New term checklist for instrumental and vocal music teachers



At the start of the academic year, instrumental and vocal teachers around the country are getting back to helping students do what they love – making music. But as well as ensuring your students have everything they need for their music lessons, it’s also important to make sure you, as their music teacher, are prepared for the new term too. Here are some questions you should consider.

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

Many music teachers know they need public liability insurance, 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 during a music 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. If you’re an ISM member, you have £10m of PLI coverage included in your membership, covering you in all circumstances where you are working as a music professional.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 for expert help from our in-house legal team, and you can also use our template contracts for teaching.

  1. 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: the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England or Wales, Access NI in Northern Ireland, and the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme in Scotland. Find out more about how you can access the correct documentation.

  1. How can I develop my skills?

No matter where and how you teach, the #CanDoMusic website offers a range of advice and resources to help you expand your practice. You can also access free webinars from the ISM’s sister charity, the ISM Trust, including sessions on Preparing for pre-recorded examinations on Wednesday 6 October, 2-3pm, and Preparing for live online examinations on Wednesday 13 October, 2-3pm. And catch up on an expert panel discussing teaching music in a post-COVID world from our recent ‘Building for the future’ event.

Find out more about the ISM and the benefits of membership for music teachers.

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