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Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
#3028933 09/25/20 12:23 PM
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Hello all. I don't know if this is the right place to post this question, because this is about ear training/ musicianship lessons. But I am originally a piano teacher. I will soon start giving ear training lessons face to face, and I haven't taught since March and I'm not sure how to go about it. This is for an adult, and we are in Germany, where face-to-face teaching is slowly resuming. In music schools and conservatories (e.g. the university where I am completing my studies right now), lots of measures are taken: large spaces, barrier shields, two instruments, etc. But I would be teaching in my home, which is a small space, and I thought of investing in a barrier shield but I can't afford one right now, especially not for one student (it's appalling how a piece of plastic costs at least 200 Euros and how capitalizing on the pandemic has become so normal).

Besides ventilating and disinfecting surfaces and hands, for those who are teaching face-to-face right now, what measures do you take? Do you both keep a minimum distance and use a mask? Ear training is tricky because it includes lots of singing, which is difficult to do with a mask, and technically a distance of 3 meters is required. Would face shields be a solution? I've never used them. The electric piano we have at home is currently against the wall, but I could also reposition it for the lessons so the student can stand behind it at an appropriate distance and face me, to avoid having them stand close to me.

Do you ask your students before they come to the first lesson to make sure they take hygiene measures (wear a mask, keep distance, wash their hands)? Do you possibly have a written hygiene policy that you share and have them sign?

If you're a student, what safety and hygiene measures would you expect or wish from your teacher? Would you appreciate a written policy? Lots of Germans around me don't take the virus very seriously, and I don't know if greeting my first-time student with a mask is ok.

Thank you for any tips you may have.

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Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3029273 09/26/20 11:06 AM
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Nothing can keep you completely safe in close quarters.

Masks only work against large projectile droplets. Absolutely wear one, but it has limits.

The micro-droplets can infect you through your eye, and these droplets hang around in the air for hours.

The science currently says you need 30feet of social distancing to get away from these infectious clouds. But this makes any mutual indoor activity impossible, so they've kept these numbers on the down low, and stuck to 6 feet, which is only effective distance for large projectile droplets.

100% safe is impossible, Vaccine is the 1 and only solution.

The other option is, you take the risk for having to paying rent, eat food and have running water.

Last edited by jeffcat; 09/26/20 11:08 AM.
Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3029421 09/26/20 09:16 PM
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You could try a face shield. To me a face shield is much more annoying than a mask.
I'd try to work out how to sing with a mask.

I'm doing speech therapy wearing a mask and most of my little kid clients wear a mask as well. I've been surprised at how well it works. Absolutely, ask everyone to wash their hands.


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Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3029432 09/26/20 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Ainar
(it's appalling how a piece of plastic costs at least 200 Euros and how capitalizing on the pandemic has become so normal)..

That is ridiculous.


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Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
malkin #3029652 09/27/20 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
You could try a face shield. To me a face shield is much more annoying than a mask.
I'd try to work out how to sing with a mask.

I'm doing speech therapy wearing a mask and most of my little kid clients wear a mask as well. I've been surprised at how well it works. Absolutely, ask everyone to wash their hands.

I just read some studies that face shields alone are ineffective and do nothing to prevent spread from singing.

https://covid19.tabipacademy.com/20...ne-may-not-protect-you-from-coronavirus/

Last edited by joplinlover; 09/27/20 04:16 PM.
Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3029661 09/27/20 04:38 PM
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The latest studies from classical singers singing and speaking at various volumes in a studio in the UK (soon to be published, if not already) shows that it's the loudness of the voice - whether speaking or singing (in any style) - that determines how far potentially infectious droplets are carried. In other words, it's the decibels that make the difference, not whether someone is speaking or singing.

Therefore, speak softly and slowly at all times. Never raise your voice. If you sing, don't go above mp, unless you're at least 3 metres from everyone else, and the room or hall is well-ventilated.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3029669 09/27/20 04:55 PM
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Is there really some difficulty singing with a mask? I mean beyond the general "no one really likes wearing a mask" thing.
(Not intentionally snarky, I just have no idea.)


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Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
malkin #3029673 09/27/20 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Is there really some difficulty singing with a mask? I mean beyond the general "no one really likes wearing a mask" thing.
(Not intentionally snarky, I just have no idea.)

You can't inhale fast enough when you are wearing a mask.


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Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
malkin #3029676 09/27/20 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Is there really some difficulty singing with a mask? I mean beyond the general "no one really likes wearing a mask" thing.
(Not intentionally snarky, I just have no idea.)

There are special singing masks
Originally Posted by malkin
Is there really some difficulty singing with a mask? I mean beyond the general "no one really likes wearing a mask" thing.
(Not intentionally snarky, I just have no idea.)

For the purpose of ear training etc you can. But for professional-quality singing, it becomes muffled and compromises resonators. And depending on the material of the mask, it can stick to the nose and mouth.

Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
bennevis #3029890 09/28/20 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
The latest studies from classical singers singing and speaking at various volumes in a studio in the UK (soon to be published, if not already) shows that it's the loudness of the voice - whether speaking or singing (in any style) - that determines how far potentially infectious droplets are carried. In other words, it's the decibels that make the difference, not whether someone is speaking or singing.

Therefore, speak softly and slowly at all times. Never raise your voice. If you sing, don't go above mp, unless you're at least 3 metres from everyone else, and the room or hall is well-ventilated.

That's the projectiles, which are large droplets. Micro-droplets which result from ANY exertion big or small can linger for hours, and can not be reliably Blown-out-the-room.

You'd have to wear full body PPE multiple masks, goggles, and headgear.

Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
joplinlover #3029932 09/28/20 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by joplinlover
For the purpose of ear training etc you can. But for professional-quality singing, it becomes muffled and compromises resonators.
I sometimes listen to news and such with headphones on while doing housework. If a speaker is wearing a mask, I can hear that immediately.

Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3029968 09/28/20 03:13 PM
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Here's a masterclass on how to stay socially distanced while performing (orchestra & choir):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=617BGAd6rOc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd3jcud1MZc

N.B. The audience was in a park a few miles away.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3031490 10/02/20 08:22 PM
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You should use nitrile gloves and both student and teacher should wear masks. I would definitely wear the goggles if you are going to teach a lot of people. You have to think of coronavirus like being with multiple sexual partners unprotected. Each new person you expose yourself to you are being exposed to the other contacts they have made. It can be accomplished without that barrier and the answer is goggles, gloves, and N95masks. This is a bizarre disease and I typically think of it as similar to an "airborne" HIV transmission. Either quit teaching in person or do remote lessons which are a pita.

Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3031782 10/03/20 07:34 PM
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Look up face bracket. I have started using these when I am teaching for longer periods of time and they definitely help.

I am fine with the mask for a trip to the grocery store. But for two or more hours, the face bracket was so much better!


Learning as I teach.
Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3034139 10/10/20 12:14 PM
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Also adding that I now have an air purifier in the room where I teach.

The student plays the acoustic piano and the digital is 90° angle and down from it so I can demonstrate from there.

There is a bucket with paper towels and a cleaning solution spray bottle safe for the keys that I spray a paper towel, wipe the keys, then take a dry paper towel and dry the keys.

Everyone wears masks.

Wash hands before you touch the keys.

I even have separate pencils for the students.

Started teaching in person in July a bit, and full force starting mid august.

a few thousand students have been attending private and charter School in person since mid-august, including football games and changing classrooms and special events. No cases.

Meanwhile, public schools are basically empty and the school system has lost a few thousand students to private schools or home schools or just dropped off the books. Gone.

Local area public schools started class A few weeks ago and all is well.

Got my flu shot last week.

Need to lose weight, but that is my only co-morbidity.

So, I'm doing what I can to be safe, but I am not living in fear.


Learning as I teach.
Re: Tips for in-person teaching during the pandemic- Germany
Ainar #3034149 10/10/20 12:44 PM
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Thank you all for these tips. This helps a lot.


"Love has to be the starting point- love of music. It is one of my firmest convictions that love always produces some knowledge, while knowledge only rarely produces something similar to love."
Arthur Schnabel


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