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#1243361 - 08/04/09 02:52 PM Flue season and spreading germs.
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Cold and flu season is not here yet but I’ve already noticed several students who are showing signs of bronchial problems. What do you do to keep the flu bug at bay in your studio? In my studio there is one child after another playing the piano. I usually require they squirt with antibacterial gel before and after lessons even if they don,t show signs of illness but am afraid an accident with the gel could damage the finish on my piano.

I have a friend who requires her students wash before they sit at her piano. Curious as to what precautions others take in their studio against illness.
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

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#1243427 - 08/04/09 03:42 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Mrs.A]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I don't really do anything in particular. I do ask that they don't come if they're sick.
I used to do all the anti-biotic stuff, but now everything you read says that it just toughens the germs anyway. They get exposed to all of it at school and everywhere else.
I keep tissues and a waste basket nearby. I wipe down the keys every Saturday, but I don't use any product, I'm worried about damaging them.

I do always wash MY own hands after playing the piano wink
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

#1243451 - 08/04/09 04:07 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
From what my medical pros tell me, the primary influenza vector (medical lingo for transmitter) is hands to eyes/mouth membranes. In the last decade I believe only one student has been out with the real flu, the rest have had common colds. So my policy is to wash my hands after each student's lesson, if they exhibit any sign of cold/flu. The keyboard gets wiped down with Windex weekly, unless a student is sniffling, then it's right after their lesson. And as long time readers know, I teach on a separate piano, so I'm less likely to pick up anything in the first place.
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

#1243523 - 08/04/09 05:49 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Just on a side note do any of you notice that you get sick a lot less after teaching kids for many years and being around their germs? It's funny that for me after 15 yrs of teaching I rarely get sick even though I'm around sick kids all the time.

I also write it into my policy that if little Johnny or Jane is really sick not to have them take their lesson.

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BA in Piano/MA Musicology

#1243548 - 08/04/09 06:18 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I get a little more specific. In policy it states that if the student stayed home from school that day, they are not to come to the lesson.

I once had a student show up with a fever of 102! I sent him right back out the door and told the mother I was surprised she would expose my own children to his illness. Sometimes people don't think.
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

#1243552 - 08/04/09 06:29 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Minniemay]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: northern California
Great thread here. Do you offer makeup lessons to the sick students?
I use antibacterial wipes on the keys, hoping that is safe and won't harm them. Maybe we should ask this question over in the tech forum. It appears that the white keys on my piano are plastic (coated?) but the black keys are not. Pretty dumb that I don't know this.
Anyway....I had sick kids coming in here last year like crazy and am asking parents now to please keep them home when they are ill/contagious. It's a waste of time to work with them when they are sick.
Do you work when you are sick or close the studio?
Piano Teacher

#1243572 - 08/04/09 06:54 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Barb860]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I have a sick day written into my policy for myself. I offer 40 lessons per year, so if they need to skip one they can push it off til the summer. Much more flexibility that way.
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

#1244017 - 08/05/09 12:41 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Minniemay]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I noticed I misspelled flu. That is what I get for always being in a hurry.

I don’t allow make-ups. Not only do I have to make room for the make-up but it is time consuming rescheduling. Drives me nuts when I am in the middle of making dinner and the phone rings andI have to go to the schedule and find a time that works for both of us. I just don,t do it anymore I do have a makeup lesson once a month on Staturday but it is a group lesson.

I have to be very sick to not teach. I probably should not expose students to illness but calling to cancel all those students and then prorating monthly tuition statement for my cancellation is a lot of extra work.There is always one or two student you can,t get a hold of and they show up anyway.

A good friend of mine and fellow teacher related a story to me about a student who came to lessons sick and vomited on her piano. It was in the keys. Can you imagine? Shortly after she did purchase a new piano. I was an excuse to get that baby grand. It is very funny now.
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1244027 - 08/05/09 12:51 PM Re: Flue season and spreading germs. [Re: Mrs.A]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Colds and the flu are virii, not bacteria, so no matter how much antibacterial anything you use, it won't help. Alcohol-based sanitizers will work better, but don't be fooled just because a bottle says antibacterial on it. There have been studies showing no significant difference in cleanliness with normal soap vs. antibacterial soap.

Have your kids wash their hands with lots of soap before they touch your piano, and if they sneeze into their hands or on the piano, have them wash their hands again while you clean off the keys. Usually I use a damp paper towel nuked in the microwave for 10 seconds to wipe my keys down.
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina


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