Fine Arts Clinics, Camps and Workshops

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

NSU Voice Camp

2021 dates TBA

Because of Covid-19 precautions, the 2020 camp was cancelled.


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



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



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. 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 voice lesson, with the option of taking another. Lessons will focus on posture, breathing, breath support, healthy production and projection.


Student plays the violin


2021 dates TBA

Because of Covid-19 precautions, the 2020 camp was cancelled.
NSU Strings Camp - designed to broaden a student's musical experience and reinforce individual development - offers the opportunity to work with some of the area's leading professional musicians. Daily classes include participation in the Northern Strings Camp Orchestra and working with Dr. Christopher Stanichar, Aberdeen University-Civic Symphony director and visiting professor of music.


  • Take beginning conducting classes and music history courses 
  • Make new friends and meet like-minded string players who enjoy playing string instruments
  • Participate in recreational and social activities
  • Learn in master classes, sectionals, and private lessons with our staff


Each student will receive one lesson from our talented staff, with the option of taking another.
Jazz musicians perform on saxophone and trumpet


2021 dates TBA

Because of Covid-19 precautions, the 2020 camp was cancelled.


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 styles, 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 just get your feet wet or improve the improvisation skills you already have.



Band Directors Institute


2021 dates TBA


The Band Directors Institute (BDI) is an intensive program - online for 2020 - designed to expose music teachers to the best in current and standard literature, teaching methods and materials. The online institute will include new band literature sessions, master classes and clinic sessions that focus on a wide variety of teaching subjects for band directors.


For more information, contact Shari Kosel at the Arts Institute. For specific music questions, contact Rolf Olson at NSU.

Arts Education Institute

2021 dates tba

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
  • Online art, choral and theatre workshops

AEI is offered for up to two graduate, undergraduate or recertification credits (optional).  Find details at Arts Education Institute or contact NSU art education instructor Nadya Preszler.

Rushmore National Music Camp: Junior High Week

2021 dates will be announced.


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 Rushmore Music Camp.

Friends of the Arts/NSU Young Artist Competition

For Regional High School Juniors and Seniors


2022 dates TBA




Learn More


Annual South Dakota Jazz Festival

2022 Date TBA


Start your jazz festival season at Northern! The South Dakota Jazz Festival will be held in 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