Fine Arts Clinics, Camps and Workshops

We offer annual music education and entertainment opportunities for the region, including the NSU Band Clinic, South Dakota Jazz Festival and Summer Arts Education Institute.

The Gordon Institute for Music Learning and Northern State University are proud to offer



Early Childhood Music: Level I

Level I Certification

June 19-30, 2017


Arts Education Institute at NSU

July 17-20, 2017


The annual Arts Education Institute (AEI) offers professional development in arts and learning for South Dakota teachers and pre-K-12 administrators.


However, you don't have to be an educator to attend AEI. Everyone is welcome to enjoy this fun-filled week of learning featuring:

  • Ways to infuse the arts into classrooms
  • Curriculum development
  • Hands-on art and music workshops

AEI is offered for up to two graduate, undergraduate or recertification credits (optional).  Find workshop descriptions, schedule, syllabus and registration at Arts South Dakota-2017 Arts Education Institute. Or, register immediately below:


Register for AEI

NSU Jazz Camp

July 19-22, 2017


At the NSU jazz camp, you'll have the opportunity to play in various jazz groups, take lessons, learn about improvisation, enjoy social and recreational activities and participate in nightly jam sessions.




All students will have a chance to be part of a jazz big band. Rehearsals will be held each day, with a final concert Saturday. You'll learn to play a variety of jazz style, including swing, Latin and funk/rock.



Each student will have one lesson, with the option of taking more. Lessons will help you improve tone, technique, style and improvisation.



Improvisation classes will be divided into beginning, intermediate and advanced groups. This is a great time to "get your feet wet" or improve the improvisation skills you already have.

Register for Jazz Camp

NSU Voice Camp

July 19-22, 2017


The NSU Voice Camp is ideal for young singers in grades 7-12 who love to sing and want to learn more about their voice and the world of the singer-actor in a supportive atmosphere.



Daily classes will include:

  • Vocal warmups
  • Health and care of your voice
  • Stage deportment
  • Song interpretation
  • Diction for singers
  • Acting
  • Jazz
  • Movement
  • Small-group ensembles and choir

All students will participate in choral ensembles. Enjoy recreational and social activities while learning about music and vocal technique.



Students are asked to bring one prepared song to work on in lessons and classes. Acceptable categories include classical art song, age-appropriate aria, folk song, or musical theater selection. It's helpful if the song is memorized or close to it. If you don't have a song to bring to camp, one will be assigned to you.


Each student will have one lesson, with the option of taking one additional voice lesson. Lessons will focus on posture, breathing, breath support, healthy production and projection.


Register for Voice Camp



Rushmore National Music Camp: Junior High Week

July 30-Aug. 4, 2017      

NSU Campus Band students entering grades 6-9 are welcome to attend the Rushmore National Junior High Music Camp on Northern's campus in Aberdeen. Guided by camp counselors, students stay in Northern dorms and enjoy meals in NSU's dining hall, the Wolves' Den.


The camp offers many performance opportunities and individual lessons from music educators and professionals, as well as daily recreational activities. For details, visit or follow the camp on Facebook.

71st Annual Band Clinic: Nov. 8, 2017

The NSU Band Clinic is the longest-running band festival in South Dakota. The festival consists of two student festival bands and the NSU Symphonic Band, along with workshops for students and directors. The 125- to 175-piece clinic bands are equal in size and balance and rehearse during the morning and early afternoon.


Each student will receive a T-shirt to wear at the concert. We also offer an on-campus catered lunch for students and directors, giving them a chance to see other parts of campus and visit with NSU band students. Finally, the concert will take place in the beautiful new Johnson Fine Arts Center Main Theater.


General Schedule

The clinic begins with check-in at 8 a.m. and culminates with a concert at 3 p.m.

Nomination Process

The instrumentation of the bands is based on director nomination and past experience of the student nominated. EVERY student nominated will be chosen to participate, so please nominate only your most outstanding and deserving students. We must have two quality bands capable of putting together a program in a limited amount of rehearsal time. Please nominate upperclassmen when possible.


  • We can accept late registrations; however, we cannot guarantee names will make the program after the cutoff date.  The clinic fee is $15 per student, payable to NSU Band Clinic and sent to Laura Haar, NSU Music, 1200 S. Jay, Aberdeen, S.D. 57401.
  • The NSU Band Clinic will recognize four-year participants. Four-year participants will receive an NSU music scholarship.

Music will be available in late October.


Detailed schedules and information will be emailed after the registration period and during the week before the festival. 


More Information

Please contact Dr. Rolf Olson at or 605-626-2501 with questions.


Past Programs
48th Annual South Dakota Jazz Festival

Jan. 18, 2018

Johnson Fine Arts Center, NSU

Featuring The Hornheads


Registration to be announced


Start your jazz festival season off at NSU! The 47th South Dakota Jazz Festival will be held in the newly renovated Johnson Fine Arts Center at Northern State University. Vocal jazz, combos, and big bands are welcome to participate in competitive and non-competitive categories to best serve musicians and music educators.
Ensembles eligible to perform at the festival
  • Big Band: A minimum of nine instrumental musicians performing with the traditional Big Band part assignments
  • Jazz ComboA maximum of eight musicians - usually with at least a bass, drums, and piano or guitar. Including instrumentalists or solo singers is very common.
  • Vocal Jazz Ensemble/Swing ChoirA vocal ensemble that performs jazz with a minimum of dancing. (No show choirs, please)
  • Details and Rules


Vocal Dr. Wendy van Gent,, 605-626-7753

Band Dr. Grant Manhart,, 605-626-2982

Band Dr. Terry Beckler,, 605-626-3436