Music Department

Prospective Students

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When applying to MIT, do musicians need to apply or audition for the music program?
  2. Should all prospective student musicians send a music supplement to admissions?
  3. Do you have to be a Music Major to take music subjects or to join the ensembles?
  4. Are the ensembles competitive?
  5. How do I audition and when?
  6. Are the ensembles available for credit?
  7. What are the ensemble rehearsal schedules?
  8. How many concerts do the ensembles perform?
  9. Is it possible to take private lessons?
  10. What instruments, storage and practice facilities are available?
  11. If I have further questions, whom do I contact?

1. When applying to MIT, do musicians need to apply or audition for the music program?

No. You only apply for admission to MIT. Once admitted all MIT students are welcome to take classes and audition for membership in the performance ensembles.


2. Should all prospective student musicians send a music supplement to admissions?

No. Only the most advanced performers who are interested in continuing their music while at MIT, whether for credit or not, should send in an electronic music supplement for assessment by the music faculty. Only the top-rated classical, jazz, world music and composition supplements are considered in the admissions process. Supplements provide the admissions committee additional evidence of a student's achievements. However, a music supplement without an 'exceptional' rating, has no impact on an applicant's chances of admissions to MIT.


3. Do you have to be a Music Major to take music subjects or to join the ensembles?

No. You don't have to major or minor in music to take classes or participate in performance ensembles. The majority of our students are not music majors. There are many performers who choose to take music to fulfill their Humanities Concentration, or as a Music Minor or Major. But there are no pre-requisites for membership in our ensembles other than an audition. Ensembles are open to all MIT students, including graduate students.


4. Are the ensembles competitive?

While the faculty will make every effort to include as many students as possible, they try to select the strongest singers and instrumentalists that audition. Incoming students tend to have had strong musical experiences in high school, and in many cases, private instruction. However, all students with a serious interest in music performance should audition to find out if there are any opportunities available for them in a given ensemble for the upcoming semester.


5. How do I audition and when?

All audition information and requirements are posted in the Performance section of this site. Most auditions are by appointment. The basic requirement for instrumentalists is to perform one or two short pieces that best demonstrate musical and technical ability. You may also be asked to sight-read and play scales. For new students, auditions start at the end of August and continue during the first week of classes. Most auditions are by appointment but some take place at the first scheduled class meeting of the group.


6. Are the ensembles available for credit?

Yes. MIT Music Section ensembles are co-curricular, which means that the student may register for subject credit or not. Rehearsal attendance and performance expectations are the same whether you are participating in an ensemble for credit or not.


7. What are the ensemble rehearsal schedules?

Chamber Chorus, T/Th, 9:30-11am
Concert Choir, T/Th, 7-9:30pm
Festival Jazz Ensemble (FJE), T/Th, 5-7pm
Chamber Music Society, One hour per week by appointment
Symphony Orchestra (MITSO), T/Th, 7:30-10pm
Wind Ensemble (MITWE), M/W, 7:30-10pm
Rambax (African Drumming Ensemble), T, 7-9:30pm
Gamelan Galak Tika (Balinese Gamelan), M/W, 7:30-9:30 pm


8. How many concerts do the ensembles perform?

MITSO, FJE and MITWE usually perform twice per semester, Chamber Chorus, Concert Choir, Rambax, Gamelan Galak Tika and the Chamber Music Society ensembles usually perform one concert per semester.


9. Is it possible to take private lessons?

Yes, via the Emerson program you may audition for a scholarship to study with some of the finest teachers in the Boston area. The deadline for application is August 15. For Emerson program application details, email us at mta-request@mit.edu.


10. What instruments, storage and practice facilities are available?

Instruments: We strongly encourage students to bring their own instruments to MIT. However, a small collection of MIT-owned wind, brass, percussion and string basses is available for rent to students in our performing ensembles.

Instrument lockers: Lockers are only available on a first-come, first-served basis to students in our music performance ensembles. The instruments and lockers are signed-out by the Concerts Office. To schedule and appointment, call (617) 253-2826, email mta-request@mit.edu or stop by the Concerts Office, 4-243.

Practice rooms: There is a suite of eight individual practice rooms on the second floor of Building 4. They are available on a 24-hour basis to all students participating in music performance subjects, as well as to music majors. In addition, there are six music classrooms on the first and third floors of Building 4. Piano scholarship students and students in Chamber Music Society are granted access to these rooms for practice, when not in use for classes. All of the classrooms have grand pianos; one classroom also has a harpsichord. For access, go to the Music Office, Rm. 4-246.


11. If I have further questions, whom do I contact?

The Music and Theater Arts Office staff is here to help, call us at 617-253-3210; 617-253-2826, Email: mta-request@mit.edu, or stop by our offices, MIT Rm. 4-243 & Rm. 4-246.


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When I first came to MIT, I was surprised to find many musical ensembles of conservatory caliber at a predominantly technical school.”

Thomas Coffee ’05