CORONAVIRUS AND PIANO LESSONS

With Coronavirus spreading throughout the world here’s a few practical tips for being proactive in your piano studio and teaching.

corona virus

By taking a few, simple steps you can keep yourself and your students as safe as possible and help to prevent any spread of Coronavirus:

#1. MAKING CONTACT

Make contact with all parents, whether at your piano studio or in a school setting asking them to follow government guidelines regarding travel to Category 1 countries. Guidelines will be slightly different according to where you live. Some key UK links can be found via the ISM site CLICK HERE

# 2. HAND WASHING

Ask all visitors to your piano studio to wash their hands thoroughly on arrival. That includes parents and any siblings who attend.

#3. TEACHING IN A SCHOOL

If teaching in a school make sure that every child washes their hands directly before the lesson. If you have hand-gel (which is currently in short supply) this is an alternative.

#4. TISSUES AND DISPOSAL

During the lesson have a box of tissues ready to catch any sneezes. Used tissues can be placed into a plastic bag which is then disposed of at the end. If a pupil does sneeze get them to wash their hands or use gel once again.

#5. PIANO KEYS

Take care of the piano keys. This is such an important point to think about and take action on. The keyboard should be wiped down between each lesson and on any other occasion where necessary. A slightly damp, micro-fibre, anti-bacterial cloth is one suggestion or anti-bacterial wipes. Do not spray anything directly onto the keys but apply via a cloth.

#6. LESSONS BY SKYPE

Parents should be asked to keep any child who is unwell away from their piano lesson for the time being. Consider alternative ways of delivering lessons, for example, via Skype.

#7. DEVELOP A HEALTH POLICY

These are sensible steps for helping to tackle Coronavirus and really should build on whatever you already have in place. If you don’t have one already you could produce a Health Policy for your studio. A basic sample one is attached HERE, based on one created by Community member Angie Tse.

SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Over here in the UK we are being encouraged to sing Happy Birthday twice whilst we wash our hands. I decided to put this to some educational use and hopefully have a bit of fun at the same time. I created a sheet with the score on it which is displayed by the taps in the washroom. This accompanied by some questions for students to consider. How many can they answer when they come back into the piano room.

Next week there’ll be a new version with something different – clef, key, time signature etc. It’s also a great starting point for learning to play this by ear, which of course any pianist should be able to do.

You can download this HERE

We hope this is helpful although we don’t pretend it is exhaustive, merely a starting point.

This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, co-founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers with the help of Angie Tse.

26 thoughts on “CORONAVIRUS AND PIANO LESSONS

  1. Annie Oakley

    Hi there – I’m in the United States and obviously we are NOT doing a very good job of containing the virus. The music studio I work for has given all teachers VERY short notice (we start back with in person lessons on Monday July 6 – as Coronavirus cases continue their upward trend. Egad.
    I’m a VERY high risk person, as are my children. I hate to lose the income, but I’d rather not lose my life – becaue that equates to $0 (LOL). Seriously though – I don’t see how I can convert from my virtual students back to in person lessons in good conscience.
    Thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Sally C

      Hi Annie, we both agree with you that it wouldn’t be wise to go back to face-to-face lessons at the moment given your situation and circumstances. Whether to return or not is a decision that a lot of teachers are having to make at the moment. It’s hard enough when you work for yourself but when you have an employer who is making the decisions it is even harder. We suggest that you find all the evidence you can to present to the studio owner to help you back up your decision. If you want any further guidance or just someone to talk through the issue with please do email us at info@curiouspiano.org. Sally

      Reply
  2. Stitch

    For teachers restarting face to face lessons after the pandemic what advice would you give to prevent the spread of infection and adhere to social distance guidelines?

    Reply
    1. Sally C

      Thanks for your question. To be honest I think it is going to be very difficult! At the moment I have no plans to return to face-to-face for the foreseeable future. I think you need a big room, ideally 2 pianos or keyboards, plenty of time between students and wearing masks as a starting point. It’s a very difficult one and there isn’t really a straightforward answer. Sorry I can’t be more positive or helpful at the time of writing. Sally

      Reply
  3. Bria

    I’ve been using Jasco acetone on my piano keys after my kids finish vigously playing. My supply of Lysol spray and isopropyl alcohol ran out, but I’ve got a full can of acetone stored in my airing cupboard. I simply pour an ample amount of acetone onto an old rag and rub the piano keys vigorously in a vertical motion. The acetone will make the piano keys quite sticky to the touch until it evaporates; it also removes gunk, grime, crust and goo from the piano keys, as well as killing germs and bacteria. If you’re going to use acetone to disenfect your piano make sure you’ve got good ventillation in your piano room (open all of your windows), because acetone smells really, really, awful! And… DO NOT use acetone near any heat source! It’s extremely flammable!

    Reply
  4. DEBORAH DIANE MILLER

    I teach piano in my own home which is small. How best can I protect myself. I will make sure children wash hands. Etc. What about distance? I’m looking into Skype. Thankyou

    Reply
    1. Sally C

      Deborah, I would recommend moving all lessons onto Skype or similar. Have you looked into zoom which is more stable? If you haven’t see it check out the webinar we had lost week which you will find over on our YouTube channel.

      Reply
  5. Martine S.

    Hi, This sounds to me like ‘wishful thinking’. We know now that the virus can be transmitted by people who have no symptoms whatsoever. Personally, I have cancelled all lessons until further notice. Our government (Canada) has promised to compensate all self-employed people facing this difficult situation. I don’t know if that is the case in the UK…

    Reply
    1. Sally C

      Indeed Martine. This was written a couple of weeks ago now. The situation is changing rapidly. I have moved to giving all lessons online as from this week.

      Reply
  6. Jill Thirkell

    You might like to know that I have just purchased 2,500 blue paper towels for pupils to use to dry their hands instead of a towel, which soon becomes and damp. I bought these on line for £15.99 which I consider a bargain.
    Jill Thirkell

    Reply
  7. robbie overman

    I am 67 and have serious asthma which is a problem daily. I teach in the students’ homes. I may have to quit teaching, but it would be a significant hardship financially. How can I go into the home where they may have an active virus and not showing symptoms? I have alerted them if the student has a cough I will not come, but if they’re asymptomatic they can still infect me. Things are even dicier because I have a wealthy clientele and they are all on spring break next week in places like Maui, Orlando, and Colorado. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Sally C

      Is there any opportunity for you to give online lessons? Have a look at the blog that was published today and watch the webinar recording. It’s a bit of a learning curve if you haven’t done it before but it is a valid alternative. Looking after yourself is the priority!

      Reply
  8. Carolyn Richards

    Many thanks for your suggestions to help prevent the virus spreading. All very helpful tips. Happy Birthday has just been sung twice in our cloakroom lol All suggestions welcome to defend against this confusing virus.

    Reply
  9. Karen C

    Thank you Sally for this blog and the Tuesday teaching tips on the above topic on YouTube. It has been really useful and has made me put down the recommended advice in black and white to parents rather than just face to face as I did last week.

    Reply
  10. Roni Rothwell

    Thank you for this nudge to be more pro-active.
    I will email my pupils’ parents this evening, ready for next week’s teaching.
    Roni

    Reply
  11. K. Barta

    Thanks so much for sharing how you’re dealing with the Covid-19 virus in your piano practice. I live in Los Angeles, so I feel a certain urgency to take precautions. I appreciate learning what others are doing.

    Reply

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