Monday I had the privilege to sit down with Sandy Champion, head of the music department here at Dakota State, and ask her some questions about the music department. DSU is lucky to have such a dedicated, hardworking, and talented woman who has made the music department what it is today. Sandy is in charge of the concert choir, DSU voices, pep band, music methods, a beginning piano class, a digital composition class, and also conducts private voice and piano lessons.
Sandy says the music department has grown tremendously in the last few years and is continuing to grow. For example, the pep band has more people in it and can play at almost every game, whereas before if one of the trombones or trumpets were gone they would not be able to play. They have amazing support from the athletic department as well. The pep band has coaches and athletes come up to them and thank them for playing at the games. And might I add, the pep band sounds wonderful, and they add a lot to the sporting events. Spectators attending the games are even starting to tweet requests of songs they want the pep band to play. Sandy says they are a wonderful group to work with. Students also sing the national anthem at sporting events. Not only has the music department grown because of all Sandy does, but also because of the support of the previous president, our current president, and also the dean.
I asked Sandy if she had any ideas that she was implementing or wanted to implement into the music department. She said she would like to see the music area of Dakota State go towards a music industry vibe. She stated her most difficult challenge is finding a concise way to do everything so that people who want private voice or piano lessons can do it without having to be put on a waitlist. She would also like to use vocal and instrumental music together. She would also like to have a singer/song writer work shop.
The music program also works with some of the majors and organizations too. As I mentioned briefly above, Sandy teaches a music methods class that teaches students who are aspiring to be teachers how to incorporate music into the classroom. She also teaches a digital composition class that works with the audio production and gaming design majors. Students get to learn what it is like to be a musician and understand what they go through. These students take piano or voice lessons with her and also get to record people who take voice lessons. This gives them more insight and experience in the industry they will be entering. They learn how another part of the spectrum is by learning how to write music instead of editing music someone else writes, and also to write melodically.
It’s wonderful how much the music program has grown and continues to grow here at Dakota State. Without the support of everyone, and of course Sandy Champion this would not be possible. I would also like to encourage everyone to go to the DSU Music Concert on Sunday, Dec. 9th at 3:30 pm at the Playhouse. It’s free! Go support the music department and see how awesome they are!