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We offer the only master's of music degree in South Dakota.


Master of Music (M.M.)

Music Education

Programs of study include instrumental music education and vocal/choral music education. This program prepares students for an advanced level of K-12 teaching or for doctoral degree work. Students choose between two cumulative options: the master's thesis or the graduate music education project, which is applicable to the specific teaching area. Topics are chosen in consultation with the student's graduate committee/chair advisor.

The master of music degree in music education offers the coursework in a flexible online format to meet the needs of the working public school teacher and the post-undergraduate looking for an advanced degree. During the summer, the  program requires one face-to-face workshop experience, allowing for successful completion within a two year period. An interview is required with Music Education professor. Summer housing can be arranged for students who want to stay on campus.

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Program Information

Music Performance

Programs of study include vocal music performance, instrumental music performance (woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings and keyboard). These programs are designed to increase expertise on a specific instrument, offering a strong grounding in music history, music theory and in the performance and pedagogy of the instrument. The degree prepares students for a professional performance career, or to pursue a doctorate in performance or other educational or entrepreneurial endeavors. 

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Audition Information

Music History

The master of music degree with specialization in music history is designed to increase knowledge of music in the western world from classical antiquity to the present. Students receive strong grounding in the six style periods in addition to an introduction to world music, preparing them to pursue a Ph.D. in music history or to teach music history.

If a student chooses to prepare a thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements, the advisory committee must approve the topic for the paper. Students preparing a lecture/recital must submit a paper as part the lecture presentation. The advisory committee must approve the topic and format for the lecture/recital. The lecture/recital materials must be presented to the faculty advisory committee three weeks in advance of the public presentation. An interview with the Music History professor and a writing sample is required.

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History of Musical Instruments Specialization

The master of music degree with specialization in history of musical instruments is designed to meet the needs of students with a wide variety of backgrounds, training and interests. Students can choose to focus on conservation, research, cataloging and/or performance practices, among others that best suit the student’s needs and interests. An interview is required with the pertinent museum faculty.

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Collaborative Piano Specialization

The master of music degree with specialization in collaborative piano allows skilled pianists to complete lesson, coursework and performance requirements in vocal and instrumental duo, small chamber ensemble, choral ensemble and opera/musical theater. This selective, nurturing program provides extensive repertoire development, musical growth opportunities and preparation for further academic and/or professional work in the field of collaborative piano. Please see the Audition Repertoire for the requirements of the collaborative piano specialization audition.

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Conducting Specialization

The master of music degree with specialization in conducting is designed to increase technical skills and provide the more advanced theoretical information necessary for a career in the conducting field. Students will have the option to focus on conducting specifically in the choral or instrumental realm or take a mixture of both concentrations. This program prepares students for advanced level K–12 ensemble teaching (no certification) or for doctoral work in various musical areas. An audition with pertinent conducting faculty (choral or instrumental) and submission of video demonstrating rehearsal and performance conducting is required.

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Piano Pedagogy Graduate Certificate

The certificate program is an option for graduate students who seek to advance their keyboard skills without seeking an advanced two-year degree in piano. This certificate is available to those piano teachers working in the field who have developed their own piano studio or who wish to start a piano studio and desire additional advanced training. These individuals are often working on certification for the Music Teachers National Association, a national organization that seeks to promote and uphold professional standards for music teachers.

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Admission Requirements

For detailed admission requirements, please refer to Music in the current graduate catalog. Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements.

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