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Percussion Studio

Welcome to the Online Home of the South Dakota State University Percussion Studio!

Whether you are interested in embarking on a career in music or if you are looking for an outlet to continue to play percussion while you pursue other degree programs, the SDSU percussion studio has a place for you.

Percussion students from SDSU have gone on to find success as music educators, performers and entrepreneurs, and can be found in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio, Montana, Minnesota and, of course, South Dakota.

Percussionists at SDSU have access to a comprehensive inventory of professional-level instruments for performance and practice including four 5.0 octave marimbas (two rosewood and two synthetic).

About Dr. Ragsdale

Dr. Aaron Ragsdale Portrait

Dr. Aaron Ragsdale is the Director of Percussion at South Dakota State University where he teaches applied percussion and percussion pedagogy, conducts the SDSU Percussion Ensemble, serves as Assistant Director with the Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band and helps direct and administrate the annual All-State Music Camp.

An active performer, he has appeared four times at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, twice at both the National Convention on Percussion Pedagogy and the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, at the national and regional conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance and at the Great Lakes Regional Conference of the College Music Society.

Ragsdale has also appeared as a soloist on PAS “Days of Percussion” in Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota and as marimba soloist with the Rutgers University Percussion Ensemble as part of the “Great Music at St. Bart’s” concert series at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City. His CD recorded in collaboration with Nathan Jorgensen, "A Miraculous Tale: Mixed Music for Percussion and Saxophone" was released on the Centaur label in October 2016.

Ragsdale’s percussion quartet, Opener for R.H., co-composed with Barrett Hipes, is published by Studio 4 Music and has been performed by ensembles around the U.S. Dr. Ragsdale also served as the composer-in-residence for the Harvey Dunn Collaborative, a group that merged the discrete art forms of poetry, dance, animation, film and musical composition to create a cross-artistic theatrical performance inspired by the work of South Dakota's premier artist and illustrator, Harvey Dunn. This work was presented on the SDSU campus and was broadcast statewide by SDPB.

A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Dr. Ragsdale holds a DMA from Rutgers University, a Master of Music degree from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. He lives in Brookings with his wife, Ashley and two children, Olivia and Harrison.

Dr. Ragsdale is a member of the artist/endorser rosters of Innovative Percussion, Grover Pro Percussion and Beetle Percussion companies.

Percussion Students at SDSU may participate and perform in the following ensembles:

Guest Artists:

The Percussion Studio at SDSU has hosted multiple national artists for concerts and clinics on campus. Recent guests include:

Contact Information (including audition and scholarships)