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Longy President Responds To Criticism

Longy School of Music of Bard College. (Courtesy of Longy)

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Last week ARTery published Karen Weintraub’s essay critiquing Longy School of Music’s decision to end its youth preparatory and continuing studies music lessons. Below Karen Zorn, president of the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, responds to that and other criticism. — Ed Siegel, WBUR.

___

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Since announcing our decision to close our Preparatory and Continuing Studies program as of Aug. 31, we’ve received a great deal of passionate feedback, both positive and negative. It’s gratifying to see how strongly our community feels about music education for youth. That’s why I am confident that this decision will receive wide support once it is fully understood.

Several people have worked hard to portray the decision as an epic disaster that will crush the musical dreams of children throughout greater Cambridge. They have also accused us of abandoning our commitment to music education.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In ending our Preparatory and Continuing Studies program, we are actually redoubling our commitment to music education at both a local and national level. And we are placing a special focus on providing music education for children who lack the means to pay for it.

It’s clear that many who are disappointed with our decision know Longy only through their children’s involvement in the traditional, part-time private music lessons delivered through our Preparatory and Continuing Studies program – a program which is, for the most part, available only to families who can afford it.

Karen Zorn. (Courtesy, Longy School of Music of Bard College)

Karen Zorn. (Courtesy, Longy School of Music of Bard College)

But our Conservatory programs – larger by far in scope, revenue and resources required – are actually the heart of the school and the place where we are fulfilling the school’s mission to “prepare musicians to make a difference in the world.” By refocusing our limited resources on this critical mission, we feel we can have a much greater impact on the cause of music education locally and nationally.

We will have a positive impact nationally by giving the next generation of musicians and teachers the tools to use music as a powerful force for social change. Rather than focusing on training students to be elite musicians and teachers in a world with a dwindling number of jobs for these skills, we are training students both to be excellent musicians and to use their skills to make positive change in any number of ways. The more conservatory students we train, the greater the number of students they can reach in their own communities, particularly children in underserved communities who might never otherwise be able to experience music instruction.

And by giving our students teaching experiences in the greater Boston community, we are already having a positive impact locally. Longy students and faculty are involved in a wide array of teaching assistant positions, practicums, experiential education placements, and performances throughout the community. During this academic year, for example, our conservatory students will present more than 200 free concerts, and provide lessons at 20 teaching sites in greater Boston – including schools, hospitals, prisons, and senior centers. In addition, Longy has partnered with five local K-8 schools, providing in-depth collaboration between students and schools on the planning, implementation, and assessment of lessons.

The more conservatory students we train, the greater the number of students they can reach in their own communities, particularly children in underserved communities who might never otherwise be able to experience music instruction.
– Karen Zorn

Clearly, there are two passionate perspectives at play in this discussion. For better or worse, the loudest voices in the past two weeks have come from well-intentioned parents who likely have the means to provide their children with access to top shelf, private music lessons delivered in Longy’s space. The 215 full-time students enrolled in our tuition-based, conservatory degree programs reacted much differently to the announcement. For years, aspiring conservatory musicians at Longy have been on the losing end of an intense competition for limited practice and instruction space within our two-building campus. We are now able to meet their needs and create space for a steadily growing conservatory student body.

While we appreciate and understand the emotions of those who want to keep the Preparatory and Continuing Studies program, it is important to address a number of myths that have sprung up as a result:

  • The decision to end Preparatory and Continuing Studies has nothing to do with finances. Longy will, in fact, sacrifice some revenue in the short term. The program accounts for about a quarter of the school’s overall net revenue, yet occupies almost half of our reserved space.
  • The vast majority of Preparatory and Continuing Studies students do not receive any scholarship aid. This is an expensive program for which we receive little philanthropic support; almost all of our students pay for private lessons at-cost, and we are confident that these students will be able to continue lessons and classes with instructors – in many cases, their current instructors – in alternate settings.
  • This decision has nothing to do with our merger with Bard College in 2012. In fact, the need for more practice and teaching space for our conservatory program pre-dates Bard by many years.

We are proud of the quality of the experience offered by the Preparatory and Continuing Studies program, and truly appreciate the hard work of its faculty. However, the time has come for us to move music education beyond Harvard Square and into the community in a way that best reflects Longy’s forward-thinking vision of music as a force for social change.

Karen Zorn is president of the Longy School of Music of Bard College.

Comments

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  • http://www.facebook.com/alvin.wen.33 Alvin Wen

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Cancelling community music programs supports community music.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alvin.wen.33 Alvin Wen

    “You guys have it all wrong. We really don’t give much financial aid to the community.”

  • Lame

    So speaks the “invisible” president. Has anybody seen her at Longy lately? She only appears when she needs to fire a bunch of hard working people.

  • JBW

    As a former conservatory student at Longy, I can attest to the fact that this was no easy decision and that it was the right one. President Zorn (who is hardly an ‘invisible’ president) rightly points out that community programs had expanded so that they took up an inordinate amount of facility space and resources, and those of us in the Conservatory program (which has always been Longy’s primary focus) were left extremely frustrated. Most parents and children in the community programs seemed to have no idea that they shared space with a serious conservatory and proved very inconsiderate to those who were part of it.

    Regarding their work in the community, I am somewhat surprised that President Zorn missed an opportunity to draw attention to Longy’s newly minted association with El Sistema and the LA Philharmonic. This is where Longy is really expanding their mission and reaching those who need these programs the most. As Zorn notes, most of those involved in Longy’s current community prorgams are very affluent and will have little difficulty continuing their studies elsewhere; the Sistema program, on the other hand, is designed to reach those who otherwise would have no access to musical training.

    • Alexandra Moellmann

      If someone has been telling you that the Conservatory “has always been Longy’s primary focus”, that person has not been telling you the truth. I think this has been made abundantly clear by many people who have decades-long associations with the school. I suspect that the LA Philharmonic and the El Sistema people are not super-pleased to be associated with the elimination of a community music program. That may be why she didn’t invoke those names.

    • Alexander Morollo

      As a current conservatory student, I can agree with everything JBW said. Ms. Moellmann, just because people exist who have studied at Longy in the prep division for over 10 years, does not mean that the overall focus of the school has been the prep department. I used to be a prep student myself for several years, I took lessons and chamber music at the school. The same room I had chamber coachings in was the same room where I would later sit as an undergraduate years later for theory and solfege in the conservatory. I understand every aspect of the prep program just as your children do, and I see it as much of a musical home as your children do, and I also see Longy through the lens of a conservatory student (which yes, has been the schools primary focus), and with both of these in mind and heart, I can tell you that this change, while sad, was absolutely necessary. Simply opening the other building on Sunday is nowhere near enough, and renting space in other areas in Harvard Square (one of the most expensive areas in the country) as suggested, is impractical.

      I hope that the Community programs members and parents will mobilize as strongly to find a workable solution for the students as they have worked to tarnish the reputation of the conservatory, her administration, and her students as much as they have thus far in response to this decision.

    • Alexandra Moellmann

      Alexander – I want to thank you for your thoughtful reply. This is the kind of dialogue many of us would like to be having, not in the comments section of an internet blog, but face to face as reasonable thinking beings. If it seems that the Community programs’ members and parents are “mobilizing strongly” to tarnish the reputation of the leadership of the school, it is only because that leadership has left us no other choice. This decision came with absolutely no warning, no discussion with the faculty, no discussion with the parents, no discussion with Longy’s adult students many of who have been studying at Longy for far longer than the 10 years you mention in your comment above, no discussion with the musical community at large, no discussion with the city of Cambridge. How President Zorn can even think of claiming that an exhaustive search for an alternative solution was made without having tapped into the enormous resources at her disposal is beyond me.

      But back to your claim that the conservatory is Longy’s primary focus. I beg you to recognize that the lens you are seeing the school through is one that has existed only for a very short period of time. Karen Zorn claims that the then board of trustees decided in 2009 that the school’s mission “would be led by the conservatory”. I can find no evidence that before that anyone was claiming that the conservatory was Longy’s primary focus. (Even since then, the mission and vision statements published by the school remain the same.) That’s 4 years of 98 years of history. We’re not talking about preparatory students who may have grown up at Longy and are now upset at being “kicked out of the house” prematurely. We’re talking about an institution that has served the community of Cambridge surrounding areas for decades. We’re talking about facilities that were donated to a community music school that are now being entirely diverted from their intended purpose. We’re talking about a faculty that has served that community, many of them also for decades, with continued dedication despite what I now understand to have been not just horrible working conditions during at least the last 4 years, but actionably horrible working conditions for the last four years.

      Just to be clear, I am in no way impugning the laudable goal of teaching outside of the standard conservatory box. The MAT program with El Sistema in LA (keep in mind, this is in LA! No space required for this program on the Cambridge campus!), the experiential education program – they both sound absolutely fabulous to me. There is nothing I would like better than if all the districts in Massachusetts, the country, the world! would have intense after school programs that provide both the social benefits that are so sorely needed in many communities AND introduce masses of children to the art that I love. But to couch the destruction of a community resource built by the hard work of generations behind this false choice is deplorable.

      Alexander, I beg of you to think back to your days in preparatory at Longy and to recognize that the kind of programs you benefited from during those years, the kind that prepared you to be the conservatory student you are today!, those are the kinds of programs that are in desperately short supply. No one who can legitimately call herself an advocate for music education would erase an institution providing those services off the map. There are plenty of large conservatories that will take your money and give you a degree in music. The case has not been made that creating yet another one is worth the destruction of a thriving community music school.

    • Alexandra Moellmann

      typos are all my own! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ingrid.bock Ingrid Bock

    This person is trying to persuade us to say that black is white, and like it. No! Shame on you, Karen Zorn. Go do your spinning somewhere else. The sincere efforts by the children, community members, and instructors to learn and teach music at Longy deserve equal sincerity from its president. And JBW, I hope you will learn to think for yourself, or you’ll struggle to find your place in this world, ‘serious conservatory’, training or not. If you get, ‘extremely frustrated’, by the, ‘very inconsiderate’, use of, ‘an inordinate amount of faculty space and resources’, taken up by children and their teachers who are working on learning the art of music, I hope you’ll stay far away from the pedagogical side of the music business. I certainly wouldn’t want someone with that attitude teaching my children, and I wouldn’t refer a student to him or her. I’ve been teaching music since I was 20, and I’m frankly appalled at what you wrote below.

  • Time to go

    An Open Letter to Karen Zorn and Wayman Chin:

    It’s time for you to go. The vote is in. There is no remaining confidence in you — not from the faculty, not from the students and not from the entire community of Longy alumni, parents, and neighbors. With your latest actions you have squandered every little bit of confidence that was left. It’s time for you to go.

    It began as a hopeful, if somewhat risky, experiment by the Longy Board in 2007. They hired you, Karen, a recently terminated middle manager from Berklee School of Music, to be the new President of Longy. Many faculty were skeptical, given your lack of experience, but some decided to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Soon after you were hired, you appointed a new Dean, Wayman Chin, with no search, no faculty input, and despite the fact that he had no experience of any kind related to academic management at any institution of higher education. Many more faculty were skeptical of this decision, but some continued to give you and Wayman the benefit of the doubt and support you both.

    At this point, Wayman Chin simultaneously held the titles of Academic Dean, Chair of Chamber Music, and Artistic Advisor to the President. Many in the Longy community (faculty, students, and parents) felt that the Conservatory was, in essence, being run by one person who oversaw every aspect of students’ lives and who was involved in every important decision affecting students’ time at Longy, starting with their scholarships, through to their chamber music assignments, and even their grades. Many faculty felt and feel that this concentration of so much power in one person is inappropriate at an institute of higher education. You lost some confidence here.

    Soon after Wayman Chin became Dean, he and you, began targeting faculty members, attacking their reputations and firing them. The School lost many great people in the process. You lost so much respect from the faculty at this point that the faculty decided as a group to go through the lengthy and arduous process of forming a union, collectively spending thousands of hours of volunteer time to do so.

    You fought against this, published numerous falsehoods, and made negative statements about the union, but you lost again. Despite all your efforts, the faculty voted to unionize with an overwhelming majority. You weren’t listening, once again. You lost more confidence here.

    Once the faculty unionized, you continued to make changes without consulting the Union, and as a result, the NLRB had to investigate you and bring one of the largest federal cases against any School in the country. The Union published numerous issues of their newsletter with headlines such as “Longy walks out of negotiating session.” Only when confronted by a judge, did you finally settle with the faculty union and agree to a contract.

    The School spent more than $500,000 in settlements instead of simply reinstating faculty that you terminated, which would have cost the School nothing. In the process of fighting the faculty union, the School spent $800,000 on lawyers (according to your publicly filed IRS forms). That was $1.3 million of the School’s money that you squandered on this process, Karen. I don’t think parents, students and other donors to the School were happy about you spending their money this way. You could have used this money instead on new building for Longy, if space really was an issue, Karen, but you didn’t. You lost lots more confidence here.

    At this point, the faculty had very little confidence in you, but you agreed to a contract, so they hoped you would live up to your responsibilities in the contract. Soon after the signing, however, you and your administration went off course, and the Union had to go back to the NLRB with new charges again starting this academic year. The NLRB has been investigating those charges ever since, and you are well aware that the NLRB decisions are coming soon.

    So now at the beginning of March 2013, you suddenly announce the closing of Community Programs due to space constraints (btw, you are the one who told the faculty a few years ago that there was plenty of space). Everyone sees through that misrepresentation about space constraints. You know it’s not true, the students know it’s not true, the faculty knows it’s not true, the entire community knows it’s not true, the alumni know it’s not true, the world of music knows it’s not true. In fact, since you determined and announced that the School did have enough space to meet its need, there has been no continuing discussion, task force, committee or overall planning of any kind at the School regarding space issues. You took it off the table four years ago, remember?

    Now, even when sincere and earnest parents write to your office about their concerns over your bad decision to close Community Programs, you respond with a form letter written and signed by a new communications person (you don’t even respond yourself — shame on you!) and in that letter, you tell these long-time supporters of Longy that they are wrong, and their perceptions are wrong, and that you will set them straight. One line states, “I want to correct misperceptions about how this decision was communicated.” This is no way to talk to parents, students, faculty or any of us in the Longy community.

    Karen, there are no misperceptions about how the decision was communicated. The parents know exactly what was communicated to them and how it was communicated. The faculty know exactly what was communicated to them and how it was communicated. The students know exactly what was communicated to them and how it was communicated. You don’t need to lecture any of us. The parents, faculty, students and community at large is not wrong. You are wrong.

    The last time you fired a large group of faculty members in March of 2010, you held a meeting with faculty and told them that you only wanted people at Longy who were “on the bus” with you, implying to all that anyone not on the bus with you would be figuratively “thrown under the bus.” Clearly, you are attempting to do that again.

    But this time, nobody is with you, Karen. There is no confidence left.

    While some of us never thought you were the right person for the job, you did have the confidence of many at first. You have know squandered every last bit of that confidence. This is a vote of no confidence, and it is unanimous. It’s time for you and Wayman Chin to go.

    Please step down gracefully and rapidly, and make it easier on the entire community.

    • AMEN

      And President Zorn has the gall to say in the Boston Globe today, “The message is that I think our own local community doesn’t actually know Longy.” Oh, really?

      In fact we know Longy very well, and we fondly remember what it used to be like before Zorn stepped in. President Zorn is the one who does not ‘actually know Longy,’ and what is worse she apparently has not learned from any of her mistakes. Instead it’s just business as usual: deeper entrenchment and throwing good money after bad to hire new lawyers and PR spokesmen – all in the name of a vision with a capital “V” (whatever that is). What a waste.

  • mara ellsworth

    Karen,

    Did you consider keeping your second building open on Sundays?

    Did you try contacting local private schools for additional space?

    We can help find solutions to your space problem.

    You don’t destroy a beloved,vibrant, thriving community in order to create a new one.

    Since you have been working on this for years, give us a year to save our children and their teachers..

    Perhaps Leon Botstein, president of Bard College (Longy School of Music OF BARD COLLEGE)
    can step up to the plate and offer a more thoughtful and respectful relationship with the community.

    Otherwise,he will be stepping into your Public Relations landmine.

    • LongyConservatoryStudent

      As a masters student at the school, keeping the second building open would not have remedied the issue. CP was in Longy at 3 PM during weekdays, and made finding practice space for undergraduates and graduate students nearly impossible. It is very difficult to continue professional studies at this level in our careers when we’re being kicked out of practice space on a daily basis.

      I understand the frustrations you and everyone else has. But, we want to help build music in our communities and be effective teaching artists. We cannot do this when we don’t have the space to enrich and develop our talents as well. By cultivating the conservatory, I guarantee the students will become closer, and there will be a solution brought about that will bring an equal impact to the community that CP did. We as students value so much the interaction with the community, and the ability to teach your children and members of the community. There will be a way we can do this in the future, just under different, perhaps even student run programming. Other colleges do the same thing with non-profits across the metro Boston area, and I don’t see why Longy can’t do something similar with its own community and the greater Boston community.

  • DisappointedinLongy

    I saw my financial aid drop significantly after she became president. I had to cut down on the classes that I took because of it. Now I understand why. Thanks Karen. Originally, 13 years ago, Longy made it possible for me to even begin studying music, giving my family full financial aid. Children in the area will never get to find their musical passion as a result of this decision, and moreover, as a result of Karen Zorn.

  • Alice Gebura

    The statement “the Conservatory program has always been Longy’s primary focus” is absolutely inaccurate. Longy has always been a community focused music school and did not become a “degree granting conservatory” until former president (1985-2001) Victor Rosenbaum instituted a Master’s degree in performance. He explained to me when we were having lunch once that there was a place for a small Master’s program that would allow students to study performance with some of the celebrated faculty at Longy. It was not intended to compete with the full-fledged conservatories in the area. Longy has never been accredited to grant a Bachelor of Music degree or any other Bachelor degree. Only under Zorn has a “degree granting” conservatory program “always” been the primary focus.

    I take issue with Zorn’s claim that a nationally focused mission supersedes serving the local community. Her fixation on external partnerships has resulted in abandoning the local community and 900 students, most of whom are children. Her attempt to gin up class warfare is a tired out trick of politics that very few will buy anymore (“we are placing a special focus on providing music education for children who lack the means to pay for it”). Zorn and the Longy board have twisted and distorted the meaning of community and visited a travesty upon community music. The hypocrisy is stunning.

  • http://twitter.com/martinburcharth Martin Burcharth

    It is a classic divide-and-rule tactic when you feel beleaguered to invent a story about poor vs rich.

    This is obviously not what is at stake here. You have about 1.000 people (plus families) devoted to music – a unique asset in Cambridge and Boston – who are absolutely not in the way of Longy’s worthy goal of introducing El Sistema to kids from families of lesser means. Let the conservatory students go out to the schools and teach and play for the kids; that’s great. They are already doing it.

    But why, Karen Zorn, are El Sistema and the prep and continuing program mutually exclusive? You predict Longy will lose 1/4 of its revenue stream in dispensing with the community program; that does not make economic sense if you need more income in order to expand El Sistema.

    If you from the start in the letters to the community and teachers had served up some rational and sensible explanation for getting rid of a 90 year old program certainly most of us would have been terribly upset, but at this point nobody understands what are the underlying reasons for this decision.

    I do think you would do yourself and everybody else a favor stopping writing emails and letters with all kinds of explanations whose emphasis seem to change every time and instead organize a meeting with a select group of people from the protest movement you have spurred. I think we will be all ears. I also think you should try and listen to us.

    You have made a decision which in most peoples’ view (1.200 signatories on the petition) has a tremendously negative impact on music education in a community of several hundred thousand inhabitants. We all know how almost impossible it is as a leader to meet and start a dialogue with your critics and detractors, but a leader is only if leader if she is capable of standing up for what she believes in. This is what you need to do now. You need to give us a rational explanation.

    Nobody is interested in conflict and name calling. People want dialogue. If there are problems that need to be addressed and solved at Longy I believe we are all willing to think hard and help out. There are a lot of very smart people with lots of expertise and resources who would be willing to step up in order to save the community program at Longy. You should have reached out earlier, but it is never too late. So why not open up and talk with the various parties. I am confident that meeting them and starting a dialogue will end up strengthening Longy in the long term.

  • Ewa Lajer Burcharth, Cambridge

    has everyone noticed that Karen Zorn’s “explanation” of her decision makes no sense? on the one hand, she states the school is not interested in training students to be the elite musicians, on the other, she is recasting the mission of the school to do precisely that! She speaks of the prospects of sending her elite musicians to serve the unspecified “community” and yet she cuts longy off the real, existing community that the school has already had. community is not some abstraction one can deal with by importing el sistema from venezuela. community is something one painstakingly develops over long time. this is what longy has accomplished: it created a fantastic, vibrant musical community in cambridge, a community of professionals, amateurs and aspiring musicians for whom longy has been a training ground and a space of shared musical experience. it took years to build it up–90 years, to be precise. but karen zorn has apparently decided to wipe it out, just like that. the question is why? in the name of some imaginary better community ? it would be interesting to hear some real reasons. the explanations offered thus far do not add up. and her rhetoric, dismissing the community as a bunch or rich people who have prevented longy from performing its “real” community service, is not only offensive but ridiculous.

    the good news is that zorn’s disastrous decision has not only created an uproar but mobilized so many people to fight against it. the longy community will not give up!

  • The Jig is Up

    Karen Zorn has been ignoring the faculty of Longy since the day she walked in the door. She ignored the faculty so much that the Longy Faculty Committee figuratively through their hands up in the air in disgust and resignation. Shortly after that the faculty formed a Union to try and engage the administration.

    She summed up her disregard for the faculty nicely in her March 2010 meeting where she announced the illegal “realignment” terminating 20% of the faculty. She said she only wanted to deal with people who were “on the bus”, i.e. in complete agreement with everything that she thinks. The NLRB came down on the School like a ton of bricks and under Zorn’s “leadership”, they spent $1.3 million or more fighting and settling with all the faculty members that they had wronged.

    She also ignores and censors the students. Longy administration runs a censorship agency for the Student Council! At least one Student Council president resigned out of disgust over Zorn’s disregard for student concerns and censorship.

    Now Zorn has simply extended her “zone of ignoral” beyond the doors of Longy. She is now ignoring the faculty, the students, and the entire community at large.

    She loves to lecture and tell people they don’t understand, and they are misinformed. She regular changes her story 180 degrees, and she doesn’t bat an eyelash while stringing together one lie after the next.

    But the cat is now out of the bag, the jig is up, you and your lies, Karen, have been exposed to the world.

    Your game is a thinly veiled attempt at destroying the faculty union at Longy. Everybody knows it. Why don’t you admit it and save yourself the public humiliation, hassle, and the millions of dollars of Bard’s money that you plan to waste?

    • AMEN

      How can someone who has sown nothing but misery since her arrival at Longy hope to speak with any authority on positive change? $1.3 million squandered, and counting… Think of how many students could join the Preparatory Program from lower-income households – a kind of El Sistema-Longy Prep partnership – with that money. Zorn’s empty rhetoric notwithstanding, this would truly constitute a “forward-thinking vision of music as a force for social change.”

  • LongyConservatoryStudent

    I personally don’t like seeing these discussions being played out so viscerally online. Since I am a masters student at the school, I strongly propose that there is a town hall meeting about the issues at hand.

    This is a complex issue no matter how you cut it. For me, this move by the school is huge in my book, and comes at a critical time in my artistic development. I’ve been studying music since I was a child, and took advantage of many similar programs like the ones Longy provided in my hometown. With that said though, when a lot of friction comes between programs, something must give way.

    I do not think that this is the “death” of Community Programs. It is the death of the one sanctioned and run by the school. Have any of you given any thought as to what the conservatory students may want to do in response to this? Many of the students want to continue teaching community members or your children. That interaction was invaluable to us as developing artists and teaching artists. There are many ways we can still execute this, but we need time to develop it. Other schools and universities have student run community programs. Perhaps Longy is closing one era, and allowing a new one to begin – an era where they are a fully functioning higher education institution that, in the long run, will be able to do even greater things for the community because of this step?

    The conservatory students will be able to foster new ideas and programs that can reach the immediate and greater Boston communities due to this decision. But, I would much rather see this discussion and exchange of ideas played out in real life, rather than people boiling in emotion on the internet.

    • Alexandra Moellmann

      I completely agree with you that online is not the appropriate place for this discussion to be taking place. But, as I pointed out at the first opportunity I had to speak to any member of the Longy administration face-to-face about this issue – the Cambridge City Council University Relations Sub-Committee meeting this past Wednesday: thank you, Councilor Reeves for giving us this forum! – and as I mentioned in my earlier comment on this thread, the Longy administration gave us no other choice. Until the leadership style of the school changes to one that includes transparency and collaboration, we will be forced to pursue any avenues open to us to state our case. “Great leaders must be great listeners.” “Prize collaboration and creativity.” “‘How can I help you achieve your dreams?’” I truly wish the Longy leadership had read its own playbook before embroiling the community in this mess.

    • LongyConservatoryStudent

      I also do hope that all of the angry parents out there realize the following: the conservatory students are not being solely trained to teach your children. Our primary goal is to be professional performers. With that goal though comes the responsibility of being active teaching artists in our community. One cannot solely depend on performing as our primary income. We realize that teaching is a necessity, but at the same time this is not the primary focus of our studies as conservatory students.

      That being said, I know that there are plenty of conservatory students who would be more than happy to take on private students to further develop their pedagogical abilities, foster new mentor relationships, and make ourselves and the people we come in contact with better musicians. This is critically important to the survival of our art and this symbiotic style of learning.

    • Alexandra Moellmann

      Thank you for offering your services :-) And I wish you all the best in both your performing and teaching career. As a former conservatory student myself, I know full well that 99% of musicians whose “primary goal is to be [a] professional [performer]” will also end up teaching for a significant portion of both earned income and artistic fulfillment. I hope very much that during your career you never have to work with an administration that values what you, as a performing and teaching professional, have to offer in knowledge, wisdom and experience as little as it seems the Longy administration has valued what its faculty has to offer.

    • ConservatoryUG

      I wholeheartedly agree. We cannot become artists without practice, performance, and pedagogy. But first there must be room to practice.

  • ConservatoryUG

    Originally, I had an angry response to these comments; rebuttals to fallacies and retorts to those trying to tarnish the image of a school that has already done enough to do so on its own. Longy, is not perfect; its administration, is not perfect. However that is no excuse to spew angry words and protests against the school or the students.

    By allowing us (the students) to use this space we pay so dearly for – through loans, jobs, teaching music in the community, and through other means – will create a new era of teachers. But first, we must procure a certain level of artistry that can only be obtained through means of rigorous practice.

    I am sorry for the loss of your program, but I believe it is to the benefit of your children’s instructors. No longer is a cut of their profit for Longy, no longer will there be animosity between practice-hungry conservatory students and accomplished teachers. No more distractions from passerby’s.

    It’s time for a clean slate at the Longy School of Music, time for healing and growth for *all* students.

    Why we Teach Music:
    Not because we expect you to major in music;
    Not because we expect you to sing all your life;
    Not so you can relax, not so you can have fun;

    But so you will be…human. So you will recognize beauty. So you will be sensitive. So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world.
    So you will have something to cling to. So you will have more love, compassion, gentleness, good–in short, more life!

    Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?

    ~ Source unknown

  • Guest

    The cream used to rise to the top. Now the fish rots from the head down.

  • disqus_fw2Bu1dEsd

    The cream used to rise to the top. Now the fish rots from the head down.