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New term checklist for instrumental and vocal music teachers

1. Am I protected if an accident happens at work?

Many music teachers know they need public liability insurance for their private teaching or are asked to have it by schools, but sometimes the small print makes it hard to understand exactly how it’s helping you. It offers protection if an occasion arises where legal proceedings are brought against you due to an incident that happens while you are working, like someone tripping over equipment at a rehearsal you are running, or hurting themselves in your home during a private lesson. It is designed to cover your legal defence and the compensation that may be due. The insurance provides a financial buffer and considerable peace of mind.

ISM members get £10m of coverage included in their membership, covering them in all circumstances where they are working as a music professional.

2. Are my instruments and equipment insured?

Have you used lockdown to get any new kit or replaced an ailing instrument? Whether you’re venturing out and about into the world again or find yourself working from home more than you once did, it’s worth checking if your equipment insurance coverage reflects your current circumstances. With ISM membership, you can shop around multiple suppliers and get up to 20% off the total price of your coverage.

3. What should I do if my teaching contract changes?

If you’re offered a brand-new contract or adjustments to your usual pay or working conditions, you should consider getting legal advice before agreeing to the terms. Specialised advice can help you understand your rights and the responsibilities of your employer or the organisation with which you are signing the contract. ISM members can send contracts and questions to [email protected] for expert help from our in-house legal team.

For your private teaching work, having contracts in place provides a level of stability between you and your students, offering mutual understanding over issues like payments and schedules, making life easier if disagreements arise.

ISM members can use our template contracts for teaching, as well as for other types of work, and get further help from our legal team if you need to adjust them for your own needs.

4. Where can I get a criminal record check?

If any of your work is with children or vulnerable adults, you will need to get a criminal record check, and depending on how you work, it might be something you’re asked to organise yourself. Each UK nation has a different system, and the ISM can help members secure the correct documentation and process the fee where necessary.

Additionally, ISM members who teach privately can apply for ISM Registered Private Teacher status. This simple process involves seeking a reference, and demonstrates that you adhere to our safeguarding code of conduct, alongside your criminal record check. It shows parents and pupils that you’ve gone the extra mile to demonstrate your professional status, and can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace of music teachers.

5. How can I expand my teaching practice?

Whether you’re starting out, restarting private teaching or running workshops, you may want to find new ways to reach potential students, choir, or ensemble members.

An easy step to take is making sure your website or other online profiles are clear and up to date with how you’re running your lessons or rehearsals with regards to COVID-19 safety measures, to remove the element of doubt for potential students.

The increased viability of online teaching in lockdown meant you could reach a whole new crowd of potential learners – consider whether you still want to offer this and look at other areas where you want to expand your work, like teaching more adults following the boom in people picking up instruments during lockdowns, or learning more about how you can support neurodiverse students.

6. What can I learn next?

No matter where and how you teach, the ISM offers a range of advice and resources to help you make the steps to expand your practice. Take a look at our webinar on marketing for musicians, our resource on teaching adult learners, our diversity and inclusion in music hub or catch up on an expert panel discussing teaching music in a post-COVID world from our Building for the future event.

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