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Begin your musical journey at BHSU

Black Hills State University is proud to be fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Students benefit from the expertise of faculty performers, composers, and conductors in state-of-the-art facilities, learning through coursework, private instruction, and ensembles. The Music Department at BHSU places nearly one hundred percent of its graduates in music education positions or graduate programs in music.

The BHSU music program provides the diversity a student wants and the individual attention a student needs. Our department offers majors in music composite and music education, as well as a minor in music and certificates in piano pedagogy and guitar. Our ensemble offerings include the Dakota Chamber Orchestra, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Northern Hills Chamber Chorale, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Honeycomb Brass, Pep Band, the Beeline Drumline, Opera Workshop, and other chamber ensembles. Students will have ample opportunities to perform on campus, locally, and in the greater Midwest region.

The Music Department is housed in Clare and Josef Meier Hall. Music facilities include a beautiful recital hall, private faculty and student studios, practice rooms with pianos, an electronic keyboard lab, large rehearsal rooms, and music classrooms.

Scholarship Opportunities

We offer scholarship money specific to the Music Department. Prospective students may apply through our online form.

Ensembles at BHSU

Black Hills State University offers numerous performing groups within the music program. Student ensembles give concerts every semester, and a musical is performed in cooperation with the Theater Department each year. Here is a list of the different ensembles at BHSU:

  • Concert Choir
  • Northern Hills Chamber Chorale
  • Chamber Singers
  • Opera Workshop
  • Dakota Chamber Orchestra
  • Honeycomb Brass
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Concert Band
  • Pep Band
  • Beeline Drumline
  • Chamber ensembles

Broadcast Performances

BHSU livestreams most of its ensemble performances on YouTube, with links posted to the BHSU Music page on Facebook. Audio is recorded and archived for all concerts and recitals, and students can request a livestream for recitals at no charge.

Student Handbook

The BHSU music student handbook, which details all the relevant policies for advancing through your degree coursework, helpful tips for thriving while studying music at the college level, and more can be found here: BHSU Music Student Handbook 2023-24

*Current students, please refer to the DegreeWorks Dashboard in MyBHSU to confirm your major requirements.


Get your start at BHSU for employment opportunities in a variety of sectors:

» Performer
» Conductor
» Studio Teacher
» Music Educator
» Composer/Arranger
» Music Copyist/Engraver
» Music Accompanist
» Audio Engineer
» And more

Beeline Drumline Members march down a street while playing their drums.


The Beeline Drumline is a group of percussionists that perform at many athletic events and other events throughout the year. Learn new techniques and broaden your musical experience by joining the Beeline.



Joshua Zabatta is a professional operatic tenor based in Denver, Colorado, with recent credits including Boulder Opera, Central City Opera, and guest artist with the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra.


Alumnus Jesse Dunaway is an award-winning composer and former public school educator. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at North Dakota State University.


Former student Drew Lerdal is a guitarist and composer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota who scores music for film, television, and commercials, with credits including Sonic the Hedgehog (2022), Deadliest Catch (2020), and others.



“I am forever grateful for my time at BHSU. I never expected that in addition to learning more than I ever imagined, I would also find a family in the Music Department. Because of my time there, I stepped into my first teaching job with all of the necessary skills and experience, as well as with an incredible support system.” Hannah Rehmeier, Choir Director, Custer School District


“The BHSU Music Department provides a tight-knit community to music majors, non-majors, and alumni alike. Once graduated, the faculty continues to provide mentorship that will support you in your career!” Rylann Olson, Choir Director, Spearfish Middle School

Contact Info

Jonathan Nero
Meier Hall 126 Map
Phone: 605-642-6628

Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9003
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799-9003