Juilliard Open House
On Sunday August 19, 2018, I attended the first ever Open House for Juilliard's Evening Division. This may seem strange because I am already a student of the Evening Division, but this allowed me to explore some of the other Evening Division offerings. I also had a chance to speak to some of the newcomers and give them the inside scoop, and I'll share that here.
The Evening Division is larger than the daytime division - 900 students to 800 students. 85% of the daytime students have some form of scholarship. Surprisingly, while Juilliard is a top-notch conservatory, the Evening Division has a wide variety of students in terms of age and musical ability, and they offer classes that are accessible even to those with no musical training. And yes, there are advanced classes where prospective students will need to audition and speak with professors who will place them in the right class.
One attendee asked with some trepidation: are the auditions used to reject people? This is a perfectly valid question given that Juilliard is renown for establishing a culture of excellence. Surprisingly, the answer for the Evening Division is no. They would love to accept everyone who walks in the door, and if someone can't be accepted, it is likely because a particular class is on Thursday and the person said they were not available on Thursdays. How is it possible that a top notch conservatory would want to be accessible to everyone?
Evening Division students are given an outstanding education that is directly applicable to becoming a self-sufficient musician, for a surprisingly reasonable tuition. An introductory course could be within the $600 - $700 range for a semester. In return, those funds contribute to daytime scholarships. Evening Division students essentially become patrons of Juilliard who get something valuable in return. So Juilliard is trying to expand the Evening Division, and the main consideration is space. I've learned there is apparently a magical, mystical sixth floor that isn't accessible via the elevator system. No one knows what is up there but what could this provide in terms of additional classrooms and practice rooms? They've also contemplated renting out space in other venues. I asked if opening a branch, say in Jersey City, might be an option?
Should their open houses become a regular annual occurrence, reach out to Director Danielle La Senna and Assistant Director Natalie Delgado and attend one. These two amazing people hold down the fort for the Evening Division. Maybe a part of you thought you were doing the "responsible thing" in building a career as a technologist, executive, doctor, etc., while putting your childhood dreams of music on the back burner.
Don't quit your daydream. It's more accessible than you might realize.