Dr. Melanie Brooks

Melanie BrooksMelanie Brooks is the Director of Bands at Winona State University. She received her DMA and Masters degrees in Wind Conducting at Arizona State University in 2018 and 2016. She has studied conducting with Gary W. Hill, Peter Ettrup Larsen, Jason Caslor, Wayne Bailey, Mallory Thompson, Craig Kirchhoff, Emily Threinen and Allan McMurray.

In 2014-2015, Dr. Brooks received a Fulbright grant to study at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. While in Finland, she conducted four of the country’s five professional military bands, worked at youth and adult music camps in Kouvola and Terälahti, directed student honor bands in Varkaus, Lahti, and Tampere, and visited music schools across the country. She also performed with the Sibelius Academy Wind Ensemble at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago as a saxophonist.

Before beginning her graduate studies, Dr. Brooks taught 5th grade and high school band in Pine City, MN for two years, directing two concert bands, jazz band, jazz combo, marching band, and pep band. Her first teaching position was at Bethlehem Academy in Faribault, MN, where she directed 5th grade band, 6th grade band, grades 7-12 band, jazz band, pep band, and marching band.

Dr. Brooks received her Bachelor of Arts from Saint Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where she performed in many ensembles as a saxophonist and also directed the college athletic bands. She has since performed several recitals with the Kaze Saxophone Quartet, premiering and commissioning new pieces written by Finnish composers Janne Ikonen and Jukka Viitasaari.

Dr. Brooks has passionately undertaken several projects that focus on community building through music performance. She founded the first-ever collaboration between Arizona State University and the Harmony Project Phoenix, a non-profit music school in South Phoenix. This collaboration blossomed into a project that created 29 miniature concertos for young soloists of all wind and string instruments. Dr. Brooks also coordinated the “Building Bridges through Music” festival on Jan. 27, 2018, which included young musicians, college musicians, and adult composers from around the world. After such rewarding experiences, she greatly looks forward to connecting communities through music in the Winona area!