The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is proud to offer many courses that include partnerships with community organizations and schools. Below is a sampling of community engagement integrated into courses.


  • Founders Day Concert in Dewitt Park


  • Holiday Concerts at Ithaca Country Club, Ithaca Rotary Club, and First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca


  • Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert
  • Featured ensemble at Gospel Festival in Ford Hall where 250 underrepresented students from around the country travel to Ithaca College to perform.


  • Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert

Project Headstart is a collaborative venture between the Ithaca College Music Education Department and the Tompkins Community Action Headstart Program. The project is designed to provide music experiences both for children with special needs, such as students with disabilities and those who are English language learners, and for children from low income and high needs backgrounds. During weekly visits to Ithaca College's campus, students from area Headstart programs participate in lessons designed to provide valuable musical opportunities. Music lessons are also structured to enhance and expand skills that are taught in their Headstart classroom. These include gross and fine motor, language, cognitive, and social skills. In addition to the enhancement of developmental skills, children in this program experience the joy of making music from the time they enter the class until they leave.

Project Headstart also provides a unique opportunity for Ithaca College music education majors. Under the advisement and supervision of music education professors, music education majors, enrolled in Music Education for Children, and junior and senior vocal music education majors, participate and assist a lead teacher during the classroom experiences. In addition, the project provides opportunities for students in the Freshman- and Sophomore-level Music Field Experience to observe.

This unique and valued undertaking is coordinated by Dr. Emily Mason (Assistant Professor of Music Education) of the Ithaca College Music Education Department, and Lee Dillon (Executive Director), Jeanette McCord (Program Director) and Michelle Blodgett (Liaison) of the Tompkins Community Action Organization.

Learn more about our teaching programs HERE.

This course is an exploration of how musicians can reach and build broader audiences for the various genres of classical music. Topics include the importance of community involvement, musicians’ interaction with audiences, visual presentation of performance, presenting 20th- and 21st-century music to diverse audiences, connecting with music education programs in colleges and public schools.

Composition majors work with a local middle school to compose an original work for performance by the middle school ensemble. Composition students meet at the middle school and develop a work based on the conductor and students feedback. Another aspect of this course is the Books out Loud Garage Band Project. In partnership with Fall Creek Elementary 4th Grade, Ithaca College students spend a week in residency in the school teaching students to use Garage Band to connect themes of books to music they create.

Ithaca College major ensembles, such as choir, women’s chorale, wind ensemble, concert band, symphonic band, and symphony orchestra partner with their counterparts in the public schools to share concerts, perform side-by-side rehearsals, and conduct sectionals.

When Ithaca College is on tour to bring music throughout the Northeast, a partnership with a high school or community ensemble is always one aspect of the experience. These partnerships enhance the touring experience for Ithaca College students and provide distinct learning opportunities for students in each community visited.