Getting a music degree from a name brand conservatory or school of music is mind-numbingly expensive. Investing in this type of career carries more risk now than I can remember and given the amount of debt students absorb chasing those degrees, it wasn’t unusual to see them do the comparative math and opt to take a year off over the pandemic.
Now that things are starting to get back up and running, students are feeling the pinch more than ever and some of them are starting to organize against tuition hikes.
One such effort at The Juilliard School in New York is gaining momentum thanks to a combination of looks very much like 70’s era labor tenacity bolstered by a growing amount of alumni and faculty support (h/t Slippedisc).
They maintain a presence at a few social media outlets, the primary of which appears to be Instagram. Calling themselves Socialist Penguins (tuxedoes, get it?), the students are doing a fine job at getting their message out. Compared to the way most orchestra musicians approach labor disputes, they certainly demonstrate a refined ability to crafting a tight PR message.
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The tuition increase in question is a four percent jump from the previous year that puts the institution over the $50k/year threshold and the students do an excellent job at showing exactly what they can accomplish with that money.
I’m particularly fond of what they turned up after doing a deep dive into the school’s IRS 990 filing.
While they have scheduled a series of protest actions that include students doing the thing they are going to school for, I don’t believe they have broken into a cover of Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It…yet. 🤞