• Zach Finkelstein

Guildhall Moves Online, Will Charge Artists Same Tuition for Performance Degree with No Performances

In a March 30th email sent to faculty and students, London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama has called off all face-to-face instruction and all performances, including masterclasses, recitals, and operas, for the entire summer term, from April through July.


In effect, musicians will be training for a performance career without any performing. As one student told MiddleclassArtist, "I have classmates who literally cannot practice because they do not have access to a piano. Opera students will not be singing in operas. Conductors will not be conducting ensembles. Accompanist students will have no one to accompany."


The Guildhall admissions website still describes the Guildhall Artist Masters Degree as follows:


"As part of the Guildhall Artist Masters, there are great opportunities for professional exposure...Your final recitals will be assessed by leading experts. You will work with internationally-renowned conductors and artists. And you will perform in some of the country’s finest venues."


Despite the fact that students will not be performing or, in some cases, even practicing, Guildhall will ask "self-funded" students to pay the same tuition and fees for the Summer term with graduation delayed to 2021.


The current costs for a Master's Degree in Opera Performance at Guildhall are £11,250/$13,973 USD a year for EU residents and £25,570/$31,780 USD for non-EU residents.

Teachers will be required to prepare 12 weeks of "remote delivery" of their courses.


The email sent out from Lynne Williams to staff and students is published in full below:

At least one student voiced disbelief and anger at the decision to move all performance courses online:


"It's a preposterous way to teach performance, especially at an institution where the standards are as high as Guildhall. Studying music is social, and it is impossible to teach many of the necessary skills through remote instruction."


The perception among at least one student is that not only are students not getting value for money, but the communications from Guildhall are just a ploy to stay afloat at the cost of students' education:


"What is most galling to me is the dishonesty in the email--this charade that they're figuring out ways to provide instruction, so they still deserve the full fees. But they don't. They're preserving their budget by more or less extorting money from students, many of whom are extraordinarily vulnerable financially even without a pandemic."


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