My teacher in conservatory made constant inappropriate remarks about how beautiful, interesting, and talented I was, commented constantly on my clothes, style, body, took me out for dinner and drinks all the time, and constantly made me feel as though if I did what he told me, not only would I get what I wanted in my career, but I would also get to sleep with him. You can only imagine how destructive this was to my very young self esteem, alone studying music in a different country, not knowing how things ought to be. Finally I left his class for a job opportunity on a different continent, and he was so possessive and angry, told me I’d be back in three months kissing his feet, badmouthed me to the rest of the students and even some of the faculty of the school. I would have done anything to succeed and yet I was left destroyed and humiliated by this relationship. I put in a complaint to the school about him but this was around 2005 and women’s complaints about men were taken much less seriously in those days. Obviously I’m much older and wiser now and would have spotted all the red flags about him straightaway, but when you’re a teenager you don’t know these things and probably can’t really defend yourself against inappropriate behaviour. Now every time I go into a music school I see this kind of dynamic everywhere — teachers blurring the lines between professional and personal contact, teachers touching students without consent, and men generally intimidating and disrespecting the female students. Some of these classical music teachers have what seems like a harem of women as their students, some of them so clearly strung along and manipulated by the teacher’s behaviour. This problem is an epidemic and it’s truly heartbreaking to see it still going on. Recently I had a lesson with a teacher, my first lesson in a conservatory in many years, and I was absolutely shocked at how often this teacher touched me without once asking for my consent to be touched. I don’t know what world they live in where they think they can put their hands all over grown adult women without asking a simple „is it ok if i put my hand there“. I felt there was no way to address this in the lesson without souring the atmosphere. I burst into tears on the way home, noticing the level of disrespect I’d been treated with for so many years, and not even really noticed. There are many, many more stories, those are just the first that popped into my head. I hope this problem goes away and everyone has the space to heal.