‘We were left in the dark’: Music teacher says staff found out about McGill music school closure on Facebook


After more than a century of serving the Montreal music community, the McGill Conservatory of Music is closing its doors — a decision one stunned staffer says she found out about on Facebook.

The McGill Conservatory of Music announced on Monday that operations will cease at the end of the summer. The Conservatory is a community music school, meaning its students range in age from preschool through adulthood. Enrolment has fluctuated in recent years, but was hit particularly hard by the pandemic: the Conservatory cited low enrolment, challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and insufficient space as key factors in the “extremely difficult decision.”

“The conclusions are sobering, yet unavoidable,” said the announcement.

Former Conservatory piano and chamber music teacher Linda Brady, “involved deeply” with the Conservatory since 1990, said the announcement was a shock to the McGill Conservatory community. Brady found out about the closure on Facebook, which McGill appears to have posted at 5:21 p.m. on Monday — she told the Star she missed an email from Conservatory higher-ups earlier in the day informing staff of the imminent closure because she was in the middle of conducting music exams with students at McGill during the time the email was sent.

In a statement to the Star, a McGill University spokesperson said staff and instructors were informed before the announcement was made public.

But Brady says the amount of time was inadequate prior to the school’s public announcement that a closure was imminent.

Brady shared a copy of the email faculty received, followed by an additional message from higher-ups expressing sadness about the closure, with the Star. The email Brady received appeared to have been sent by McGill at 12:48 p.m. on Monday, less than five hours prior to the school’s public Facebook post later that day.

“There was absolutely no (prior) indication of a possible shutdown,” said Brady in an interview with the Star.

“Less than a week ago, there were meetings reassuring us that we would continue. We were aware of challenges coming out of the pandemic, but we’d managed the pandemic well.”

Brady says faculty were told “in vague terms” that issues with adequate space are to blame, but there has been no specific explanation for the closure.

Brady felt blindsided when she saw the notice of closure online.

“I was examining students in-person, and on my break I decided to have a little scroll through Facebook. And there it was: I was out of work,” said Brady. “It was shocking.”

“We’ve served a huge community — it’s a community school. Yes there are space problems, but there was no compromise,” said Brady.

“We were left in the dark.”


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