Coming up today on The Cutting Ed podcast, we visit with Eric Rooke, the director of bands at Williston High School for 13 years.

During that time, he’s navigated the oil boom and its impact on education and has seen the program grow from 80 to now over 150 students.

He focuses on building trust and relationships with his students. Rooke says if his students aren’t having fun in his classroom, something is wrong.

One of his favorite things to teach is the First Suite in Eb by Gustav Holst. Rooke believes that it is very important for his students to play some classic band literature. He also really likes doing a “what music means to me” project. He says it’s something he does that helps the kids see more about him, and in turn, he gets to learn more about them.

He says he best way to reach kids is to show a genuine interest in what they are doing and what they like. He says the more real we all are with kids, the more they tend to open up and let us in to help them learn.

I want my kids to learn skills that they will use forever. I think that music can be one of the best options for teaching those skills.










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