Music at RIT

COVID-19 impact on performing arts.

The show must go on, perhaps even virtually!
Learn more about our plans related to COVID-19

Better Living Through Music

For majors and non-majors alike, there are countless ways to study and enjoy music. At RIT, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue whatever ways interest you the most. Study subjects like music theory, composing for video games, or music history. Declare a music and technology minor to learn about audio engineering. Join an RIT ensemble where you can practice and perform for the campus community. Or, customize your education to align with your interests by combining subjects.

Whatever you decide, you’ll have access to world-class faculty and instructors who share your passion for music and will help you grow in your skills and knowledge of the craft.

Music Minors and Immersions

As part of their bachelor’s degree requirements, RIT students must complete an immersion—a concentration of three courses in a particular area. Undergraduate students also have the option of completing a minor, which can complement their major or enable them to pursue an area of personal interest.

Music Performance Minor
Music and Technology Minor
Music Immersion

Courses

At RIT you won’t just study music, you’ll live it. The courses you take will acknowledge the past, explore the contemporary, and focus on the future. Learn theory and put it into practice and pursue the endless possibilities created by the use and influence of technology.

Explore music courses

Private Lessons

An instructor playing the cello along with a student during a private lesson.

Students can receive private, one-on-one instrumental or voice lessons and participate in studio performance opportunities. Please note that most lessons are offered to support students participating in approved RIT music ensembles and therefore priority is given to ensemble members on a first come, first served basis. However, harmonica, guitar and piano lessons are open to all RIT students. Interested students should contact performingarts@rit.edu with any questions regarding private music instruction.

RIT offers private music instruction for the following instruments:

  • Piano (private or group)
  • Guitar
  • Strings
  • Cello
  • Harmonica
  • Percussion
  • Voice
  • Flute
  • Saxophone
  • Lower Brass
  • Trumpet

For questions or inquiries, contact ben.willmott@rit.edu

Ensembles

A conductor standing in front of an orchestra, conducting music.

RIT is proud to be home to eight music ensembles that offer academic credit: Orchestra, Concert Band, two Jazz Ensembles, RIT Singers, Steelband Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, and the World Music Ensemble/African Percussion Ensemble, as well as the RIT Flute Ensemble that is non-credit bearing.

Auditions for each ensemble are typically held at the beginning of each semester. For audition details, as well as other information, please click on any ensembles of interest below.

Tiger Records

RIT’s own student-run record label, Tiger Records, provides a collaborative space for musicians, producers, recording engineers, artist managers, promoters, graphic designers, music journalists, marketing teams, and arts entrepreneurs to work together to promote music on campus. Whether your aspirations are as an artist or as a part of the team that drives the entertainment industry, there are many opportunities to participate!

Learn more about Tiger Records

Music Rooms

Student singers gathered in a circle around a piano, singing songs.

The RIT Music Program has several designated music rooms on campus, with most located on the A-levels of Liberal Arts Hall and the Student Alumni Union. All applied music lessons are conducted in the music rooms in Liberal Arts Hall (A-260, A-264, or A-269), while all official performance ensembles rehearse in the SAU (A-120 and A-130). RIT students, faculty, or staff who wish to inquire about the availability of any music rooms on campus, please contact Ben Willmott. Students participating in a curricular music ensemble or Applied Music studio seeking individual practice space can utilize the practice rooms on the perimeter of SAU A-130.

College of Liberal Arts, Department of Performing Arts
Music Practice Room Policy (effective as of August 21, 2020)

Practice room policy for music rooms SAU A129, A131, A135 (reserved for percussionists only), A139, as well as LBR A260, A264, and A269.

Use of SAU and LBR music practice/rehearsal rooms is for students who are currently enrolled in a credit bearing music or theatre arts course. Access to reservation system will be granted automatically by your instructor. No outside groups or individuals allowed, unless by special request, which must be approved by Chair of Department of Performing Arts. Faculty and staff requests for use of music rooms should be sent to Ben Willmott, Operations Manager of Performing Arts, at btwgsl@rit.edu. Music practice room reservations may be requested once all faculty studio and classroom courses have been scheduled for the semester.

Once all academic needs have been fulfilled for the semester, priority will be given to students in the following order:

  1. Performing Arts scholars enrolled in Applied Music lessons, and Applied Music piano students. Access on Monday, August 24.
  2. Students enrolled in Applied Music lessons who are non-performing arts scholars. Access on Monday, August 24.
  3. Students participating in credit bearing ensembles (Concert Band, Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz Ensembles, RIT Singers, etc.) and approved Performing Arts scholarship groups (string quartet, brass quintet, woodwind quintet etc.). Access on Thursday, August 27.
  4. Performing Arts scholars not participating in 1, 2 or 3 above. Performing Arts scholars who wish to make an advance reservation for a practice/rehearsal room, must submit a request to their Performing Arts scholarship coach and it will be reviewed by the Performing Arts Program. You may expect a response within 48 hours.


Practice sessions are limited to one hour per student/group unless no students are waiting to use the room once the one-hour block has ended. Please note: there is an automatic tear-down time built into each reservation due to current COVID safety protocols. If a practice room is empty for more than 10 minutes, it will be assumed available and reservation will be forfeited. Students cannot hold their place in a practice room with books, music, etc. This includes both assigned and unassigned rooms.
DO NOT leave instruments unattended in practice rooms. The music program will not be held responsible for stolen or damaged items anywhere within the building.
Practice rooms may not be used between the hours of 10:00pm and 8:00am. Food and beverages are strictly prohibited in all practice rooms.

Percussionists seeking to reserve SAU A135 (Percussion Storage Room) to rehearse percussion equipment, must first have their requests approved in advance by the director of their respective ensemble or the instructor of Applied Percussion.

Card Swipe Access
All practice rooms are controlled by card swipe access. Once reservation has been reviewed and approved, student will be set up with card swipe access to the exact room number for which they have a reservation.
Students must be currently enrolled in an Applied Music studio, credit bearing ensemble, or an approved performing arts scholarship group, to practice in the LBR and SAU music rooms. No outside groups/individuals are allowed.
LBR music rooms are used for Applied Music teaching during the weekdays. Rooms can be reserved by students in the evenings for individual practice.
Card swipe access to practice rooms are granted at the time the reservation is approved or when submitted and terminates at the end of each semester. Please contact your Applied Music instructor, ensemble director, or Performing Arts Scholarship coach to request access.

Additional policies
You do not have a room reserved until you have an email confirmation. Requests must be made at least 48 hours in advance. Requests made within 48 hours are considered on a case-by-case basis, but are not guaranteed.
Weekend bookings: Please have all weekend booking requests in by 12pm Fridays.
Booking changes: If you have a booking in place that you no longer need, please either use the system yourself to cancel it or advise Ben Willmott.
Rooms must be left neat when you leave; sometimes this means better than you found it. Put away chairs and stands, ensure there is no garbage left behind, etc. If student who has made reservation is repeatedly found to have left the room untidy, then reservation privileges will be revoked and all further reservations for the semester canceled. Under no circumstances is any food or drink (except water) allowed in the music rooms unless special exception is provided by department.
After you have used a practice room, make sure the door is fully closed behind you. Please help us keep our rooms and equipment safe and secure!
Please note: Due to current COVID safety protocols, use of instruments & equipment is at your own risk. Please wipe down before AND after use to protect yourself and others! Please do not spray cleaner directly on keyboards or computers, use paper towels or wipes.

Please visit reserve.rit.edu to submit your reservation request.

 

Instrument Storage and Instrument Loan Policies

An assortment of instruments laying on the floor, including: a guitar, a tambourine, a mic, maracas, cymbals, drumsticks, a snare, and a keyboard.

The RIT Music Program owns a variety of instruments for student use. These include all of the standard instruments used in Concert Band, Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble. Availability of the instruments is based on seniority and need in the ensemble.

Students who receive approval to borrow an instrument owned by the RIT Music Program will be required to sign a form that provides that the borrower is liable for damage to or loss of the instrument. Please contact Ben Willmott if you would like to check the availability of an instrument owned by the RIT Music Program.

Drum Set Policy: The RIT Music Program owns two drum sets. Only students currently enrolled in an RIT Music Program ensemble are permitted to use these drum sets. RIT is unable to store student-owned drum sets at this time.

Amplifier Policy: The RIT Music Program owns bass and guitar amplifiers. Only students currently enrolled in an RIT Music Program ensemble are permitted to use these amplifiers. RIT is unable to store student-owned amplifiers at this time.

Instrument Storage Policy: There are several instrument storage cabinets in the A130 Music Room. Availability of storage for a personal instrument is based on a first-come, first-served basis with preference being given to students enrolled in the RIT Music Program ensembles. Storage for personal drum sets or other large percussion instruments is not available. Please contact Ben Willmott (ben.willmott@rit.edu) if you would like to check the availability of an RIT Music Program instrument storage cabinet.