Music and Arts
Everyone knows that MIT has a special focus on science and technology, but many outsiders don't know that it's a flourishing center for the arts as well. Opportunities extend far beyond your required course work in the arts and humanities. At MIT, the arts are widely practiced, performed and celebrated, everywhere you look - in corridors and classrooms, on stage and in the studio.
You may be among the 75% of freshmen who come to MIT with a strong interest and involvement in the arts. You can pursue these artistic interests by participating in any of the 60+ music, theater writing, visual arts and dance groups, or simply by enjoying the more than 500 arts-related events on campus each year. Some music, theater and dance groups are led by faculty while others are student run.
Highlights include the melodious vibes of MIT's many a cappella singing groups, including the Chorallaries and the Logarhythms; classical vocal repertoire by the Concert Choir and Chamber Chorus; the rich tones of the MIT Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble and music from Senegal and Bali featured by Rambax and Gamelan Galak-tika. Jazz and Chamber Music ensembles enrich the picture. Don't forget about Resonance and the Ohms.
If you are serious about music performance, whether you are interested in earning academic credit or not, you can take private lessons and participate in a variety of ensembles led by a prestigious music faculty that includes award-winning composers, musicologists and performers.
There's lots of small dance groups with a cultural niche but Dance Troupe is the huge collection of 200+ dancers performing hip hop, contemporary, and even jazz/tap. There are officers who organize practice spaces and the coordinate the big show every semester. Many officers also dance and/or choreograph. Something pretty cool about these dances is that the level of choreo ranges from beginner to intermediate to advanced so people with hardly any experience can join one year and end up performing with a more advanced group the next. In fact, DT is a spring board into what I call the "varsity teams" Mocha Moves, Ridonkulous, and Fixation. The first two are hip hop teams and the remaining is a contemporary group all of which impose a much more intense audition process than that of DT and require a bigger time commitment (6 hrs/week). Mocha and Ridonks even compete in Boston dance battles.
You can also choose to major or minor in music, theater arts, literature and writing. Some students pursue double majors in science or engineering and the arts, thus earning two degrees. Others arrange joint majors, earning a degree in the humanities and engineering, or in the humanities and science.
MIT's cultural diversity inspires tremendous creativity. MIT's Mariachi Band was founded by students living together in Spanish House. MIT members of the National Society of Black Engineers formed a Step dance team that took first place in national competition. Mocha Moves Dance Squad promotes hip-hop culture through dance. Natya showcases classical Indian dance performances on campus, while the MIT Bhangra Club competes nationally and holds free classes for the MIT community. Casino Rueda Group celebrates and teaches many different salsa dance styles, particularly the Cuban Casino Rueda. The Lion Dance Club performs at Chinese New Year and at cultural festivals throughout the year.
Our arts facilities include the MIT Museum, the Berenice Abbott Photography Laboratory, the extraordinary contemporary art collection of the List Visual Arts Center, and the Lewis Music Library. The Student Art Association offers classes in drawing, painting, photography and ceramics. The Office of the Arts coordinates arts activities and serves as an advocate for the arts on campus. It also supplies students with free tickets to two world-class local institutions, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as other local events.