​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021

​This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used fo​r the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.​

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB)​.

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in music as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Music includes singing, playing instruments, reading and writing music, listening and moving to music, composing, conducting and performing in ensembles.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. dance, drama, media arts​) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.​

Low risk
Teaching of music, practice and participation in competitions in classrooms/controlled environments.​
Medium risk
Teaching of music, practice and participation in competitions in locations that increase exposure to excessive levels of noise or the level of risk (e.g. performances on a stage, platform, rostrum).

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures​ to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

​Advice must be provided to parents, participants and students if a fog machine is used for performances. Exposure to these chemicals may have adverse reactions (e.g. asthma sufferers). The supporting students with asthma and/or at risk of anaphylaxis at school procedure must be consulted.

Compliance with the department’s guide to managing electrical equipment in departmental schools and workplaces is required when using electrical equipment.

The infection control guideline must be complied with to manage shared musical instruments safely and hygienically.

Hearing protection for instrumental music teachers and instructors must be consulted.

The instrumental music program policy must be adhered to.



Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students' ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must inspect the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—Blue Cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must maintain overall responsibility for the activity and ensure all adult supervisors have been inducted on the contents of the CARA record prior to undertaking the activity. For the purpose of instrumental music, it is recognised that the Department of Education employs music instructors who may not be registered as teachers in Queensland. These instructors are, however, deemed to be competent to have overall responsibility for instrumental music activities.

At least one adult supervisor is required to be:

For general music:

  • a registered teacher with knowledge of teaching music and its potential hazards or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching music (or equivalent demonstrated capability).

For primary and secondary specialist music classes:

  • a registered teacher with a tertiary music education qualification (or equivalent demonstrated capability) or
  • at registered teacher with knowledge of teaching music and its potential hazards or an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching music (or equivalent demonstrated capability).

For instrumental music:

  • a registered teacher with knowledge of the current instrumental music curriculum and competence (knowledge and skills) in an instrument or instruments or
  • a music instructor (instrumental) employed by the Department of Education or
  • an adult supervisor, other than a registered teacher, with competence (knowledge and skills) in an instrument or instruments.

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken, including sufficient space, adequate lighting and ventilation to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed. This may be in a specialised facility or other suitable location. Teaching and rehearsal areas must be:

  • accessible for large instruments and equipment
  • large enough to comfortably seat students and the instructor, together with their instruments and the required number of music stands
  • immediately accessible to facilities for washing mouthpieces of instruments
  • as soundproof as possible
  • not excessively resonant (e.g. not with concrete floor and walls). Sound-absorbing drapes, carpets and coverings on seating can assist with an excessive reverberation problem.

Chairs must be of suitable design and size for student use (e.g. chairs that have straight seats and backs and allow for students’ feet to be flat on the floor).

Stage edges must be clearly visible and delineated, regardless of lighting.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment as relevant (e.g. ear plugs).

Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

The school must clearly advise the students and parents in writing that their own personal equipment is not covered under the school's insurance policy. Schools must also recommend that parents take out their own property insurance to cover the student's own equipment when taken onto school premises and music camps.

Hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Biological materials
Body fluids (e.g. saliva)

Descant recorders must not be shared

Environmental conditions
Weather, surfaces, surrounds

Performance adjustments (e.g. regarding positioning of students and chairs) to be undertaken to suit the performance locations.

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed if participating outside.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks

Outside venues must be free from debris, water, rocks and other hazards

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures


If power is required, ensure electrical or extension leads do not pose a tripping hazard, are tangle-free and connected correctly


Loud and/or continuous

Implement strategies to minimise voice strain.

Ensure the music volume is at a reasonable level for the supervisor’s instruction to be heard.

Consider the room/area where music activities are to occur and the impact that noise levels will have on the participants and others in the school.

For instrumental music instruction, activities should occur in specially designed or designated rooms where exposure to excessive noise has been managed (e.g. acoustically treated rooms). Where such rooms do not exist, the school should make every effort to ensure that suitable rooms or teaching areas are provided

Stage lighting and special effects

Ensure participants are aware of the risk associated with flashing lights (e.g. strobes) especially for people prone to epilepsy

Student considerations Control measures


Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment

Manual handling
Lifting equipment

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Ensure appropriate equipment is used to lift heavy objects or materials (e.g. use of trolleys, ramps).

Ensure students are aware of the risks associated with large, heavy instruments (e.g. the potential for upright pianos to topple over when they are moved). Refer to Hazardous and manual tasks factsheet when moving these instruments and ensure students do not operate the specialised equipment required for lifting them.

Ensure instruments are harnessed correctly (if appropriate)

Student issues
Student numbers, special needs, high risk behaviours, medical conditions

Forward-plan to ensure rehearsal workload is not increased dramatically in preparation for performances to avoid the risk of overuse injury.

Monitor participants for signs of distress (e.g. fatigue, illness, dehydration).

Reinforce the need for spatial awareness in relation to the stage edge, choir risers, working at heights and near stairs during rehearsals/performances to minimise the risk of trips and falls from heights.

Ensure that students do not sing and/or play for extended periods without breaks and are aware of the risks of doing so.

Encourage correct posture and technique at all times to minimise or avoid back problems.

Consider the use of earplugs for students involved in drumming activities​​


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Last updated 30 November 2023