Doctoral student addresses giving back in commencement speech
Published May 14, 2012
Sarah Prigge has spent most of the past 10 years studying and teaching music. The Fargo, N.D., native kicked off her music education in high school while taking piano lessons from NDSU music professor Robert Groves.
The experience helped steer Prigge to NDSU, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in musical arts and a master’s degree in piano performance. Groves ended up being her doctoral adviser. “It was a natural progression,” Prigge said. “The teachers have so much knowledge, it’s a contagious learning environment. After four years, I felt there was so much more I could learn here.”
Selected to represent her class during NDSU’s graduate/professional commencement ceremony May 11, Prigge’s message related the student experience to how graduates should approach their careers. “The faculty and staff here really have taken time to invest in our lives,” said Prigge, who earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance. “As we are going out into the world, we now have the opportunity to give back.”
Prigge’s passion for music led to the development of the NDSU Music Academy, a not-for-profit organization that provides music lessons to people 4 years and older. The academy, which opened in September 2011, establishes community outreach while providing undergraduate and graduate music majors with practical teaching experience. “With counsel and input from Dr. John Miller and myself, Sarah has done practically all the organizational and leadership work from the beginning and now heads the program under Dr. Miller’s supervision as a major portion of her graduate assistantship load,” Groves wrote in a letter of support. “Sarah Prigge is a great example of NDSU’s finest.”
Prigge plans to continue teaching at and directing the Music Academy. Her long-term goals include teaching. “One of the great opportunities I had, as a master’s and doctoral student, was teaching and interacting with students,” Prigge said. “It reaffirmed that this is what I want to do.”
As a junior undergraduate student, Prigge earned a scholarship from the Presser Foundation, which is dedicated to the support of music and music education. She also has been an active member of the Music Teachers National Association at the local, state and national levels. Prigge also is a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women.
“I have seen her mature into an accomplished musician, an extraordinarily effective teacher in her own right and an exemplary young adult,” John Miller, director of the Division of Fine Arts, wrote in a letter of support.
“I am hard pressed to think of a more versatile and excellent example of what we feel an NDSU student should be – or, for that matter, what an NDSU faculty or staff member should be,” Miller added.