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Graduate Study at the NMM

About The University of South Dakota
The College of Fine Arts
The Department of Music
Graduate Study in Music
Master of Music, History of Musical Instruments Concentration
Graduate Courses Offered
Internships at the NMM
NMM Faculty
Contact NMM Coordinator of Graduate Studies

About The University of South Dakota...

USD's picturesque 'Old Main'

Founded in 1862 by the Dakota Territorial Legislature, The University of South Dakota currently enrolls nearly 10,000 students in the Graduate School, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Fine Arts, School of Business, School of Education, School of Law, and School of Medicine.

The USD Graduate School is the largest in South Dakota, with 62 graduate and professional programs, producing more than half of the graduate and professional students from state institutions. Graduate and professional students typically comprise 25% of USD's student body, reflecting the integral role of graduate education, research, and creative scholarship at USD.

Each year hundreds of public events are offered, including art exhibits, plays, lectures, seminars, films, dance recitals, and concerts.

Modern, fully-accessible buildings are located on a spacious, 68-acre campus. In addition to off-campus facilities, on-campus residence halls offer economical housing. A variety of economical meal plans are available.

The University Libraries offer state-of-the-art facilites, a computerized catalog, multi-media resources, and online resources. Computer stations occupy a link connecting the library to the student center.

The University's Information Technology Services provides leadership for the State of South Dakota and the University's faculty development center for education and training is designed to foster innovative instructional methodologies through the use of technology.

Other University resources include the Archaeology Laboratory, Institute of American Indian Studies, and Social Science Research Institute.

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The College of Fine Arts...

College of Fine Arts at USD

Founded in 1930, the College of Fine Arts includes the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre, housed in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts, the Black Hills Playhouse in western South Dakota, the NMM, and the University Art Galleries. All are fully accredited.

This administrative structure promotes collegiality and enhances student opportunities for interdisciplinary study and training. Recent symposia have included Spain and the Americas and Africa and the Americas.

The College provides programs and activities designed to develop a professional level of artistic competency in each individual student. Most programs also include a balance of opportunities to acquire the technical skills and theoretical information that will enable students to find professional positions in their field. The College also seeks to promote a sense of personal integrity and social responsibility in its students and to develop an intellectual basis for successful living.

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The Department of Music...

Playing a prominent role in the life of the University for more than 100 years, the Department of Music offers the B.M. degree in performance and music education and the M.M. degree in performance, music literature, music education, musicology, and the history of musical instruments. The Department is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Performance opportunities include more than twenty vocal and instrumental ensembles and the opportunity to enter competitions, including the Department's own Concerto Competition. Advanced students audition to play in the South Dakota Symphony, the Sioux City Symphony, and the Sioux City and Sioux Falls municipal bands.

Guidance is provided by a faculty of twenty-two members. An electronic studio and computer technology provide students with the tools needed to work in today's musical environment. Graduates go on to rewarding careers as educators, performers, and administrators.

The Rawlins Piano Trio discovers and records little-known works by American composers, in addition to playing traditional piano trio literature, and has performed at national meetings of the Society for American Music.

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Mike Cwach performs with his Czech dudy (bagpipe) with Arian Sheets, violin

Graduate Study in Music...  

The Department of Music at the University of South Dakota offers the M.M. degree with a concentration in the history of musical instruments, music performance, or music literature.   Within these concentrations, students can emphasize historically informed performance, scholarship, or both. Programs of study are tailored to meet student needs and interests.

Mike Cwach, '07, Yankton, South Dakota, frequently performs on the traditional Bohemian dudy (bagpipe), accompanied by violinist, Arian Sheets, Curator of Stringed Instruments at the NMM, who is also pursuing the M.M degree. Cwach received a prestigious Fulbright fellowship in 2003-2004 to study the history, manufacture, and performance of the dudy in the Czech Republic.

Darcy Kuronen, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Darcy Kuronen, '86, Curator, Department of Musical Instruments, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and author of Dangerous Curves: The Art of the Guitar (2000).  Photo © Museum of Fine Arts.

The M.M. degree with a concentration in the history of musical instruments is a professional degree offered nowhere else in the country. Enrollment is limited to just a few students, although graduate students in music education, music literature, and applied music are on campus, as well, and an accessible faculty with diverse interests and expertise help match student interests and abilities with lifetime goals, in a rural setting conducive to productive study and personal development, yet with daily access to the resources of a great museum of musical instruments and a wealth of archival materials. All of these, along with the vibrant atmosphere of a College of Fine Arts alive with concerts, exhibitions, symposia, and conferences, provide the stimulating context in which graduate students can flourish.

Joseph Johnson holds Museum's Stradivari guitar

Joseph R. Johnson, M.M. '87, Curator of Music and Popular Culture (retired), Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Macon, Georgia, holding the NMM's guitar by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1700.

The NMM & Center for Study of the History of Musical Instruments, one of the great institutions of its kind in the world, is the home of more than 15,000American, European, and non-Western instruments, dating from the 16th century to the present. Its collections include many of the earliest, best preserved, and historically most important musical instruments known to survive, along with an extensive library of rare books and archival materials. Staff members are international leaders in the field, and the NMM's brown bag lunch programs, concerts, and international conferences bring to campus many of the leading builders, players, and scholars active today.

Jayson Dobney confers with William F. Ludwig II

Jayson Dobney, M.M. '04, Associate Curator and Administrator, Department of Musical Instruments, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, confers with William F. Ludwig II, at the NMM. Dobney interned at the Smithsonian Institution during the summer of 2002 and held a prestigious research fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003-2004. He was subsequently appointed to the position of Associate Director at the NMM from 2004-2007.

Our students, who have received Fulbright fellowships to continue their study abroad and internships at major metropolitan museums in this country, have become leaders of the next generation at institutions as diverse as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, in musical instrument museums from Lisbon to Melbourne, and at American colleges, universities, and major libraries.

Rodger Kelly demonstrates Swiss House Organ
Rodger Kelly, M.M. '91, Librarian, Minneapolis, demonstrates the NMM's Swiss organ by Joseph Looßer, 1786.

The one or two students who are admitted each year to the history of musical instruments program are accepted only if they also qualify for a graduate assistantship, because the program combines both academic studies and on-the-job training and experience at the NMM. For that reason, early application for admittance and a graduate assistantship is strongly encouraged. Although not specifically required, prospective students are also strongly encouraged to visit the NMM before or at the time of making application and to interact with faculty and staff to determine if your goals and objectives are in sync with what we believe that we can help you achieve. This particular program of study is individually tailored to meet individual student needs and interests. It is a thesis program, however, so writing skills and command of the English language are also important.

Courses Offered for Master of Music
History of Musical Instruments Concentration

Note: This is a sample program of study only.   Each student will tailor their program to fit their needs, in consultation with the NMM's graduate faculty.

Major Area
MUS 788 History of Music Instruments: Cultural Aspects (3 credit hours)
MUS 791 History of Musical Instruments: Technical Aspects (3 credit hours)
MUS 730 Medieval/Renaissance Music Literature1 (3 credit hours)
MUS 731 Baroque Music Literature1 (3 credit hours)
MUS 732 Classical and Romantic Music Literature1 (3 credit hours)

Other Studies in Music
MUS 781 Introduction to Music Bibliography (2 credit hours)
MUS 788 Project Seminar - Introduction to Museum Studies (3 credit hours)
MUS 798 Thesis (6 credit hours)

Electives (Supporting Classes)
MUS 632 Collegium (1-2 credit hours)
MUS 788 Project Seminar - Museum Internship (3 credit hours)
MUS 788 Project Seminar3 (2-4 credit hours)
MUAP Applied Lessons2 (3 credit hours)

1  Students with sufficient background may be allowed to substitute more specialized literature courses that may be offered.

2  Applied music, if student does not meet required minimum level; otherwise, to be chosen from: Art History, Contemporary Music Literature, European History, Theatre History, Woodworking, Chemistry, or other related course work.

3  Independent studies--cataloging, archival work, building of instruments, conservation, and so on.

Gary M. Stewart restores Museum's Janko piano

Gary M. Stewart (1953-2009), M.M. '78, Statesville, North Carolina, works on the NMM's Decker Brothers piano with Jankó experimental keyboard.

Students already enrolled in graduate programs at other institutions who want to utilize the specialized resources and staff expertise available at the University of South Dakota are invited to enroll as a special student for an academic year, a semester, or a summer session.

Links to Graduate School Resources:
Graduate School Homepage
Graduate Program Application Deadlines
Graduate School Application Procedure
Graduate School Printed Application Form
Graduate School Online Application Form
Graduate School Recommendation Form
International Graduate Student Admissions
International Graduate Student Application for Admission
Graduate Assistantships
Application for Graduate Assistantship
Graduate Tuition
Graduate School Catalogs
Music Department Graduate Handbook
Graduate School Orientation
Graduate School Policies

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USD Music Faculty expertise ranges from Baroque and Classic performance practices to American music studies, including Baroque violin, early clarinet, fortepiano, and harpsichord, Iberian keyboard music, jazz, and American band, chamber, and orchestral music. Click here for complete list of graduate music faculty.

Graduate Faculty at the National Music Museum:

Margaret Downie Banks, Professor of Music & Senior Curator of Musical Instruments.   Early bowed strings, American musical instrument industry, author of Elkhart's Brass Roots, history of the C. G. Conn Company.   Ph.D., West Virginia University.

Sabine Klaus, Professor of Music and Joe & Joella Utley Curator of Brass Instruments. Brass and keyboard instruments. Author of Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte besaiteter Tasteninstrumente bis etwa 1830. Ph.D., Tübingen Universitaet.

John Koster, Professor of Music & Conservator. Keyboard instruments, acoustics, wood identification, conservation, state-of-the-art catalog, Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.   A.B., Harvard College.

Deborah Check Reeves, Associate Professor of Music & Curator of Education.   Early clarinet.   D.M.A., University of Iowa.

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Prof. John Koster
Coordinator of Graduate Studies in the History of Musical Instruments

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD   57069

©National Music Museum, 1996-2011
Most recent update:   July 1, 2011

The University of South Dakota
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