Photo of Symphonic Band

June 17-19, 2020

The Band Directors Institute is an intensive program designed to expose music teachers to the best in current and standard literature in addition to teaching methods and materials. The three-day institute will include:

  • Large ensemble reading sessions
  • Master classes
  • Clinic sessions that focus on a wide variety of teaching subjects for band directors


Tuition costs may be paid online, by check with pre-registration or on the first day of the Institute. Participants are highly encouraged to pre-register for purposes of instrumentation for the Reading Band and Orchestra. Early-bird registration by June 1 is $150. Registration after June 1 is $175.


Sessions will be held daily in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Graduate credit is available for some sessions.


Participants have the option of staying on campus or planning their own accommodations during the institute. Participants wishing to stay on campus may stay in air-conditioned residence hall rooms at a rate of $45 per night plus applicable tax (single occupancy) pending Board of Regents approval. These rates do not include bed linens or towels.

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.

MUS790 Techniques and Procedures in the Instrumental Classroom - Masterclasses, clinics and discussion that focus on teaching materials, rehearsal techniques and instrumental pedagogy for band music educators. Methods and materials will be available to take back to the classroom.

MUS790 Band 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.

MUS790 Trends and Current Topics for the Instrumental Music Educator - 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 Clinician 

Photo of John LaCognata

John LaCognata, USD Director of Bands

John LaCognata serves as director of bands for USD. His responsibilities include conducting the Symphonic Band; teaching undergraduate conducting and applied trumpet; teaching graduate courses in conducting and wind repertoire; administering the USD Quad State Marching Band competition, USD Honor Band Festival, USD Band and Orchestra Directors Institute, and USD Summer Music Camp; as well as overseeing the entire band program. LaCognata received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Illinois, Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from Auburn University and Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Wind Conducting from the University of Florida, where he was awarded a doctoral teaching fellowship.

For questions or more information, contact:

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