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June 15-19, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Band Directors Institute has been moved to an online format.

All classes and credit offering will be available to participants and all institute materials accessible through an online platform. The online institute will run Monday, June 15 through Friday, June 19. Clinic sessions (with a variety of presenters) and reading sessions (with full scores to view online) will be offered, and our trends projects will be presented as in the past.

The course instruction will be asynchronous; participants will be able to view the clinic session videos and reading sessions scores on their own schedule throughout the week. After viewing a clinic session video or reading session materials, participants will submit a reflective document to earn course credit. The Trends class will require a project agreed upon by the participant and the instructor (i.e. creating a database for their music library, programming music for their upcoming school-year or other projects for their classroom).

Participants have the option of registering for the institute ($160) for zero credits, or can chose to enroll in any or all of our classes (at $40 per credit). We are asking participants to register by the June 1 early-bird deadline. This will enable us to gauge interest in the institute this year (and in this format) and make a final decision on our ability to provide this event to directors. Following June 1 the institute fee increases to $185.00.

We are making every effort to provide our participants a wonderful opportunity for professional development and growth. We hope you will join us!

Register for the Band Directors Institute Online

Optional Graduate Credit

Participants have the option to earn graduate credit for participation in certain sessions. Payment of tuition ($40 per credit hour) for graduate credit is due on the day of registration. Tuition rates are set by the South Dakota Board of Regents and are subject to change without notice. Selected clinicians and/or USD faculty instruct all sessions.

MUS793 Instrumental Techniques and Procedures for the Music Classroom - Masterclasses, clinics, and discussion that focused on teaching materials, rehearsal techniques, and instrumental pedagogy for band music educators. Methods and materials will be available to take back to the classroom.

MUS793 Music Reading Sessions for the Instrumental Music Educator -
Band reading sessions will focus on a wide variety of band music for public school bands including concert, marching and jazz music. The selections will include previous and newly published works at a variety of grade levels appropriate for all levels of bands.

MUS793 Current Topics and Trends for the Instrumental Music Classroom -
This course provides seminars and panel discussions with veteran master teachers and band music composers. Topics include current trends and issues facing instrumental music educators. A written final project is required.

Institute Clinicians 

William Owens, Guest ComposerWilliam Owens headshot

William Owens (b.1936) is a native of Gary, Indiana. He is a seasoned music educator and very active as a composer, clinician and conductor throughout the United States and Canada. His compositional style for young ensembles displays a keen, practical approach which has firmly established him as a leader in the field.

Since 1993, Owens has written over 200 commissioned and published works for concert band, string orchestra and small ensemble. His music is performed and appears on required music lists nationally and abroad. Principal commissions include those from the California Band Directors Association, the Iowa Bandmasters Association, the South Plains College (Texas) Department of Fine Arts, the College of Charleston (South Carolina) and Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity. Several of his works including The Blue Orchid and Maesong have been recorded and analyzed in educational text by the GIA series Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Other works such as Carpathia, Summit Fanfare, The Tahoka Galop and Tudor Sketches have become staples of the young band repertoire.

Owens is a 1985 graduate of Chicago’s VanderCook College of Music and the recipient of numerous awards and grants for composition. In 2014, he was recognized by the Texas Bandmasters Association as the Feature Composer and named distinguished alumnus by his alma mater. Professional memberships include the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), the Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) and Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity.

In January 2014, Owens formally retired from duty as a band director in Texas after 30 years. His spare time interests include sightseeing and reading, particularly motivational material and Presidential biography. A proud Chevrolet Corvette owner/enthusiast, he holds membership with Cowtown Vettes, a non-profit service organization in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Owens resides in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife and best friend, Georgia.

Alfred Watkins headshot

Alfred Watkins, Guest Clinician

Alfred L. Watkins recently concluded his 37-year career as a high school band director, serving as director of bands at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia, for 31 years. Watkins is a 1976 graduate of Florida A&M University with additional study in conducting at Georgia State University.

Bands under Watkins’ direction have performed at the Midwest Band Clinic, the Music for All National Festival and the GMEA In-Service Conference. The symphonic band performed on college campuses and the Lassiter Percussion Ensemble has performed at the Midwest Clinic, PASIC, the National Percussion Festival and the GMEA In-Service Conference. The Lassiter Jazz Ensemble was twice selected as an honorable mention in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition in New York City. Under Watkins’ leadership, the Lassiter Marching Band has also participated in four Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parades, three Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, two King Orange Bowl Parades (Florida) and one Florida Citrus Bowl Parade and was named the Bands of America Grand National Champion in 1998 and 2002.

Watkins has been selected as a member of the American Bandmasters Association, the Florida A&M University Gallery of Distinguished Alumni, the Georgia Chapter of the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame and the Bands of America Hall of Fame. He has received awards including the Edwin Franko Goldman Award, the Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor, the Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity’s Distinguished Service to Music Medal, 25 certificates of excellence from the National Band Association, the Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the Band World Magazine Legion of Honor. Watkins is co-founder, conductor and musical director of the Cobb Wind Symphony, an all-adult community band, and is a co-founder and president of the Minority Band Director National Association, Inc.

He and his wife, Rita, live in Marietta, Georgia and have two adult sons: Christopher, a trumpeter in the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, D.C., and Jonathan, a businessman in Ventura, California.

Name Department & Office Contact
John LaCognata
  • Assistant Professor, Director of Bands, Trumpet
W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 115