Given how general the title of this piece is I feel a need to narrow down and begin to explain more closely what this piece will cover.
Initially I will be explaining the resources and accessories required for performance and maintenance of equipment. To follow this up I will assess health and safety in rehearsal and performance. I feel the two tie in well together the resources needed will help keep things safe and working well and health and safety requirements can dictate how the equipment is maintained.
The website Musicnotes.com has a checklist of ‘general musical instrument care’, many of the points on which are very beneficial and have merit.
- Always keep your instrument in its case when not in use. Make sure case handles, hinges, locks and zippers are working properly.
- Never set anything on top of your instrument, and never store anything on top of your instrument inside its case.
- Don’t leave you instrument in extreme temperatures, as fluctuations can warp and damage your instrument.
- Don’t leave your instrument in a car, where it’s susceptible to hot/cold temperatures as well as humidity fluctuations.
- Don’t leave your instrument unattended, whether inside or outside of its case.
- If your instrument is being brought inside from colder temperatures, allow it to warm up to room temperature before playing.
- Keep your instrument clean of fingerprints and everyday dust and residue. Do this by wiping your instrument down with a clean, soft, non-treated cloth before storing.
- Never attempt to repair an instrument at home. If a repair is needed, take your instrument to a trained instrument repair technician.
- Consider insuring your instrument against theft or damages.(1)
While it is clear that this is more aimed brass and woodwinds many of the points translate well onto instruments such as guitars, basses and drum kits. I would disagree with the point of never attempting a repair at home, I’ve personally repaired and changed many thing on my drums without any outside help.
Transitioning on from the maintenance side to the resources themselves I would begin by saying about how this can vary depending on what instrument the musician plays and what they do performance wise. As a drummer I own and maintain a 5 piece Pearl Export, a 4 piece TAMA Superstar kit, an electric kit, a mountain of hardware, a WorldMax snare and cymbals, headphones, an in-ear set up, mixing desks, a Roland SPD-SX sample pad and the relevant stands and leads.. the list goes on..
I will set up my kit as follows:
From left to right:
- Roland SPD-SX
- Mixing desk – running feeds from front of house, sample pad and metronome. These are all mixed (by me) and my in-ears run out of this.
- Hi hats
- Primary Crash
- Rack Tom
- Floor Tom
- Secondary Crash
*in my current set up I run triggers on my snare and kick, linked up to the SPD-SX to layer electric sounds over my acoustic sound.
Aside from this I have a set of cases for the drums and all the stands, separate flight case for the sample pad, for the mixing desk and accessories, a stick bag with a variety of different sticks inside.. the list of actual gear goes on and on top of that I need transport to get to and from the performance, outfits and clothes to wear whilst on stage.
When I get back I will need to tune the drums, clean cymbals, often replace the drum heads, replace broken sticks, spend time programming and working on samples and things for the sample pad..
Different musicians will need to work on their own craft and instrument; for example a guitarist will need their guitar, guitar amp, leads, picks, guitar straps.. A budget and methodical work ethic are therefor required to maintain and use any musical instrument to its full potential in performance.
Following on to the second part; I will assess health and safety in rehearsal and performance. Primarily, the maintenance of equipment I mentioned in the first half helps to improve the safety of your rehearsal and performance; if your equipment is all in good condition, all your power cables are checked and all your accessories are well maintained then there is much less chance of any problems occurring or you injuring yourself through a failure in the gear.
Moving on, I will talk about the rehearsal and performance space and how it can be “made safe” for the musicians. The Royal College of Music has a health and safety policy and the list of contents is as follows:
- 1.0 RCM Health and Safety Policy
- 2.0 Organisation and Arrangements for Implementation
- 3.0 Organisation Chart
- 4.0 Allocation of Finance for Health and Safety
- 5.0 Responsibilities
- 6.0 Sub-policies
- 7.0 Fire
- 8.0 First Aid
- 9.0 Risk Assessment
- 10.0 Training
- 11.0 Manual Handling
- 12.0 Control Of Contractors
- 13.0 Event Management
- 14.0 Lone Working
- 15.0 Noise
- 16.0 Engagements of New Employees
- 17.0 Employee Consultation Arrangements
- 18.0 PAT Testing
- 19.0 Plant and Equipment
- 20.0 Boiler/Plant Rooms
- 21.0 Abrasive Wheels
- 22.0 Liquefied Petroleum Gas
- 23.0 Highly Flammable Liquids
- 24.0 Asbestos
- 25.0 Confined Spaces
- 26.0 Lifting Equipment
- 27.0 Electrical Equipment
- 28.0 Permit to Work
- 29.0 Health Hazards (Coshh)
- 30.0 Personal Protective Equipment
- 31.0 Working at Height
- 32.0 Premises and Licence (2)
Now.. this document has 92 pages so I will attempt to summarise it somewhat. The main substance of the article at my level begins at point 7.0. Fire exits in both rehearsal and performance spaces must be marked and kept clear. Following that, first aid training can be massively beneficial if any problems are to occur. Having the knowledge and ability to treat cuts and other injuries. Risk assessment forms can help expose dangers in the performance and rehearsal space. The next point, 15.0, regarding noise is a massive one. Ear protection (from wedges to in ear monitors to headphones) are massively important in the long term. The other articles on this list cover all of the health and safety policies as seen by RCM.