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Returning to work: Face-to-face private music teaching

With COVID-19 restrictions starting to be lifted in all four nations, we look at how private music teachers can prepare to resume face-to-face teaching safely and confidently.

The current situation

Our country-specific advice pages continue to be updated regularly. Check the pages for the most up-to-date information in your country:

Staying safe and secure

It is important that you have an up-to-date and comprehensive risk assessment in place when resuming face-to-face teaching. Our free advice on how to write a risk assessment is a good place to start, and includes a webinar from risk expert James Owen Lewis. ISM members can also take advantage of our sample risk assessment.

When you’re setting up your teaching space for face-to-face lessons, you will need to consider how to ensure it is kept clean and COVID-secure. The ISM offers free guidance on instrument hygiene and guidance on keeping your space clean for private music teachers. ISM members can also access to an exclusive 30% discount on PPE (personal protective equipment) from ethical stationery company Ethstat, including masks, hand sanitiser, cleaning supplies, gloves, wipes and visors.

Safety measures you should consider include:

  • Social distancing
  • Ventilation
  • Hand washing or sanitising
  • Face coverings (where possible)
  • Screens (where possible)
  • Minimising possible contact between different households so staggering starting times of lessons
  • Minimising and cleaning physical points of contact e.g. door handles, instruments
  • Lateral flow testing - once they are readily available to all members of the public
  • Reminding students not to attend if they have symptoms or have been in contact with anyone with symptoms

Looking after your mental health

The COVID-19 lockdown has been very tough on music professionals, and the easing of restrictions may provoke feelings of anxiety. If you have concerns about the return to face-to-face teaching, or any other topic that is causing you stress, the ISM offers its members access to a free, 24-hour personal support and advice helpline staffed by professionally qualified counsellors. If further support is needed, you can also arrange six sessions of structured telephone counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Managing performance anxiety

Your students may feel nervous about playing music and performing again after such a long period of remote learning. If you’re keen to support their wellbeing and help them to improve their performance, the ISM Trust has produced Performance anxiety: A practical guide for music teachers, an essential resource written two experts in the field of performance psychology, Gregory Daubney CPsychol MSc and Dr Alison Daubney PhD. Aimed at music teachers working across all contexts, the guide includes easy-to-use strategies to integrate into your teaching, which assist with your student's development over time. You can buy the guide in print or digital format, and get 20% off as an ISM member.

The ISM is here for you

At the ISM, we are committed to ensuring that our members have the tools and information they need to work safely and confidently, as well as providing a voice for the entire music sector to champion and protect music-making in the UK. Both members and non-members can find out more about our work, hear exclusive interviews, and take advantage of professional development opportunities in our free online conference Building for the future, taking place on Saturday 24 April, 10am – 5pm.