Level 0 Update

I have been teaching exclusively online since 16 March 2020. Almost instantly, Zoom, Skype, Facetime and Google meets became the “new normal”. By comparison with face-to-face lessons, attendance at online piano lessons improved significantly; I can count on one hand the number of missed piano lessons over the past 15 months. Significant progress was made by all students who completed video sight reading tasks and picked up on my cues regarding personal practice. A good handful have also achieved exam success using the new assessment products available to us (recorded video performance exams). The benefit from the parent’s perspective is you don’t have to take account of travel time for an online piano lesson!

That said, you’ll appreciate that my own experience of the online learning environment is generally positive, and therefore does not agree with the overwhelmingly negative assessment of online education presented in the media. So, given the positive impact on students’ learning, I fully expect that online piano lessons will continue to be a significant teaching and learning environment for us as we continue learning how to live in a pandemic. However, as we move into Level 0, it is time to begin exploring what face-to-face teaching might look like; but please bear in mind that even at Level 0, “People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable” (www.gov.scot). So, this is not simply a matter of getting back to what we did before; it’s about exploring ways to create a “new normal” that is safe and flexible.

As as “sole trader”, my first business priority is my own health, without which I would not be able to offer piano lessons at all. Alongside that, the health of my students (the whole cohort) is also crucial. In order to ensure the covid safety of the learning environment, the following measures will be in place for face-to-face piano lessons:

  • I am double-vaccinated
  • I will test regularly
  • I am working with a Health & Safety Adviser at NHS Fife to ensure the safety of the learning environment.
  • I have completed a Risk Assessment, which you can find here.
  • I will teach only from my own studio, and will not be visiting student’s homes for lessons.
  • If we should move from Level 0 to any of the higher levels, we will revert immediately to online lessons.
  • If I test positive, feel unwell, or if I’m instructed to self-isolate, we will revert to online lessons.
  • If a student tests positive, feels unwell, or if they’re instructed to self-isolate, their lessons can continue online.
  • I have over 50 piano students each week. I will facilitate separation between students by teaching lessons face to face and online alternately. To enable this, students who opt for in-person lessons will alternate weekly lessons between online and in person.
  • The physical teaching space means that it will no longer be possible to have a parent or siblings in the room during lessons. I would be more happy to encourage parents to observe their child’s lesson via a video call.
  • Please avoid using public transport. If you have to use public transport, we can continue with piano lessons online.
  • Please arrive on time. I will greet the student at the front door, wearing a mask; and I ask that the student should arrive wearing a face covering. At that point, I will invite the student to use the hand sanitiser provided (this can also be used at the end of the piano lesson).
  • In order to avoid unnecessary cleaning tasks between lessons, the student should not touch anything other than the piano. Piano lessons are generally 30 minutes, so there should be no need for anyone to use the loo during their lesson – even though other people’s bathrooms hold a strange fascination for children!
  • Once we are seated at the piano, I will invite the student to remove their mask if they wish.
  • There will be two pianos side-by-side in the room; one for students, and the other for me. As my job is to do most of the talking, I will keep my facemask on through the lesson. Good ventilation will be ensured with the window open. The student piano will be cleaned before each lesson.
  • Lessons will conclude at the time agreed, and you should be ready to collect your child at that time. At the end of the lesson, we will put our masks back on, then make our way to the front door.
  • As I have been doing with online lessons, I will continue to send out lesson appointment reminders before each lesson; and lesson notes and a payment request link after each lesson as this will reduce unnecessary contact.


Click here for a pdf version of this risk assessment

Site / Location:141 Dunnikier Road
Activity:Private Piano Teaching
AssessorStuart Watson
Date:2 August 2021


This risk assessment considers the risk posed by Coronavirus-19 (SARS-CoV-2) by identifying circumstances where exposure to the virus could occur (see B – ‘Sources of Risk’).  Existing control measures (that are already in place) for managing the associated risk are defined (see C – ‘Control Measures’).  Responsibility for these measures are shown in bold.  

To determine if the sources of risk are managed adequately by the existing control measures, the level of residual risk (taking into account the effect of the control measures) is calculated (see D).  Residual risk level is calculated using the scoring matrix shown below.  Where the residual risk is scored higher than 6, further action may be required to reduce the risk further (see E).    

Circumstances of potential exposure or increased risk of serious illness are identified in the following broad areas:

  1. Travel to and from lesson on public transport.
  2. Contact with common contact surfaces.
  3. Close proximity activity (airborne transmission)
where SxL is greater than 6
severitylikelihoodS x L
1.  Students who need to use public transport including buses and trains could be in close proximity of other members of the public resulting in potential virus transmission.a. Check if students who use public transport are able to maintain distancing.  If not, consideration made to vary lesson time so student can avoid peak times.  Teacher428Consider conducting lesson by video call. Ensure appropriate safeguarding at all times. Teacher
2. Touching common contact surfaces including those listed below could result in virus transmission. – Door handles- Piano keys- Sheet music- Practice notesa. All common contact surfaces cleaned immediately prior to each student arriving including:- Door handle- Piano keys- Perspex screenTeacher
b. Where practicable, regularly used doors are propped open to prevent the need for hand contact.  Teacher
c. Teacher and students wash hands immediately before and after lesson.  Teacher & Student
d. Students use their own music where possible.  Student
e. Students makes their own practice notes using their own pen / pencil.  Student
414c. Hand sanitiser will be provided
e. Practise notes will be made up by the Teacherand send out after the lesson.
3. Close proximity between teacher and student could result in airborne transmission of virus:

a. Seating set up so that teacher and student are 2m apart.  Teacher
b. If / when not practicable to maintain 2m distancing, 1m distancing plus at least one of the following mitigating measures is applied:- side to side positioning (no face to face communication)- face shield worn- face masks or coverings worn.  Teacherc. Ventilation is maximised by opening doors and windows where practicable.  Teacher
414b. Teacher and Studentwill both wear face masks on entry and exit, and the teacher will wear a face shield during the lesson.
4. Close proximity between students especially during crossover between lessons could result in airborne transmission of virus.a. 5 min gap between lessons applied to allow one student to leave before the next arrives.  Teacher
b. Lessons started and finished promptly to ensure no crossover between students.  Teacher
c. Students asked not to arrive until the time of their lesson.  Student
414b. Parent to ensure that the student is collected from the lesson at the time due.
5.  Singing increases risk of transmission of virus.a. Singing is carried out behind a Perspex screen which is cleaned after the singing activity.  Student414Limit the use of singing in the lesson. Teacher
6. Teacher and student are at increased risk of having and transmitting Covid-19 if any of the following apply to any members of their households::- Tested positive for Covid-19- Covid-19 symptoms (cough, temperature, loss of taste or smell) – Contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case. a. Students asked to advise if any of the following applies to them or any member of their household:  – Tested positive for Covid-19- Continuous cough, temperature or loss of tase or smell symptoms- Contact with a confirmed Covid-19 caseTeacher & Student
Conducting lesson by remote connection technology such as Zoom, Teams or Facetime is considered for affected students.  Teacher
6. Students who are in a high risk group due to age or underlying health condition may be at greater risk of serious illness in the event of exposure.a. Students who are at higher risk due to age or underlying health conditions are identified and extra vigilance applied regarding distancing and cleaning measures (see above).  Teacher5210Consider conducting lesson by remote connection technology such as Teams, Skype, Facetime or other secure platform. Ensure appropriate safeguarding at all times. Teacher