Sometimes, I get the craving to play the piano. However, while on campus, I can’t wander up to my piano and play some notes. There are a limited number of pianos on campus with varying levels of tunedness and privacy. Therefore you can’t be as spontaneous. Note: I am not a music major nor someone who got into the Emerson program — those students get a lot more places to practice their art!
Here are my piano recommendations ranked:
1. The piano rooms on all three floors of building 4
Specifically, there is a practice hallway on the second floor with like 8 piano rooms in a row. However, the piano hallway is protected by tap access. The first and third floors also have pianos which are usually unlocked during the day.
If you are a music major or taking a music class, you automatically get access to the second-floor pianos, which is nice. I’d recommend 21M.051, 21M.301, or 21M.302 (depending on your skill level) as fun music classes to get access to these rooms and learn more about music. Also, these pianos are the gold standard. They are perfectly tuned in a soundproof room.
However, if you aren’t taking a music class, you have to go to the student center.
2. The piano in Baker and Next
Most dorms have pianos, but I’ve only played on these two. The Baker piano is, unfortunately or fortunately, situated in the middle of the dining room and outside the dining room for Next. Playing in an open space requires a level of competency and confidence that is not great for all occasions. However, it is convenient as it requires very little planning or walking. Great for people who want to show off a little or are ‘peer pressured’ into playing a short piece in front of others during dining hours.
3. The practice rooms A, B, and E on the 4th floor of the student center
These are open to everyone. However, because there are only three and in tune, these pianos are seldomly available during off-hours. I’ve had better luck trying to play them during the school day. They’re also double soundproofed, so you can mess up all you want!
4. All other dorm pianos
Almost all dorms have pianos, but they’re occasionally upright and not as intuned. Baker has another piano (a few more for piano drop) hidden away in the music room. But alas, they are usually in soundproof rooms.
Other than pianos, MIT offers even more than just pianos. It has a pretty good music department and can be a fun and creative way to fulfill the concentration requirement. It’s not the best concentration, but it has some fantastic classes. I’ll post something later with class recommendations!
Outside of the academic classes, there are also ways to explore musical desires. There are multiple acapella groups (which requires you to be somewhat good at singing — so not me), concert choir, and a full orchestra to participate in. Although the brass has room to improve, the orchestra sounds amazing (not that I could do any better, though). I love the end of the semester when they have their performances—a great time and a great way to support your friends.