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June 29th - July 21st, 2019

The Summer Academy at the Rushmore Music Festival is an intensive 3-week program that takes place in the heart of the Black Hills at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. The Summer Academy is a pipeline program, intended for students at the early advanced-advanced levels. With a strong focus on individual technical mastery and artistic growth rooted in communication, the Summer Academy fosters a truly unique, immersive musical environment. 


Limited to 20 students, Summer Academy is a rigorous 3-week program with a structured environment for students ages 10 through 18 studying violin, viola, cello, and piano.

Faculty members join us from a variety of teaching and performance backgrounds — national symphonies, chamber music ensembles — to bring their unique and diverse knowledge to our students.

Program Cost: $2950 (includes Room & Board)
*Need-based financial aid and merit scholarships are available. Priority Aid consideration given to early applications.

Students stay on campus at the Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota under full counselor supervision.


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Want to know what it's like to be an RMF Student?

"A Day in the Life of an RMF Student" allows patrons, parents, and local teachers to observe classes and workshops at the Summer Academy.  Reserve your ticket for this incredible educational experience -- spots are very limited. All proceeds go towards supporting the Student Scholarship Fund.


Program Information

SUMMER ACADEMY: June 29th - July 21st, 2019
Black Hills State University, Spearfish, South Dakota

APPLICATION DEADLINE - Applications are being accepted on a rolling admission basis

Application Requirements:

  • Submit a recent video recording of 2 contrasting pieces that demonstrate musical and technical ability. String students must also submit a recording of two 3-octave major scales of applicant's choosing in half notes (quarter note = 60 BPM)

  • Completed Online Student Application

  • $50 Application Fee (non-refundable)

The Summer Academy places a strong focus on individualized learning and progress. With no orchestra component, each student is able to receive 2 hour-long private lessons & 2 chamber music coachings PER WEEK, as well as classes in Music Theory, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Improvisation, and others.

Every day, students have two designated hours of mandatory individual practice time and two hours of chamber music rehearsal, often with guidance from faculty and counselors. 

Fostering an immersive musical environment, students attend 3 faculty concerts with opportunities to observe their teachers' rehearsals, as they prepare for their own performances. Students learn how to listen and understand music through the Art of Listening presentation with our piano faculty Javor Bracic. 


Private Lessons

Private instruction lies at the heart of growth for every musician. As the key to the success for all of our students, two 60-min lessons are provided to every student each week. Students are given a minimum of 2 hours every day to prepare and practice the skills developed in their lessons in order to make immense leaps in their development during this short amount of time.


Chamber Music Coachings

Chamber Music provides students the opportunity to focus on honing their abilities as artists while learning the invaluable life lessons in communication and collaboration...all while exploring some of the greatest music ever written. Our faculty guide them on this journey by seeing them for 2 coachings per week. Then, the students are given time to explore in rehearsals.



Over the course of 3 weeks, students will have weekly solo and chamber group performance opportunities through weekly faculty studio classes, masterclasses, as well as 3 student concerts on and off campus.


Competitions & Awards

Students are able to compete in the Rushmore Music Festival's annual Chamber Music Competition. One student is chosen for Outstanding Achievement Award to receive scholarship to attend future season, as well an invitation to perform a work side-by-side with faculty on the Faculty Concert Series.


The Art of Listening

Piano Faculty Javor Bracic invites all students to participate in a performance and discussion of a piano masterpiece, guiding students through various listening techniques and interpretations.

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Music Theory

Music Theory serves as an important layer of foundation for all musicians. Summer Academy students receive five introductory Music Theory classes per week, honing in their ability to understand the meaning and structure behind a musical composition.


Dalcroze Eurhythmics

Through classes led by one of the leading instructors of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Dr. Michael Joviala, students will learn to embody and express their creativity while having fun learning valuable music communication skills.

The Dalcroze approach consists of three components: Eurhythmics, which teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression through movement; Solfège, which develops an understanding of pitch, scale, and tonality through activities emphasizing aural comprehension and vocal improvisation; and Improvisation, which develops an understanding of form and meaning through spontaneous musical creation using movement, voice and instruments.

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Acting/Public Speaking

For the first time at the 2019 Summer Academy students will have one week of engaging, interactive classes with Black Hills Community Theatre’s Artistic Director, Zach Curtis.


$2,950 for On-Campus students (Financial Assistance available)

$1,275 Room & Board
$1,675 Tuition

$50 Application fee


Financial assistance is available to students in form of need-based aid and merit scholarship.
Tax forms are required for need-based aid consideration and may be uploaded with application or emailed separately. 


February 15, 2019

Student applications due for those requesting priority financial assistance consideration

April 1, 2019

STUDENT APPLICATIONS DUE — Extended until May 1st, 2019

COUNSELOR APPLICATIONS DUE — Extended until May 1st, 2019

April 15, 2019

Tuition deposit payment due

Tuition, Health & Travel Forms Due

June 1, 2019


Tuition, minus a $200.00 cancellation charge & any associated bank transfer fees will be refunded to participants who withdraw prior to May 15th. No refunds will be granted after May 15th. 

Financial ASsistance

Financial Aid/Merit Scholarships

Financial assistance in the form of merit scholarship and financial aid is available for 2019 Summer Academy.

It is recommended that a student selects a piece learned within the past year and plays it at their highest level, rather than choosing the newest piece. Students may receive full or partial aid to help cover tuition of their program (please note that registration fee is required for all applicants). Priority will be given to those students requesting financial need. Room and board is not eligible for coverage through financial assistance or merit scholarship. Requests for financial assistance after the application deadline -- March 1, 2019 may not be considered.

All students granted merit scholarship or financial aid will be required assist with the operations of the Festival, with the amount of responsibility proportional to the awarded amount. Students may be asked to assist in areas such as stage crew, clean-up, ushering, or other minor tasks.

IRS forms are needed to apply for financial aid. Students who arrive late, depart early or attend for a partial session are NOT eligible for financial assistance through the Festival. 

Please consider using the resources of your local community (religious groups, schools, arts or civic organizations, and private donors) for alternate sources of financial aid. These organizations usually need 3-6 months to process the applications, so apply early!

STUDENT LIFE: Housing & Meals 

All On-Campus Students will stay under full counselor supervision at Black Hills State University's Bordeaux residence hall. These state-of-the-art accommodations feature fully air-conditioned, suite-style living* quarters, with access to full kitchen and laundry.

All students will be provided with a meal plan, which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

*Suite-style refers to a double occupancy room sharing a bathroom with an adjoining double occupancy room. Suites and living space will be separated according to students' gender and age.

Off-Campus/Commuter Students: Students as young as 10 years old may participate in the Summer Academy. It is recommended that they stay with a parent/guardian, although some exceptions can be made for them to stay on campus. University Apartments may be available for discounted rates of $60/night. Please note that although there are no classes held on the weekends, all students are required to attend faculty concerts held at the University as well as any chamber music rehearsals.  


All students will attend 3 faculty performances held weekly at the University. Students will have access to outdoor recreation facilities on campus. On weekends and in the evenings, students will have a chance to sign up for field trips (free for on-campus students) to attractions such as Mount Rushmore, the Wind Cave, Spearfish Rec. Center and Water Park, Downtown Spearfish, and hiking in the Spearfish Canyon. 

Sample Daily Schedule*

All classes function on Odd/Even schedules, where, if a student's lessons are scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays, the chamber music coachings are set for Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are reserved for studio classes, masterclasses, and other workshops. There are no classes on weekends, except individual practice and chamber music rehearsals. Weekends are reserved for field trips and faculty concerts.



8-10AM Individual Practice (10 min break/hour)

10-11AM Theory/Ear-Training

11AM-12PM Dalcroze Eurhythmics


1-2PM 1hr Private Lesson

2-6PM Free Time


7-9PM Chamber Music Rehearsal




8-10AM Individual Practice (10 min break/hour)

10-11AM Theory/Ear-Training

11AM-12PM Dalcroze Eurhythmics


1-2PM 1hr Chamber Music Coaching

2-6PM Free Time


7-9PM Chamber Music Rehearsal


*Please note that above schedules are samples only and will differ for each student.


Because I was here, I learned how to face my fear of performing!
— Avagail, Virginia

I have met a lot of new friends and got my most wonderful time in my life!
— Kelvin, Hong Kong

The experiences that I have been blessed with and the friendships that have blossomed from the first days of the camp will last a lifetime. For this I am eternally grateful.
— Joseph, Tennesee

The most important thing I learned from this camp is purpose. Being surrounded by top-level musicians and faculty reinforced to me why I want to be a musician and why chamber music has a special place in my heart.
— Daniel, Florida

Music is about how well you can communicate to the audience. This, I believe, will change the way I approach music forever.
— Leah, Wyoming

The growth I’ve had as a player throughout my time here has been astounding! It has been amazing meeting people from all around the country who share my passions.
— Maycee, South Dakota

This camp is always a highlight of my year!
— Gabriel, South Dakota
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Apply as a pre-formed group?

Yes, your chamber group must have 3-5 members. Please note that each student is responsible for their own application, application fee, and program tuition.

What is the level of the players eligible for the SUMMER ACADEMY?

We recommend that the younger, middle school applicants have completed Suzuki Book 4 or its equivalent. These students must be able to demonstrate freedom in skills such as shifting, vibrato, and doublestops. Our High School and College students work on repertoire ranging from student concertos to standard repertoire. All students are placed into their Chamber Music group based on age and appropriate level.

Can I attend a partial session?

No, all attending students must attend the full three-week session.

Can my child TRAVEL ALONE to the Festival?

Yes, arrangements will be made for all On-Campus students to be picked up and dropped off at the Rapid City Airport.  Students should plan their arrival for Sunday, June 30th and schedule their departure for Sunday, July 21st 2019. Special travel accommodations may be possible for Saturday, June 29th, Saturday, July 20th or Monday, July 22nd. Please notify the Festival at the earliest convenience if you will be requiring special travel accommodations.

Parents of younger students should request an airline escort through their airline to assist with travel and/or connecting flights. Please select the airline to view the specific age requirements: Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, & Allegiant Air.

What is the minimum age requirement to attend the Summer Academy ?

The minimum age requirement for students attending the Summer Academy is 12 years old. Exceptions may be made for students as young as 10 years old. The minimum age requirement for students studying Composition is 13 years old.

What is the INSTRUMENT travel situation for cellists?

Cellists will have to either buy an extra seat on the flight, check the cello in a flight-safe case, or arrange with the Festival in advance to rent an instrument for the duration of the program from a local music shop for an additional fee (~$50). Please note that cello rentals are generally suitable for intermediate level only.

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