In another triumph for health and safety, school music teachers have been warned to wear earmuffs or stand behind noise screens to protect their hearing. According to researchers from the Health and Safety Executive, the sound levels produced by groups of pupil musicians are likely to be higher than those from professionals, as younger players tend to have "less developed technical abilities and natural exuberance".
Apparently the most deafening instrument is the cornet, with just one blast enough to cause permanent ear damage. The HSE warns that any school that exposes staff to this much-loved brass instrument without protection could be in breach of health and safety regulations. Five hours of teaching the violin in a small room hits the limit, as does 15 minutes of teaching the saxophone. What the HSE doesn't realise is that most teachers are ahead on this, claiming the need to run an errand just as Johnny is about to hit the high C.