The Conservatory that charges its students to practice

The Conservatory that charges its students to practice


norman lebrecht

April 26, 2018

We are shocked to hear that students at the Boston Conservatory have been informed that, if they wish to practice over the summer, they must pay a $325 fee in order to do so.

The students have been given three weeks’ notice of this new charge and few of them can afford it.

Boston Conservatory s presently focusing its energies on a merger with Berklee and losing sight of its students’ needs.

UPDATE: Last night, the Conservatory’s executive director Cathy Young put the new charge on hold – but just for a while. She wrote to students saying:

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the implementation of a summer practice room facility fee. In response to your feedback, Conservatory and College administration has determined to delay implementation of this policy, which means that it will not go into effect this summer 2018 for the Conservatory as originally planned. Conservatory students who wish to use practice rooms this summer may do as they have in the past. Further information about how to utilize practice rooms is forthcoming. 


  • AMetFan says:

    Oops…the administration got caught. Who’s side are they on? Certainly they don’t have the welfare of their students first in their agenda. One (one) decent-sized gift from a trustee would allow access for these students during the summer months.

    These institutions – including Juilliard and their Christmas vacation denial of dormitory housing for several of their students – need to reevaluate just why and for whom they exist. It’s not just first and foremost, it is their only reason for existence.

  • Bruce says:

    I am guessing that most music schools include some kind of building access fee among their various fees — the way universities charge all students an “activity fee” to pay for athletic programs & whatnot, whether or not they participate in those programs.

  • Hiroshi Jackson says:

    It’s always free if certain professors are in the room.

  • Recentgrad says:

    This is incredibly common, most conservatories have a summer fee to practice. Barely anyone actually stays at school all summer anyway.

    • AlsoRecentGrad says:

      Boston as a city is difficult in finding apartment space, let alone places that allow for practicing inside. The fact that students are given a few weeks to come up with a $300 fee is the difference of paying rent and groceries for some.

      What about those that have larger instruments, such as a fit a piano that won’t fit in an apartment? What about dancers that need a larger space? Policies are changing so rapidly that students (and alumns) are being forced into these without notice and are unable to prepare for these surprises. It is a slap in the face to the “consumers” that are already enrolled in the school who already pay $40k+ to be there.

  • AMetFan says:

    That wasn’t the way it was when I was an undergraduate music student or at the conservatory. The idea was to encourage practice as much as possible, not to look for every possible way to squeeze money out of students. That is what banks and credit card companies do, isn’t it? College students (in the US) already pay obscene amounts for tuition and housing.

  • MacroV says:

    I fail to see what the outrage is here. Schools cost money to run. If you read the notice, you’ll see students enrolled for the summer will have the normal access. It’s students who aren’t enrolled for summer who will have to pay. If they’re not enrolled for summer, technically they have no more right to access the facility (at no cost) than I do.