Keep learning and know your “why” with Erin Holmes

Alan and Steve talk with Erin Holmes about lessons learned from doing a podcast, teaching, leadership and always being in the process of learning more.

Erin Holmes

Erin Holmes launched her career at the beginning of the millennium by attaining a teaching position in Farmington Area Public Schools, District 192. As the Director of Bands at Farmington High School, Ms. Holmes conducts the Varsity Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz I, and is the head director of the award winning Farmington Tiger Marching Band. She has a host of responsibilities at Farmington High School that include serving as  the FHS Music Department Chair, developing curriculum, planning tours, hosting and attending band festivals, as well as being a devoted staff and team member of several building leadership positions such as a mentor for new teachers, and proudly serving on the Equity Leadership Team. Ms. Holmes’s jazz ensembles have participated in many prestigious festivals and honor bands and were recently invited to perform with Eric Marienthal and recognized as the evening honor band at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Festival. The FHS Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform with the University of Minnesota University Band under the direction of Betsy McCann as well as the University of Northern Iowa Invitational Wind Band Festival. Most recently, they have been honored with an invitation to perform at the MMEA Midwinter Clinic in 2020. Erin is excited to present her session of “Why Teach, Why Now” at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in December of 2023.

In 2017, School Band and Orchestra Magazine named Holmes one of the nation’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” When asked what is her proudest moment as an educator was? “My proudest moment as an educator has yet to come. Each day brings a new experience that challenges my mindset, intellect, and emotions on such a wide-ranging scale. Each year has also brought my own expertise to new levels. To try and define my pride of what we have created here in Farmington to one moment just isn’t possible.” Erin’s favorite phrase to live by and which she attempts to instill in her students is “every day is a good day to get better.”

Most notably, in 2018, she was appointed Jazz Chair for the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA), she is the first woman in the organization’s history to be chosen for this position. She is the 2022 recipient of the Schmitt Music Educator of the Year award.

Erin is also active as a director for honor bands, a clinician for numerous band and jazz festivals, an adjudicator for large group contest, solo & ensemble contest, and teaches master classes for saxophones for jazz and classical saxophone in the Twin Cities metro and surrounding areas. Ms. Holmes loves to teach private lessons, has performed personally in several jazz ensembles such as Southern Minnesota’s REAL Big Band, Swing Sisterhood Big Band, and the Caprice Saxophone Quartet. She is a member of Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA), Minnesota Band Directors Association (MBDA), and Women Band Directors International (WBDI).

Most recently, Erin has been hired as the Activities Coordinator at Farmington High School. Along with her host of duties with the band, she is excited and will be a support for the Performing Arts, Math Team, Science Olympiad, Robotics, and Adaptive Sports.

Ms. Holmes is originally from Faribault, MN. She attended high school at Bethlehem Academy and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Music Education and an emphasis on saxophone. Ms. Holmes also attended Saint Mary’s University achieving her Master of Arts in Education with the honors of Summa Cum Laude. Erin and her husband, Jon reside in Farmington, Minnesota with their three sons, William, Henry, and Duke.