Resuming Face to Face Music Lessons
As we enter the tail end of a very turbulent 18-month period in our industry, we are slowly taking steps towards normality resuming.
As part of normality resuming, and our regular services reopening, we are all starting to have the discussion on music lessons and how they can take place in the safest way possible for everyone involved.
Many music teachers have moved their business online in the last year and were able to keep delivering education to their student base over Skype, Zoom and other video calling platforms.
Now, moving into Summer 2021, as close contact services start to reopen, seemingly for good this time, music teachers are ready to make the step.
When it comes to resuming face to face lessons, you’ll still need to follow current Government guidance on safety precautions in your workplace, regardless of if this is a commercial teaching studio, or a home studio.
Social distancing may be an obvious choice but it’s definitely something that will be used for the foreseeable future. Your teaching space should be big enough to ensure there is atleast a couple of metres between you and your students. This again is another option that will lessen contact between students. as teachers, we will be making sure we are creating a safe environment for all of our students. This is something that might be in place for the next year or two to ensure everyone’s safety.
Indeed, the easiest method to keep high levels of teacher/student safety is to continue to observing social distancing. Keeping 2m apart from other people can be easily achieved in most studios providing they are large enough to do so. You can put markers on the floor with tape to show boundaries if you think that would give additional guidance to visitors.
While teaching with face coverings certainly isn’t ideal, it may be a requirement if you are working form a smaller studio. In theory, providing you can socially distance from the student, and the studio is able to offer sufficient air flow (such as an open window), you don’t need to wear a face covering. Some people may prefer to do so for their own peace of mind.
An alternative to a face mask would be a transparent face visor, or a free-standing transparent partition. These are available to purchase easily online and many can even be folded down for easy storage when not in use.
This should be something that we are all used to for now but I think that we shouldn’t expect for it to vanish overnight. I foresee that we will have to use masks for any situation where we are in close vicinity of others for the next year at least.
Regardless of whether you’ve had the vaccine or not, the use of masks is a great barrier to prevent the spread of anything. This helps both students and teachers maintain a high level of cleanliness. Combined with the use of hand sanitiser, this will keep everyone safe until it’s safe to remove the masks finally. This will cause problems for singing teachers, who will have to look at safe ways to get around this, but for any other teachers, this is more than possible.
Cleaning and Hand Sanitizing
For the time being, you should not share instruments or any resources where possible. This reduces the risk of any possible contamination. If you can, make hand sanitizer available for students and encourage its use. You should also do a thorough clean down between sessions and sanitize all surfaces that may have been contacted.
Where possible, you should also try to minimize the handling of shared resources like transcriptions or educational books. If possible, set up two music stands, one for you and one for the student, each containing a copy of the resource for that lesson.
With the ongoing message to avoid physical contact as much as possible, it is also not advisable to handle cash payments at this point. If possible, handle your lesson payments online via an invoicing service. Paypal offer an invoicing service but charge a 4.4% fee on transactions. You could also manually send invoices via email to the student and have them complete a bank transfer to cover the lesson costs.
This once again helps minimize the contact between you and any other visiting students you may have that particular day.
Visiting a Students Home
If you are a mobile teacher and you travel to the students, you can still work within these guidelines. You can take a fold up partition, or face protection with you at all times, and you can also minimize the person to person contact by sending students copies in advance of any notes for that lesson and having them print their own copy prior to the session.
Openness To Teaching Online
Before the pandemic, many learners and students were not too familiar with learning online or via skype/zoom. The only positive we can pull form this situation is that it has really opened students up to learning online. Learning musical instruments from home seems to be widely accepted, mostly due to there being no other option. For all music teachers it has allowed us to keep working & keep sane for the most part. After we can teach face to face, I think many students will want to learn online. Students will be more open to do so which is a huge positive to take from all of this.
Pre-Arranged Time Slots
As music teachers, we are used to keeping our own schedule as it’s a huge part of the job. Once we can finally teach face to face again I think that it will be essential to organise our schedule while factoring in at least 30 mins between students. I used to always have one student after another but I feel that this just isn’t an option anymore. We will have to try our best to make sure interaction between students is at a minimum for everyone’s safety.
It is anticipated that many of these steps will be a temporary measure as things slowly reopen. As the situation improves we can slowly expect restrictions to be lifted and eventually go back to the way we worked prior to the pandemic.
Be sure to keep up to date on all the local regulations and recommendations by looking at your local Council website, speaking to members of the council and also keeping up to date with Government advice via the .gov website.
Many teachers have to start thinking about returning to face to face lessons in 2021. We have all had to change the way we teach the last 12 months for obvious reasons but we not have a return to normality in sight. We have had to change the way we teach drastically. In some cases and even when everyone can start teaching face to face again, I feel like the way we teach will still be affected.
All in all, I hope we can return to normal as soon as possible. We should all be doing our best to make the changeover as smooth and easy as possible.
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