Meet David Reynolds, Director of the School of Performing Arts and Professor of Music at South Dakota State University. David teaches lessons on the trumpet and French horn, conducts the SDSU/Civic Symphony, and helps faculty in music, theatre, and dance achieve their professional goals.

Name: David Reynolds

Title: Director of the School of Performing Arts

Hometown: Brookings, SD

Company: South Dakota State University

What are your responsibilities?

David keeps a busy schedule in his role as a professor of music at SDSU and as an administrator. While David’s job responsibilities could go on and on, a summary of his work includes: providing lessons on trumpet and French horn, conducting the SDSU/Civic Symphony and helping faculty in music, theatre, and dance achieve their professional goals.

How did you find your way to where you are today?

Reynolds began his journey as a member of the Armed Forces, where he performed as a musician at the White House and in Arlington National Cemetery. While in the military, David completed his advanced degree and entered the field of college teaching after taking a position in Montana.

It is safe to say that David has a passion for teaching. In fact, he taught in Montana for fifteen years, and is in his fifteenth year at SDSU!

What role has education and training played in your career path?

David shares, “Performing artists are unique in higher education in that we develop close relationships with teachers, often meeting one-on-one with professors for lessons every week. I have had wonderful mentors in all three of my degree programs. They have been very influential in all of my professional decisions.”

What qualities or characteristics do you find are necessary to be successful in your role?

Flexibility, adaptability, commitment, discipline, stamina, passion, and – most importantly – a positive attitude.

“It gives me a good feeling to know I have helped others achieve their professional goals.”

– David Reynolds

How would you recommend someone interested in the same career/occupation pursue a similar path?

A great place to start would be to contact a college or university and set up a time to meet with a professor. Find out what their day is like, what kind of training they received to get to where they are, and what they love about their job.

What extracurricular activities helped you develop professionally?

Even now – 30 years into his career – David still enjoys preparing and presenting music with others, both as a performer and as a conductor. These sort of activities keep one connected to what they are teaching in the classroom, and help maintain currency in the discipline.

What are other skillsets (perhaps unconventional) that thrive in this field?

The pandemic, for example, has presented unusual opportunities for professional growth. Mr. Reynolds has learned about aerosol spread, HVAC filtration systems, and other, more scientific impacts on performing artists. It seems like every year brings us different opportunities, which keeps the job fresh and ever-changing.

What is a typical salary range for someone starting in this line of work?

9-month contracted, entry-level professors in the performing arts usually start in the 50’s or 60’s, but this varies depending on the subject matter one is trained to teach. There are salary bumps with each promotion in academic rank throughout one’s career. Administrators are usually on 12-month contracts, which means they receive more compensation due to the additional time on task.

Want to learn more? Connect with David!

David Reynolds | Director for the School of Performing Arts |SDSU | 605.688.5187

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