Why I am not Teaching In-Person Music Lessons During Coronavirus

hand disinfection, disinfection, mouth guard

Published in June 2020.

I am a violin teacher, chamber music teacher and performer, as well as a trained physician. I have an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. I am also a fully residency trained anesthesiologist, and I also completed full residency training in Preventive and Occupational Medicine. As part of that training, I received a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois in Chicago. I practiced both specialties for a considerable amount of time after completing residency training in each field of medicine.

Recently I have received multiple questions from teachers in our community asking my advice concerning teaching in person. Some teachers are feeling pressure from parents to teach in person, even though they have stated to me that they are not comfortable to do so. Based upon my medical training,  experience in the field of public health, and all of the reading I have done concerning the COVID 19 virus, I shall not be teaching in-person violin lessons any time soon. The reason for this is that there are currently 25 families in my studio. I have no idea of the social distancing or other habits of the parents and students who would come into my home for a lesson, and all of the people with whom they might come in contact.

What I do know is that some of us may have or will come into contact with people who are carriers of the virus. I also know that my husband and I are in our late 50’s, and that puts us in a “high” risk category, based upon age alone. I also know that people of all ages can become extremely ill or die should they contract this virus. There is a possibility of having long term residual damage such as pulmonary fibrosis, a stroke, heart disease, and other very serious problems that may not yet be identified. The effects of this virus are relatively unknown to us. A vaccine is nowhere near ready to be distributed to the public at this time. Further than that, there are no definitive treatments at this time, should one contract this virus. Many things are being tried, but there is no “magic bullet” yet. Therefore, in order to keep all of us as safe as possible, and not allow the virus to spread through my studio, I shall continue to teach online. All it would take would be one mistake, and the virus could spread through our studio and beyond like wildfire. I am not willing to take that risk. Your lives are too valuable, as are ours to us. So far, I know of nobody in our studio family who has become ill, but I do have friends who have become quite ill for a very long time due to this virus. These friends were perfectly healthy prior to contracting the virus.

Everyone is progressing well,  learning with online lessons, masterclasses, and recitals, and I want that to continue. Should my husband or I become ill, everything will stop immediately. Please be patient, and try to understand that nothing about the dangers of this virus has changed, and it is wise and prudent to take as few risks as possible, given the possible consequences associated should you or your loved ones become infected. Should new information come out, I’ll continue to re-evaluate the situation. For now, we’ll remain online and learning with every session.

I hope that all of us remain as healthy as possible.