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Music lessons can continue in schools as long as safety measures are in place

Harriet Clifford

ISM seeks government clarification on lockdown measures for music teachers

9:38, 5th November 2020

With new lockdown measures commencing in England today (5 November), the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is seeking clarification from the government on the implication of these current restrictions on music teachers in and outside of schools. 

The legislation required to formalise the national lockdown passed a vote in the House of Commons on 4 November by a majority of 516 to 38. 

In a statement issued on its website, the ISM said, ‘When offering advice to musicians, the ISM’s in-house legal team work to understand the legislation, particularly in areas where the guidance is unclear or leaves questions unanswered, in order to offer information for musicians based in the law. Where further clarity is needed, we work with our contacts across government, the civil service and other music organisations to find answers.’ 

The ISM intend to regularly update the page as new information is obtained, but the current guidance is as follows: 

  • Private teaching in homes: Government guidance states that ‘you can leave home for education’, but this would not include ‘music tuition’. The ISM is seeking clarification, as the law underpinning the guidance does not contain restrictions or ban on music teaching.  
  • Music in schools: New guidance issued by the Department for Education (DfE) clarifies that music, dance and drama can continue being taught in schools as long as safety precautions are in place. The ISM is seeking clarification on whether instrumental music teaching that takes place on school premises, but not necessarily during core school hours, can still go ahead.  
  • Amateur groups and choirs: Should not go ahead, as confirmed by Caroline Dineage, minister for Digital and Culture. 
  • Art venues: can stay open for rehearsals and live streamed performances.



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