COVID-19: Teaching music during the Coronavirus outbreak

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Many MI businesses are involved in music teaching. Today, we’d like to share some excellent guidance from our partners at the MU, along with some inspiration from MIA members to help you navigate these difficult circumstances, and carry on inspiring through music!

What are our members doing?

MIA members Warwick Music Group and Music Gurus have come together to produce a number of online teaching and learning resources. 8 courses will be completely free until 30th June 2020. They hope that these free courses with over 6 hours of educational content will support students in remote learning and allow teachers to augment their online lessons.

Warwick Music Group have also have made their 10 best-selling music education titles free, along with their KS1 pBuzz teaching resources that include lesson plans, assessment trackers, teacher support videos, specially composed music, and teacher development materials. Cross-curricular activities are free too.

Find out more here – blog.pbone.co.uk/coronavirus-free-resources-for-teachers-students-and-parents and please enter the coupon code MUSICTOGETHER to get your 100% discount.

MIA member Orange Amplification is delighted to announce that their online foundation Rock Guitar Course is now FREE with any purchase of an Orange amp, combo, cab or pedal. Plus, all existing owners of Orange products can now register their products and gain FREE access to the same course. The online Orange Foundation Rock Guitar Course offers new and returning guitarists enjoyable lessons, a wealth of downloadable material, access to online tutors and video guides.

Find out more here – orangeamps.com/learn/

MIA member Roar Music Academy have adapted their music school to offer online options in a really short timescale. They wanted to give every student the power to decide if they wanted to learn face to face or learn online. This posed a great challenge; they started work on it at 9AM on 17th March and their next lessons were at 2.30PM the same day!

They have written a full blog on how they achieved this, which we would highly recommend reading: roarmusicacademy.com/how-we-gave-350-students-an-option-to-learn-online-functional-within-7-hours/

The NAMM Foundation hosted an Online Webinar Workshop: “Teaching and Learning Music Online” on Wednesday, which you can now watch in full here: www.youtube.com/watch

Here is the useful guidance on music teaching from our partners at The MU: 

Music teachers should first and foremost follow the hygiene guidelines as set out by the NHS.

The MU already advises music teachers not to use physical contact with their students for safeguarding reasons. This advice also applies in the context of coronavirus, and any teachers who still use physical contact as part of their teaching are advised to stop.

Best practice in teaching hygiene should be followed with care. Teachers should:

  • Avoid passing or sharing instrumentsbetween students where possible, especially where instruments come into contact with the mouth
  • Clean shared instruments and equipmentbetween uses where possible, e.g. wiping the piano keyboard or mallet handles
  • Allow a sensible space between teacher and student(s)and avoid standing or sitting directly opposite each other in close proximity, especially singers
  • Air the teaching room between lessonswhere possible and ensure that hands are washed regularly

Teachers should follow any guidance or procedures issued by their workplace. If they teach in schools or other settings, they should follow each setting’s policy on what to do if a student presents with symptoms. If a setting has not issued guidance, request it.

Teachers who work from their own homes or in their students’ homes should follow similar precautions. As these teachers are likely to be self-employed, they will need to be clear on their own policies regarding illness.

The MU advises that if either teacher or the pupil is unwell with any potentially contagious symptoms, the lesson should not go ahead.

Teaching via Skype

Employed teachers may be asked to teach remotely via Skype, and self-employed teachers may also wish to consider this. Teachers should remember that safeguarding is just as important when teaching via Skype (or FaceTime, or any other equivalent) as it is when teaching face to face.

Teachers should protect themselves from accidental inappropriate contact with students by restricting their profile so that it does not automatically accept contact requests and is not accessible to students.

Use a business-like profile picture and establish a serious and professional manner when using Skype. Emphasise to students and their parents that Skype is to be used for lessons only and not for other contact, e.g. sharing photos or general messaging. Encourage students to restrict their own profiles so that they can only receive calls from known contacts.

When teaching via Skype, dress smartly and use a neutral background. It may be necessary to widen the frame depending on your instrument, so take care that the frame is well chosen and appropriate.

Do not allow students to wear excessively informal attire or present against a messy background. If this happens, terminate the call and communicate the reason afterwards. The same applies if a student behaves inappropriately, and it may be necessary to take further action if this happens, just as you would with a face-to-face lesson.

Skype may require you to alter your teaching approach. If there is time, you may wish to trial it with a suitable student to test out both the technology and your teaching before using it more widely.

Some employers and teachers may feel that that the safeguarding risks of Skype are too great. However, the MU’s experience is that malicious accusations can unfortunately occur in both face-to-face and online teaching, so there is no particular reason to avoid Skype, as long as careful safeguarding procedure is followed. Many MU members teach regularly via Skype without problems.

Skype will have different implications for employed and self-employed teachers. Employed teachers may be requested to use it and should be given precise instructions if so. Self-employed teachers should be clear on their own Skype policy and communicate this clearly to parents and students. Self-employed teachers who work in schools will also need to observe school policy.

Some teachers or employers may ask parents to remain in the room during the lesson as an added precaution, although this may not always be possible or desirable. In all cases, parents should be fully informed that Skype teaching is happening and given information about appropriate practice relating to it. Teachers or employers may wish to ask parents to sign consent forms.

For more in-depth advice, visit: www.musiciansunion.org.uk