the school year not knowing how it would go, but we were so surprised the kids are handling it super well and teachers are working really, really hard," she said.

The bell covers, made of nylon, trap any aerosols that could escape the instrument while a student is playing. The ‘music masks’ can be worn while students play and can be sealed up again once they leave class.

“It’s one of those times kids can relax, and be themselves, and do something artistic," she said.

Reichelt said he and other students are getting used to adding these steps to their routine.

“I come here and listen to everyone play, all the music comes together and it sounds really nice," he said.

Westlund said a co-worker and local business owner was able to make all of the masks and covers. She said the high school has also since ordered them to use.

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