Instrumental Music

Instruction & Recitals


All music students at TSU study a primary instrument in applied lessons, and are required to develop basic piano skills as well. Performance majors in the Commercial Music area are required to study a second instrument, and many choose piano to meet their piano proficiency requirements (required of all music majors). Many of our music students choose to study another instrument as an elective as well. Elective applied studies are also open to non-majors.

Performances opportunities at TSU are abundant! Students are required to perform for their peers in a concert hall environment at least twice a semester on their applied instrument during weekly performance seminar classes. Juniors and graduating seniors perform a recital in order to satisfy graduation requirements and demonstrate their abilities. Our many ensembles also offer students the opportunity to develop essential group skills and to make music with their peers under the direction of some of the best musicians Music City has to offer. The most accomplished larger groups perform off-campus regularly (the Aristocrat of Bands travels frequently and competed in the 2011-2019 Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta) while every commercial ensemble performs off-campus at least once a semester. Our flagship commercial ensemble travels regularly to represent TSU and has visited Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit among other cities.

Check out more photos and info at tnstatemusic on Instagram Twitter.

Instrumental ensembles include the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, the TSU Jazz Collegians, Commercial Music ensembles, the TSU Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band (spring only), and many other instrument-specific small groups such as Guitar Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Trumpet Choir.


tennessee state university nashville marching band president obama
President Barack Obama greets members of Tennessee State University's Aristocrat of Bands during their visit and performance at the White House on Sept. 23 in celebration of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Coordinator of Instrumental Music: Dr. Reginald McDonald
Area Leaders:
Piano - Dr. Joseph Van Dyke
Strings - Dr. Richard Todd
Woodwinds - Prof. Ashley Crawford
Brasses - Prof. Larry Jenkins
Percussion - Prof. Derrick Greene

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