Photo by Fiona Robberson
Many musicians at Juilliard are intimately familiar with the electric red banner at the practice room kiosks signaling “All practice rooms are currently signed out by other students.” Every single day (including weekends) there are significant blocks of time when there are no open practice rooms available.
Often, there are lines of three or four people waiting at each kiosk, leading to a game of reflexes, won out of luck as opposed to who got in line first. Furthermore, the kiosks seem to break almost every day, creating even longer lines, and wasting more of our limited time.
On some days, many of us spend upwards of 30 minutes waiting for a practice room. Some days, even more. And then, some of us give up in frustration and go watch Netflix.
Considering we often only have 30 minute intervals to practice between each class, and considering many of us live too far to just go home and practice between classes, this situation is detrimental to our advancement as artists. Hours, if not days, of our time at Juilliard are lost to waiting for practice rooms, and this could very well be the time that determines whether we win our dream job or not.
It also seems to illustrate a lack of respect. Juilliard’s cost of attendance is upwards of $60,000 per year, which is by no means exceptional for a private institution (#cripplingstudentloandebt). Nonetheless, many of us pay tuition with the basic assumption that we will at least have the opportunity to work on our craft.
This provokes many questions. Does Juilliard not have enough practice rooms? Does Juilliard accept a larger student body than it is able to sustain? Does Juilliard™ spend more money on its brand then it does on our education? Or is it simply a matter of facility maintenance and faulty mechanics?
Regardless of the answers, Juilliard is supposed to give us a leg up, not an obstacle to overcome. We are a valuable commodity, and we deserve to be treated as such.
- Build more practice rooms.
- Consolidate all the kiosks into one to eliminate the competition of reflexes.
- Maintain the kiosk so that there is never an empty room when a line is present.
- Accept fewer musicians.
- Practice less.
If you or a loved one can think of any better solutions, please share them in the comments.