For the last 12 months, the music tuition industry has been facing challenges unlike anything it’s ever faced before. With face-to-face lessons cancelled and teachers turning to Skype to keep things moving, many of us have been forced to adapt and think outside of the box to ensure our students keep learning and our jobs are secured.

This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge

Finally, in Spring 2021, the announcement we’ve all been waiting for. The country is now making steps towards easing, and eventually ending, lockdown restrictions in the UK.

But what does this mean for the teaching industry? Can we simply go back to normal?

In short, the answer is no. For the immediate future, we still have to consider some protective measures, but the good news is, we can start making steps towards normality again.

With the news of easing lockdowns also comes the news that social distancing and face coverings will possibly remain beyond the end of lockdown. This is where we as teachers need to start our planning when it comes to face-to-face sessions. We must ask ourselves a few simple questions:

Is it safe to have students to your studio?

This depends on the layout of your studio. While the government’s guidelines state that certain business can reopen while following the rules set out, for many teachers working from home, the rules cannot be followed because it is still against guidance to have people in your home. For private teachers it’s a grey area, because many of our businesses revolve around having people attend.

For the time being, if you teach from home, you will need to watch the guidance. Check with your local authority to ensure you’re keeping up to date with measures and see if there is anything you can do to ensure you are Covid compliant.

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Can you teach while maintaining social distancing?

Many of us teach from home, so the issue of social distancing is a big one here. If you are lucky enough to have a teaching space which allows for 2m distance between you and the student, then this will ease the process for you. Remember, if you’re having students attend your studio, keep a window open for proper ventilation and ensure you leave enough time between sessions for clean downs and disinfecting any surfaces that could potentially be contaminated.

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Should you wear a face covering while teaching?

Face coverings while teaching aren’t ideal, but may be required. A face shield may be the easier option over a facemask as you can see the face of the student fully as well as be seen yourself.

Another option is to look into a screen that you can put up between you and students. Check with your local authority to ensure this is acceptable.

What other options do I have?

If you find that the current advice and your own setup restricts your ability to resume face to face lessons in your own home, you can try a few temporary approaches:

•Start/Continue Offering Online Lessons – Platforms like Skype and Zoom allow you to reach students without worrying about distance. If you haven’t yet looked at this as an option, now is a good time to start. Many students will be keen to return to lessons but if you are unable to offer face-to-face lessons this might be a way to start offering lessons regardless.

•Find Suitable Premises Temporarily – Of course, this is easier said than done. You could try to reach out to all the local music schools and studios in your area, explain your situation and ask them if they have any space you could rent for the purpose of teaching. Most music schools will probably already have suitable sized rooms, and many will have already brought in protective measures.

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About the Author:

This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge, a professional guitarist, tutor and journalist from Wales in the UK. He has been working in the music industry for over 10 years as a touring and studio musician with various artists, guitar tutor and writer for many high profile guitar publications. Read more of Leigh's pieces relating to Rockschool here...