Photo of Symphonic Band

June 19-21, 2019

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.

MUS793 Instrumental Techniques and Procedures for the Music Classroom - Masterclasses, clinics and discussion that focus on teaching materials, techniques and pedagogy for instrumental music educators, grades K–12.

MUS793 Reading Sessions for Instrumental Music Classroom - Reading sessions focusing on a variety of instrumental music for public school ensembles, grades K-12 will be presented. Materials will include both standard works and new releases in numerous instrumental genres from major music publishers.

MUS793 Trends, Techniques and Strategies in the Band Classroom - Seminars and roundtable discussions to allow the director to focus on current trends in the area of music education. A written final project is required.

Institute Clinicians

Photo of James Curnow

James Curnow, American Composer

Curnow received a Bachelor of Music degree from Wayne State University and a Master of Music from Michigan State University. He has taught all areas and levels of instrumental music including the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp and the Brevard Music Center, composer-in-residence. Curnow has received numerous awards for teaching and composition, and has been comissioned to write over 400 works for concert band, brass band, orchestra, choir and various vocal and instrumental ensembles. His published works number well over 800. As a conductor, composer and clinician, Curnow has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Europe, where his music has received wide acclaim. Curnow currently resides in Lexington, North Carolina and is a full-time composer of commissions worldwide and publishes with Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation/Curnow Music Press, Inc. He also serves as composer-in-residence emeritus for Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, and served as the editor of all music publications for the Salvation Army in Atlanta, Georgia for 31 years.

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