Church of England and RSCM await next steps following study into singing safety


The Church of England and Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) will await updated guidance on singing in places of worship after findings of a Government-backed study were published.
6 children in a choir with candles Keith Blundy

The research project, known as "PERFORM", published its findings on Thursday, having set out to measure aerosol production from humans.

It measured singing, speaking and breathing in a zero-background environment which linked aerosol production to specific vocalisations.

Researchers reported a steep rise in aerosol mass with increase in the loudness of the singing and speaking, rising by as much as a factor of 20-30. However, it was also found that singing does not produce substantially more aerosol than speaking at a similar volume.

The RSCM’s Director, Hugh Morris said: “We welcome this news, and are thankful for the enormous effort on the part of all those involved with the research, who have made it possible to release the results in such a short time-frame.

“Singing is of such importance in worship, and this is a really encouraging step towards its safe resumption.

“It is of course vital that all choirs and singing groups follow the relevant government advice, and so we look forward to receiving the latest guidance in this important area.”

In June, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Recovery group, called for a proactive approach to the safe resumption of singing in churches and cathedrals.

Since last week, it has been permissible for choirs to resume singing with appropriate distancing, although congregational singing is not yet allowed. It is not yet known how Government guidance will be amended in light of the study.

The Church of England and RSCM both regularly update their advice following the publication of Government guidance.