Getting you back to face-to-face teaching

Published 14 September 2020


As many children and students are heading back to school, it’s important to be aware of the restrictions and guidance on what should be in place for music teachers. We’ve taken a look through the latest advice, along with information from the Musicians Union and ISM to highlight some of the key points you should be aware of.

If you’re returning to teaching in a school, you should engage with the school to find out what steps they have in place or what steps have been undertaken to assess the risks that could impact you. You can always ask to see the risk assessment if you wish.

If you work across multiple schools or teaching locations and have to travel between them, it’s best to ask each school/location individually what procedures are put in place, as they may all differ.

If you’re a private tutor and normally give lessons from your home or another home, you’ll need to carry out your own Risk Assessment in line with HSE guidance, which highlights the protective measures that’ll be in place. It’s important to protect yourself and anyone living in your household if you’re teaching from home. It’s also important to protect your students and minimise the risks of spreading Covid-19.

Your Risk Assessment needs to:

  • Identify what activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • Consider who might be at risk
  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • Act to remove the activity or situation or if that is not possible control or minimise the risk

The Musicians Union have provided an example of a Risk Assessment for teaching work.

Social distancing measures still remain in place and it’s advised to keep 2 meters distance from students and other people you may come into contact with. It’s important to maximise the distance between yourself and your students while teaching. It might also be worth considering entrance and exit only routes around the room to make it as safe as possible.

Groups of students should be kept as small as possible and be in proportion to the space you have available.

When playing or singing your students should be positioned back-to-back or side-to-side if it’s possible. If you’re teaching wind or brass students, you should face them so that the air from their instruments doesn’t blow towards another student.

Before your lessons begin it’s important to get yourself and your teaching space prepared. If it’s possible, it might be worth considering installing barriers or screens and thinking about having gloves and masks available for yourself and your students.

When booking lessons and building your schedule, make sure you have enough time to clean down any areas or equipment between your students. Also put in enough time so students/parent can enter and exit without being in contact with your next student.

Before your lessons starts it’s advised to check in with your students about their health and if there are any increased risks associated with each individual. If your students are under 18 it’s always important to check over details and procedures with parents/guardians to ensure they are happy with what actions you have in place. Creating an engaged open dialogue with students and parents helps to build trust and support as we all adapt to the new regulations.

You should also be prepared and open for schedule changes. Discuss any new policies you have put in place with parents/students, for example, how far in advance a lesson would need to be cancelled or re-scheduled. It may also be worth discussing payment options, for example, paying for lessons using bank transfers or contactless card payments, to avoid the handling of cash.

It is incredibly important to make sure that your cleaning standards are kept high. All surfaces and areas used during lessons must be fully cleaned before and after the next student arrives. This includes, door handles, switches, plugs, toilets and anything else that has been used.

It’s likely that students will be using their own instruments and equipment during your lesson; however any instruments or equipment that has been used must be fully cleaned and wiped down before being used by another student. It’s important not to share instruments that cannot be cleaned fully, for example mouthpieces and reeds.

If you’re teaching in a school, they should ensure that there are procedures in place for cleaning instruments and teaching areas. There may also be a process in place for picking up and dropping off instruments and equipment, along with other materials, before and after lessons.

Keeping a good supply of hand sanitiser, masks, gloves and wipes is advised and increased hand washing is important. 

We know that there are a lot of new regulations and advice that should be followed when getting back into teaching. If there is anything that you’re worried about or struggling with there’s a lot of advice and support within the music community that you can turn to.

Protect your instrument/equipment by getting a quote online.